June 13, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

HDTV--the clincher in war between cable and phone?

High-definition television could tip the balance between phone companies and cable operators as they compete for TV dollars.

After years of hype, HDTV, with its enhanced picture quality and superior sound, is finally becoming a reality. Consumers are starting to buy new HDTV sets in droves. Providing those people with more than one channel of HDTV programming could become a key selling point for the phone and cable providers battling to sign up TV subscribers.

"There's been a lot of talk about integrating all kinds of interactive features into TV," said Rick Thompson, a senior analyst at Heavy Reading, an industry analyst group based in New York City. "But in the short term, the biggest differentiator will be who has the best content package, and part of that will be how much HDTV you have."

Phone and cable companies realize the importance of HDTV. But some providers may be in a better position than others to handle the increased demand for HDTV channels, which will eat up loads of bandwidth.

The cable industry leads the U.S. market in HDTV subscribers, with about 5.5 million of the 7 million households signed up at the end of 2005, according to Leichtman Research Group. Patrick Esser, president of Cox Communications, said the cable company has seen HDTV demand build in the last six months, with 20,000 to 30,000 new customers every month.

Experts say that making sure networks keep up with HDTV demand is important, because it may help sway some consumers' buying decisions in the future.

"People today aren't choosing their TV service provider because of their HDTV offering," said Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst at Leichtman Research Group. "But they probably wouldn't go with a new provider who doesn't at least match or offer more than what they are already getting."

HDTV in the American home
A big reason for the increased demand is that there are more HDTV-capable sets out there. About 16.2 million U.S. homes had at least one at the beginning of 2006, and that tally has likely grown to about 19 million since then, according to Leichtman Research Group.

That rise in popularity is being driven by more affordable models. At Christmastime last year, the average price of an HDTV was $1,600, but people were able to get them for as little as $500. As prices continue to drop and people replace old TVs with newer ones, the number of homes with at least one HDTV set is expected to jump to 65 million by 2010.

In addition, a significant percentage of HDTV households have more than one set. Leichtman said 11 percent of people surveyed at the end of 2005 said they had more than one, and 18 percent said they were planning to buy another within the year.

For phone companies and cable operators, these are signs that subscribers will want to view more than one HDTV channel at once, which could put a strain on some networks.

"People with HDTVs will buy more than one over time," Leichtman said. "So if you are offering an HDTV service at all, you've got to be able to serve multiple TVs."

Poised to provide
Right now, in terms of network architecture, Verizon Communications is best equipped to deliver multiple HDTV streams. The phone company is building a network that extends fiber directly into homes, giving people almost limitless bandwidth capacity. Adding more HDTV streams over this infrastructure shouldn't be an issue.

But Verizon's fiber network is expensive to build and will end up costing the company as much as $20 billion, some analysts have estimated. In addition, it won't be able to reach every home within its range anytime soon. It has said it plans to reach 60 percent, or 18 million customers, within the next five years. Last year, it installed fiber in 3 million homes and expects to reach another 3 million by the end of 2006.

CONTINUED: What AT&T is up to…
Page 1 | 2

See more CNET content tagged:
HDTV, cable company, subscriber, fiber, TV

82 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
HDTV Hype?
I'd like to see a breakdown in screen sizes for those estimated 19 million homes with HDTV ready sets. What most people don't realize is that there is virtually no difference in the picture between HDTV and regular cable digital until you get to about a 40" screen size and above. At least there is no diff that I can see. I spent the better part of a day trying to discern a difference on a 32" Sony Tube HDTV. I couldn't really tell.

I think a lot of those HDTV sales are of the smaller sets that you can now buy for well under $1,000. I just don't see $1500+ TV's being bought in "droves".
Posted by JohnnyL (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Large screens are available under $1000
Amost a year and a half ago, I purchased a 46-inch Toshiba wide-screen HD monitor (with SD tuner) for $999. And that was from a high-end local A/V dealer, not a discount store.

