Article compliments AVS and hurts HDTV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-21-2002, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't really know where to post this so I thought I'd try here first. The following is and article (from ZDNet) that compliments AVS Forum, but says to hold off on HDTV because it is too complicated. Read it and see what you think!

ARTICLE

Steve
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-22-2002, 09:11 AM
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The worst part of the article is that the guy bought a 4x3 TV :-)
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-22-2002, 02:09 PM
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Apparently the people writing these articles are too young to remember the days of climbing up on a roof and installing an antenna to receive 3 or 4 snowy, fuzzy, wavey analog TV channels.

I did not encounter ANY obstacles setting up my HD receiver (Dish 6000). The most difficult part was mounting the antenna in my attic. I am renting a duplex right now and did not feel like being the only "trailer trash" in the neighborhood sporting a 121" UHF/VHF/FM combo antenna so I opted for the attic.

That all done, I plugged into the STB, turned it on, entered the channels and I was done. How hard is that? I guess if you grew up suckling on cable it is very hard.

You measure your TV in INCHES? How cute! 9.16 Ft Diagonally, Yeah, Baby!
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-23-2002, 11:51 AM
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I'm on the committee renegotiating the cable tv license for the town I work for. Please, don't underestimate the stupidity of the TV viewing public.

The single biggest issue the public brought to our attention (which we can do nothing about) was that the history channel requires a cable box. And they don't want that nasty old cable box because it's too hard to use and just too much trouble.

HDTV is far too difficult for most people to conceive of. The jokes about the flashing time on the VCR aren't just jokes.

Certainly I don't see the point of buying a 4x3 hdtv. Frankly, I'm a complete HDTV skeptic, but I may end up buying a set because I want a 16x9 one.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-23-2002, 02:51 PM
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No the worst thing is he paid retail
I got the exact model in 32inches for a little over a $1000 last friday at the Sony store
What a maroon!!!!

"Conspiracy theorists don't live on the same flat Earth as the rest of us." -- astronomer Stephen Maran
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-23-2002, 03:26 PM
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lew,

you are an hdtv skeptic..

two questions have you seen HDTV, and have you seen others see it in a store that is showing it properly, people love it.. but price is holding them back.. But in time those prices will come down and then hdtv will really catch on too.

Hdtv will be the honey that makes the bitter pill of Dtv forceing people to buy a new tv, or spend more money on a stb for there current tv to even be viewed in the future. Because atleast when they replace that tv and purchase their next tv after the change over, they will have hdtv's greatly improved picture to make the new standard and change seem worthwhile.

-tony

Pardon my spelling, the checker hangs my system.
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-24-2002, 08:10 AM
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Yes, I've seen it. It's superior to NTSC.

Here's the basics that I see:

Most people have and want TVs that cost under $200 and are 25" or below. HDTV will give them really nothing. Any digital picture on a screen that small looks great. And these folks buy mainly on price and aren't going to pay 2 or 3 times what they used to. Even if they go digital it will be low end SDTV. And since this will cost more than it used to, they will be angry about even that.

If you look at DBS and digital cable, they have consistently sacrificed quality of picture for breadth of programming. You can get a bigger audience by broadening your offerings than by catering to the elite who care about picture quality. This gets even worse if you think, as I do, that the vast majority of people will _never_ have the capability to receive HD programming because even if NTSC sets are removed from the market they will opt for cheaper digital SD. There's just no reason for networks to transmit in HDTV rather than multicasting.

Really, you have to get out into the real world away from elite, ie, people like us:-) In renegotiating our cable contract we held public hearings and this is a small town, so they were very well announced. We got a couple of dozen people turning out. We did not have a single person ask us about HDTV. We did not have a single person ask us about digital tier channels. We did not have a single person ask us about Dolby Digital. We did not have a single person ask us about PVRs. We had one person ask about cable internet--my father in law.

We had a large number of angry people who didn't want "that cable box" in their homes. It was too confusing and troublesome to use and they didn't understand why they couldn't get HBO on their tv without that box.

