With all of the abbreviations flying around the stores and commercials, it is very easy to become confused as to what it is you need to buy.
HDTV is one of these offenders! HDTV stands for High Definition Television and means the broadcast of television signals with a higher resolution than traditional formats (NTSC, SECAM, PAL) allow.
Generally HDTV is broadcast digitally, i.e. together with cable, satellite, or a digital receiver. You cannot view HDTV with an analogue aerial.
There are three things you need to be able to view HDTV and these are firstly a source, such as a local, cable or satellite HDTV station. Secondly, a way to receive the signal, like an antenna, cable or satellite service, and finally an HDTV set.
For the set you can choose from an integrated HDTV, which has a digital tuner, also known as an ATSC tuner, built in. If a station near you is broadcasting in HDTV, you can attach an antenna to an integrated set and watch the station in high definition. Or you can purchase an HDTV-ready set, also called an HDTV monitor, which does not have an HDTV tuner. HDTV-ready sets often have NTSC tuners, so you can still watch analogue TV with them. Your picture quality will still be better than on your old TV, but it won't be high definition until you get an HDTV receiver.
Once you've picked up your set and installed it in your home, you'll need to get a signal. To get a signal, you can use:
An antenna - Depending on your location relative to the stations you want to watch, a small antenna may suffice, but otherwise you might need a rooftop or attic antenna. You can buy an antenna that's specifically made for digital signals, but any reliable VHF/UHF antenna will work.
Cable - Remember that digital cable is not the same as HDTV. Check with your provider to find out which packages include HDTV stations. You'll also either need a set-top cable box or a CableCARD' to allow your television to receive and decode the cable signal.
Satellite service - As with cable, check with your provider to find out which plans and stations use HDTV signals. You may need a different satellite dish and tuner to receive HDTV signals via satellite.