Confused about HDTV programming options

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Josh Varghese, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. Josh Varghese

    Josh Varghese Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 8, 2003
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    Ok so I guess you can call me a newbie to the HD game. We've never even had cable in my house so I don't know the first thing about cable/sattellite subscriptions.

    I've read all about HD equipment, resolutions; I understand everything about WHY its better.

    What I can't seem to find information easily on is how to get programming. And I know I'm not the only one. I have at least four friends with HDTVs yet none of them have any HD channels (local or through cable). So instead they watch crappy analog tv on their set and it looks terrible since the tv reveals the flaws.

    So I know what a set top box is and I know you can use it to get HD channels through your cable provider. What I am still confused about is whether or not you can get local channels for free (with only an antenna or perhaps a set top box that you pay for once).

    Someone please clear this up for me.

    [email protected]
  2. JohnMM

    JohnMM Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 3, 2001
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    If your HDTV doesn't have a built-in tuner you could buy a set-top HDTV tuner and put up an antenna to get local HDTV programming (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, etc).

    You should check with your cable company to see if they offer any HD channels. Mine (Cablevision) offers HBO-HDTV and two sports channels). They are promising more, but you know how that works.

    You could subscribe to Dish Network or DirecTV - they offer a few HD channels.
  3. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    You will have to inquire of your local TV stations about what shows (if any) they broadcast in HDTV. Note that some stations broadcast only 480p on their digital channels. And some of the "HDTV" shows are upconverted 480i originally composite video material.

    Also, HDTV comes on UHF frequencies although not the same channel spaces as the usual UHF channels. If you live far from your "local" stations, you may have difficulty receiving their digital signals.

    If you are into progressive scan, you need the HDTV set to view your DVD's that way.

    Video hints:
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    If you will be using OTA (Over the air) HDTV STB, you can consult Antenna Web to see if you have broadcast towers near enough to you for reception purposes.
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

    Aug 22, 2000
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    Real Name:
    Looking at your UT e-mail address, I'm guessing that you are in Austin. There are some digital stations available but you need to do some more research. First check with your local cable company and see what they offer. Most offer HD on their digital packages so you will probably pay $50+/month for this service. Also, follow Patrick's link and find out the size and type of antenna you need for OTA. You may want to spend $350 for an OTA only receiver (or your TV may already have one) for your locals. HD sat receivers start around $450 and all have the ability to get OTA HD plus satellite delivered HD. Programming requirements vary.

    List your equipment and the programming you want and we will be able to offer some suggestions.

  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Josh, get thee to a newsstand today and purchase the current issue of Sound & Vision magazine. It contains a decent feature story about the current status of HDTV and includes a listing of all channels nationwide that are broadcasting in HD as well as 480p. Keep the issue as a reference guide. JB

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