Coming To A TV Near You

Changes in technology give viewers more options than ever

With the overload of technology, it’s easy for consumers to overload. HDTV (high-definition television) and DVRs (digital video recorders) are both acronyms for products that require a dictionary to understand-and these products are more popular than ever among consumers.

The television, once referred to as the “idiot box,” now provides smart options to enhance the overall viewing experience. HDTV offers high-resolution images in a widescreen format with digitally enhanced surround sound.

To get such superior quality, you need a high-definition monitor and an integrated HDTV set or an HDTV tuner. Also, be aware that having the right equipment is just the first step. Consumers will also need to make sure that their cable or satellite companies offer high-definition programming. Cable companies such as Adelphia Communications Corp. and Comcast and satellite companies such as DISH Network and DirecTV charge additional fees for HD programming packages and the special HD set top box. In the next three years, this type of transmission will become standard as a result to a recent Federal Communications Commission mandate.

If you happen to miss your favorite shows, have no fear, DVRs are here. These devices work like VCRs, but without the need for a tape.

DVRs are sold based on recording capabilities that range from 30 to 320 hours. Prices vary depending on quality and the amount of storage capacity desired. Equipment can also be leased from local satellite and cable companies for monthly service and usage fees.

*SDTV means standard-definition TV. HDTV means high-definition TV.

Sources: About.com, Dish-network.com, Wisegeek.com

To compare prices on your tv options, go to www.Epinions.com

TO TV OR NOT TO TV
DVR
PROS: Can pause programming without missing anything. Cost savings is tremendous because you don’t have to buy discs.
CONS: Many DVRs require monthly subscriptions to record shows. Hard drive is not meant for permanent storage.

DVD
PROS: Programming can be recorded on to inexpensive discs. Easy to connect to other electronics like DVRs.
CONS: Discs are limited on space, Recording on non re-writable discs can be expensive.

CABLE
PROS: Can support 200 or more channels. Although Satellite is growing in popularity, cable is more popular.
CONS: Requires digital set top box from cable company. Additional costs including franchise fees, taxes, and pay-per-view services.

SATELLITE
PROS: Quality is generally better because it’s 100% digital. Offers more international and sports programming.
CONS: Interference from rain, snow, or trees can impact reception. Local channels are not included in the packages.

*SDTV
PROS: Considerably less expensive than higher model TVs.
CONS: The 480 scan lines are visible on larger TVs, resulting in poor picture quality. May not be compatible with higher-end electronic equipment.

*HDTV
PROS: Displays high-definition broadcasts in better resolution. More scan lines offer finer resolution.
CONS: Usually carries a much-higher price tag than standard TV sets. Must have the right equipment for optimal use.

ACROSS THE WEB