In the news this week I read that freeview television has just overtaken Sky when it comes to the number of subscribers in the UK. This isn’t exactly shocking news considering many new TV’s now come with freeview boxes installed, but it did get me thinking about where things were heading.

Personally, I’m pleased to have a reminder that the masses are finally moving away from the traditional four or five channel analogue system by investing in freeview boxes.I am still shocked,however, by the number of people actively complaining about the analogue switch off that will be occurring gradually across the UK from next year until 2012.

The argument pretty much comes down to a price point as these people argue that they just can’t afford to invest in a freeview box so the government should keep analogue TV online switched on.This,in my mind, is pretty short-sighted especially when you consider the relatively large allocation of frequency bandwidth analogue TV consumes which could be used for better things.In my opinion their argument with regards to the cost of upgrading is fairly weak when you consider that freeview boxes regularly go for around a tenner on eBay.If you haven’t yet upgraded remember that the switch off down here won’t happen for several years so set aside five pence a week and when the system is shut down you’ll be ready!

I don’t like to see people hold up the pace of technology just because they are frightened of change and more than anything else the additional channels broadcast completely free of charge on freeview, making the change from analogue all the more worthwhile.

Anyway, now that rant is out the way I think it’s time to look towards the future of TV broadcasting by looking at another technology known as HDTV which is likely to rapidly gain in popularity over the coming years.

High Definition Television (HDTV) offers the consumer a fantastic improvement in the picture quality as HD ready TVs have much higher resolutions than their older counterparts.A High Definition television can typically display up to four times the number of pixels than a regular TV which results in a much finer picture being produced.The greater resolution coupled with better colour reproduction and a completely different way of drawing the pictures on to the screen results in a much better picture quality which eliminates the flicker present on many older CRT televisions.

Fortunately, like the switch from analogue to digital, the switch from regular to HD transmissions is unlikely to be costly in the future.The majority of new LCD and Plasma screens sold in the last few years are HD ready which means that those who have recently purchased a new TV won’t have change again when HD becomes big in the UK.

A distinct advantage that I found of purchasing a HD ready TV is that in many instances you can plug your computer straight in to the back of the TV and use it as a large monitor.Before HD I used to try using my laptop with my old CRT television and the picture quality was absolutely terrible, so bad thatI found it impossible to make out any of the text due to the poor resolution.Using a computer or laptop with a High Definition TV however is a completely different story due to them having comparable resolutions to many monitors on the market.

Owning a HD television isn’t enough to start benefiting from improved transmission clarity as a HD decoder of some description is required.At present these can be costly due to there being no Freeview HD option which leaves you with a choice of either Virgin Media or Sky.These services are a fair bitcostlier than their lower resolution equivalents and the amount of high definition programming presently available is limited.Unfortunately those who adopt early usually get a poor deal but the cost will come down and the programming will increase over the coming months making HDTV a technology to watch for the future.



About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.