The first thing you notice is how crisp and vibrant the white
and pale blue jerseys are as the players aggressively pass the
ball. Every wince, jerk and grab is a visual experience. The
constant sound of new rubber soles skidding on the freshly polished
court is music to the ears. Suddenly No. 22 is so close that the
individual beads of sweat can be seen slowly dropping from his
forehead, down his cheek, down, down, until it hits the…coffee
Even though it may sound like it, you’re not sitting courtside
at the Pepsi Center. Actually you are on your couch in front of
your new high-definition television.
“It is like watching a sporting event from the luxury box,” said
Pete Seel, technical journalism professor at CSU.
The Technical Wonders of HDTV
High-definition television is slowly taking over. It allows
viewers to see more of the picture on a wider screen and experience
a high-quality picture where colors are significantly brighter. Add
to that the fact that the resolution is virtually flawless and that
channels can be broadcasted in digital surround sound and you’ve
got a home entertainment system that rivals that of the local
“It’s amazing. The picture quality is like night and day
compared with regular TV,” said Dan Marvin, a sales associate at
Digital technology has taken over much of the electronic device
market and TV is only the next frontier. CDs have replaced the
archaic tapes of the music industry, DVD’s are responsible for the
rapid disappearance of VHS, digital camera’s memory cards are
fading out the use of 35 mm film, and now, HDTV will change the way
people watch television forever.
“High definition offers pictures that are six times as sharp as
the current analogue signal which is a tremendous difference in
quality,” said Sean Marchant, Comcast public relations manager for
the Colorado Region. “Currently, the television standard is the
analogue signal which scans at 480 lines per second, whereas high
definition scans at 1080 interlaced lines per second and the result
is exceptional picture quality.”
Because it is impossible to receive a high definition signal on
a regular television, the first step for consumers wanting to make
the transition to HDTV is throwing out that dated, analogue
television that most of us have been using for years and buying a
high definition television.
One of the reasons why it is impossible to receive an HD signal
through a regular TV is that HD is shot in a wide screen format
allowing for more of the picture to be seen.
“The high definition televisions are made much wider because
HDTV is shot in a widescreen format. Due to this you can see
between 30 and 40 percent more so the image is similar to a movie
screen,” Marchant said.
Not only is it possible to see more of the football field on
game day, but it is also easier on the eyes.
“The HDTVs are made wider because the human eyes have binocular
vision meaning that they see horizontal pictures better than
vertical,” Seel said.
When, Where and Why in the World are We Changing to HDTV
“I would recommend that anyone thinking about getting a new
television buy an HDTV. The experience is amazing and worth it,”
Marvin said. “Besides, by December 2006 it is federally mandated
that all TV signals be broadcast in HD.”
The year 2006 is closer than we think and the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) is mandating that transition in
order to free up more airwaves. Seel explains that analogue
channels take up more of the spectrum whereas digital channels
significantly reduce the airwaves used allowing the FCC to mandate
those extra airwaves for wireless use.
“Analogue television is very wasteful with the spectrum,
changing to digital allows for more channels that actually take up
less (airwaves),” Seel said.
With the conversion to an all HD signal on the horizon all of
the major television manufacturers including Sony and Toshiba, are
now producing HDTVs and all major electronic retailers are selling
According to Albert Duff, a Soundtrack home electronics
specialist, almost 80 percent of large TV sales are HDTV’s.
“Since HD programming will eventually be in full force it is
basically pointless to buy a TV that is 32 inches or larger that is
not high definition. We don’t even carry any TV over 36 inches that
isn’t an HDTV,” Duff said.
The television sets that most of us are accustomed to are
quickly being faded out of the home entertainment market.
“It is federally mandated that by July 2007 there will not be
any analogue televisions made of any kind,” Duff said.
Once your HDTV has been purchased there is still one more step
involved before a relaxing night of home entertainment can be
“To get high definition through Comcast cable we rent an HD box
for $5 a month. It is also possible to get HDTV through satellite
companies however the additional devices and costs alone would
make, me personally, choose the cable route,” Marchant said.
Overall, it has taken the United States a lot longer to convert
to HDTV than other countries. Duff said that most of Europe has
been broadcasting in high definition for about seven to ten
One of the main reasons why the United States is still stuck in
transition is because of the expenses, not only for the channels
and networks to purchase new broadcasting and filming equipment,
but also for the consumer.
A 36-inch HDTV will deplete a viewer’s checking account by about
$1,500. However, many people in the business claim that the prices
on HDTVs are dropping.
“The initial migration has been slow but things are really
starting to pick up. The prices of HDTV sets are slowly dropping
and many major channels are starting to broadcast in HD,” Marchant
KUSA Channel Nine, the NBC Denver affiliate, station claims to
be leading the way in HDTV. They are currently transmitting from a
low-power HD transmitter in Downtown Denver.
However, the signal cannot currently reach everyone. In order
for the HD signal to reach all of Channel Nine’s viewers a
high-power digital TV tower is scheduled to be built on Denver’s
Lookout Mountain within the next year, according to 9News.com.
“Aside from local channels broadcasting in HD, Comcast is
currently offering 11 channels in the Denver/Boulder area in high
definition including ESPN HD and Showtime HD,” Marchant said. “We
are also currently trying to launch HDTV in Northern Colorado but
it is not yet available to Fort Collins residents.”
HDTV Benefits Everyone
HDTV is not only great for the avid sports fan, but it is also
amazing for movie buffs.
Chris Ferland, a Sears electronics sales associate, states that
another benefit of purchasing an HDTV is that picture quality of
DVDs can also be significantly increased.
“If you purchase a DVD player with a progressive scanner in it
and then hook it up to an HDTV then you can receive complete HD
quality,” Ferland said.
Progressive scanners inside DVD players to amplify the home
entertainment experience in sound and picture is a fairly new
addition to the digital world but has taken over quickly.
“Of the 20 DVD players we sell, only two don’t have progressive
scanners. Within the next year, I would say that all DVD players
will have them,” Ferland said.
DVD players have taken over the home entertainment business,
making VHS tapes a thing of the past. It won’t be long before movie
rental stores will completely do away with videotapes.
“We don’t have an exact date as to when we will completely
discontinue video rentals but we have been very significantly
fading out VHS. More than monthly we are pulling VHS tapes off the
shelves and selling them,” said Tye Lathrop, Blockbuster
With all of these changes in the making, Marchant suggests that
although HDTV is still in the transitional phase, anyone in the
market for a television should definitely purchase an HDTV.
“I think it is right about the time that consumers should be
considering an HD set instead of an analogue. Even if programming
is not available in your area now, it won’t be long before it is,”
Marchant said. “As of now, it is not far from soon that all
channels will be broadcasting in HD.”