Is HIGH DEFINITION TELEVISION (HDTV) still scheduled to be made available in the next 2 or 3 years? I read about 2 years ago that it was coming and that regular TV was to be phased out and that these systems are not compatible. Is : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

this true? If so existing tv sets will be useless. Does it make sense to buy a new TV this year before problems with embedded etc. make it difficult or impossible to manufacture new sets?

-- Steve (curious@bb.bbb), April 18, 1999


Steve, I've heard something along those lines and am curious too. Don't watch TV except for earthquake news, or some Y2K coverage posted in time on this Forum. Had to buy a new TV in January (4-yr-old one did not survive 99 rollover); found a sale deal with VCR player in bottom, wonder if it will last past 1/1/2000. Seems amazing that making all current TVs obsolete would be allowed ... who knows?

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx

-- Leska (, April 18, 1999.

I don't know exactly where the HDTV mess is today. I know there have been several major issues here:

1) Analog/digital. Europeans and Japanese appear to be going with an analog signal, and the US with a digital signal. Certainly these signals are not compatible.

2) Interlaced/noninterlaced. TV makers want an interlaced signal because it's cheaper. PC makers want a noninterlaced signal to be compatible with computer monitors. The regulators left this one up for grabs.

3) Backward compatibility. The US regulators have said that HDTV sets must be capable of receiving and displaying the current NTSC signal. This means two entire receivers inside the TV, which adds a *lot* to the cost.

4) Spectrum usage. HDTV requires more spectrum. Last I heard, the spectrum space was auctioned off, and that those who bought it had no intention of using it for high definition, instead planning to broadcast the same crummy picture and sell the rest of the spectrum for other purposes (cell phones, maybe? I can't remember)

5) Switchover schedule. I'm sure there are some proposals for how much HDTV signal must be broadcast, and over what period of time HDTV will be phased in and NTSC will be phased out. I have no idea where this stands right now. To the best of my knowledge, no HDTV signals are yet being broadcast. I think you can purchase one or two (very expensive) TV sets capable of receiving one or more of the many HDTV signal protocols under consideration, but you run the risk that the signal your HDTV set can receive might never actually be sent.

What role y2k might play in this evolving engineering/manufacturing/political dustup is just another unknown.

-- Flint (, April 18, 1999.

After 2000, the only thing to be concerned about is high definition candles and flashlights.

-- churchorganist (, April 18, 1999.

The big market is going to be for adapters to allow older model TV sets and VCRs to be used when only HDTV signals are being broadcast. If we have a mild enough Y2K, one that only causes major economic disruptions and not a collapse of civilization, most people will want to find the cheapest way to keep using their old sets and VCRs and to avoid the expense of buying a load of new HDTV models. After all, how many of us darn near have a TV in every room of the house now? And could we afford to replace them all with new, HDTV sets and HDTV VCRs if the economy was good?

Of course if we get a severe Y2K, TV and HDTV will be "things that used to be" when old-timers get together and reminesce.


-- Wildweasel (, April 18, 1999.

All broadcast protocols are digital for HDTV. Prototype broadcast equipment was shipped to some U.S. broadcasters and production companies last year for operational feedback and testing.

Signal reception will require a TV-top box for use with current TV sets, however you won't notice much difference in picture because an HDTV picture uses double the resolution of the current standard of 550 lines. So, your current set will not be useless. The picture quality with an HDTV TV is equivalent to toggling between 640 x 480 resolution on your monitor and 1280 x 1024. Buying new products is good for the economy...don't fight it! If no one buys, no one makes, ships, distributes, sells or services anything.

HDTV is a "chicken or egg" business. Broadcasters have to broadcast HDTV content before consumers will buy the receiver. Unfortunately, many U.S. broadcasters are reluctant to be good community members by reinvesting even a small percent of profits into equipment upgrades. In addition, cable and satellite TV operators are lobbying to delay HDTV in America.

AnalogBroadcast television in Japan 7 years ago, was and continues to be susbstantially better quality than current cable TV quality in the U.S. because of investment in improved equipment. The U.S. consumer is simply unaware that better quality exists. U.S. broadcasters and cable companies are very happy that most Americans believe the myth that the U.S. is at the forefront of < i>all technology. The same is true for cellular technology...but someone will definitely respond that what I've said can't possibly be right - the U.S. is the center of the universe.

-- PNG (, April 18, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