|So you’ve decided to get with the program and buy an HDTV. Once you bring it home and plug it in, you’ll see it all in high definition, right? Not quite.|
More sources of HDTV content are coming out all the time, but to watch HDTV, you’ve got to be sure you’re connected to one of them.
Standard-Definition is Still Standard
When you see standard-definition content playing on your widescreen HDTV, you might notice that it doesn’t look any better than what you were used to with your old set. In fact, it might look worse. Your bigger, sharper HTDV may highlight the flaws of low-quality sources.
|Get the Hook-Up |
Remember, HDTV is a family of digital broadcast formats. To display high-definition content, HDTV sets must have several input connections to handle the multiple devices you will want to connect to them. Not all of the available connector types carry all HDTV signals equally well, or at all.
Bottom line? Make sure your HDTV has at least one HDMI input. HDMI provides a high quality digital connection. Component video (which is analog) is a close second in quality. Avoid using composite video, S-video, as these are not HDTV-level connectors.
Go Get a DVD
To cheer yourself up, go get a DVD. Despite the fact that they are technically in the standard-definition category, DVD video is usually very high quality, so it typically looks good on HDTV. For best results, get an upconverting DVD player that automatically upscales the source content to high-definition. It’s an affordable way to make most DVDs look great.
You’ll Want a Blu-rayTM Disc player
If you really want to get happy, get yourself a Blu-ray Disc player. Blu-ray Disc, also known as BD, is the way to fully enjoy movies in 1080p — the best HDTV resolution on the market. And, one Blu-ray disc can hold approximately more than five times the data of a comparable DVD — giving you more power to store the data-intensive high-definition content you love. Remember – to enjoy true HD on a Blu-ray Disc player you will need to watch content from a Blu-ray DISC.
|Cable & Satellite Equipment |
Cable and satellite are great sources of HDTV. You’ll need to ensure that your subscription includes your favorite HDTV channels. You’ll also need the high-definition version of your provider’s set-top box or other equipment. Pricing varies, so ask your provider for details.
Your provider typically won’t supply the HDMI or component video connector you need. Make sure you’ve got the right connector to get high-definition content from the provider’s box to your screen.
|HDTV Channels & Shows |
There are many more standard-definition channels than there are high-definition channels — for now. With the right box and subscription in place, you’ll see standard definition channels but you’ll have the option to tune to the high-definition version as well.
While some HD channels broadcast everything in high-definition, most are simulcast — the same shows are offered on both the standard- and high-definition versions. Consequently, a lot of the programming on an HDTV channel is still not HDTV.
|HDTV for Free |
There is another HDTV source, and you don’t have to subscribe to get it. If your TV has an ATSC tuner, just add an HD antenna to your set and grab HDTV out of the air for free. Cable and dish content allows you to view HD broadcasts without the use of an antenna but some enthusiasts state that antennas actually provide an even better picture. If you are looking for the ultimate picture, you may want to consider purchasing a cable or dish subscription for your national broadcasts and an antenna for your local broadcasts.
Many non-cable / satellite networks offer major sporting events, prime-time shows and specials in high-definition. Reality shows and local news tend to lag behind, as can many sportscasts. To get the status of your favorites, check local listings and look for the “Available in HD” notations.
|DVR Revolution |
Digital Video Recorders, or DVRs, enable you to record broadcast television so you can watch it later. A DVR may be built into your HDTV, part of your PC, or a set-top box you get from a provider such as your cable or satellite company. However you get it, if you have a broadcast TV addiction, you’re going to want one.
Plenty of people record a show, watch it when they are ready and erase it. But if you’re going to pull down lots of HDTV to enjoy over and over, you’ll want to link a PC to your home theater to store and organize your stuff.
|Got Game? |
When there’s nothing good on TV, you can still put your home theater to good use. Get to a whole new level when you hook your HD-optimized game console up to your HDTV. With high-resolution graphics, a widescreen and surround sound, you’ll be swept into the action like never before.
Most modern game consoles can connect via your home network to your PC allowing you to share photos, music and videos. And, if you have an Xbox360 plus a Media Center PC, you can access live and recorded TV* from the Media Center, remotely select shows to record and take advantage of various Internet services, as well.
Some game consoles can also play DVDs, but don’t skip the DVD player. The relatively loud fan noise from the console may be distracting when you’re just trying to watch a movie.
Get it in HD
Learn about different ways to get HD content on your Home Theater.
|Ready to Shop? |
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