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HDTV Main content (Under Construction)

I finally took the plunge to High Definition Television and I want to share my trials and tribulations.  There is a lot of information on the web covering HDTV but it is hard to put it all together if you are a newbie. I will cover all of the basics and share with you what I have found.

  • Equipment
    • HD Televisions - When you go out to buy a new television you will find out there is a lot of confusion around the term High Definition capable.  There are a lot of options on the market (CRT, Plasma, LCD, DLP, Rear Projection).  For a detailed primer take a look at this page. Another thing to consider is whether the set has a built in tuner.  Most sets on the market today don't.  That is not a big deal since the technology is changing you are better off with a set top box and we will discuss this next.  I ended up with a Panasonic 50" LCD and have been really happy with it.  I can connect my computer to it as well through a VGA connection and High Def programming looks awesome on it.
    • HD Recievers - After buying a TV you need to decided on how you will recieve HD programming.  If you go with cable your cable provided may provide the reciever otherwise you will have to purchase it yourself. I chose to go with DirectTV, so I purchased an integrated DirectTV and over-the-air HD reciever. I decided on the Zenith HD-SAT520 reciever.  I like it because it tunes DirectTV, over-the-air and cable all in one box.  It even provides an onscreen guide for local channels.  I am still working on getting local channels in HD.  More about that later.  For connectivity from my reciever to TV I used a DVI cable.  There are several option for connectiviy and you want to understand them before you buy your TV or reciever. Check this link out for more info.
    • Accessories (VCR's, Tivo) - There are only a few HD VCR's on the market  . I am psyched for the upcoming Tivo players that support High Def. I have not seen one although I was pointed to a forum posting by a friend.  Contrary to popular belief DVD's do not even approach the quality of HD feeds so DVD's are next in line for HD.  There is one player I saw that converts existing DVD's into 720p or 1080i feeds. I have not seen it in action though.
  • HD Programming Options
    • Cable
    • Satellite
    • Over-the-Air

(work in progress)

Viewing by Category: HDTV / Main
January 23, 2004

This is what I have been looking for since I bought my LCD TV and High Definition reciever.  It will probably cost an arm and a leg but should come down in price in a year or so.

"The highly anticipated new DIRECTV HD DVR, a high definition digital video recorder, was among the products TiVo showcased at CES. The DIRECTV HD DVR, licensed and designed by TiVo, features four tuners and can automatically identify whether an incoming signal is satellite or off-air and then engage the proper tuner for recording. The new DIRECTV HD DVR will be available in the first quarter of 2004. The popular DIRECTV DVR with TiVo will continue to be a best seller for the leading satellite television service provider. Hughes, Philips, RCA and Samsung will all offer the integrated DIRECTV tuner with TiVo at retail outlets nationally in 2004." 

"The DIRECTV HD DVR will incorporate a 250 GB hard disk drive, which allows customers to store up to 30 hours of DIRECTV high-definition programming, up to 200 hours of standard-definition programming or any combination of the two*. The DIRECTV HD DVR enables customers to record high-definition programming from both DIRECTV and off-air ATSC. A customer can simultaneously record two different programs from DIRECTV, ATSC or one from each, while watching a pre-recorded program all at the same time. This means a customer can watch one high-definition program while recording two other high-definition programs."

The full article can be found here, and the Direct TV Article here.  A forum discussion can be found here.

January 7, 2004

I have always found search engines interesting and based on some of the statistics I collect from referring pages I wrote some code that displays the latest referrals from the google search engine. I also like to see where my pages rank and what topics are most viewed on my site. I collect the data by using the cgi.HTTP_REFERER variable and storing it in a db. I parse out the google querystring using a UDF called GetGoogleKeywords from http://www.cflib.org.

You can view the realtime google keyword searches on this page.

October 17, 2003

The fact is, DirectTV will not be carrying local channels in HD for quite some time, so you will have to settle for Monday Night Football or the other prime time channels in Standard Definition.  Unless........you have local stations in your area that are broadcasting in high def. To find out plug you address into Antennaweb.org the stations with the * next to them are digital stations and they may broadcast in high definition.  Check their website or give them a call for details.  Antennaweb will also provide you with details of what antenna you will need based on your location and signal strength.  If you live in a major city you may be able to get away with a Multi-directional antenna  but most of you, including me will need a directional antenna.  Here is my current plan

Phase I: Includes antenna, basic mounting and cabling
$63 - Antenna - 4228A Channel Master 8-Bay UHF Antenna
$30 - Cable RG 6 50ft
$20 - Chimney Mount
$15 - 10ft Antenna mast
$5   - 40ft Grounding Wire
$5   - Grounding Block

Total: $140

Phase II: Includes an amplifier and rotor to get stations from other broadcast locations.
$66 - 7777 Channel Master Pre-Amp from Warren Electronics
$80 - 9521A Channel Master Remote-Control Rotator
$9   - 75ft Rotator Cable

Total: $155
Grand Total $295

If you want to look at other recommended antennas, check out the information on hdtvprimer.com.  They offer excellent untainted advice.

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