Time-Warner Cable here has about a dozen HD channels. Occasionally, I'll notice compression artifacts (typically with very "busy" images, like a full-screen view of a babbling brook), but the average viewer probably wouldn't notice.
Posted by alleyg (16 comments )
Link Flag
You are mistaken
I have a Sanyo 30" HDTV (CRT Tube) - weighs a ton - 130 lbs. But the picture is great. I watch over-the-air (OTA) HD and SD broadcasts. As a matter of principle, I don't tune to analog channels. I can easily tell the difference between HD shows filmed in native HD and other upconverted shows. The local TV stations upconvert all material to 1080i or 720p. CSI, 24, House, and various PBS shows look awesome in HD even on a 30" CRT that is 16x9 and can do 720p and 1080i. I think people either don't have good eyes or watching non-HD shows and thinking they are not any different from HD shows.
Posted by bommai (172 comments )
Link Flag
I can tell...
Just this past weekend I was demonstrating the difference in quality from watching NASCAR on Fox in both normal and HD via my Cable TV service and a 32 inch CRT HDTV. The difference was immediate and unmistakable.

The problem a lot of shows have is that they are not broadcasting in much higher quality just using HDTV signals. This is true of HD channels that are showing older TV programming and movies.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
HDTV Hype?
I'd like to see a breakdown in screen sizes for those estimated 19 million homes with HDTV ready sets. What most people don't realize is that there is virtually no difference in the picture between HDTV and regular cable digital until you get to about a 40" screen size and above. At least there is no diff that I can see. I spent the better part of a day trying to discern a difference on a 32" Sony Tube HDTV. I couldn't really tell.

I think a lot of those HDTV sales are of the smaller sets that you can now buy for well under $1,000. I just don't see $1500+ TV's being bought in "droves".
Posted by JohnnyL (89 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Large screens are available under $1000
Amost a year and a half ago, I purchased a 46-inch Toshiba wide-screen HD monitor (with SD tuner) for $999. And that was from a high-end local A/V dealer, not a discount store.

Time-Warner Cable here has about a dozen HD channels. Occasionally, I'll notice compression artifacts (typically with very "busy" images, like a full-screen view of a babbling brook), but the average viewer probably wouldn't notice.
Posted by alleyg (16 comments )
Link Flag
You are mistaken
I have a Sanyo 30" HDTV (CRT Tube) - weighs a ton - 130 lbs. But the picture is great. I watch over-the-air (OTA) HD and SD broadcasts. As a matter of principle, I don't tune to analog channels. I can easily tell the difference between HD shows filmed in native HD and other upconverted shows. The local TV stations upconvert all material to 1080i or 720p. CSI, 24, House, and various PBS shows look awesome in HD even on a 30" CRT that is 16x9 and can do 720p and 1080i. I think people either don't have good eyes or watching non-HD shows and thinking they are not any different from HD shows.
Posted by bommai (172 comments )
Link Flag
I can tell...
Just this past weekend I was demonstrating the difference in quality from watching NASCAR on Fox in both normal and HD via my Cable TV service and a 32 inch CRT HDTV. The difference was immediate and unmistakable.

The problem a lot of shows have is that they are not broadcasting in much higher quality just using HDTV signals. This is true of HD channels that are showing older TV programming and movies.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
But a big roadblock is cheapskate compression
I doubt HDTV is gonna be implemented for any customers competitively by ANY HDTV provider, cable or telephone, any time soon. That's because selling the service right now tends to come before offering a great service, at least in my Canadian experience.

The reason is that, especially on Canada, service providers have been concentrating on upping the total number of both regular digital as well as HDTV channels as a draw to compete for subscribers.

To do that, the typical means is not to increase bandwidth so much as to compress signals more so that they fit in the narrow pipe. In Canada on digital pay movie channels the dark areas of a picture are now often black--rendered so by the effect of the channel stuffing extra compression.

This kind of sub-standard digital product isn't gonna do anything for the popularity of digital TV or HDTV (which is digital by default).

TIP: If thinking about moving to a digital cable box or an HDTV box, check out the service on a set within your immediate neighborhood. You may find that the service you'll pay a mint for leaves you looking as shows that appear as though their sets were lit with flashlights.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree with you (Mostly)
However, HDTV is not "digital by definition" you can receive analog HDTV transmissions over air and on many cable networks. HDTV represents the higher definition of the transmission not the distribution method. But as I said I agree with the rest or your comment.
Posted by Chevaliermusic (72 comments )
Link Flag
The elephant in the room...
This is exactly what I've been thinking for some time now, about digital cable -- they tout it as being sharper, clearer, superior in every way to an analog signal, but the actual digital signal they send you is so compressed that it often looks significantly worse than an analog signal. HDTV merely ups the ante, because it makes compression artifacts and clipped color ranges even more obvious. Add in the additional compression of a DVR, and you've got an expensive digital version of an old VHS tape.

