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HDTV: Where Does It Fit?

HDTV is the newest television display technology. HDTV features a 16:9 widescreen aspect similar to the dimensions of a movie theatre screen and up to four times higher resolution than current TVs. Most of the new HDTV sets can display both interlaced and progressive video. Unfortunately, a lot of uncertainty still exists on HDTV broadcast standardization.

Currently, HDTV is broadcast at 1080i (1080 horizontal lines, interlaced video) but many technology experts are pushing for some kind of progressive-based format such as 720p (720 horizontal lines, progressive video). Current HDTV displays come without a HDTV tuner; you have to buy that separately. (And they wonder why HDTV sales are low.)

Furthermore, very little HDTV content is currently being broadcast and it is hard to say when this will change. The most compelling reason to own a HDTV is to play back widescreen/letterbox DVDs. Playing back your DV camcorder's footage on an HDTV display will offer little benefit over a conventional television. So until HDTV consumer camcorders are rolled out or HDTV broadcasts pick up, an HDTV purchase will be hard for even me to justify.

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