Tuesday, March 07, 2006

HDTV Q&A

Q: Isn't it a law that all the broadcasters will need to brodcast in high definition soon?
A: NO! In 2009 all broadcasters will be required to broadcast a digital signal. High definition is only one type of digital signal.

Q: So my TV will quit working right?
A: NO! The TV's "tuner" will stop working, and you will need to use cable television service, satelite television service, or buy a digital tuner to get TV reception.

Q: The government statements are contradictory and confusing. Why are we really making this switch?
A: Three reasons...
#1. HDTV or Multicasting. TV reception is limited to 6MHz of bandwith that was designed around the needs of our current "analog" signal. A "digital" signal can be compressed to one quarter that bandwith without any data loss. All that extra bandwith now available can be used to make a larger image with up to 600% more detail (that's HDTV) or it can be used to add extra features like web-browsing or additional streams within a signal of the same quality as we are currently used to (that's Multicasting.) A good example of Multicasting would be a news channel setting up 4 studios with 4 newscrews in 4 different languages all on one channel. Just tune in and pick the language you want. And there would still be room to let you surf the news channel's web page while the news ran in the corner of the screen.
#2. Money. All of that signal space that was delivering your TV signal through the air will be auctioned off by governments around the world. The united states government alone could make hundreds of billions of dollars.
#3. DRM. That is "digital rights management." That's the method used to prevent you from copying movies or music from one media to another (copying a music CD for example.) In televisions current analog state the courts have ruled copying television is legal as long as no money changes hands, but digital media (like digital television) is not legaly copyable under the law. And the content WILL eventually be protected, count on it.

Q: Will the cable and satelite services have to change to digital content?
A: No they don't have to, but as digital content becomes cheaper than analog content economics will force the change. (satelite content from dish rental services claims to be 100% digital already, and cable providers are at about 25% on average.)

Q: Is this post done?
A: Yes.