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High Definition Satellite TV - What You Should Know Ever since high definition (HD) TV sets came on the market in the late 90's, high definition TV has been touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread - "Life like picture!" Vibrant colors!" "Three dimensional sound!" But what is high definition satellite TV? Is it really all that great? And where can you get HD satellite TV service at the best price? Let's find out ... What is High Definition Satellite TV? High definition satellite TV is a broadcast format that provides a higher resolution picture than over-the-air (analog) broadcasts and regular digital broadcasts, resulting in a clearer, more colorful picture. Picture quality is measured in scan lines. The more scan lines a picture has, the clearer the picture. Analog TV has 525 scan lines per image, while HDTV has up to 1,080 lines per image - almost twice as many lines of resolution - giving you twice the clarity of analog TV. What are the benefits of high definition satellite TV? The benefits of high definition TV are: * HDTV broadcasts are all digital so you get a clear picture without the ghosting or snow that you get with analog TV broadcasts. * You get super-sharp images with more realistic colors than analog or regular digital satellite TV. * HD programming is in 16:9 widescreen format, similar to that of a movie screen, giving you the feeling that you're part of the picture * High definition programming is broadcast in Dolby Digital surround sound for a three- dimensional listening experience. Where can I get high definition satellite TV? The two major satellite TV providers - DISH Network and DIRECTV - offer high definiton programming packages. DISH Network bundles its HDTV packages with regular digital programming packages. They offer four HDTV packages with prices starting at $29.99 per month for 30 HD channels and 75 regular digital channels. DIRECTV offers its HD programming package as an add on. Their price is $9.99 for 8 HD channels. (Click on the links below for more HD satellite TV programming information.) What equipment do I need? When you subscribe to their service, DISH Network and DIRECTV will give you a free satellite TV system consisting of a satellite dish and up to four receivers. Installation and instruction from your installer on how to use it is also free. In order to get high definition reception you'll need a high definition receiver. DISH Network will give you a free HD receiver, and DIRECTV will give you a free HD receiver after a $99 mail-in rebate. If you want to digitally record your favorite programs you can purchase a combination HD DVR (digital video recorder) receiver from either provider which will store up to 200 hours of programming. In addition to a satellite dish and a high definition receiver, you'll also need an HD TV set. So what's the bottom line? The bottom line is you get a much better picture and better quality sound than you get with standard analog broadcasts, or even regular digital satellite TV broadcasts. So if you want the highest quality picture and sound, and are willing to spend a few extra dollars to get it, HDTV is for you. The author, Brian Stevens, is the senior editor for TheSatelliteTVGuide.com and has written numerous articles on high definition satellite TV. © 2006 TheSatelliteTVGuide.com
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