What is HDTV all about? Getting prettier pictures. Please caveat all of the below with this simple point – you’ve got to be able to see that it’s a better picture.
Some (brief) theoretical background
HDTV (High Definition TV) standards mean increased resolution of storage, transmission and display of video from different sources. The resolutions are 720p (1,280×720), 1080i and 1080p (1,920×1,080). i stands for interlaced which means that the dots aren’t all painted on your screen at once (the first row is painted, then the third then the fifth… then the second then the fourth then the sixth…), where as p stands for progressive-scan, where they’re all painted sequentially. In short, p gives a smoother picture, especially when there’s a lot of movement in the image (e.g. sports).
Most sources (e.g. standard DVDs, HD TV sources) currently still can’t get to 1080i/p but the argument is that if you want to view HD DVDs and you want to be future-proof for when broadcast resolutions increase (if you’re not planning on getting an HD DVD/Blu Ray drive, and you still want a 1080, take care that you’re buying something that will still be with you if/when the HDTV broadcast resolution increases!).
You pay a very significant premium for the pleasure of 1080p, so if you decide to take that route, make sure it’s worth it for you.
HD content usually comes in via HDMI or DVI connectors. The two are effectively interchangeable, with identical quality, however HDMI also carries audio.
Ok, now assuming you want HDTV, let’s get on to the options. As I see them at time of writing, these are as follows:
1) Rear projection