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High Definition: The Big Picture

High definition television is something that I’ve been waiting a long time for. You see I’m a real film buff and I’ve always strived for the best possible quality when watching movies at home. This meant that while the majority of consumers were happily watching pre-recorded VHS video tapes, I was paying £50 a pop for LaserDiscs, which provided infinitely superior picture quality as well as Dolby Digital surround sound, years before the release of DVD! Obviously once DVD rolled around I proceeded to replace all my LaserDiscs and embrace the new wholly digital format – I’ve lost count of the amount of DVDs I own, but I dread to think how long it would take me to watch them back to back. But regardless of whether I was watching VHS, LaserDisc or DVD, one thing has always remained the same – the type of television I’ve watched them on.

With the introduction of high definition television, all that is about to change. No longer will we be subjected to the archaic, low resolution television images that we’ve endured for so long. From now on the picture on our television set will be as clear, vivid and lifelike as the image we see from our living room window. Well that’s the idea anyway, but unfortunately things are rarely that simple, and in the case of high definition television, things a very far from simple.

Before I dampen your enthusiasm for HDTV let me make one thing clear from the start, it really does look amazing. The difference between high definition and standard definition is like night and day. The detail, the depth of field and the vibrant colours all add up to a truly breathtaking experience. But the devil is in the detail, and the intricacies of HDTV can be confusing for even the most tech savvy consumer and the last thing anyone wants to do is spend a lot of money and end up being disappointed.

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