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The State of High-Definition.

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The State of High-Definition

From gaming to movies to television, we look at what's available and
what HD content is coming.

July 11, 2005 - High-definition content is here to stay, and though
not everything has made the shift quite yet, the move to HD for
practically every form of digital entertainment is right around the
corner. We're going to run through what's available in high-definition
right now and take a look at what's coming just around the bend that
you should be looking forward to.

Let's start with television. Currently, most major markets have made
every major network available in HD (NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX), as well
as a number of various PBS channels. You probably know this already,
but what you might not know is that there are a number of other HD
channels that most cable or satellite subscribers can receive.

HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, STARZ and many other movie channels have HD
versions available through cable or satellite. In most cases these
mimic the "main" channel for that station. For example, if you receive
HBO, HBO Comedy, HBO2, HBO Family and HBO Xtreme Dating Challenge, you
should get the standard HBO channel that broadcasts the first runs of
original shows and movies. ESPN is also broadcast in HD, perfect for
sports-nuts, as well as the Discovery channel and many other stations,
depending upon location of course.

Additionally, many cable and satellite providers will send feeds of
INHD, HDNET or something similar. These channels show original HD
content (good for demoing HD), full-length movies in high-definition
as well as some sports broadcasts. Ask anyone who's made the switch to
HD what they watched for two weeks straight and they'll probably tell
you it was one of these channels.

Of course, for folks who subscribe to a cable or satellite provider
that doesn't provide HD content (for shame), HD antennas are
available. You'll only be able to pick up any stations in the area
that broadcast an HD signal, meaning probably just the four major
networks plus PBS, but it's much better than nothing.

As for the future of televised HD content, we can expect to see most
every major channel to switch over at some time in the next year or
two. How long before we see the likes of MTV, Comedy Central, Sci-Fi
and others remains to be seen, but it won't be long. And the sooner
that channels switch over to HD broadcasting the sooner their original
content will be filmed in HD.

And DVR lovers needn't worry that they'll be losing their beloved
time-shifting features. Many cable and satellite providers offer
DVR-enabled receiver boxes these days, some that'll even let you
record two HD streams while you watch a previously recorded third.
Recording HD content chips away at your available disc space rather
quickly, but it's fantastic to have.

Right now there aren't many options available for prerecorded HD video
or movies. The Terminator 2 Extreme Edition DVD shipped with a version
of the film in 1080p, playable via Windows Media Player 9, though for
most people this isn't convenient for the living room. Various other
discs, mostly IMAX films and whatnot, are available with 1080p
versions as well, but again these aren't ideal for most folks' living
rooms and are really just informational pieces rather than standard
Hollywood fair.

All that will change this fall with the release of two new HD disc
formats. Unless some miracle agreement is ever reached to combine the
two formats, we'll be seeing both HD-DVD and Blu-ray players and
movies by the end of this year. Each format offers up true HD
resolutions of 1920x1080 video and look absolutely stunning. Players
might be a bit costly coming out of the gate, but as the PlayStation 3
will implement Blu-ray for its media the market share of HD video
players should grow in staggering numbers, possibly even faster than
DVD did upon its introduction.

Speaking of the PlayStation 3...

The launch of the Xbox 360 sometime late this year, followed by the
PlayStation 3 launch next year, will usher in full HD gaming, 24/7,
365 days of the year. A few Xbox games have had 720p support with even
less having 1080i compatibility, and those look great, but the Xbox
360 and PlayStation 3 will provide HD resolutions for every game,
which is a huge deal. Coupled with full-scene AA, next-gen games are
going to look sharp as hell.

PC gamers of course have had HD resolutions available to them since
shortly after the invention of the light bulb, but console gamers have
been living in standard-definition (or enhanced definition for 480p
stuff) or worse for years.

Granted, you already know all this and have probably been eyeing a
brand-new HDTV for purchase around the release timeframe of these
systems. The point is though that there is a ton of HD content already
available to the masses and it's time to upgrade.

Buy Now!
People always ask things like, "Are prices going to drop soon?" and
"Is there some new technology coming out next year that I should wait
for?" The fact is that people are always saying that new technology is
on the way and that prices are just about to drop a whole bunch, but
the truth of the matter is that this is rarely true. Sure, prices of
HD sets have gone down plenty in the past five years or whatever, but
it's been a constant process; nothing happens overnight.

The point is that if you're always waiting you'll never end up getting
anything. There's a ton of great HD content available right now that
absolutely destroys standard broadcast quality television. At the very
least, start saving up for a nice display immediately and start
dreaming of sugar-plums in high-definition

"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
-- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
- Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
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Your posts are copyright infringements. Just give the link.

Then, will you please get lost?

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Still have that VHS collection do you?

On Wed, 13 Jul 2005 01:00:26 -0700, "Alpha" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Your posts are copyright infringements. Just give the link.
>Then, will you please get lost?

"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game
because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from
-- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
- Neil Stephenson, _Cryptonomicon_
Reply With Quote

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