How to get high-definition programming
So you've just bought a new TV, but everything you watch is standard-definition and doesn't take advantage of its capabilities. It's time to get HDTV, and here's how.
Just as with regular television, you basically have three choices for getting HDTV:
- Using an antenna to get over-the-air HDTV for free
- Getting HDTV via cable
- Getting HDTV over satellite
To receive local HDTV via an antenna, you need an HDTV with a built-in digital tuner, or if you have an HDTV-ready television, you need to buy an external set-top digital tuner. Then simply hook an antenna to the TV or the external tuner.
Remember, you'll receive only local broadcasts such as NBC and PBS, not premium channels such as HBO, and many local stations are still not broadcasting in high-def.
If you're already a cable subscriber, the easiest way to get high-def is from your cable company. If the company offers HDTV, your installer will usually just hook up a special HDTV cable box and you'll have HDTV. Newer high-def sets may not even require the box; these are called Digital Cable Ready, or CableCard, HDTVs.
Finally, you can also get cable by subscribing to a satellite service such as Dish Network or DirecTV. Each company offers packages for national channels such as HBO and Discovery, as well as national feeds of some networks such as CBS. But you'll need to use an antenna for local HDTV broadcasts. To watch HDTV via satellite, you'll need to buy your company's external receiver.