Thursday, November 30, 2006
New Developments Prompt Spread of HDTV Technology
There have been several recent developments that could influence how soon high definition television will catch on in the mainstream television viewing public. Perhaps the most notable new development is that large screen high definition television sets are approaching the one thousand dollar mark. Recently retailer Circuit City has decided to sell the Polaroid PLA-4248 for $1,399 which translates into $1,299 after a one hundred dollar rebate. The forty two inch Plasma TV comes with a HDMI port even though it has a high definition tuner built in. It can receive high definition television signals from cable, satellite, and over the air. While many consumers are waiting for prices to drop below one thousand dollars, a thirteen hundred dollar forty two inch High Definition Television set is definitely a step in the right direction.
Another interesting development is that Microsoft has recently undertaken an "evangelical" marketing campaign for the HD-DVD high definition digital video disc format. Microsoft director Kevin Collins is actually traveling around the country in a tractor trailer and hawking the HD-DVD format out of the back in the same way that traveling preachers used to try to sell their religion out of the backs of wagons in centuries passed. The trailer is supposedly filled with HD-DVD equipment and discs that he uses to demonstrate the technology. This is significant because it's a move that may help to break the stalemate in the High Definition video disc format war. Many consumers are afraid of purchasing a disc player that won't support the winning format, so the market has practically frozen while consumers wait for both sides to settle the matter. Collins points out that HD-DVD players are significantly cheaper than players for the rival format Blu-ray. Blu-ray has the advantage that it can hold more data on the same sized disc.
Another thing that could get in the way of widespread adoption of the High Definition format when it comes to television broadcasts is an inability of cable companies to come to agreements with local stations when it comes to providing feeds of HDTV programming to the cable companies. Apparently the television stations want more money than the cable companies are willing to pay for the feeds. This situation in turn makes the cable companies and the local stations both look bad when it comes to providing High Definition Television. Phillip Swann of TVpredictions.com interprets the attitude of the local stations as being dismissive of the High Definition viewing public as not being large enough to worry about when it comes to an impact on the ratings. However the high definition versions of local broadcasts are often available over the air, so a disagreement between the cable companies and the television stations really shouldn't matter that much when it comes to local channels.
On a more positive front, it was recently announced that the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) is investigating the potential for launching a new High Definition service in the United States. One service would be a High Definition version of it's BBC America channel, but it's also investigating a channel aimed at the Hispanic population in the United States. Any new channels in High Definition are obviously going to be favorable when it comes to the widespread adoption of High Definition Television.