You can’t read an A/V ad or go into an electronics store without being inundated with information about digital television with a high definition picture. HDTV promises resolution many times finer than a conventional analog TV set. But there is a lot of confusion about when cable will be able to deliver a high-definition picture-and questions about when the major networks and local affiliates will produce the lion’s share of their shows in HD.
Full-featured HDTV sets are still quite expensive-around $8,000-and there is still no official cable interface standard. Therefore many folks who want new big screen sets are purchasing “HD-upgradable” sets that will deliver a full-blown high-def picture when one adds a tuner later on. Other folks are deciding not to replace their sets at all-or merely to stick with the existing analog technology, and buy a new analog big TV.
Whatever you decide to do, you can still enjoy a fantastic TV experience without upgrading the television itself. By upgrading the source and the sound, you can turn any TV set-no matter how old or how small-into the apex of your home theater system.
DVD-Pushing Analog to Its Limit
It seems like an oxymoron to use the terms “digital versatile disc” and “analog TV” in the same sentence. But it is accurate to do so. DVDs are encoded with a digital representation of the movie, but it is delivered in an analog state to your TV, which only receives and understands an analog system. The fact that DVD is digital means that it can hold an enormous amount of information: 4.7 Gigabytes on a 5-inch disc. It also means that the picture is always perfect-there are no extraneous lines, snow, or dropouts like in videotapes. And DVD consistently delivers up to 450 lines of resolution as compared to the 230 delivered by standard VHS, or the 330 afforded by broadcast TV.
If you haven’t already purchased a DVD player, there are some advanced new features that are available right now that are pretty cool. Even if you have one, you can always use another for another room.