We had questions about FM service. We had questions about discounts on "lifeline" service. We had someone complaining that the billing cycle had changed by 15 days and this had created a financial burden on him because he wasn't prepared to pay the bill two weeks earlier than it usually came.

Now we're going to tell them they need to buy a new TV that costs roughly twice what their old one did. They're going to need an STB. And channel 5 is going to broadcast four channels in the day and one at night. And this is going to be "better."

I just don't see it. At some point the HD industry will run out of early adopters and then face the masses. And at that point, I just see a big stall.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-24-2002, 09:34 AM
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Interesting stuff Lew. Could just as easily have posted this in the "Biggest obstacle to HDTV" thread as well, thats currently running. While I tend to think HD programming will continue, I cant say as I'm at all surprised with what you found in the community.

Dan

Don't confuse me with facts...
My mind is made up.
;-)
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-24-2002, 11:23 AM
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FYI I think there probably will continue to be HD tv sets btw. I just think they'll end up playing DVDs. I was actually here to look at what people thought of some of the cheaper sets and I saw the thread and had read the original article.
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-24-2002, 05:47 PM
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ok two questions actually...
1)does HDTV require a 121" dish? i thought it used standard 18-24" dishes like DirecTV uses...
2)does anyone have any ideas about when HDTV will make the jump to becoming more affordable and easier to use? i have no problem paying $700 for an HD receiver except for the fact that i know they will be cheaper and better in a year. i almost paid $1400 for a sony DVD player 3 years ago when they first came out and they had zero features. anyway...
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-24-2002, 10:25 PM
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cyan,
You can get hdtv two ways over the air(ota) using an antenna and using a 18 x 24 dish with dtv. They both require a set top box(stb) and there are only 2 dedicated hdtv channels on dtv and depending on the area you live there maybe 2 to 5 hdtv channels. Also not everything ota is always hd.
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post #12 of 26 Old 01-26-2002, 04:39 PM
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For ten years I wanted to take down the previous owners TV antenna. One summer I remodeled the exterior, I finally took it down. A year later I caught the HDTV bug and had a new one put up. First an eyesore, now not.
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-27-2002, 09:16 AM
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Lew,

Having served (and that's the right term) on more than a few committees in my small (18k) town, I've come to believe that in all but the most contentious matters the "inhabitants" who attend committee meetings are not representative of the town. At the risk of offending some, it has been my experience that the busy-with-real-life folks don't make the trek to Town Hall for anything short of the meeting to discuss siting the nuclear power plant. In most cases, we were seeing the same, rather cranky people each week.

So, we didn't base our decisions, and I hope you don't make yours, solely on the desires of those few who attend.

HDTV is inevitable. Yes, many VCR clocks are still flashing "12:00 ", but everyone knows how to play a tape. Give it a few years, and the CATV providers will get on board. Then they'll raise the price to "offset the costs of providing hdtv", and most folks, who don't know and don't care about 1080i vs. 720p, will be buying their first 16:9 set.

Just my 2c

Ken
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-27-2002, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Most people have and want TVs that cost under $200 and are 25" or below. HDTV will give them really nothing. Any digital picture on a screen that small looks great. And these folks buy mainly on price and aren't going to pay 2 or 3 times what they used to. Even if they go digital it will be low end SDTV. And since this will cost more than it used to, they will be angry about even that.
Cheap SDTV receivers are exactly what are needed to make digital broadcasting profitable. The whole point is that these sets would be compatible with HDTV, although displaying it at SDTV resolution. Viewers who watch a digital station on one of these cheap sets count just as much in the ratings as those watching on high end systems. When this happens, stations will finally be able to sell their digital air time. Don't hold your breath waiting for them to provide programming that produces negative cash flow.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-29-2002, 12:44 AM
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I have to agree at this point that HDTV is an enthusiast only product. Most people are not going to buy a $2500+ HDTV, spend $600 + for a HD STB, plus there is the cost for audio componenets, DVD player etc. And then subscribe to the occasional content. When you consider the amount of fiddling it takes to get it working (let alone optimized) this is just not main stream stuff.

