HDTV Craze

United States broadcasting is changing over to digital television. That's why many people are spending thousands of dollars on new high definition television sets.   HDTVs are among the hottest Christmas gifts this year.

Jack Ledbetter has had a high definition television since they were first introduced on the market back in 1998. He's been enjoying his television viewing ever since. Ledbetter is among the thousands upgrading to the superior resolution signal.   "I'll be replacing this with a larger one. We have another den that we'll get a 60-inch," he said from his television room.

Across town is Clarence Johnson. "This is the most popular brand right now," said the television salesman in front of a huge HDTV.  Johnson is setting up the home theater system. He's a tech aficionado for Johnson furniture. He's working all over town. He begins his pitch with lots of numbers. "You've got 480, 780, 720, 1080." those are the pixels. That's what enables you to watch something as if you're looking through a just-cleaned window.   "There's no graininess here. This thing looks as uniform as any PC resolution you can find out there," said Johnson in front of a large set.

It's wise, as a consumer, to do your homework through articles and web sites before you enter the sales room. It will enable you to understand what the salesman is telling you.

KTRE has been upgrading to HDTV broadcast. Most all network programming is now in high definition. KTRE's chief engineer, Steve Halsell, is an expert on the subject.  "We're going to start a blog starting this week on ktre.com. Also, I am writing an article on high definition television on things people want to know before they go out and buy a new television."

By this summer, all new 25-inch sets or larger must have DTV tuners or be DTV-ready. By 2009, analog broadcasts will be shut down. You can always buy modulators to convert systems, so don't feel pressured to buy now if you're not ready.

Johnson said, "There's two types. There's interlaced and there's progressive scan. Progressive scan is going to be your higher quality, and it's the best for your money."

The HDTV sells itself. The picture is magnificent. The sound is incredible. So, all you have to do is sit back, get comfortable, until the first payment comes along. 

"They range from $1,299 to as much as $15,000, depending on the size and what you can afford." Johnson is seeing a lot of impulse buying, and those consumers who think like Ledbetter.   "As long as it's, available why not enjoy it," he said while watching a comedy show.