The cable (and phone) companies are interested in making more money, not providing you with a higher quality product, and it's the ability to fit more and more paid content and services over the same line that has gotten them on the digital bandwagon. The sad thing is that their greed is going to convince the average person that digital technology is still very primitive, when in fact it has the capacity to deliver amazing quality if it's allowed to.
Posted by Ikthog (43 comments )
Link Flag
But a big roadblock is cheapskate compression
I doubt HDTV is gonna be implemented for any customers competitively by ANY HDTV provider, cable or telephone, any time soon. That's because selling the service right now tends to come before offering a great service, at least in my Canadian experience.

The reason is that, especially on Canada, service providers have been concentrating on upping the total number of both regular digital as well as HDTV channels as a draw to compete for subscribers.

To do that, the typical means is not to increase bandwidth so much as to compress signals more so that they fit in the narrow pipe. In Canada on digital pay movie channels the dark areas of a picture are now often black--rendered so by the effect of the channel stuffing extra compression.

This kind of sub-standard digital product isn't gonna do anything for the popularity of digital TV or HDTV (which is digital by default).

TIP: If thinking about moving to a digital cable box or an HDTV box, check out the service on a set within your immediate neighborhood. You may find that the service you'll pay a mint for leaves you looking as shows that appear as though their sets were lit with flashlights.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree with you (Mostly)
However, HDTV is not "digital by definition" you can receive analog HDTV transmissions over air and on many cable networks. HDTV represents the higher definition of the transmission not the distribution method. But as I said I agree with the rest or your comment.
Posted by Chevaliermusic (72 comments )
Link Flag
The elephant in the room...
This is exactly what I've been thinking for some time now, about digital cable -- they tout it as being sharper, clearer, superior in every way to an analog signal, but the actual digital signal they send you is so compressed that it often looks significantly worse than an analog signal. HDTV merely ups the ante, because it makes compression artifacts and clipped color ranges even more obvious. Add in the additional compression of a DVR, and you've got an expensive digital version of an old VHS tape.

The cable (and phone) companies are interested in making more money, not providing you with a higher quality product, and it's the ability to fit more and more paid content and services over the same line that has gotten them on the digital bandwagon. The sad thing is that their greed is going to convince the average person that digital technology is still very primitive, when in fact it has the capacity to deliver amazing quality if it's allowed to.
Posted by Ikthog (43 comments )
Link Flag
Wrong
You don't know what you're talking about. So many people think
because they have an HDTV they're getting it. You have to
subscribe. If you did, you would see that even on smaller
screens, there's a VAST difference between even HDTV that's
720i let alone 1080i or 1080p. You must be one of those who
thinks he has it but doesn't.

My HDTV, a Sony rated the best HD picture around two years
ago, is only 34" and in my small apartment, that's just fine for
size. And the difference between HD programming and the rest
has made me almost quit watching regular TV.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Wrong
HALF WRONG, you don't have to subscribe to anything for your local broadcast stations. You can go buy you a little antennae and pick up stations up to 150 miles, depending on the area you live in.

If you want stuff like Discovery HD then yes you have to subscribe to an HD package, but if you just want to watch LOST in HD, no subscription necessary.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
You'd Find A Lot of Armchair Generals Here.
Don't waste your breath. CNet appears to attract a lot of nobodies who can't afford anything but posts like they're experts at the things. And since they can't afford it, they'll post anything possible to detract it so as to assuage their battered self esteem.

They have no clue about the differences between Digital (EDTV) and HDTV. By their posts, they'd obviously never seen an HDTV broadcast. But don't sweat it. Just be smug in the FACT that in a country with free education, you can accomplish enough to afford HDTV. While these dingdongs can't do anything but whine about life and illiterate migrants "stealing" their jobs.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
Wrong
You don't know what you're talking about. So many people think
because they have an HDTV they're getting it. You have to
subscribe. If you did, you would see that even on smaller
screens, there's a VAST difference between even HDTV that's
720i let alone 1080i or 1080p. You must be one of those who
thinks he has it but doesn't.

My HDTV, a Sony rated the best HD picture around two years
ago, is only 34" and in my small apartment, that's just fine for
size. And the difference between HD programming and the rest
has made me almost quit watching regular TV.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Wrong
HALF WRONG, you don't have to subscribe to anything for your local broadcast stations. You can go buy you a little antennae and pick up stations up to 150 miles, depending on the area you live in.

