Fun With High Definition Television

I wound up in Long Beach today at my aunt and uncle’s place fixing the setup on their new Panasonic 60″ LCD Projection TV. It’s a gorgeous set. And huge! The guys who delivered it didn’t take the time to, or know how to, or whatever, do the little things like auto-program the channels. I did another nice picture calibration with my Avia DVD just like I did for Cameron.

This set has a built-in High Definition (HD) decoder. So in addition to hooking it up to their DirecTV, non-HD for now, I also hooked it up to their roof antenna. I never realized how many digital stations are broadcasting now. Or at least here in Los Angeles. There’s tons! Now only a few are actually broadcasting in HD. The major networks really only do HD for Primetime and major sporting events on the weekends. KCET, a local PBS station, has a 24 hour HD channel. It looks fantastic.

The digital stations work like this: Channel 2 out here is CBS. Digital CBS comes in on channel 2.1. NBC on channel 4. Digital NBC on 4.1. But there’s quite a bit of spectrum allocated for each “channel” so stations can actually have multiple digital broadcasts on one “channel”. ABC has a digital channel 7.1 which mirrors the analog broadcast, but it also has channel 7.2 with a completely different program.

The aforementioned KCET is channel 28. Channel 28.1 is their HD show which is different from the analog signal. The digital version is actually on 28.2. In fact I found a few channels like 58, another PBS station, which actually have 4 digital broadcasts on one “channel”. And in case you don’t know, a non-HD digital broadcast is called Standard Definition (SD). Actually some of the channels like the major networks came in listed as DT (Digital Television) which I took to mean that sometimes the broadcast in SD and sometimes in HD. But I could be wrong.

In any case, it was pretty cool stuff.