HDTV FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.
Q. I have a Flat Screen Display - why do I need another set top box?
A. It depends. It used to be simple! To receive Freeview in Standard Definition, many flat screen displays have an integrated digital tuner (IDTV). Check the specifications to see whether it can pick up DVB-T transmissions. Some new Panasonic Viera Models can receive the Freesat Satellite transmissions (DVB-S2) For Sky HD you are likely to need a Sky HD Box.
Freeview HD which is
scheduled to start in 2009, you will need a new
set top box or IDTV capable of receiving the latest MPEG-4
with AAC, DVB-T2
transmissions.. Currently there are only trial models.
Q. I live in Northern Ireland. Can my DVB Set top Box receive the Republic of Ireland's New DTV service?
If you live near or in the Republic of Ireland, their
Terrestrial DTV starts in 2009. It is very unlikely your
existing set top box which uses MPEG-2 will work, as the
Irish DTV service will use MPEG-4
using DVB-T for SD and
Q. Is my current LCD/Plasma 'HD Ready'?
A. The minimum spec. for 'HD Ready' is 1024 by 720 pixels. If you have an 840 x 480 pixel display, this only displays a partial Standard Definition picture since standard definition is 720 x 576 pixels. Some panels display a 540 line picture, which is not true HD.
Go for a display which has a minimum specification. of 1280
x 720 pixels with a high contrast ratio
and ask whether it can decode the transmission standard
of the service you want to watch.
Q. Do I need to purchase a HD set top box from Sky to watch HDTV?
Not necessarily. Freesat HD is now available. However,
the range of programmes is not yet extensive as Sky's
Q. Will I need a special cable to connect my 'Hi-Digi' Box to my display?
A. Probably. The first generation receivers have 'component' connections - ususally marked Py, Pr and Pb. The next generation connector is called HDMI. It is important to ensure that the connection is marked as 'HDCP' compliant - High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection' - otherwise you may not be permitted to watch the source material if the protected signal is enabled.
If you have a laptop or PC, a DVI connector may be fitted to your monitor adaptor hardware and DVI to HDMI adaptors are available. In theory this is also HDCP compliant but it is recommended you check the equipment specifications for HDCP compliance.
The latest specification for HDMI is version 1.3 which extends the range of colours available and additional sound information.
Go for a display with THREE HDMI
(with HDCP) connectors meeting the new 1.3
standard if possible. The list of HD
peripherals - Blue Ray, Cameras, Personal Recorders etc.
is growing all the time.
Q Is it worth waiting for the 1080 'line' progressive format for a Flat Screen TV?
Probably. 1080P is available on some HD Cameras, Blue
Ray, and some personal recorders etc. now, although
Broadcast TV is unlikely to use it withinin the next five
years. The current Broadcast standard is 1080i or 720P.
The set will normally scale the picture to fit the
display. This technology has yet to mature and the
current economic situation may provide some bargains over
the next 18 months! It's probably worth waiting until at
least 2009 and after the start of Freeview HD.
Q Can I watch standard tv pictures on an HDTV display?
A. Ususally. The pictures are scaled to fit the display or fit in a window. The method may vary depending on the manufacturer. It is recommended that the picture is shown in its native format.
RECOMMENDED: ask the sales person to
demonstrate the standard definition picture so you can
see the quality of the conversion.
Q. Can I watch HDTV on a SDTV receiver?
Not directly. however, the broadcasters will probably
distribute both SD (MPEG 2) and HD formats (MPEG 4 -
H.264/AVC) for the forseeable future.
Q Will I need *yet another* aerial/antenna upgrade?
A. For satellite aerials, a realignment may be necessary depending on the provider. If you can get a good freeview picture currently, then you are likely be able to use the existing aerial system for Freeview HD as the power levels will increase on Digital switchover.
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