If you want stuff like Discovery HD then yes you have to subscribe to an HD package, but if you just want to watch LOST in HD, no subscription necessary.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
You'd Find A Lot of Armchair Generals Here.
Don't waste your breath. CNet appears to attract a lot of nobodies who can't afford anything but posts like they're experts at the things. And since they can't afford it, they'll post anything possible to detract it so as to assuage their battered self esteem.

They have no clue about the differences between Digital (EDTV) and HDTV. By their posts, they'd obviously never seen an HDTV broadcast. But don't sweat it. Just be smug in the FACT that in a country with free education, you can accomplish enough to afford HDTV. While these dingdongs can't do anything but whine about life and illiterate migrants "stealing" their jobs.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
The best horse in the race
It is a given that Fiber Optic Cable is the highest capacity transmission process available, for now and the forseeable future. If you were betting on a horse race, wouldn't you pick the horse with the "biggest capacity, the fastest in the race?"
I would, and that "horse" is Fiber.
I declare Verizon the winner, IF they invest in the infrastructure, AND if they get past the "last mile" into the home.
Fiber has to actually be part of the interface between the TV, computer, whatever to allow for the future bandwidth needs.
Oh, and just how much difference is there between HDTV and your current monitor?
Hint: Not much, if any.
What's that mean?
All the new HDTV sets are actually monitors in disguise.
How's that for a convergence possibility?
"Children, can we say Verizon and Conversion in the same sentence?"
Diogenes
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Damn you Sprint, er Emarq!!!
If only I lived in an area where Fios was available... but sadly Sprint was my local service provider until last week with the company name change. These guys have no interest in anything more hightech than 3mbs DSL. It's sad how some companies are kicking ass like Verizon with Fios, and others just sit back and enjoy the beating.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Verizon FIOS in the Midwest?
The big question is, though, will Verizon deploy FIOS in the
midwest where AT&T (was SBC) is the main player?
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Link Flag
The best horse in the race
It is a given that Fiber Optic Cable is the highest capacity transmission process available, for now and the forseeable future. If you were betting on a horse race, wouldn't you pick the horse with the "biggest capacity, the fastest in the race?"
I would, and that "horse" is Fiber.
I declare Verizon the winner, IF they invest in the infrastructure, AND if they get past the "last mile" into the home.
Fiber has to actually be part of the interface between the TV, computer, whatever to allow for the future bandwidth needs.
Oh, and just how much difference is there between HDTV and your current monitor?
Hint: Not much, if any.
What's that mean?
All the new HDTV sets are actually monitors in disguise.
How's that for a convergence possibility?
"Children, can we say Verizon and Conversion in the same sentence?"
Diogenes
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Damn you Sprint, er Emarq!!!
If only I lived in an area where Fios was available... but sadly Sprint was my local service provider until last week with the company name change. These guys have no interest in anything more hightech than 3mbs DSL. It's sad how some companies are kicking ass like Verizon with Fios, and others just sit back and enjoy the beating.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Verizon FIOS in the Midwest?
The big question is, though, will Verizon deploy FIOS in the
midwest where AT&T (was SBC) is the main player?
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Link Flag
What about Satellite
It seems to me that satellite is in a better position to offer HD programming than either cable or phone companies since their arcitechure was designed with digital programming in mind fro the start.
Dish Network currently offers 29 HD channels
My Local cable company only offers 13.
Posted by wperry1 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ugly dish
too bad if you have satellite you have to deal with that ugly little gray dish either attached to your house or somewhere in the yard...ever been to an apartment complex that allows them? hella trashy looking!
Posted by Kindred_ (10 comments )
Link Flag
What about Satellite
It seems to me that satellite is in a better position to offer HD programming than either cable or phone companies since their arcitechure was designed with digital programming in mind fro the start.
Dish Network currently offers 29 HD channels
My Local cable company only offers 13.
Posted by wperry1 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ugly dish
too bad if you have satellite you have to deal with that ugly little gray dish either attached to your house or somewhere in the yard...ever been to an apartment complex that allows them? hella trashy looking!
Posted by Kindred_ (10 comments )
Link Flag
Echostar
has the most HD channels over cable. But you have pay $10 extra, which is bull! I don't have HD yet. Maybe in 5 years.......
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Echostar
has the most HD channels over cable. But you have pay $10 extra, which is bull! I don't have HD yet. Maybe in 5 years.......
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HDTV is digital in U.S. and Canada
HDTV is a digital phenomenon in Canada and the U.S. Wikepedia explains it all in detail, see: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDTV" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDTV</a>
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HDTV is digital in U.S. and Canada
HDTV is a digital phenomenon in Canada and the U.S. Wikepedia explains it all in detail, see: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDTV" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDTV</a>
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HDTV/Digital TV has hidden limits
A posters wisely noted the fact that HDTV makes no PERCEPTIVE difference in TV sets sizes up to about 40" (HDTV measure), which is around the 33" dimension of analog screens.

