The Emergence of HDTV

There was an old episode of HAPPY DAYS (a real old episode from the first season when it was shot on film... yes, THAT old) that featured the family purchasing a color television converter. The converter - which was a real item that was sold on the market in the 1950's - was a plastic cover with transparent colors that would be placed over the black and white image and convert the image into a color image.

These converters where green on the bottom and blue on the top and, yes, this was designed to reproduce the green, green grass of home and the glory of the blue skies. Of course, it looked ridiculous and did not necessarily do all that much for news broadcasts or boxing matches. Eventually progress did march onwards and color television finally debuted. Progress in consumer electronics always moves forward and it has perpetually improved and now we have the newest member of high quality consumer electronics, the HDTV television set.

The Consumer Need

The reason that the HDTV set is so popular is that there will always be a desire in the consumer marketplace for the best of all picture and audio quality and there is nothing better for these qualities. This is somewhat interesting when it was only 15 years ago that HDTV was considered to be the best picture and sound quality that "you will never see." The reason for this was because the cost of HDTV would be too expensive for consumer use. (HDTV television cameras in 1991 had cost upwards of $500,000!)

The belief was that the price would never come down low enough that the HDTV television set would ever be affordable in the consumer marketplace. (They said the same thing about the Video Tape Recorder in 1962 when it cost upwards of $30,000) Needless to say, engineers spent quite a bit of man hours figuring out a way to devise cost effective technology and that is why we have the HDTV television set in retail stores this very day.

Of course, the prices for these television sets are significantly more expensive than the standard television set, but this is what should be expected when a new product hits the consumer marketplace, In time, the price will surely drop into a range that is affordable for everyone just as the VCR and Betamax did a generation before. So, if the HDTV television set is a little out of your price range, it will come down in price soon.