Last Night, an HDTV Saved My Life
High-definition televisions (HDTVs) offer a breathtaking picture. Seeing an HDTV set display true HD content for the first time can literally change how you perceive reality. Just ask Hollywood-based TV producer Johnny Petillo, whose credits include high-octane reality shows “Deadliest Catch” and “Survivor.” When he first saw a high-definition television, he knew he had to have one. “It was unreal,” says Johnny. “If you haven’t seen one, it’s hard to explain.” HD has even changed Johnny’s viewing habits. “I find myself watching things I would never watch on SD. But, because it’s in HD, I’m captivated,” he says.
But, does that magnificent screen mask a cold and complex digital heart pumping artificial light into a lifeless framework? If HDTV is the live-affirming media revolution it seems to be, then what’s so scary about it?
Well, at first glance, everything. The technical specifications for an HDTV read like a list of secret government agencies—LCD, 1080i, DTV, 720p. From an outsider’s perspective, breaking down the HDTV barrier can seem like a difficult task, reserved for tech geeks and media hounds.
However, after a few days of research, going high-definition becomes an easy task for anyone. As with any change, once you get over the first HD hill, the rest of the race will come naturally. And you’re not alone. Over the past 10 years, HDTV has made a lot of friends. Once a luxury enjoyed by the few, HDTV is now available to nearly anyone in the country.
Government regulation has had at least a tiny effect on HDTV’s growth. Thanks to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order, all TVs in production since March 2007 must accept digital signals. This is to make way for an impending FCC order requiring all television stations broadcast exclusively digitized content beginning in February 2009. This will render all analog televisions without a digital tuner, a cable box or a satellite connection obsolete (goodbye, 1977 RCA). As a result of these orders, digital TVs are the only TVs being produced for commercial sale in the United States today and of all digital TVs, HDTVs have experienced the most rapid sales increases.