Convergence Personal Technology

HDTV and your monitor

Shopping for a new monitor? The marketing folks who think we want to watch TV on our computers (why? one pursuit is solitary, the other is social) continue to push convergence.

One rationale: HDTV contains up to three times more information (pixels) than analog TV, making images crisper, more vibrant, alive. And higher resolution means crisper images on our monitors — except for the niggling factor that the text gets smaller and smaller.

I think the cost — in a time of economic uncertainty — remains an impediment: a 24-inch Samsung dual monitor/TV is about $5K; the Apple 23″ cinema display (HD) is $2K (the tuner is extra).

US television stations are supposed to be broadcasting in HDTV by 2006; however, the networks have made extending the deadline an art form. There are only a few stations broadcasting HDTV; networks have recently expanded their prime-time offerings.

The challenge is similar to that faced by the industry in the transition from black-and-white to color — except for the scale. Today there are more than 600 million color TVs in the world (only 70% are color). However, cable and satellite service adds a wrinkle not present in the 50s.

HDTV broadcasts in the aspect ratio used by film (16:9 – 16 units of width per 9 units of height); the analog TV standard is 4:3.

Links: HDNut (16 Oct 03); HDTV Listings (cNet); HowStuffWorks; EE 498 – Intro to HDTV; PC Magazine (May 2003)

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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