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10 HDTV myths from PCWorld

Kevin C. Tofel

I'm surprised they only stopped at ten since there's just so much misunderstanding about HDTV. Hopefully, we clarified that a little with weekend feature last week: HDTV Defined. Here's the list of myths from PCWorld along with my brief thoughts. What do you think: facts or myth? What myths have you heard that are missing from the list?

1. An HD set is all you need to get high-def programs. Actually, an HD set by itself doesn't "get" anything until you hook up an antenna or other programming source. Keep in mind that "HD-Ready" has no digital tuner while "HDTV" has some tuning capabilities.

2. The bigger your HDTV set, the better it will look. Perhaps if you're showing off the size of it to the neighbors, but what about the picture? Output resolution, program signal and proper calibration have much to do with this one.

3. The higher the screen resolution, the better the image quality of an HDTV. Not necessary. First off, you need to consider the set's native resolution. The broadcast format will also dictate what the image quality is.

4. You have to relinquish the fluid motion of a CRT screen when you move up to HDTV. Oh, say it isn't so! Progressive scanning and advances in PDPs and DLP sets bring the flatties up to par with the fatties.

5. Burn-in will wreck your plasma HDTV within a year. Sure, ghosting and burn-in are a concern, but not one to worry about these days. This myth might have been valid during the first few generations of PDPs, but they've come a long way since then.

6. Bright LCDs look beautiful everywhere, and they use much less power than plasma or CRT sets do. Not so fast; brightness is good, but too bright of a picture affects those important black levels too. As far as power concerns: the power differences between sets aren't likely to break your utility budget.

7. These pricey TVs look so great out of the box that it's a waste to pay a small fortune to have a professional calibrate your set. Well, what's a small fortune, these days? Didn't you just pay one for your set? So, what's a few more dollars to make it sparkle? If you have a THX-mastered DVD, we show you how to calibrate your own set. Or you can purchase a DVD to help for around $50 or less.

8. All true HDTV programming looks equally great. Well now, that depends on the compression no? Not to mention, can your set handle the signal it's receiving or is it converting for the native resolution of your set?

9. Standard-definition TV is unwatchable on HDTV. I wouldn't say unwatchable, but it's not great. If you can't receive a fair amount of HDTV programming where you live, perhaps it's not yet time to drop a bundle on a new HDTV set.

10. I'll have to toss all my current analog sets when the digital conversion kicks in. Not likely since the DTV legislation is calling for analog-to-digital converter subsidies. Even if the government doesn't fund it, you can bet that companies will produce the converters and they'll be more than happy to sell them to you!

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