HDTV Handbook

Illustration by Bridget Giambertone; photo by Tony Cordoza What is HDTV?

So eventually all TV will be digital?

Will I be able to keep my old TV and watch the digital broadcasts?

So what do I need to see HDTV?

Once I have all the right digital gear, will everything I watch be in high-definition?

So how much HDTV will I be able to see?

The ads for HDTVs are full of numbers like 720p, 1080i, and 16:9, but do they really matter?

My cable/satellite company says it's transmitting digitally. Does that mean I can already get HDTV?

Do the cable and satellite companies carry HDTV programming from the major networks the same as they do the networks' regular programming?

Can I just plug the cable into my new high-definition TV to see HDTV?

If my local cable service won't carry the networks' digital feeds, does that mean I can't see them in high-def?

This is all so 1960s. How do I figure out what antenna to get?

When I went to the local electronics store to see HDTV, the picture was all fuzzy and stretched. Why?

I love the look of those flat TVs that you can hang on a wall. They're all HDTVs, right?

All these new TVs are still too expensive for me. When will they cost the same as a conventional big-screen TV?

I can't wait to hear an HDTV broadcast in Dolby Digital sound. Do I just need to hook up some speakers to my new digital TV to hear it in surround?

When will everything be broadcast in widescreen HDTV?

I keep reading about the need to protect digital broadcasts from being pirated. What will that mean for me?

If I buy an HDTV today, will it be obsolete in five years?

Are there any high-def DVDs?

When will I be able to buy a high-def camcorder and VCR?