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What is HDTV?
"High Definition Television" is an international digital TV standard aired in 16:9 format (4:3 for normal TVs) and in Dolby Digital surround sound.Viewers get clear contoured shows with vibrant colors and a wider depth-of-field compared to normal systems.HDTV has up to five times the number of pixels on standard PALs used now.
In America and Japan,films and series are aired via HDTV offered by Pay-TV stations.
What kind equipment is needed?
The rule is digital data transfer.You won't be able to capture HDTV signals with the old antenna perched at the top of your roof.At first,HDTV signals were aired through satellite,but now it can also be done thourgh cable.It's yet to be determined whether HDTV can be recieved through a DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting).It might not work as transfer signals of HDTV are fairly complex for DVB-T to handle.
When was HDTV born?
In the early Nineties,HDTV was suggested as TV standard in Europe under the project D2-MAC.However,the proposal failed as data transfer then was still analog.Equipment like recievers and display systems weren't ready as well.The first TV station in Europe to air a HDTV program in full was "HD1"(www.hd-1.tv ) in belguim.The station started on January 1,2004 under the name "Euro 1080" and broadcasted through the Astra satellite.
Can HDTV be recieved only through satellite?
Analog equipment cannot be used.A HDTV display should support the 16:9 format and a resolution up to 1,280 x 720 pixels.To avoid purchasing wrong displays,look for the "HD ready" sticker which guarantees compatibility.Also,a HDTV reciever (approx 400 Euro) is required.If you're not "HDTV ready",you may still watch PAL shows which are broadcasted parallel to HDTV by TV stations.
720p or 1080i,which is better?
On PAL,resolution are at 576 (vertical) x 720 (horizontal) rows.Currently,for HDTV,two general resolutions are used - the 720 x 1,280 and 1,080 x 1,920.There are ongoing debates as to which one is better of the two but no conclusion has been drawn yet.So the probable format is still up to market selection.On PAL,HDTV 1080i is broadcasted in half-pictures whereas 720p is in the full picture format.720p exudes a soothing image,but 1080i has a better and clearer resolution.
When to migrate?
There's no doubt that HDTV would be replacing PAL.It's only a matter of time before that happens.Prices are now still steep with equipment costing up to thousands of dollars just for a standard display and reciever.However,manufacturers are introducing newer models by the month,therefore providing consumers with more competitive prices.If you only watch news or game shows on TV,then migrating to HDTV might not be feasible,but if you're a movie or sports fan,then HDTV is the way to go.
Why haven't many TV stations adopted HDTV?
Not many own a HDTV setup.Besides that,many station are wary due to higher cost involved,especially for producing their own programs in HDTV.Also,production equipment like high-end video cameras etc would be a necessity.Face makeup needs to be near-prefect as every little wrinkle would be visible.It's estimated that each HDTV airing would incur an extra 25 percent cost.However,experts say that most of Europe will be airing their programmes in HDTV format by the year 2008.
Can HDTV films be recorded?
The film industry is trying to equip all HDTV format files with HDCP copy protection.This way,HDTV programmes can only be watched and not recorded.However,this restraint has already been penetrated by a Korean-made minibox called "DVIHDCP".It changes the protected signal into VGA format hence allowing it to be copied.In truth,the minibox was not designed specifically to hijack the copy-protection plan,but was instead used to display HDTV through a beamer/projector.
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