Local News

HDTV a Coming Reality

Posted April 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— By now, you've likely heard about high definition television, but prepare yourself. The next couple of years will bring the reality of HDTV home.

The Federal Communications Commission has ordered all television broadcasters to switch over to a digital signal by the year 2006, and when that time comes, all the current state-of-the-art sets that now line store shelves will be passe. HDTV will be taking over, and this change raises many questions for consumers. Television salesman Bill Sessoms told WRAL-TV5'sMark Robertsthere's a lot of talk these days.

The excitement stems from the fact that HDTV's quality, video and audio, eclipses that of today's analog sets, and the picture is much larger with a rectangular, instead of a square, screen.

Consumer Melinda Whitaker voices the concern of many when she wonders what the new technology will cost.

Consumer Frank McNally also has concerns about cost.

But before consumers begin to spend that money, broadcasters will be spending millions of dollars to convert to HDTV.

Capitol Broadcasting, which owns WRAL-TV5 and WRAL OnLine, was the first broadcast outlet to receive an HDTV license from the FCC, and broadcast the very first HDTV signal on July 23, 1996.

By the way, studies show that a household is likely to make a new television purchase every eight years. With the conversion date set at nine years from now, it would probably not be a good idea to plan on buying a digital set just yet.

Three of the largest names in personal computing are already making plans for the switch to digital television.The Wall Street Journalreports that Microsoft, Intel and Compaq are trying to persuade broadcasters to ensure digital tv contains internet-based information services and interactivity.