Also the amount of HD content is not compelling yet. More live broadcast events like the Olympics, local sports teams, and the weekly series programming via cable or sat (OTA ain't going to cut it).

So the inflection point will be easy to setup (even if pricey) HW with "no brainer" access to widespread compelling content. I don't see this in the crystal ball yet. Mean while I love my new hobby!

Chuck
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-29-2002, 07:35 AM
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My reply to the authors of the article:

To: vandana.sharma@cnet.com, andy.smith@cnet.com
(these are the email addresses that popped up when I
clicked on the "John Morris and Josh Taylor" link)

-----

Hi folks,

I was a little disappointed with your article dated January 18, 2002
titled "HDTV: Why it's only for true technophiles".

Two points bug me about the article:

1. To say that HD is not ready for prime-time because
someone bought a hard to use STB is a poor portrayal of
the state of HD usability. Yes, HD setups are trickier
than having a an analog TV and a single remote for the
cable. Of course. But your portrayal makes it seem like
STB's are horrible at this point. They are not all bad.
I have a Panasonic TU-HDS20 HD receiver. It is pretty
good. I do not have to go behind the unit to do anything.
It works very well and Panasonic is supporting it with free
upgrades for the few problems it has had.

2. I do not like articles in general that review several
components and extrapolate the entire state of the market
for these components based on their performance. As I
already stated in my first point different hardware is going
to yield different results.

What would help make HD components
and setups easier to use by the average Joe/Jane is articles
that speak the truth yet also encourage folks to try out
new technology. Admit that you may encounter a few bumps in
the road but I for one find it really cool to be the
first person on my street with HD reception. This would
encourage folks that are on the fence to give it a try.
Sales would increase and atleast HD-technology would start
to be recognized as a viable fit for the future. Obviously
work needs to be done to get more HD programming up and
running. Guess what? It's on the way. Check out
http://www.titantv.com Enter your STB and HD setup info.
You get a listing of programming in your area AND there is
a listing on the site for impending new HD programming in your
area. There's plenty of OTA programming coming in May of 2002.

Yes, it's new and as a result not super easy to use yet but
it does work and works well with a little effort. Encouragement
by the media would sure help the adoption of the technology.
That would give the technology dollars and committment for
the product to mature for eventual adoption by Joe/Jane average.

-Ed
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-29-2002, 07:39 AM
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I just sent one other point to the originators of this article.

Here's my email:

One other point is that Josh did not even use
an HDTV in his evaluation of HD. How can you
do this and honestly write an article that you
want to be taken seriously by any but the
HD-neophytes?

-Ed
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-29-2002, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by spwace
Cheap SDTV receivers are exactly what are needed to make digital broadcasting profitable. The whole point is that these sets would be compatible with HDTV, although displaying it at SDTV resolution. Viewers who watch a digital station on one of these cheap sets count just as much in the ratings as those watching on high end systems.
Yes, but if you reduce the resolution and multicast, my belief is they will gain more viewers than they lose. Ie, if they broadcast the superbowl in SD and multicast the "I hate sports" show in SD, they will experience low of minimal loss in superbowl ratings, but will gain the ratings of the non-gridiron fans.

The number of gridiron fans who hold their breath until they turn blue and watch something else in HD simply because the SB isn't in HD will be very minimal. People choose programming because of content not quality.

Why wouldn't they maximize quality? Wouldn't this bring in more viewers? Probably not. Take a look at DBS. They always choose and have flourished on the basis of more choice over more picture quality.

Again, I believe digital broadcasting might happen, but I just don't believe it's going to be in high definition. I think SD digital multicasting or simply stealing the spectrum and reselling data services (paging etc.) are much more advantageous business models for the broadcast industry.

The one thing that really does concern me most of all is something I want to see happen very very much and that is widescreen format programming. And while the program providers seem to be programming plenty of widescreen stuff, the HDTV manufacturers seem to be making all the even close to affordable sets in 4x3 format.
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-29-2002, 08:50 AM
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Interesting thread... Unfortunately, the article that started this thread is also posted on MSN as well. See this link http://msn.com.com/2100-1107-818242.html. I just don't get what is so "complicated" about STB's. It's a tuner, just like the tuner in the cable box, VCR or the TV. Set you TV source to the HD input and then watch. What the heck is so hard?

