HDTVs go mainstream

By Mickey Winfield: PNT Sports writer

High-definition, flat-panel televisions are in demand in Clovis and Portales, even though the availability of high-definition programming is limited to satellite providers.

HDTV offers higher resolution and better clarity than traditional formats, a difference Butch Dunn, owner of Towne Crier Home & Car Stereos in Clovis, said his customers notice when they see high-definition TVs on display at the store.

“People just look at them and go, ‘Wow, look at the difference,’” Dunn said.

He estimated there are about 30 channels of HDTV programming available in the Clovis area through satellite services, adding HDTV is all his customers seem interested in this year.

“That’s all anybody wants,” Dunn said, explaining Monday he was scheduled to deliver four units to customers.

Chris Grah, a sales manager at Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership in Clovis, said his customers, too, are almost exclusively interested in HDTV units. Grah said all television will eventually go to high-definition format.

“Pretty much everybody asks for them now. The HDTV gives a lot better picture,” he said.

Robert Encinias, owner of Robert’s TV, Furniture and Appliance on Avenue C in Portales, said he hasn’t been able to get information on when local channels will begin to offer HDTV signals.

“I’ve tried to call the (local) broadcast companies, but I can’t get an answer on when they’re going to be broadcasting in high definition,” said Encinias, who has been in the electronics business for more than 30 years.

Officials with cable-TV providers Comcast in Portales and SuddenLink in Clovis said they didn’t have a timeline for offering HDTV programming locally.

Local broadcast network affiliates nationwide are increasingly offering their programming in HDTV format, but that trend hasn’t hit southeastern New Mexico yet.

HDTV programming is available through major satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.

Despite the lack of HDTV programming locally, Encinias said there’s been interest in high-definition, flat-panel screens during the holidays.

“Our busy season starts in July and August because of the football season,” Encinias said. “And the craze is flat panels. The picture quality is incredible. (Customers) can’t believe how you can see the freckles on a person’s face. You can see if a person shaved or not that morning, the quality is that good. And (HDTVs) are small.

They’re not as bulky (as standard picture tube televisions) and that’s good for delivery.”

When buying a new television set these days, consumers will face a sometimes confusing list of acronyms and terms. Here’s what some of them stand for:

Analog — Old type of television/radio signal

DTV — Digital Television (new type of signal)

SDTV — Standard Definition Television (lowest quality)

EDTV — Enhanced Definition Television (middle quality)

HDTV — High Definition Television (highest quality)

CRT — Cathode Ray Tube (old style of picture tube)

Integrated tuner — Digital television with tuner and monitor in one set

Rear projection TV — Set provides wide-angle viewing on larger screen

LCD Screen — Liquid Crystal Display, thin screen with high-quality, limited size and expensive price.

Plasma Screen — Creates bright, clear picture up to enormous screen sizes on thin screen

Information from dtv.gov

Important DTV dates

• July 1, 2006: All new 25-inch or larger sets must have DTV tuners or be DTV-ready

• March 1, 2007: All new 13-inch or larger sets must have DTV tuners or be DTV-ready

• Feb. 17, 2009: Proposed shutoff date for over-the-air analog broadcasts

Information from howstuffworks.com