Momma! asked in Consumer ElectronicsTVs · 1 decade ago

How does the whole HDTV thing work?

We're looking at buying a new TV and we deffinitly want a flat screen. However, all the flat screens that we've looked at are HDTV. We're not planning on getting HDTV and we just have plain cable, so wouldn't it be a waste of money to buy an HDTV if we don't even plan on getting HD? Or when you buy an HDTV does it automatically just have high definition? Ah, someone help me out here! I don't get it!


ugh, I knew I was going to get an answer like that. No, I'm sure I DON"T want HDTV, my cable is included in my rent right now and if we switch to anything else we'll have to continue to pay the same amount of rent but also pay the seperate cable bill.

Update 2:

Wow, confusing!! So are you saying that in a couple years we're all going to be forced to get HDTV??

7 Answers

  • JAS
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the United States...

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has imposed a mandatory ‘digital tuner rule’ on the consumer electronics industry requiring that, as of March 1, 2007, all video equipment (including TVs) containing television tuners, which are manufactured, imported, or shipped for use in the United States must include a digital (aka, DTV) tuner; TVs equipped with analog only tuners are prohibited.

    If retailers are selling any (remaining) ‘TV equipment’ equipped with analog broadcast tuners only, then those retailers are required by law to inform consumers that the they will need additional equipment to receive digital television broadcasts. At the present time the likelihood of purchasing a new DTV that was manufactured before March 1, 2007 is fairly low.

    Be forewarned, the FCC’s “must carry” or “dual-carriage” analog cable TV provision applies ONLY to LOCAL TELEVISION CHANNELS, i.e., local television stations, and no other cable channels. Local television channels (i.e., those TV stations/channels that are capable of being received ‘over-the-air’ using a conventional TV antenna,) that are broadcast in your area will be the ONLY channels transmitted in analog form through February 2012 by the small number of cable TV providers who are yet unable to provide access to digital broadcasts or content for their subscribers.

    If you purchase a new DTV that is labeled “Digital Cable Ready” (“DCR”) or “Plug-and-Play” then you should be able to continue viewing your current level of cable TV programming beyond February 17, 2009 without incurring any additional monthly fees.

    You do not need to purchase an HDTV to watch television after the February 17, 2009 analog cut-off; you have the option of purchasing an SDTV (Standard Definition Television) or EDTV (Enhanced Definition Television.) Consumers with non-HD televisions - either digital SDTVs, EDTVs, or analog TVs equipped with DTV compliant set-top boxes (aka, digital-to-analog converter boxes,) or DBS/DTH (satellite) receivers - will continue watching broadcast television albeit at a display resolution limited largely by—in many cases—older display technology, with a maximum resolution generally topping-out at 720×480 (the same resolution provided by DVD-Video in North America) or in some cases, 854×480 (depending on the display.)

    Not all ‘flat-screen’ TVs are HDTVs; there are several models currently available that are SDTV or EDTV. However, at the present time, HDTVs are being produced in greater volume and are much more plentiful than SDTVs or EDTVs. Thanks to the fairly strong consumer demand for HDTV and economy of scale, you are not likely to find a substantial difference in the prices between the current models of SDTVs, EDTVs and HDTVs.

    Many of the latest HDTVs are fairly good at artificially creating high-definition images from non-high-definition content such as DVD-Video, though some brands and models are better than others. Be sure you take the time to carefully and thoroughly evaluate any TV you are considering purchasing; it’s become more important than ever before. Which type of display technology to buy is far from the only criterion to consider when shopping for a new TV. One of the most important factors is the performance of the embedded video and image processors. The simplest tool to evaluate the video and image processing performance of today’s new DTVs is the HQV Benchmark disc from Silicon Optix. Another very important factor is interoperability, i.e., can the TV perform properly with all of the video equipment that will be connected to it. These are but only two of several important reasons why I strongly advocate buying a new DTV from a reputable and knowledgeable local dealer rather than sight unseen from a mail order retailer.

    Digital Television FAQs - Consumer Corner

    DTV Definitions

    HDTV Brochure Final

    Compatibility of Cable TV and Digital TV Receivers

    National Cable & Telecommunications Association

    FCC: Dual Carriage Will Last Three Years

    NCTA Backs 3-Year Limit

    What is the difference between “enhanced digital TV” and analog TV?


    HDTV resolutions and advertised HDTV specs don’t match. What’s up with that?

    Buying A Digital Television

    Read This Before Buying a Plasma or LCD TV

    Article Archive

    NIST Flat Panel Display Laboratory

    Tips for Buying a HDTV

    DTV Certified, What Should It Mean?