This is in part because witg HDTV it is the DIGITAL encoding of any broadcast signal--DTV or HDTV--that makes it sharp, not the resolution, until you hit 40" HDTV or over. A related factor is that most analog sets today also INTERPOLATE existing scanlines and create a greater apparent sharpness, such that when a digital cable signal is pumped to the set's analog jacks, it may be indestinguishable from HDTV at 40" or smaller sizes (HDTV measure).

But there are other limitations most HDTV sellers don't mention at all. When analog TV programs were packaged over the years, they would be produced to meet certain minimum resolution and image quality standards. A news story shot on an analog Betacam, for example, or a show that was videotaped to start with, would go through edits of tape to tape that would downgrade the resolution. Certain rules were normally followed as to how many times a tape to tape edit could be done and still be broadcast quality. But it was not uncomon to edit to the margin of permitted quality.

The end result of this process is that many analog recorded TV shows were not representative of a highly-detailed first generation analog tape to begin with. When such programming is broadcast as a digital or HDTV signal, there is no real benefit in seeing it as a an HDTV image, as it was not at such resolution to begin with. You can't get more out of an HDTV picture on the receiver side that was input by the broadcaster. In effect all the HDTV does for such shows is help reduce signal quality loss when received, as does the digital TV feed. But there is stil a loss because of teh aggressive compression that can be applied in the cable pipleine, as well as the compression that occurs when the digiral recording itself is made of the analog source.

When we consider that some 40 years of TV production is ensconced in such tapes and in tapes made from awful 16mm film-to-tape transfers, the real benefits of HDTV are not all the great, UNLESS you watch only new content.

HDTV has a huge drawback in displaying analog-format shows, since the only way old but still excellent analog shows will appear undistorted on an HDTV feed or DTV feed will be by showing it in a box in the middle of the HDTV screen. LCD and other non-cathode ray sets are going to be prone to uneven pixel burn in this respect.

TIP: Wait at least for the new thin CRT sets that are coming to market; they will offer HDTV at a much lower cost, with much longer durability ans a more vieweable picture.

For all these reasons HDTV in itself will not play a role in shaping service provider battles. Rather the QUALITY of the deilvered DTV or HDTV signal will be what wins the war. He who compresses least will win this war.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You write alot. Amazing how with this deluge, there's still nothing.
I'm sure you can quote the various reveiw articles and "experts". I'm sure you can rattle off a lot of hoitie toitie acrynoms. You can basically respout what everyone ELSE had said. But somehow, I doubt you own an HDTV.

Instead of talking like you did, why don't you try watching a 30" HDTV with HDTV broadcasts (480p)? I'm not even suggesting HD-DV at 720p right now. That would definitely be out of your league. Oh, and try it with component input as the minimum, hdmi preferred.

Than after you'd wiped the bullsh!t off, come back and really give an INFORMED opinion.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
You write alot. Amazing how with this deluge, there's still nothing.
I'm sure you can quote the various reveiw articles and "experts". I'm sure you can rattle off a lot of hoitie toitie acrynoms. You can basically respout what everyone ELSE had said. But somehow, I doubt you own an HDTV.

Instead of talking like you did, why don't you try watching a 30" HDTV with HDTV broadcasts (480p)? I'm not even suggesting HD-DV at 720p right now. That would definitely be out of your league. Oh, and try it with component input as the minimum, hdmi preferred.

Than after you'd wiped the bullsht off, come back and really give an INFORMED opinion.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
HDTV/Digital TV has hidden limits
A posters wisely noted the fact that HDTV makes no PERCEPTIVE difference in TV sets sizes up to about 40" (HDTV measure), which is around the 33" dimension of analog screens.

This is in part because witg HDTV it is the DIGITAL encoding of any broadcast signal--DTV or HDTV--that makes it sharp, not the resolution, until you hit 40" HDTV or over. A related factor is that most analog sets today also INTERPOLATE existing scanlines and create a greater apparent sharpness, such that when a digital cable signal is pumped to the set's analog jacks, it may be indestinguishable from HDTV at 40" or smaller sizes (HDTV measure).

