Widescreen Hdtv

Written by Serena Berger
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Widescreen HDTV is the passion of most videophiles these days, who think it is an essential component of the perfect home theatre system. This may be true, but you need to have clear expectations of what you will really be getting if you will be spending a few thousand dollars on this piece of equipment. The fact is, just because you buy it, you're not likely to be seeing HDTV!

The reason for this is that in many areas of the country (including cities--we're not just talking middle of nowhere), high-definition broadcasts are not yet available. Manufacturers choose to offer televisions which are HD-ready but require the additional purchase of a decoder, which will cost a few hundred dollars. This enables the people who aren't yet able to get HDTV in their area not to spend additional money on a feature they can't use. Unfortunately for the person who can view HDTV and wants too bring home their set and see it now, this can be a nuisance. You may want to pay more for one of the less common units which does include an integrated HDTV tuner/decoder.

So, what's so great about widescreen HDTV? Most people feel as though it makes their television programming look more like a movie, which is generally considered to be a superior visual medium. The picture is sharper and more defined because standard TV has 480 visible lines of detail, whereas HDTV has as many as 1,080.

Widescreen HDTV Specs

The natural aspect ratio of film is 16:9, as opposed to the 4:3 ratio of television. That means when you watch a widescreen film on television, you have those horizontal black bars at the top and bottom of the picture in order to see the film as it was shown in theaters (though you typically also have the option to watch it formatted for television if you hate the black bars). If you get a widescreen HDTV, however, movies in their original form will take up the whole screen. When you watch television programs, however, that means you will have vertical black bars on the sides. It's really a matter what you prefer, so perhaps whether you receive the greatest enjoyment from TV or films will determine whether or not you want a widescreen HDTV.


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