How to Get the Most From Your HDTV

HDTV Image Gallery A shopper inspects HDTVs in a store in New York City. See more HDTV pictures.
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­For years, people have heard that watching a movie on a high-definition (HD) set is like looking out a window. The picture is sharper, clearer and more detailed than anything you'll see on an older, standard-definition (SD) set. It's supposed to be a revolution on par with the jump from black and white to color.

But after all that hype, the experience of watching a brand new HDTV can be a little anticlimactic. If you just plug it in and start watching, you might be disappointed with what you see. The picture might look pretty good but seem brighter or more unnatural than it did in the store. Or, it might be pixelated, distorted or fuzzy and not look good at all. Why does this happen? HDTVs are supposed to be better than old, analog TVs for two reasons:

  • HDTVs can use digital signals made of ones and zeros rather than analog signals made of fluctuating waves. Digital signals aren't prone to static, interference or ghost images like analog signals are. They do a better job of carrying the information that makes up the picture.
  • HDTVs have a higher resolution than analog sets. They can display images with far more detail than traditional TVs can.

Fortunately, it's easy to get better performance from your HDTV. All it takes is a few minutes to configure everything correctly and a little knowledge about what kinds of programs will look best.  See the next page to get started.