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EDTV: What You Should Know Before You Make That Purchase

Enhanced Definition Television ? also known as EDTV ? is one of the many modern viewing technologies of our time. Often confused with HDTV capability, this is actually a compromise between standard TV and HDTV. In fact, the visual benefits are at least twice that of standard television, since EDTV technology offers a minimum resolution of 480p when used on a monitor. As a result, you'll find that this type of system is more expensive than standard television, yet cheaper than HDTV technology.

While there's been a hew and a cry to purchase the more expensive ? and higher quality ? HDTV, there are actually some advantages to the "second best" EDTV version. First, there can be as much as a $1200 price difference between the two, and ? in some scenarios ? the viewing quality of EDTV is superior to that of its pricier counterpart. For instance, there's only a 10% difference in quality when you're viewing two plasma TVs that have been produced by the same manufacturer, but the EDTV soars above HDTV when the incoming picture has a lower resolution than the monitor's regular resolution. This is because EDTV technology allows it to align better with the incoming signal.

If you have an extensive DVD collection, or simply prefer watching movies via DVD, then the EDTV will offer a better video experience. Why? Simply because the DVD, which offers a 480p picture matches perfectly with that of EDTV ? which is also 480p. That, in addition to the fact that most content isn't high definition, but happens to have a pixel count that matches beautifully with the "lower quality" EDTV system, makes this a better buy. Higher contrast ratios are also better in the EDTV arena, which makes the viewing of darker scenes more superior. In fact, even high definition quality transmissions only suffer a 10% difference in quality between EDTV and HDTV ? yet, the price of the former is significantly less.

It's a given that if you purchase a set that's of lower quality, then even EDTV resolution will suffer. If you're going to invest in a system that offers higher technology, then you should also be prepared to make the same decision when it comes to investing in the set which will receive the images. So, models that come from Sony, Pioneer or Panasonic will tend to offer a better video experience than that which comes from an inferior manufacturer.

The bottom line is that ? dollar for dollar ? buying an EDTV system is a smarter decision than purchasing the HDTV. When comparing price, difference in viewing quality and the ratio of programs that are actually offered to the general public in a high definition format, the EDTV wins, hands down. So, before you go out and spend about $1200 more than you need to, consider investing your hard-earned money into the EDTV technology. You'll rarely notice the difference ? until you check your bank book, that is; then the difference will become obvious. After all, there's always the possibility that the chasm between the two systems may increase in the future, but think of all of the money that you can save, in the meantime.

(c) 2005 Simon Canfield - All Rights Reserved

Simon Canfield is a hi-tech enthusiast and freelance author.

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