To Upgrade Your Video or Not?

by | Jun 25, 2005 | Audio News | 0 comments

To Upgrade Your Video or Not?

The New York Times just published a feature on recommendations for
upgrading one’s TV.  It brings up many considerations and problems
relating to the constant advances in technology.  Early adopters
with the discretionary income to spend on the latest devices don’t seem
to mind the much higher cost, but the transition to digital TV isn’t
going to occur just due to that very small group.  They are buying
the new 1080p HDTV displays which squeeze the maximum resolution out of
the digital signal, but carry a premium price. A recent study by the
Consumer Electronics Association showed that American homes spent an
average of $1250 on electronics last year.  That’s not quite
enough to buy one medium-sized HDTV set.

TV manufacturers and cable and satellite services have to bring down
the cost of the hardware for HDTV if they want to convince enough TV
viewers to switch over from NTSC TV to make sense of the present
deadline for total cutoff of standard TV broadcasting December of
next  year. There isn’t even an inexpensive convertor box yet to
enable those with analog TVs to be able to view what the digital
channels will be offering. The CEA says that only 12% of the 285
million TV sets used in the U.S. today are used for over-the-air
programming, and about 10% of the total sets are used for viewing DVDs,
games etc. rather than TV programming.  Therefore they evidently
sYourfeel there will be only a small number of viewers who will be
unhappy with having to pay for their future TV reception and have it
limited to either cable or satellite. (60% of TV households subscribe
to cable, 24% subscribe to digital satellite and 2% subscribe to both.)

More HDTVs are being offered with built-in HD receivers, and the
receivers have improved in reception quality since the first models.
The CEA is trying to encourage more manufacturers to provide cable
cards in their sets to allow control of cable or satellite services
right at the set without requiring a separate receiver. However, they
don’t allow for time-shifting the HDTV programs, and new hi-def viewers
are going to be very disappointed to find that they can no longer
record programs to watch at their leisure. DVRs, TiVos and the like are
expensive and added to the cost of the HDTV itself will often be
bypassed. Cable providers rent such hardware along with the
subscription cost. The transition to MPG4 v – for better quality and
more ability to compress – may eventually make present purchased
hardware obsolete.

The Times article recommended staying with traditional CRTs for HDTV
displays since they still have great image quality and the price has
come down in the presence of the various flat-screen technologies.
Surprisingly their other recommendation was plasma panels rather than
the DLP, LCoS and recently-enhanced LCD options. The introduction of
the new hi-def DVD format (or formats) scheduled for this coming
Christmas season will undoubtedly have a salutary effect on the sale of
HDTV displays.

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