Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NASCAR Fans Are Freaking Out About HDTV


Run for the hills! The end is near! Those mean "TV people" are going to make you pay thousands of dollars to see NASCAR in High Definition next season.

Well, HDTV is always good for scary headlines in the newspapers, but for sports fans there is very little to worry about. In fact, the future of HDTV and free sports on TV is about to blossom.

Lots of questions have been coming our way about HDTV since SPEED announced it will be changing over to HD throughout 2008. Many NASCAR fans are confused about all the things that are being said and heard in the media. Actually, its pretty simple.

Let's first talk about those of you who still receive local TV stations over-the-air. That's right, you are the few proud remaining members of the "TV antenna on the roof" club. In today's world, your club is about thirteen million homes in a universe of over two hundred million TV sets.

Your local TV station transmits over-the-air in an old style "analog" signal that has been the standard since TV began. That will end by February of 2009, which is the timeline set by the Federal Government for TV stations to change over to digital broadcasting.

Just like rotary phones that suddenly could not dial on the new digital phone systems, the same is true for your good old four hundred pound RCA TV set from 1984 sitting in the corner of the den. Take a deep breath, and make it a nice planter.

While there is a converter that can make a digital TV signal work on your analog TV, what is the point? This technology is here to stay, and is now priced in the four hundred dollar range for an HDTV set with a tuner capable of receiving over-the-air signals. That last part is going to be the interesting change for the future.

For those of you with cable TV and no antenna on your roof, only one thing changes. Your cable system will slowly start to offer the same cable networks you watch now in HD. These side-by-side broadcasts will allow you to compare the standard cable signal with HD. As you will see, format of the picture is wider and resembles a movie screen. The big change comes when you step-up and get your first HDTV set.

Then, as many of my friends have said, there is no going back. The HDTV picture is amazing, and the new "aspect ratio" of the TV is easy to get used to watching. Combined with the stereo signal delivered on most live TV sporting events, this new package is a big improvement over the previous way of watching sports on the big screen.

Cable watchers who choose not to buy a new set for 2008 will still be able to watch all the NASCAR TV events and programs, buy why not invest? Before you start telling me that money is tight, let me clue you in on a little secret that HDTV brings.

When your local station begins to transmit in HD, there is a new wrinkle that many of them are doing with great success. They can now provide to your TV over-the-air and free of charge multiple digital channels that come in clear as a bell. How about that for an interesting twist?

Remember the early days of cable TV when we had the famous "A/B switch" behind the TV set? "A" got you the cable input for those channels, and the "B" got you the over-the-air stations. Now, with HDTV, the same thing lives once again, and there is a good reason why.

Your local TV station is going to be able to send as many as four digital channels to your TV set over-the-air. As someone who has seen this technology, let me tell you that the picture is awesome and the fact that it is free also opens-up a lot of possibilities for the future.

Consider this, if you live in a market with five good TV stations, and they each decide to deliver four "sub-channels," you just got twenty free channels of digital television with no charge other than buying your HDTV set. Needless to say, this possibility has the "pay TV" guys scrambling.

What you see right now are companies like DirecTV and HDNet offering HD signals to your home by satellite dish at very low cost. Cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner are also scrambling to add HD network feeds to their line-ups to keep their product attractive. In the blink of an eye, the power has begun to shift back to over-the-air TV stations. Isn't that interesting?

As a consumer, you will soon have multiple HD channels over-the-air from your local TV stations, cable networks converting to all HD, and several new "HD only" networks popping-up on your cable TV line-up.

All of this should be enough to invest in a starter HDTV set, and I am told prices will be at their lowest in the week after Christmas. There are good information pages all about HDTV on the web at the WalMart and Circuit City websites. The bottom line is, shop around. Prices on this technology are continuing to fall.

Don't make it more complicated than it is. If you are a NASCAR fan, get an HDTV set that meets your demands for viewing and also meets the demands of your wallet.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you do not wish to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your opinion.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

JD, thanks for the article. I have been looking for something like this, but I have question. You say my local station would have 4 sub-channels. What will go on those channels? Who will decide? And could we see networks that are currently on cable/sat only (SPEED), move to over-the-air in the future? I just don't see many local stations being able to produce that much content for 4 channels.