But there are other limitations most HDTV sellers don't mention at all. When analog TV programs were packaged over the years, they would be produced to meet certain minimum resolution and image quality standards. A news story shot on an analog Betacam, for example, or a show that was videotaped to start with, would go through edits of tape to tape that would downgrade the resolution. Certain rules were normally followed as to how many times a tape to tape edit could be done and still be broadcast quality. But it was not uncomon to edit to the margin of permitted quality.

The end result of this process is that many analog recorded TV shows were not representative of a highly-detailed first generation analog tape to begin with. When such programming is broadcast as a digital or HDTV signal, there is no real benefit in seeing it as a an HDTV image, as it was not at such resolution to begin with. You can't get more out of an HDTV picture on the receiver side that was input by the broadcaster. In effect all the HDTV does for such shows is help reduce signal quality loss when received, as does the digital TV feed. But there is stil a loss because of teh aggressive compression that can be applied in the cable pipleine, as well as the compression that occurs when the digiral recording itself is made of the analog source.

When we consider that some 40 years of TV production is ensconced in such tapes and in tapes made from awful 16mm film-to-tape transfers, the real benefits of HDTV are not all the great, UNLESS you watch only new content.

HDTV has a huge drawback in displaying analog-format shows, since the only way old but still excellent analog shows will appear undistorted on an HDTV feed or DTV feed will be by showing it in a box in the middle of the HDTV screen. LCD and other non-cathode ray sets are going to be prone to uneven pixel burn in this respect.

TIP: Wait at least for the new thin CRT sets that are coming to market; they will offer HDTV at a much lower cost, with much longer durability ans a more vieweable picture.

For all these reasons HDTV in itself will not play a role in shaping service provider battles. Rather the QUALITY of the deilvered DTV or HDTV signal will be what wins the war. He who compresses least will win this war.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You write alot. Amazing how with this deluge, there's still nothing.
I'm sure you can quote the various reveiw articles and "experts". I'm sure you can rattle off a lot of hoitie toitie acrynoms. You can basically respout what everyone ELSE had said. But somehow, I doubt you own an HDTV.

Instead of talking like you did, why don't you try watching a 30" HDTV with HDTV broadcasts (480p)? I'm not even suggesting HD-DV at 720p right now. That would definitely be out of your league. Oh, and try it with component input as the minimum, hdmi preferred.

Than after you'd wiped the bullsh!t off, come back and really give an INFORMED opinion.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
You write alot. Amazing how with this deluge, there's still nothing.
I'm sure you can quote the various reveiw articles and "experts". I'm sure you can rattle off a lot of hoitie toitie acrynoms. You can basically respout what everyone ELSE had said. But somehow, I doubt you own an HDTV.

Instead of talking like you did, why don't you try watching a 30" HDTV with HDTV broadcasts (480p)? I'm not even suggesting HD-DV at 720p right now. That would definitely be out of your league. Oh, and try it with component input as the minimum, hdmi preferred.

Than after you'd wiped the bullsht off, come back and really give an INFORMED opinion.
Posted by kamwmail-cnet1 (292 comments )
Link Flag
CNET and industry still not getting it about HD
While it may be true that including the mantric "HD" in the sales literature will boost sales of any package from any vendor, it won't be because the buyers understand what they're signing up for (the endless confusion among the respondents to this one article is pretty representative of the misunderstanding that's out there about how the technology works). And as I've stated in reply to many of these articles, people are not buying the new-technology LCD and plasma tv's because of their hd tuners; they're buying them because they are flat and will fit in spaces that crt's can't. Honesty demands that these issues be dealt with in an article about these new technologies; to assume that buyers are specifically searching for and buying the sets for use with hdtv connections flies in the face of what any retailer can see about the buying behavior of their customers. Somebody who knows how to practice journalism needs to practice it a little and really probe why people are buying what they do, not just make assumptions.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Once upon a time...
...the goal of jouranlism was informing the reader. It long since morphed into a quest to sell ad space by conspiring with the advertiser in fooling the reader. As to the relative success of those two dynamics, one need only skim the remainder of this thread...
Posted by samiamtoo (31 comments )
Link Flag
They're Also Buying Them Because ....
I believe people are also buying the newer monitors because they offer widescreen. I read somewhere that in fact most folks didn't rate widescreen high on why they bought an HD set. But, to tell the truth, I don't believe that. At least it's incorrect in my case. When I buy a new TV for the living room, it will be to get widescreen. And I'll go ahead and buy an HD set since it'd be foolish to not do so (though I know there are widescreen non-HD sets).

