Digital TV & You – Myths Busted – Secrets Revealed

Over the past few months I have read scores of e-mails from Contracting Officers and homeowners asking about Digital TV or HDTV. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the coming move to Digital TV. For the few people who still rely on antennas, a simple converter box will do the job. Uncle Sam will even throw in $40 to boot. Everything you need to know about the Digital TV Transition is at the official government Website. For most TV viewers, their cable, satellite and phone companies will handle everything. But your service provider can only deliver the Digital TV signal. Getting the most out of it will very much be up to you. Do your homework and look for value and features in TVs that work for you.

Myth Number One
Digital TV does not mean High Definition TV – When the broadcasters start delivering digital TV in February that does not mean they will deliver only High Definition TV. Movies, news and major network series will be in HD, but most shows will still remain in the format they were created in. Interestingly, most great series were shot on film and will look great in HDTV. If you decide to own a regular tube set, everything will be viewable. Your older TVs will look exactly the same.

Myth Number Two
“The better the HDTV, the better the picture” is not exactly true. Even a low-priced flat panel TV can play HDTV because the picture is created in the set-top box. There is a tuner and video card in the system, and the HD signal is processed and sent to the TV via component or HDMI cable. Be aware that in most locales you must use a set top box. The tuner in the TV does nothing in this mode. Therefore the tuner you buy is a moot point. The set-top box from your satellite or cable provider should be set up to maximize whatever TV you own.

Marty’s Tips
Make sure any HDTV you buy has an HDMI input so it will be usable with future DVD players and games. Also look for at least one PC (VGA-DVI) input, so you can use your PC or Laptop.

Don’t load up on overpriced accessories and service contracts. Some outlets are geared to make more profit in extras than TVs. If you feel better with a service contract, than make sure it covers complete services or full replacement for the life of the contract. Some brands have two year warranties standard.

Don’t be afraid to ask the satellite or cable technician to program your HDTV before they leave. Test it out while they are there. Go to the channels you use most. Ask them where your favorite channels are. They may have a different number and you will go nuts looking for them. Write down the number of the channel guide!!!

Most HDTVs come with a stand and will fit on furniture. If you want a wall mount, don’t get a tilt-mount unless it will be mounted over 6 feet. A nice touch is hiding the cables by using a 1.5 inch hole saw on a drill. Make sure you know what’s behind the wall first. Make one hole behind the TV and one close to the floor and outlets. If you are not handy, call a pro. It’s worth it.

As long as you’re making an investment in an HDTV, get the most out of it! Don’t forget it can be easily connected to your PC. By adding a longer DVI or VGA cable, the whole family can enjoy watching videos, looking up songs, even doing homework or business on the big screen.

Plasma vs. LCD TVs – Both look great. There are good buys on plasmas because factories are phasing them out. With the cost of LCDs going so low, unless you can get a super price on the plasma, LCD remains the better value. Movie lovers and occasional TV viewers can never go wrong with plasma.

By the way, as of today, the absolute highest quality picture you can get is a Blue Ray DVD. No broadcast signal can match the pure 1080p image. Most broadcasts are in 720i or 1080i. I will write more about this in the future.

Please don’t hesitate to contact MediaNow with any questions. We are a GSA Scheduled SDVO SB who can help you choose the right TV or a hundred TVs, with custom installation. You have a friend in the TV business.