I sent a short email to Adelphia - cable provider in Forsythe County (Georgia) asking WHEN HDTV would be available through Adelphia in our area. Just a one sentence email to them - WHEN. Here was their "answer" back:
Thank you for contacting Adelphia regarding HDTV. Hopefully the following information will clear up any questions you may have. HDTV, known as High-Definition television or High-resolution Digital, television is the latest technology.
There is a slight difference between DTV (digital television) and HDTV. DTV is the transmission of pure digital television signals. These signals may be broadcast over-the-air or transmitted by a cable or satellite system to your home. There, a decoder such as a digital converter box, receives the signal, and converts it to a format that can be accommodated by your television.
High Definition Television is getting a lot of press. HDTV is the highest-resolution Digital television (DTV), combined with Dolby Digital surround sound. This is the highest DTV resolution in the newest set of standards. This combination creates theater-like viewing in your home. Simply stated, you can now view wide-screen format with surround sound on your home television.
There are HDTV stations "on the air" in many larger cities. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all stations be capable of broadcasting in HDTV format by 2006. Stations are required to broadcast both analog and digital signals until then to give everyone time to upgrade equipment. By 2006, all transmissions will be digital.
This mandate affects cable companies and consumers in significant ways. Consumers will have to buy new equipment, either HD-ready television with built in receiver/decoders or a HD-capable television that requires the addition of an external receiver/decoder. Currently these televisions retail at $1,000-$10,000. The least expensive way to see HDTV programming right now is to buy or rent an HDTV converter for your current television. Unfortunately, the HDTV shows you see will look no better than DVD on your TV -you will get none of the resolution and format benefits of a real HDTV set. To really take advantage of HDTV today, front or rear projection HDTV sets, or plasma sets are recommended.
Cable operators and broadcasters are involved in constructive discussions about carriage arrangements, and we remain committed to providing our customers with the programming they tell us they want. In the meantime, all HDTV broadcast signals are available to consumers over-the-air, just as broadcast analog signals are available to all consumers over-the-air, so cable systems will not impede the roll out of HDTV.
Currently, research indicates that consumer demand for HDTV is low. There is a limited number of programming hours available and a limited number of HD televisions in homes today. Also with the transmission of two signals from one provider we would be required to drop some of our current programming to accommodate the additional signal. Since there are only a few customers who would benefit from the change in format, we feel it would be better to accommodate the majority of our customers, by providing as many programming services as possible. When the demand justifies the change, Adelphia will respond to meet our customers' needs.
HDTV conversion will be a process that unfolds over several years. For example, major networks still have to agree on what resolution they will use. The FCC has approved no resolutions standard. However, the ultimate destination is a significant advance - remarkably better pictures and sound for both your TV and your computer!
Amy J. Raught
Customer Relations Specialist