Everyman's Non-Technical Guide to HDTV

by Gareth Black

With the recent rapid advances in the technology of home entertainment equipment, the introduction of High Definition TV (HDTV) has been at the forefront of these changes. Together with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Plasma TVs, HDTV has been the most accepted and pioneering new aspect of television over the past few years.

Brief overview of TV Transmission

In 1996 the introduction of Digital TV transmission sounded the death knell of Analog television. Although it's taken many years for Analog to finally succumb to the improved technology that is Digital, the end will come early in 2009 when US broadcasters must by law cease to transmit Analog TV signals and transmit only in the Digital format.

Digital TV (SDTV) gave a superior picture and clearer sound than the out-of-date Analog system. Viewers had a TV viewing experience far in excess of what Analog could ever provide.

However in the years since the start of Digital transmission, television has improved even further and now one of the latest features is High Definition TV (HDTV). This again is a vast improvement on its predecessor the SDTV and provides a greatly improved television viewing experience.

HDTV is becoming more and more popular with new television buyers particularly at times when an important sporting event such as the Olympic Games is due to start. HDTV is particularly suited to sporting events - the movement of an athlete or a ball is crisp and precise. There is no 'shadow' behind the athlete during fast movement.

For those people who still have an Analog TV then now may be the right time to move to a better TV system. They can either change to a SD television, or else the improved HDTV system.

The technical terms used explained:

'Digital TV' is the term used to describe SDTV

'HDTV' is the latest form of 'Digital TV' and is simply called 'HDTV'

'Digital TV' does NOT refer to HDTV.

HDTV is the latest and best in modern TV technology

High definition TV was released in the late 90s to much acclaim from the TV experts because of the crisp, crystal-clear picture and the surround sound presentation. The quality of HDTV cannot be matched by standard definition TV, a point understood by someone seeing HDTV for the first time. Once the superiority of HDTV has been acknowledged, a viewer have difficulty in accepting the inferior SDTV format.

The factor that determines the quality of a TV picture is the number of vertical lines on the screen. The SDTV system is based on 480 to 576 lines. The more acceptable HDTV figure is about 1080 lines, with the minimum being set at 720 lines. At 1080 lines, the narrower lines gives a picture resolution of between 2 and 5 times better than SDTV, a difference that would persuade many to adopt HDTV.

However to receive high definition reception other factors need to be taken into account in addition to the type of television:

1) A suitable tuner will be needed. This could be incorporated in the TV, or else a set-top box unit may be necessary.

2) An appropriate satellite dish will be needed if the viewer subscribes to a satellite TV provider.

3) The viewer will need to be signed up to receive HD programs from the TV program provider.

4) The whole system will need to be configured correctly.

The increasing public interest and demand for HDTV is influencing the TV providers, both cable and satellite, to provide an increasing number of HD programming options for their subscribers. For example one of the two major satellite TV providers, Dish Network, at present provides over 80 channels in HD format, with many planned for the future.

The future of television is the HDTV format. This and the wide-screen concept give the viewing public want they've wanted for many years - a system that gives them as perfect a picture as possible, together with the very best audio presentation.

The author writes on satellite TV issues focusing on the programming deals offered by the dish TV companies. He also has an interest in the superior technology of HDTV as recently introduced by the Dish Network satellite TV provider.

Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

So What the Hell is Clear QAM Anyway! 

By Adam McKinley

Clear QAM is simply unscrambled digital cable. Clear=Unscrambled.  QAM=the digital format used. This would normally imply your local TV stations that are either SD or HD. So if you have HD cable, and your looking for a TV tuner for your computer, you'll  want one that can do Clear QAM.  Some Cable stations may not broadcast analog after the February 2009 DTV transition, so there's another reason you want Clear QAM.