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What's the DEAL with HIGH-DEF?

Though many televisions are packaged as ‘high-def” or HD, the term actually refers to programming your cable service provides.  When a show is broadcast in HD, the pictures crystal clear, in order to watch in high-def, your TV must he compatible and you need to subscribe to your cable or satellites HD service.  Depending on your service provider, the HD channels you can get will vary and not all shows will be available in HD.  According to the FCC, all television programming will be high-def by February 2009, so if you decide not to upgrade now, you’ll have to in the future.

What you need to watch HDTV

When you plug in your new HDTV, everything won’t magically become high-definition.  Here’s what you need to watch HD:

HD gear:  You must lease or buy equipment from your cable, satellite, or Phone Company and sign up for HD service.  (You may be able to get free off-air HD if you’re close to a station and have an antenna and an HD tuner in your TV or a set-top box.)

The right connections:  You must connect your box to the TV with Component video or HDMI cables.  Composite video and S-video cables don’t carry HD.

An HD channel:  You must tune in an HD channel, which has a different number than the standard-definition channel.

A true HD program:  Even HD channels often show standard-definition content.  Dark bars on the sides of an image usually mean you’re watching standard-definition.


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