I'm a huge fan of the video hard-disk recorders (HDRs), also known as digital video recorders (DVRs), that have revolutionized the TV viewing habits of millions. As the ads say, you can watch what you want when you want. But the options for time-shifting high-definition programs have been limited.
The 60-inch-plus plasma is the big kahuna of flat-screen designs. If you want to go really big and really flat (under 5 inches), plasma is the only technology that will get you there. Mitsubishi has adopted the two-box approach for their new plasmas. On its own, the PD-6130 is a 61-inch HD monitor. Add the HD-5000A controller, and it functionally becomes an integrated HDTV.
Digital Light Processing front projection has a short but interesting history. It began in the late '90s when the first consumer DLP projector was marketed. This new type of display—which uses a tiny, reflective chip called a DMD (digital micromirror device) that contains hundreds of thousands of hinged mirrors (instead of miniature LCD panels)—provided consumers with an early look at all-digital imaging. This primitive effort made big pictures, but it had many picture-quality issues.
Just ask anyone who's spent any amount of time watching a high-definition TV - it's addictive. Maybe it's the seductive picture or the cinemalike sound, but the half-dozen HDTV channels I had available until recently were about the only ones I regularly watched - even though there were hundreds of standard-definition channels I could have tuned in.
On Wednesday, September 10, the Federal Communications Commission approved a package of standards designed to make digital televisions compatible with a wide range of digital and high definition cable television programs. The "plug and play" agreement will allow consumers to connect digital televisions directly into cable systems, without a set-top-box.