    Home Theater Magazine, 2007-03-01 – Test DVDs

    HQV Benchmark image quality testing tool


  • 1 decade ago

    Short answer

    SDTV for the people who want cheaper TV sets - still digital capable

    HDTV for the people who want the better picture on the HDTV channels and for Hi Def DVD players and Hi Def gaming systems

    U.S. Analog TV over the air ends after February 17, 2009 - Except for low power stations and translators (repeaters) in some markets - on February 18, 2009 you need a converter or an SDTV/HDTV with a ATSC tuner

    U.S. Analog TV requirement on cable or satellite ends in 2012 - Then you will need a converter but your cable company may provide this for a fee

    Source(s): Job experience
  • 1 decade ago

    Today's HDTVs run at a fixed, native resolution, and will upscale (sorta like stretching) any incoming signal to match that resolution. So, for instance, if you watch a non-HD cable channel, it will be resized to fit your HDTV. This can cause some fuzziness - the upscaler can only do so much with a low resolution signal...

    However, if your HDTV includes a QAM tuner, it will be able to pick up HDTV channels on your cable that are normally broadcast in your area. This usually includes your local FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS stations. So, you can get those channels for free - even with your existing, non-HD cable subscription. Other channels, like Discovery HD, will need a separate subscription from your cable company.

    Again, because the HDTV includes an upscaler, it will also upscale your existing DVDs. Just be sure to connect your DVD player to the HDTV using component cables, and set the DVD player to use progressive scan. This is the highest video quality that regular DVD players support. The better the picture you feed to the HDTV, the better it will look when upscaled. You might also think about getting a new DVD player with a built-in upscaler. These usually do a bit of a better job than the upscaler in your HDTV, and are generally around $100-200.

    For now, don't even consider any of the HD video players. They're still fighting amongst themselves to determine if HD-DVD or Blu-Ray will be the standard format for the next generation of DVD, and frankly, you don't want to be on the "losing" end here. Besides, regular DVDs on a HDTV will already receive quite a boost in picture quality without requiring you to buy new hardware or movies.

    Finally, if you play video games, both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 support HD, allowing their games to use incredibly detailed graphics.

  • 1 decade ago

    You're right that you're being sqeezed into buying an HDTV. Part of the reason is that in February of 2009, over the air analog TV will disappear and the only over the air TV will be digital HDTV. All HDTV is digital, but not all digital is HDTV. But, there will be very little, if any, non-HDTV digital around. Cable also will probably be going all digital except for the same channels that are available locally, over the air. They have to keep those until 2012. The government, in January of '08 will be distributing to each requesting household, two certificates for $40 each off of $60 converters, which will convert over the air digital to analog, to keep old sets working.

    So, what are your options?

    1. Buy an analog standard definition set-you'll only be able to watch whatever is available in your area over the air via cable-until 2012.

    2. Buy a standard definition digital set-you'll be able to watch over the air TV with an antenna, in standard definition and/or the analog version of the same on cable, until 2012.

    3. Buy an HDTV set with a QAM tuner. You'll be able to watch whatever non-premium (not scrambled) TV your cable provider puts on the cable-basically just like old cable ready sets-no box. But, be aware that not all HDTVs come with QAM tuners.

    4. Buy an HDTV without a QAM tuner-you'll be able to watch over the air HDTV with an antenna and /or the analog version of your local over the air HDTV that your cable provider will make available until 2012.

    Bottom line, if you want more than the over the air channels-2, 4, 7 ETC, you'll either have to get a QAM tuner, or give up the battle and go for the box.

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  • 1 decade ago

    all flat screens are hd. well except the little ones. but you want hd. its the future. even if you dont have hd cable channels now. maybe you will want it a year from now or 5 or 10 years from now. and an hdtv does not mean everything will be hd. you have to be watching somthing in hd like a hd cable channel and even if the progran you are watching says broad cast in hd. you have to be watching a hd channel to see it in hd. but i reccomend getting a hd flat panel tv. and get the ugrade cable pakage that comes with just a few hd channels and have a chance to watch real high definition in your home. you will love it. oh and you have to have the hd cable box. too. good luck. oh and dont go get the cheapest hd tv you can find. im sure you have heard "you get what you pay for" well this is especially true in the hdtv market. there are so many brands thay many cutomers fall victim to bying the cheap one. they are NOT all the same. there is a huge difference in quality. you might get a cheap hdtv and it will look worse that the tv you havenow. stick to brands like. sony, panasonic. samsung. hitachi. . they will be more money than the cheapy ones but the quality in picture , parts , and reliability will be well worth it. . believe me

    Source(s): years of tv sales and knowledge
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    WELL....I'd be CONFUSED TOO after reading all that junk above me.....

    Listen....ALL TVS are HD right now. BUY ONE.

    The GOOD NEWS IS YOU DON'T have to UPGRADE YOUR CABLE TO WATCH YOUR CABLE....the TV sets presently handle those channels with no problem....

    That's all you really wanted to know.....

    Just tell the salesman you have cable and don't plan on getting the HD CHANNELS....

    He'll fix you right up....

    Source(s): Over 24 years servicing TV sets...
  • 1 decade ago

    which TV & SCREEN is confortable for u.

    U select and enjoy ur life.

    Don't confusing.

    Your choice is must and help your life also.


    Reply soon...

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