I don't like the article because it didn't really cover what Josh's programming options are. Does it say where he lived? For me, getting HD was a no brainer, an it only added about $500 more to the cost of my whole HT setup (if you already have the TV and are going to get DirectTV that is). The STB (Proscan or DTC-100) was about $300 ($400 vs $100) and putting a nice Channel Master attenna in my attic was (I'm guessing here) was around $200 extra, so for $500 extra, I can watch (I live in Boston area) CBS, ABC, Leno (it is not fair to say NBC), and sometimes PBS. We also get Fox digital. Not HD, but definitely better than the DirectTV provided Fox feed. I also get HBO and HDNet via DirectTV. Not going HD would be really be a shame (in my case). I've seen The Masters, NCAA Final Four, US Open Tennis and countless other shows in HD and the difference on my 64" widescreen TV is very significant. Maybe the prices are different now, but it was not a big factor when setting up my system just one year ago.

Anyway, I hope Josh enjoys his future bedroom system. I say this because my old 32 inch 4x3 (non HD) Wega, Sherwood Receiver, Paradigm Cinema Series speakers and Toshiba DVD player are all in my bedroom now.

So, now that Josh has his current setup, his next article will be on the virtues of Pan and scan DVD's.

Of course, it is true that most people won't spend the money. But, in the case of Josh (guy in the article) he certainly could have. He even has an STB and does not recommend it. I just don't get it. He was not buying just a TV, but a whole entertainment package (DVD player, receiver, speakers, DSS). I guess that if he had "wanted" a bigger picture and bought a 56 inch projection TV, or liked to watch DVD's more and bought a widescreen TV, then his article would have turned out different.

I guess I can still understand why the masses don't embrace HD (covered very well by others in this thread), but I don't get why Josh (who I think is a real person, Josh Taylor, one of the authors) didn't like it. His summation at the end (IMHO) does not really cover the reasons one should consider in the decision to go HD or not, especially if you are purchasing a whole HT system. I don't know what the figures are, but I know lots of people like Josh who have recently gone out or are going to buy similar systems; especially after seeing mine. :)

Regards,
Hal
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-30-2002, 09:34 AM
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This article doesn't surprise me in the least. Most writers are preaching to the lowest common denominator and technically illiterate to boot.

I'm in the heart of the Silicon Valley, with one of the most sophistocated audiences in the world. Yet the San Jose Mercury News had a full page review of home theater systems about a year ago in which the writer stated that the law of diminishing returns ran out at about $50 per speaker. And he was one of their key "technology writers".

There's a reason why the circulation of magazines like TPV and Widescreen Review is so low. Few folks care these days. They would rather have 5 different but crappy Animal Channels than oone or two in glorious HDTV.
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-31-2002, 10:58 AM
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He does say that it is a subject to look at in a year. He has a point but the article says almost nothing of value. Unless they are just looking for a cheap set, people who buy medium to large sets today should consider getting widescreen and HDTV ready for the simple fact that their set will be outdated in a year or two or three. DVD looks great on a regular TV but it looks even better on HDTV ready. It is worth it to me just for the one channel that Time Warner is going to give me; HBO and soon Showtime. People have to think ahead and for many people who will use satellite or cable, whats the big deal. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to find the channel labelled HDTV. The local video rental store is almost all DVD now. Tapes are going the way of vinyl. Once people see real HDTV signal in a store on HDTV ready units they will be ready spend a little extra. The prices have come way down already.
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post #22 of 26 Old 02-07-2002, 05:57 PM
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I consider myself fairly knowledgeable as far as electronics go (e.g. I upgraded the hard drive in my Replay TV and distributed the signal to my smaller bedroom TV using a modulator). So simplicity to me is not an issue. What kept me away from 16x9 was phosphor burn.

I only have space in my house for one "main" TV set. I watch a lot of 4x3 programming. From what I understand, if you watch more than about 15% of 4x3 with sidebars you will get permanent phosphor burn. So what were my options?

