You know there must be something special about digital television if Scooby-Doo endorses the technology (the Great Dane sold out and did a spot for DIRECTV!). High-Definition Television, also known as HDTV, is a digital television broadcasting system with enhanced resolution and superior qualities to traditional television sets. HDTV and digital television are usually related in a conversation, since HDTV is always digitally broadcast, since it required less bandwidth thanks to video compression.
High-Definition Television can yield a much better-quality image than standard television because of its great number of resolution lines. Digital signals do not have the problems with snowy or pale images, which are direct results of very weak signals or signal interference. Shows broadcasting in HDTV and received on digital-ready receivers, allow for better reception, more realistic image colors and a visual sharpness about 2-5 times greater than standard TV transmission. This is because the gaps between scan lines are much narrower. This means that nature shows, films, sporting events and the like can be photographed on 35 mm film and viewed at home with nearly the same original resolution. (Try watching Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux the way the director saw it!) Additionally, HDTV systems usually bring along Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound to the media package, allowing TV or movie viewers to hear full surround sound features.
Not only does High-Definition Television boast several advantages over SDTV and other standard systems; but the casual home viewer (primarily used to an ordinary analog-based TV set) also has to factor in the advantages that a digital system brings to the table. (Or dining room, or living room-wherever!) As stated with HDTV, DTV takes up less bandwidth and the bandwidth is also continuously variable, depending on the compression level. Therefore, digital broadcasters can provide more digital channels in the same space, allowing for special features like HDTV, and allow for more interactivity between viewer and network channel. Digital TV also allows for multiplexing capability, which lets viewers tune into more than one program on the same channel. Imagine watching more than one sporting event at the same time and on the same screen! Imagine watching two movies side by side and comparing notes. This is the perfect compromise for analog veterans who love to channel flip. DTV also allows for electronic program guides, additional languages and subtitles.
There is a huge race in the broadcasting industry to offer the largest choice in HD programming. Satellite companies seem to have the edge over cable providers with Direct TV HD leading the pack in the number of high definition channels to choose from. Most providers offer HD receivers or upgrade options to HD DVR boxes.
All in all, nearly everyone-particularly a casual TV viewer who has been watching the Discovery Channel on a small rectangular screen-agrees that DTV, and especially High-Definition TV have superior picture quality, enhanced audio quality and much easier reception than the analog generation ever dreamed.
If you’re a casual viewer wondering if the difference between HDTV and regular analog television is worth it, then now is really the best time to switch over-because soon enough, all of your favorite networks will be making the same switch, with or without you. On February 17, 2009, US network television will terminate all full power station terrestrial analog broadcasting in favor of digital broadcasting.
While you could try and request a rebate from the government to receive a converter box with digital tuning, the TV viewer in you surely begs, not just for the status quo, but for hundreds of additional channels-all available in High Definition Television. With all the additional color, sound and interactivity television’s simulation of life is one-step closer to the real world.