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Getting HDTV content


In order to get HDTV content, you will need a source that produces HDTV signal.
here are the different ways that you can get HDTV content:

  • Via HDTV antenna. (a.k.a. terrestrial HDTV)
  • Via a local cable TV provider or fiber optic provider
  • Via satellite TV like dish network or Direct TV (DirectTV)
  • DVD upconversion
  • Via high definition disc player

    HDTV ANTENNA (terrestrial HDTV):

    Buying an antenna is the most economical way to receive HDTV signal. Many local TV networks broadcast a high definition signal along with multiple SDTV feeds (an example would be that ABC Philadelphia broadcasts in HD and they also have a 24 hour weather broadcast and a secondary broadcast providing alternate programming known as ABC Plus). These HDTV and secondary broadcasts are of no charge to viewers. The only cost would be to buy a HDTV antenna from a local retail outlet or from one of out partners. Pros:
  • Free HDTV
  • Extra DTV content
  • Cost can be minimal in urban/suburban environments
    Cons:
  • No cable networks ota (ex. discovery, universal hd)
  • Can be difficult to receive signal in rural or hilly areas.
  • not as many channels as satellite TV

    Cable/Fiber Provider:

    Digital cable and fiber optic TV are two popular HDTV delivery methods. They are both similar, the only difference being that cable is provided by your local cable company (Comcast, Time Warner) and fiber is provided by your phone company(Verizon, AT&T). Cable/Fiber providers offer HDTV over their digital service, usually for a nominal fee over their standard service. They usually provide all the local HDTV content and secondary channels along with a handful of HDTV cable networks like Universal HD and HDnet and HBO.


    Pros:
  • No signal drop in areas where antenna signal is bad
  • More channels than HDTV antennas
  • Equipment is usually leased so you don't have to buy expensive equipment
  • Some companies offer on demand HDTV movies and programs, some pay per view, some free of charge
    Cons:
  • Cable/fiber can be pricey because cable has to be run and local area operating costs can be high
  • Requires professional installation if you are not already signed up with cable/fiber
  • Free on demand content is usually reruns or movies that are overplayed on TV anyway.

    Satellite Provider:

    Using a satellite dish is a great way to receive HDTV content at a cheaper cost than cable in many areas. HD dish providers like Dish Network and Direct TV (direcTV) usually offer local programming packages that include some HDTV channels with them. Satellites can have some interference issues during heavy storms or if someone moves your dish on you.


    Pros:
  • Satellite TV is usually cheaper than cable/fiber and offers more content than Cable/Fiber.
  • Offers some HDTV local channels for people that live in areas of bad HDTV antenna reception
  • Satellite TV companies offer unique channels that can not be found anywhere else.
  • Offers the same HDTV cable networks as cable
    Cons:
  • Usually requires installation of a dish outside and wiring inside (if your house isn't already set up for cable/satellite)
  • Signal can fade during extreme weather
  • Does not carry ALL HDTV local networks in many areas (can be used in combination of an HDTV antenna to correct this)

    DVD up conversion:

    DVD up conversion is a popular way to make use of your DVD collection, smoothing out the images from a lower resolution DVD. dvd up converters usually start at around 70 dollars and its a cheap way to watch movies in near-HD quality.


    pros:
  • An inexpensive way to watch quality content on your HDTV
  • Virtually unlimited movie content (DVD has been a standard for over 10 years)
  • Makes your DVDs look better
    Cons
  • Is not true HD content
  • Up conversion is not perfect and can still look blocky
  • Sound is limited to 5.1 Dolby digital

    High Definition Disc formats:

    The Best Picture You can possibly receive today would be from a high definition disc player. There are two competing formats in the high def disc market known as HD DVD and Blu-ray disc. Both formats offer true 1080p picture and support up to 7.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless audio. Players start at about 300 dollars for HD-DVD players and 500 Dollars for Blu-ray disc players. The competing formats are currently in a format war. Check our HD-DVD/Blue-ray disc page for more information.


    Pros:
  • The best picture and sound found anywhere
  • New features not available on standard DVD
  • True 1080p video content
  • Can utilize up to 7.1 channels of true lossless sound
  • Format war is driving prices down constantly
    Cons:
  • Expensive investment
  • HD DVDs and Blu-rays cost 5-15 dollars more per disc than DVDs
  • Studio exclusive support means that if you have an HD DVD player, you can't get HD Sony or Disney movies or if you have a Blu-ray disc player, you can not get universal studios' movies and many independent studios' movies in HD
  • Blu-ray disc currently are not upgradeable and can not access future interactive features.
  • Hi-def players usually take longer to boot than most standard DVD players.

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