(1) stop watching 4:3 programming in my new TV
(2) watch it stretched
(3) get a 4:3 TV and wait until I either get a bigger house (16x9 set or projector in the home theater and 4x3 in the family room) or until 16x9 programming is the norm

I chose #3 for now. I truly wanted a 16x9 set, but more importantly, I wanted a TV I could watch for the majority of stuff I watch right now. If all I watched were widescreen DVD's then it would be a no brainer, but that's not the case.

If they figure out a way to prevent phosphor burn in a 16x9 set no matter how much 4x3 programming you watch I would get that in a second.
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post #23 of 26 Old 02-08-2002, 12:42 AM
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I give no credibility to the article. The fact that ZDnet published it takes away from thier credibility as well. ZDnet appears to be an outlet for technical information, but the authors are complete technical goofs.
If you follow the link for the previous article (http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/stor...838833,00.html)
It starts out all bad by asking the reader to imagine HDTV and "picture the best DVD image you've ever seen" It is obvious that neither author has actually seen HDTV, but somehow they are writing a review of it in a international tech news outlet.
The author says, "he finally had to call in a professional installer who could mount a rooftop UHF antenna (UHF and HD signals are very similar)"
The author a) can't mount a simple outdoor antenna, and b)doesn't understand the basics about television and why UHF and HD are not things that can be 'similar'

The internet is a great way for people to have a voice that may not otherwise be heard, but you would understand that if the source was a public forum, newsgroup, or what have you. However if the source is a (somewhat) reputable outlet, you would think there would be some quality control over the garbage that is spewed forth.
-Bill

P.S. I would like to thank Roberts Satellite Services for separting this fool from $200 of his money :)
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post #24 of 26 Old 02-09-2002, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by esanborn
Check out
http://www.titantv.com Enter your STB and HD setup info.
You get a listing of programming in your area AND there is
a listing on the site for impending new HD programming in your
area. There's plenty of OTA programming coming in May of 2002.

-Ed
Thanks for the URL, I just spent the last hour on the FCC website trying to find when my area was going to get DTV. Thanks to your URL I found the info in 2 minutes. I am going to by an new TV and wanted to know if DTV ready was worth spending extra money on. Thanks I know that my area now should have DTV by May 2002 ( over half of the local OTA was listed).

Thanks

Tim S
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post #25 of 26 Old 02-11-2002, 03:19 PM
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Yes, I love the titantv website too. I have heard on this
forum however that the May 2002 is the planned date.
It may very-well be that the actual date that the station
is on the air is later. Probably lot's of loopholes have been
"programmed" into the dates to give the stations a little
ability to adjust dates due to budgetary constraints, etc.

Also, keep in mind that for all of the stations that are
presently listed as on the air ARE on the air but YOUR
setup may not receive them. It is highly dependant on
your equipment, antenna-type, location of antenna and
your line-of-site to the stations. For example,
I can pickup my NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox digital stations
fine. But I have yet to pickup PBS yet even though it
is listed as receivable in my area. My problem is that I
elected to mount my antenna at the highest point IN
my shed. Having just renovated my house I just couldn't
see mounting it outside on the roof because it would've
looked to retro...so I can't pickup PBS, oh well. Also, when you
buy your HD receiver research them to find one that offers
a signal strength indicator for OTA signals. My doesn't.
I have the Panasonic TU-HDS20, which only provides
signal strength if I'm receiving from DirecTV.

I find the OTA reception and programming fun as hell. Replay's
of the days Olympic events now on the NBC affiliates is
really nice. What an awesome picture. Also, ABC is
starting to broadcast more and more prime-time movies
in HD. CBS leads them all. Most of their prime-time shows
are in HD. Makes a huge difference on large screens.

-Ed
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post #26 of 26 Old 02-11-2002, 04:17 PM
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From my location I can see the TV antenna towers. So I should be able to get the stations. Might not get the PBS one its not in line of sight but the major 4 abc,cbs,nbs & fox are all visible.

Tim S
stahta01 is offline  
Closed Thread Local HDTV Info and Reception

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