It all started when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. This opened up the idea of receiving and playing professionally produced entertainment at home. As the years went by, there have been many advances in technology and ways to transmit signals through the air waves into people’s homes. After all, this is what it’s mostly used for, to get programs into people’s homes. Whether it be movies, commercials, instructional videos, music, PSA’s, news, sports. Whoever creates these programs have the intention of letting somebody else watch them.
Today in America our current broadcast standard is a 525 line/60 field per second based system called the NTSC (National Television systems Committee) . This committee was established to insure order in the development process within the industry that would be accepted by the FCC. This standard was created in the 40’s and 50’s. Each receiver sold to the American public must conform to received the NTSC signal. This signal has proved to be a durable way of transmitting information for 50 years. But with today’s technology, a new standard has been in the works, HDTV.
In September 1992 NBC’s WRC-TV in Washington DC became the first television station in the country to send HDTV signals over the air waves. WRC-TV’s general manager then stated, "With advanced digital high-definition television, viewers will experience unmatched picture quality and superior sound resolution."
There are many pro’s and con’s regarding having HDTV as the new standard. Not all broadcasters are interested in HDTV at all. During the transitional period, broadcasters will have channel space to send NTSC signals and HDTV signals simultaneously. At first, the timeline for this to take place was about 7 years down the road. Now experts are saying 15 years is more accurate. Broadcasters are eager to see which of the major corporations will be the first to make the change.
Even though a broadcast standard is a handful of years away, HDTV is already being used in other ways. Hospitals are taping surgical procedures and corporations are using HDTV for presentations. Dale Cripps, publisher of the on-line newsletter HDTV Today says, "HDTV is slick. If I were a corporate executive today, I’d never consider putting my best foot forward on anything but HDTV." The director of the New Video Technology Project Baylor University, Cory Carbonara says, "HDTV truly defined has 5 times the visual detail and 10 times the color information and more than twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of NTSC television." He also says that the picture is substantially brighter, the aspect ratio is more than a third larger and the sound quality is equivalent to that of compact discs.
After reading a lot about this new standard of television, I have reached different views. I love the idea of having unmatched quality and sound in my own home. HDTV would fit perfect into my Sony home theater system. Soon I would like to see a demo presentation to have a better idea of it and get really blown away like I’ve heard so many others have. It’s also exciting to be living in this age of a new standard possibly coming. In my lifetime (from what I can remember) the only significant technology advances for home use has been the PC. It started out expensive and the price soon went down and everybody jumped in. I vaguely remember our family’s first VCR. So living through this broadcast change will be history in the making and I can’t wait!
Then comes the dollar issue. Hopefully when this becomes reality, I’ll be making enough money that it won’t even be a factor. But I cannot avoid noticing that the first set sold in Japan was for $28,000! Now they are down to around $2800 . Even though these prices would probably continue to decrease if a new standard takes place, these numbers really do jump out at me. Plain and simple, I love the quality but the price scares me. I’ll just make sure I make enough money to buy two sets because when this change comes I’m jumping on it.

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