Thursday, August 01, 2002

High-Definition TV (HDTV) is a flawed concept. The FCC is pushing HDTV by giving incentives to over-the-air broadcasters. But why would anyone want to get HDTV over the regular TV airwaves? All the people who can afford $5000 TV sets are all getting their signals from cable or satellite services. The Mercury News says about HDTV broadcasts, "It only benefits the 7 percent of Americans who use rooftop antennas to receive over-the-air broadcasts." I bet it is less than that. HDTV requires a very clean signal. Many people get the regular broadcast TV just fine, but reception is not good enough for HDTV.

Compare DVD to HDTV. DVD has been spectacularly successful by having reasonable standards, support from Hollywood and equipment makers, and catering to consumer needs. HDTV may never catch on.

The FCC just ordered mandates for new TVs to have tuners for over-the-airwaves HDTV, adding maybe $250 or more to the cost of every set. Doesn't make any sense to me.

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