FCC's HDTV NOTICE
Signals to Be Transitioned in February
Though cable and
satellite are considered by the FCC as “closed systems” and will continue
to provide standard definition programming, it is unlikely they will offer
much support for those who continue to watch programs with their standard
Most HD programming is
in a widescreen format, otherwise known as the 16:9 aspect ratio. This
means that for every inch of picture height, there is just over double
that in width. In other words 16:9 is like a rectangle while standard
definition is more like a square, with its box-like 4:3 format.
When broadcasters are
spending millions on upgrading their infrastructure to HDTV, do you think
they plan to provide two aspect-ratio versions of their broadcasts, one
for HD and one for standard definition? The answer is definitely “no.” In
fact, most networks are already shooting in the 16:9 format, and the
results are very unappealing image modifications that affect
Since the 16:9 image is
wider than 4:3, the standard-definition signal is either cut off on the
left and right sides (cropping), or the signal is “morphed” by squeezing
in the left and right sides to make it all fit within the 4:3 box-shaped
screen, making images look tall and skinny. Another adaptation is
“letterboxing,” where a black band is added to the top and bottom of the
screen, shrinking the image overall by about 20 percent.
It is very vague how
cable and satellite providers will set their standards for modifying the
16:9 images to 4:3 formatted screens, since there is little regulation
from the FCC, dictating standards for HD signal aspect ratios when
broadcasted through cable and satellite providers. Chances are, the
modifications to the video image are not going to be universally accepted
or appreciated by the public at-large. The cable and satellite companies
are looking forward to a future all-HD channel lineup, since incoming
signals will not have to be modified at all and simply output to the TV.
Having spent an evening
at my parent’s home, I saw for myself the affects of “cropping,” and it
was extremely annoying. An actor was clearly pointing at something
supposed to be within the field of view, but it was not visible, simply
because the image width had been "cropped" to fit the screen. I don’t
think many of our clients will be satisfied with any one of the resulting
image modifications when broadcasters choose to crop, morph, or letterbox
HD aspect ratio images to fit the old 4:3 aspect ratio of
standard-definition TV sets. We suggest getting with the
HDTV future now to appreciate all HDTV has to offer.
How Do I Upgrade to HD?
1) Select The Proper Size TV
We often make free site
visits to discuss how large or small you want to go in various rooms. The
idea is to match the right product for your needs, and usually size is the
2) Select The Right Location
You may already have a
Cat-5 outlet in the room, and that is convenient to the distribution of
HDTV signals. Since we carry small HDTV distribution "Baluns" that allow
for HDTV to be transmitted over small Cat-5 wires, placing a TV near
an available telephone or network jack is probably the simplest solution.
Cat-5 wire is common to many homes, and even if your home does not have
Cat-5, it is easy to run because it is so small and pliable.
3) Choose Your Provider
Every provider has it's
pros and cons. While reviewing your home, we can look at what provider may
offer the best solution for your needs. Cable TV, DirecTv, and Dish all
compete with one another, and since these three offer services like HD
video recording of shows, pause for live TV, and on-demand programming.
Since you may want a certain product that best fits your needs, it is
important to understand who offers what, along with the requirements
needed to get the most from the service.
4) Consider Control
Since HDTV video signals
can be distributed from one main location, we can place all of your
electronics in a closet or "head end." A typical location would be the AV
cabinet in your family room; other common spots are closets and utility
rooms. Placing the HDTV sources remotely keeps the rooms free from
electronic clutter. A quality control system like AMX or Control4 allows
you to select and operate your HD signal from anywhere in the home. The
idea is to focus on a clean install that is also easy-to-use.
5) Move Forward
We make written
proposals, providing accurate pricing with itemized product and labor
costs. Once we get a fix on the best match of products and labor for your
budget, we email the proposal to you. with your approval, we move forward
to scheduling. It's an easy process. At that time we can coordinate with
your selected provider to ensure the transition process is as painless as
Customers who have made
the upgrade to HDTV are always amazed at the picture quality. Many of our
customers already have HD sets in most rooms, but for those who have the
straggling set or two should really consider “biting the bullet” now,
since the February transition date is quickly approaching.
We look forward to
hearing from you. Here is our contact info:
This is an example of a
wall mounted flat-panel display with a distinctively clean install look.
Clearly, this is a much better solution
than a converter box and ugly cables.
This is an example of a
Cat-5 HDTV Video Balun (approximately 3" wide).
About the size of a pack of cigarettes,
this can easily be placed behind the HDTV.
This HDTV Matrix Switch
allows us to place several HDTV sources in one "head end" and distribute
the signals over Cat-5 to various locations house -wide.
These switchers are available for under
$1K and free your rooms from the look of ugly electronics, since all of
your HDTV satellite or cable boxes reside in one centralized location.
A quality control system
completes the job.
You can access HDTV sources and control
them, such as playing your own unique recorded shows from any room. Since
the HDTV signals are distributed, we give them names, such as "Mom's Sat"
or "Kids Sat." Recorded shows and parental settings are now made available
This is a great example of
a well-organized rack.
This system distributes 2 satellite
receivers ("Dad" and "Oliver") to 4 rooms, along with a DVD player and
X-Box, all distributed over Cat-5. The system works great. This is in my
own home, and I use it regularly every day in various rooms.