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What are the Disadvantages of HDTV?

written by: Debasis Das•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/27/2010

With two recent developments, the digital TV transition and the invention and subsequent adoption of Blu-ray technology, HDTV is becoming increasingly prevalent. However, high definition television does have a few disadvantages that you need to consider before making the switch.

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    Introduction

    There are a number of different technologies that are competing for the HDTV market. Some of these are plasma TVs, flat panel LCD TVs, LED TVs, DLPs and more. Each of these technologies has its own typical disadvantages. As a whole, there are also a few disadvantages common to all HDTV technologies, and this is what we shall look at here.

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    High Definition Television Disadvantages

    The general disadvantages of HDTV are largely transitional. The technology is there, but it is not very widespread yet. It is not as widespread as it was with the analog TV technology we were used to and has been around for decades. One of the implications is that because of the huge volumes and stable manufacturing, television prices were as low as they could be. We could easily afford to have a TV not in only in the living room but also one in the bedroom, the kitchen, etc. The HDTV volumes are low and there are competing technologies fragmenting the numbers between these technologies. The result is prices are still high. Until volumes are pushed up over time, the prices are not likely to reach the level where we could afford multiple televisions in one home. It is likely to be half a decade or so before we see a similar situation for HDTV. Until then, one HDTV in the living room is the likely situation for the average household.

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    Hi Def and Legacy Content to Continue for Some Time

    As with any transition, the legacy stuff continues to be in circulation for some time while the volumes on the new technology builds up. So you are likely to see content that were meant for the older sets formatted in HD format and being made available to you. Thus, it is very likely that some of the programming (or a lot, depending on where in the US, or the world, you are) is still going to be in the older format. Your current movie collection also is likely to be on DVDs in legacy format. Changing over to Blu-ray discs is going to take time. Movie rentals like Netflix and others too do not have many Blu-ray titles. It is only the new titles that are likely to be available in this newer HDTV format. HDTVs deal with this by being backward compatible.

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    Backward Compatibility Related Issues

    Backward compatibility causes a couple of disadvantages. One is that of black bands around the viewing area when you view the older content. When the video content is actually stretched to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio of the HDTV the image quality suffers. The second disadvantage is that of delay when switching from HD to a non HD channel or vice versa. There is going to be quite a noticeable delay as the TV adjusts to the broadcast technology. There are some issues related to the compression technology used in digital video. These are more noticeable on the larger screens that typical HDTVs have. One is pixellation or colored block seen on the video. The second effect is that of motion blur when there is rapid motion in the scene or quick camera movement.

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    The Cable Tangle

    Cabling the HDTV up, particularly if you have a multi-channel home theater sound system, could be complicated and confusing to most of us. HDMI provides a means of simple connection but prices are high right now (although they should be coming down soon). There are quite a few options about input to the TV and which one to choose can be an issue still. For example, besides HDMI you may have component video inputs, composite video or even an S-video connection. Briefly, use HDMI if possible. Component connection is the next best. There are several issues in connecting up an external sound system, particularly a multiple home theater. More information on this can be found in the following articles:

    Home Theater Design: Do It Yourself Home Theater

    Home Theater Connection Types