HDTV is an abbreviated representation of the term High Definition Television. HDTV involves a broadcast of television signals with a higher definition than traditional signals, usually through a digital capacity although some early broadcasts were sent in analog format in Europe and Japan. HDTV allows the viewer to see much more detail than on standard television broadcasts, by using more pixels in a given image and increasing the ratios used without letterboxing (the transfer of widescreen to video format).
Dolby digital is also broadcast in all HDTV modes, so that full surround sound capacity is available even with what some might consider mundane broadcasts such as the news or regular shows. HDTV eliminates any snow on your screen, as the broadcast will be digital. More pixels and higher resolution mean that the picture you receive will be noticeable clearer, with better and more realistic coloring and a great potential for larger screen viewing.
Most major broadcasters are now offering their programming in high definition, and the technology can turn your television viewing experience into a whole new level of cinematic enjoyment, especially in terms of sports events. A large screen high definition television combined with a digital broadcast from your provider mean that you are truly experiencing any sporting event that you may watch for an angle that is arguably even better than attending.
In order to get HDTV into your home, you may have to purchase a special box through your cable company. These boxes can receive and translate the digital broadcast to your television. You can also purchase televisions that are integrated or upgradable to HDTV capacity. The integrated models and upgradables will also require a box or antenna, although some models are available with slots in which you can put a Cable Card, provided your service offers this option.
As might be apparent, a lot of the decision process when determining whether or not to obtain HDTV will depend on your cable service provider. Some providers will offer high definition television only from national broadcasts, while larger local stations will also have HDTV broadcasting abilities. High definition will inevitably present a greater cost to the average consumer, as the receiver must be bought or rented from the service provider. However, most people agree that the clear image and the accompanying sound abilities more than make up for the extra cost of high definition television. Additionally, there have long been plans to fully integrate HDTV broadcasts into all programming. The original goal was to have this accomplished by 2006, however new projections are putting the date at 2009. This does not meant that all analog televisions will become obsolete, as most are able to have boxes attached to receive the high definition signal. Consumers may decide to lessen future expenses that will inevitably occur in the future, however, by purchasing their high definition television now. All HDTV systems available with analog tuners built in, so you will be able to enjoy the full range of programming.