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More People Spending Money To Upgrade To High-Definition TVs

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Even during a recession, people are spending the bucks to upgrade to digital and high-definition TV sets.

Phil Starling paid for his high-definition TV Tuesday and he is happy.

"I wouldn't go back to a regular TV. Anything less is like not having a TV anymore," he said.

Widescreen, high-definition displays are selling surprisingly well. There is more programming and people want the full effect of DVD movies.

"The push on digital has just been amazing mainly by high-definition and by DVD players. I think these are two of the biggest Christmas presents this year I've ever seen," said Amgad Saad of Garner TV and Appliance.

Dropping prices, surround-sound systems, satellite receivers and DVD players allow families to entertain themselves at home with very high quality. Those wanting newer or larger TVs are opting for digital- and HDTV-ready sets because they are just a few hundred dollars more than big screen, analog sets.

There are several reception options beginning with an antenna and a set-top box.

With an antenna, users are getting high-definition programs for free. Users have to invest the money for the box, but the programming is free. Or, users can go the cable route and get the box free, but pay for the programming.

Some Time Warner cable subscribers with HDTVs have a hard time getting an HDTV cable set-top box because they are handmade and in short supply.

"That's highly unusual for any high-tech type of equipment these days, but that is the case. Not only are they hand-manufactured, but Scientific Atlanta is the sole source for HDTV set-top terminals," said Brad Phillips of Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner asks subscribers to be patient. More terminals are on the way. The company said it expects about 500 more terminals by the end of the month and hundreds more early next year.


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