As for those who are extolling the wonders of their small HD sets in the homes: There are plenty of pundits out there who say that viewing HD on sets smaller than 40" or so in the typical home setting provides little discernible improvement in the viewing experience (these were in comparing the new high def DVD formats vs std def DVD format). Since the TV I plan to buy is 42", I think I should experience some modest improvement in viewing quality if I bother to subscribe to HD (I won't pay money for a built-in tuner, so please don't tell me I can just put up an antenna). But, I'm still left with this question: Those folks posting to this thread who extoll the virtues of small HD sets: At what size is HD no longer an advantage (in you opinions, that is)?

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
CNET and industry still not getting it about HD
While it may be true that including the mantric "HD" in the sales literature will boost sales of any package from any vendor, it won't be because the buyers understand what they're signing up for (the endless confusion among the respondents to this one article is pretty representative of the misunderstanding that's out there about how the technology works). And as I've stated in reply to many of these articles, people are not buying the new-technology LCD and plasma tv's because of their hd tuners; they're buying them because they are flat and will fit in spaces that crt's can't. Honesty demands that these issues be dealt with in an article about these new technologies; to assume that buyers are specifically searching for and buying the sets for use with hdtv connections flies in the face of what any retailer can see about the buying behavior of their customers. Somebody who knows how to practice journalism needs to practice it a little and really probe why people are buying what they do, not just make assumptions.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Once upon a time...
...the goal of jouranlism was informing the reader. It long since morphed into a quest to sell ad space by conspiring with the advertiser in fooling the reader. As to the relative success of those two dynamics, one need only skim the remainder of this thread...
Posted by samiamtoo (31 comments )
Link Flag
They're Also Buying Them Because ....
I believe people are also buying the newer monitors because they offer widescreen. I read somewhere that in fact most folks didn't rate widescreen high on why they bought an HD set. But, to tell the truth, I don't believe that. At least it's incorrect in my case. When I buy a new TV for the living room, it will be to get widescreen. And I'll go ahead and buy an HD set since it'd be foolish to not do so (though I know there are widescreen non-HD sets).

As for those who are extolling the wonders of their small HD sets in the homes: There are plenty of pundits out there who say that viewing HD on sets smaller than 40" or so in the typical home setting provides little discernible improvement in the viewing experience (these were in comparing the new high def DVD formats vs std def DVD format). Since the TV I plan to buy is 42", I think I should experience some modest improvement in viewing quality if I bother to subscribe to HD (I won't pay money for a built-in tuner, so please don't tell me I can just put up an antenna). But, I'm still left with this question: Those folks posting to this thread who extoll the virtues of small HD sets: At what size is HD no longer an advantage (in you opinions, that is)?

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
I agree.
I bought a HD TV (32" Westinchouse LCD monitor with NTSC Tunner) about a year ago. I was watching regular cabel Tv on it for a while and using it for pc gaming. I did not buy the Tv specifically for it's HD capabilities but for it's capability to double as a huge computer monitor :-).

I have subscribed to digital cable that comes with some HD channels; hd is pretty nice. The biggest difference I have noticed is people's faces. You can really see the imperfections in people's faces with HD. I know that sounds mean, but the truth hurts.

I would say that the biggest barrier to the next gen HD in the home is not the cable providers but the greedy media companies that will choke us with DRM.

You cannot tell the US consumer market that their brand new HDTV will not work with their new Blue ray/ Hd Dvd player because of their drm scheme and not expect some major backlash.

I for one will not be buying any next gen that will not work with what I have already bought right out of the box. Sony: you can go to hell.
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree.
I bought a HD TV (32" Westinchouse LCD monitor with NTSC Tunner) about a year ago. I was watching regular cabel Tv on it for a while and using it for pc gaming. I did not buy the Tv specifically for it's HD capabilities but for it's capability to double as a huge computer monitor :-).

I have subscribed to digital cable that comes with some HD channels; hd is pretty nice. The biggest difference I have noticed is people's faces. You can really see the imperfections in people's faces with HD. I know that sounds mean, but the truth hurts.

I would say that the biggest barrier to the next gen HD in the home is not the cable providers but the greedy media companies that will choke us with DRM.

