Simple question about HDTV

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul_Fisher, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Paul_Fisher

    Paul_Fisher Screenwriter

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    My friend has a Samsung widescreen HDTV. Will he be able to watch a program in "Hi def" using only standard cable?

    For instance, if the Fiesta Bowl is televised in HDTV, can we just turn to that channel and it will be hi-def?

    Thanks for replies.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    1. The Fiesta Bowl is not being broadcast in HDTV by ABC (Boo!!!)

    2. No, you won't get HDTV from a normal analog/digital cable TV connection...yet. There's a new standard for transmission of HDTV via cable TV (I believe it's called QAM) that's coming down the pike, but we're not there yet.

    3. DirecTV offers just a few channels for HDTV (HBO HDTV, Showtime HDTV, HDNet) at the current time, but they'll be adding more HD content soon.

    The only way to get the regular network HDTV content is to get a HDTV receiver for OTA (Over The Air) reception. Also, don't expect HDTV channels to be the same as their NTSC channel counterparts. For example, UPN is on channel 69 locally (NTSC), but its HDTV (ATSC) channel is 43-1 (HDTV). You'd have to find out the HDTV sub-channels that each local network station broadcasts in your specific location.

    I just got my HDTV receiver (a Samsung SIR-T165) and am loving the picture quality of HDTV! Once you see it, you'll be very spoiled by it.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Paul, I presume that your friend’s Samsung is an HD-ready TV. Which means that it has no ATSC (digital signal) tuner, but only an NTSC (analog signal) tuner. The analog tuner is used to tune the normal, signals that you already receive in Standard Definition (SD).

    Your friend needs two things to get HD: the HD signal and a tuner that will decode the HD (or any digital) signal.

    If his cable company is not providing HD channels (and most do not), then he will need to get the HD channels over the air (OTA). He will need an antenna for this. Or a satellite service (but be careful as DirectTV does not carry any local HD channels—only local SD telecasts and Dish only provides CBS HD in certain areas—they both carry only a few HD channels such as Showtime and HBO). Once he can get HD signals, he will need an HD tuner (sometimes called a receiver or set-top-box (STB). These cost from about $400 for some older models to about twice that for the ones just introduced.

    On the other hand, if your friends cable company does provide HD channels, the cable company will provide a cable box that will decode the HD signals. But again be careful as most cable companies that do carry HD, do not carry local channels in HD. If so, he would again need an antenna and STB to get OTA signals.

    Hope this helps.

    {edited to remove a cut/paste error}

    Just read Patrick's post. Second the PQ. BTW, CBS will telecast their NFL playoffs in HD.
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I thought ABC is also broadcasting the NFL playoff games in HDTV, no?
     
  5. Chris_HD

    Chris_HD Agent

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    Patrick says:

    >No, you won't get HDTV from a normal analog/digital cable >TV connection...yet. There's a new standard for >transmission of HDTV via cable TV (I believe it's called >QAM) that's coming down the pike, but we're not there yet.

    Not true. The big three cable tv companies (Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter) are all offering some level of HDTV service. Not in all areas, and not all the same way. At least one uses 8VSB encoding (same as over the air, but the cable box cannot do dual duty), but the others are using QAM. 64QAM for standard digital cable, 256QAM for HDTV. QAM can conserve bandwidth better than 8VSB. I am a Charter HDTV customer and their HD channels are broadcast using 256QAM. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 when the source contains it.

    >The only way to get the regular network HDTV content is to >get a HDTV receiver for OTA (Over The Air) reception.

    Also not true. There are two sides to this coin. Some major metropolitan areas have superstations as part of their local broadcast compliment (KTLA comes to mind) and they are broadcasting in HDTV. On the other hand, many local stations are now broadcasting a digital television signal (DTV) but are not producing HDTV in their studio. Some do not even pass through the network HDTV content. So it is entirely possible that you will be able to receive DTV OTA from your local afiliate and see no HDTV content. This is how it is in my area. Two DTV stations, all SD content. No OTA HDTV.

    The networks have also not agreed on HDTV formats. ABC uses 720p, CBS and NBC are 1080i, and Fox is 480p where available. Settops can upconvert for you but this can have an affect on the picture quality.

    There's no simple answer, which is why HDTV is in the sad state that it is in today.

    Chris
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I would not characterize my answers as not true, but rather location-specific (for the vast majority) and specific to analog cable input that Paul's friend thought he could use to get a HDTV signal into his HDTV set. Even with a "digital" cable box, Paul's friend was not going to get a HDTV signal out of it because you need a converter box specific for HDTV output as well. From Paul's post, his friend was not set up for receiving HDTV with his Cable TV connection.

    For example, in Atlanta, Comcast does have plans to provide HDTV content (Fox's EDTV, HBO-HD, Showtime-HD) within 2-3 months, but it's going to involve new hardware (most likely the Motorola DCT5100 that's been used in Chicago and another location for Comcast) at each customer's house to receive the signal and convert it for use with a HDTV set. It's going to be a slow process for the total transistion to HDTV among the broadcasters and cable/SAT providers.

    Paul's friend is at the mercy of his own cable TV provider for this issue.

    At this point, what is certain is that HDTV is in its infancy, and the local stations are at a different pace to integrate HDTV content and programming and broadcasting among their broadcasting brethren. HDTV reception is very much location-specific. YMMV.
     

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