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What Is Hdtv Essay, Research Paper

What is HDTV? HDTV, the first completely new TV standard since the introduction of the medium in the 40’s, allows a picture with much finer visual detail and better color than the NTSC standards used with today’s analog TV sets. Pictures can have 3 to 5 times the sharpness of today’s broadcasts and no noise or snow. A good analogy is that you can see picture improvement like CD’s improved over vinyl records! And speaking of sound, HDTV broadcasts also include CD quality surround sound based on the Dolby Digital (AC3) standard. HDTV sets use a wide screen more like those in movie theaters (16:9 width to height ratio compared to 4:3 today). These new sets may also be compatible with PC’s so you may look forward to combination TV/PC applications.

Should you put off buying a TV now and wait for the first HDTV sets to hit the market? Good question! We believe the set you buy today will serve you well for many years and that the HDTV experience will take a long time to develop in terms of affordability and programming choices. Aside from our ardent desire to sell TV’s this year we think there are a number of facts which support this position:

The FCC has mandated that standard TV signals continue to be broadcast through the year 2006 to insure a smooth transition to HDTV. This deadline may be moved back if consumers and/or the Congress protest having to throw away or upgrade their existing sets but it will certainly not be moved forward. The set you buy today will have signals to show for at least nine years!

Manufacturer’s plan to introduce add-on boxes to allow conventional TV sets to receive and show digital broadcasts. Of course you won’t see broadcasts in a wide screen format and you may not see all of the resolution that MAY be broadcast, but you will be able to watch your set beyond 2006 and you can add the converter box at any time before that.

Broadcasters outside of the top 30 markets are not mandated to begin ANY digital TV broadcasting until 2002 – and no one has said how MUCH digital broadcasting they will have to do at that point. (Top Ten market broadcasters must do some HDTV broadcasting by 5/1/99 and Top 30 markets must have some by 11/1/99. Other commercial stations have until 2002 to begin, but again, there is no mandate as to how much HDTV must be broadcast.)

The FCC has left it up to broadcasters to choose the digital format and resolution they wish to broadcast in. Within the frequency spectrum they have been allocated, broadcasters may choose to transmit one wide-screen very high resolution channel (HDTV).. or several conventional screen channels with resolution comparable to today’s digital broadcast satellites, (DBS), or DVD. Such “Standard” Definition Digital TV (SDTV) would be perfecly viewable on a conventional set with a digital decoder box. Broadcasters could get revenue from advertisers on several channels this way… so there is some dis-incentive to providing the best picture possible at the moment!

Even if you live in one of the top ten markets where digital broadcasts are mandated to begin by May 1999, (stations in about 25 markets will begin some HDTV broadcasting this fall), -the first DTV sets will be VERY expensive. Zenith, Sony, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, RCA and others have already announced models of sets for introduction in Fall ‘98 with initial prices of from $5,000 to $14,000. The industry believes that after several years of mass production, the price may be “only” $1000 to $1500 more than a conventional TV set of comparable size. Clearly, we will be well into the first decade of our new century before DTV becomes affordable for most people.


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