What's Up with HD? Part 4

By: Jeremy Pate
By: Jeremy Pate

Digital television will revolutionize the way you watch your TV, but exactly what digital television will and won't be is still being determined by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC's indecision is creating roadblocks on the digital highway. That's left companies like Comcast Cable in quite a bind.

"I think the biggest thing that has to be resolved is the government. The FCC needs to come up with the rules, and once the rules are set and things are in place then we can move forward with the technology as it needs to be properly presented," said Steve Pozil, General Manager of Comcast Cable in Panama City.

Broadcasting in High Definition is nice, but it's quite a costly venture for broadcast companies. It's not uncommon for a television to have spent half-a-million dollars just to upgrade to a digital signal. Then, there's the cost of making high-definition programs, such as news. It requires all new cameras, editing and production equipment. That's going to cost station serious money.

Then there are cable companies. Stations like NewsChannel Seven will be able to broadcast up to five digital channels at the same time, but it takes at least four out of the five channels to broadcast in HD. Couple with that the fact the FCC hasn't said what cable companies will have to carry as far as digital signals go and you have yourself quite a mess.

"At this point in time it's pretty hard to determine what's going to happen with the must-carry being in digital. The FCC has made some rulings, however, they have not made their final ruling and we're just going to kind of follow their lead."

When will you have to make the switch to digital television? Right now the mandatory transition to digital television is slated to happen in 2006, but the thinking right now is that it won't happen until about 2009. That means you have a couple of years to look for and buy a new TV.

With time the price should come down, just like VCRs did in the 80s.


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