You cannot tell the US consumer market that their brand new HDTV will not work with their new Blue ray/ Hd Dvd player because of their drm scheme and not expect some major backlash.

I for one will not be buying any next gen that will not work with what I have already bought right out of the box. Sony: you can go to hell.
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unhappy either way
I'm not going to be happy regardless of who wins in my area. I'm very unhappy with the poor reliability of my cablemodem connection, which cuts out a lot and does not provide a consistent connection which tosses me out of online games. I don't care how fast it is when it is connected, it sucks that I can't stay in the game reliably.

On the other side of the coin, I'm very unhappy with my local phone company, as their wireless division has screwed up my cellphone account to a rediculous degree.

I dont' want to stick eith either of them. I think one of the satellite companies is still absent from my list of hate, but I don't know how else to get broadband without caving into one of these two jokers.
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Verizon *and* Comcast?
If so, you have my sympathy. A few years ago, I was stuck with Verizon Wireless and Comcast. I swtiched to Cingular and Dish, and nver had a single regret (although Cingular CS is not what it was 3 years ago, probably as the inevitable result of expansion, it is still hands down better than Verminizon). Unfortunately I had to go back to Verizon for DSL. The service failed for 3 days, and the CS employees kept telling me that they had tested my line all the way to my router, and everything was fine. They proceeded to dispense ridiculous advice about computer maintenance (e.g. "run defrag, call Microsoft for help"). The morning that the service came back, the repairman came to my door and told me that &gt;20 DSL subscribers on the same segment had been out. He also told me that they had just put on about a dozen new CS reps in Canada. So much for getting anything resembling the truth out of Customer Service, eh?
Posted by samiamtoo (31 comments )
Link Flag
Unhappy either way
I'm not going to be happy regardless of who wins in my area. I'm very unhappy with the poor reliability of my cablemodem connection, which cuts out a lot and does not provide a consistent connection which tosses me out of online games. I don't care how fast it is when it is connected, it sucks that I can't stay in the game reliably.

On the other side of the coin, I'm very unhappy with my local phone company, as their wireless division has screwed up my cellphone account to a rediculous degree.

I dont' want to stick eith either of them. I think one of the satellite companies is still absent from my list of hate, but I don't know how else to get broadband without caving into one of these two jokers.
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Verizon *and* Comcast?
If so, you have my sympathy. A few years ago, I was stuck with Verizon Wireless and Comcast. I swtiched to Cingular and Dish, and nver had a single regret (although Cingular CS is not what it was 3 years ago, probably as the inevitable result of expansion, it is still hands down better than Verminizon). Unfortunately I had to go back to Verizon for DSL. The service failed for 3 days, and the CS employees kept telling me that they had tested my line all the way to my router, and everything was fine. They proceeded to dispense ridiculous advice about computer maintenance (e.g. "run defrag, call Microsoft for help"). The morning that the service came back, the repairman came to my door and told me that &gt;20 DSL subscribers on the same segment had been out. He also told me that they had just put on about a dozen new CS reps in Canada. So much for getting anything resembling the truth out of Customer Service, eh?
Posted by samiamtoo (31 comments )
Link Flag
Correctamundo
But my point about him being wrong is his ludicrous claim that
there's no real difference between HDTV signals and regular NTSC
signals in terms of quality.

But you are correct about not having to pay for it!
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Correctamundo
But my point about him being wrong is his ludicrous claim that
there's no real difference between HDTV signals and regular NTSC
signals in terms of quality.

But you are correct about not having to pay for it!
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Phone?
Why are phone companies even in this market? They're not in a position to offer superior service than the companies that built the TV industry. Someone name a single phone company who's phone service is so good that you'd willingly subscribe to a TV service which would blatantly be an afterthought as far as their business is concerned. HD has nothing to do with it.
Posted by DaClyde (96 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It is happening...
You have to keep in mind that the market phone companies are in is changing. DSL was a huge threat to phone companies, but they also need it to survive in the changing market. As they switch towards being a true data carrier and less about phone services they are adding new services to use up their available bandwidth.

If the capacity is there but not being used, it is a free resource to tap. This is the same situation as cell phone text messaging. There is a systme in place to allow it and if we can get consumers to use it we can make money.

At the same time the phone companies are moving into TV, the Cable companies are taking note of VOIP technology and starting to offer direct phone service over Cable.

I don't know about you, but I have had very few problems with my phone service. I can't think of a single problem that would make me think I should not consider adding TV from the same company.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.