SophiaZ123 said...

I gotta tell you, new tv's are not in this house hold's budget in the next year. We are content with the way things are and with the coverage LACKING, depending more on LISTENING on radio anyway, sadly.

Also, my mom's rotary phone still works on the lines with the push button. She refuses to give up the old phone in her kitchen...she is 87! years ago they said rotary/push button could not be on the same line but it works somehow.

None of my close friends are into tv that much to INVEST or be worrying about it to be honest.

We may be in the minority but other priorities.

:-)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:49PM,

If you could answer that question about what would be on those channels, and if can they be grouped together to form free HD networks...you would be a very rich man.

Sophia,

Just responding to many emails about what HDTV means to NASCAR fans and what the SPEED TV switch will bring.

JD

drh277 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

drh277,

When you get a chance, will you drop me an email please? Thanks.

JD

SophiaZ123 said...

JD

Oh, I know it's growing industry and I love reading all your details on the lastest technical changes. We even have a local tv station doing their local news in HD which is kind of nuts to many of us but what do we know? The first night the 10 day weather forecast only showed 5 days and part of the tv anchors ran off the screen. :-) tweaking was needed but I could not watch...some taped parts had FAT HEAD charlie brown heads on video taped bits. Drove me crazy.

I hope those of us with OLD 4:3 tv's will not have distorted pics. I noticed this year on some of the car races thru the season many shots the cars on tv looked "Flat and low" on the track through SOME cameras used. I have an eye for detail and it can annoy me..so I hope those of us happy with normal tv do not have to put up with distortions. In this area we are told HD viewers are between 12-17% of the market. Still the minority.

I did see my first HDTV at a home show this summer. I am not thrilled with the over saturation of rich color that 'sells' many people....I like stuff to look real. Not like it's primary colors in the world. But I read that some cheaper tv's push the VIVID color aspect and some people buy into it.

:-)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Sophia,

The vast majority of cable systems are going to continue to air side-by-side both the HD and analog networks until Dec. 31 of 2008.

The local stations, however, are switching over to HD fulltime as soon as possible. If you get a local news show in HD, like mine is in South Florida, it will be a mess on your analog TV.

That is why I was urging folks to think about grabbing an HDTV set after Christmas when the prices are low. Just like the DVD and the cell phone, we all are going there sooner or later.

JD

Richard said...

JD,

You fail to make a distinction between high definition (HD) digital channels and standard definition (SD) digital channels. Broadcasters will not be able to transmit four HD channels on one frequency as you suggest due to bandwidth limitations. Since High Definition broadcasts use a significant amount of bandwidth, broadcasters are limited to offering one HD channel and two or three SD channels per frequency (depending on how they are compressed.)

I do not agree with your assertion that "the power has begun to shift back to over-the-air TV stations." Cable/Satellite will continue to offer a wider selection of programming and content. OTA digital television will never be able to offer even a fraction of the content cable and satellite offer due to the bandwidth limitations I mentioned previously. Interestingly enough, broadcasters have wasted their limited bandwidth in my area to launch uninteresting channels dealing with local traffic and local weather.

You also fail to mention the additional costs cable and satellite companies charge to receive HD content from providers like Speed. This must be factored in when considering a HD television set versus a standard television set with a digital tuner.

I suggest visiting http://www.dtv.gov for more information about digital television and the conversion process.

Anonymous said...

HDTV is not the same as Digital TV.

The federal government has mandated that Tv stations must broadcast a digital singal by 2009...NOT an "HD" signal.

You can get a $40 coupon for a converter that will allow you to keep using your analog TV with "rabbit ears" or roof antenna.

Don't panic.

Bill H said...

JD

I have DirecTV, 2 regular boxes, one DVR box, 4 TVs (none HD). If Speed is going HD next year, will I need to upgrade my stuff or will they also have the non HD Speed channel?

The HD upgrade reminds me of 7 or so years ago when everyone wanted / needed surround sound for their TV. I went out and purchased all the equipment, put up all the speakers, wires etc. Used it maybe 3 times and never did again (threw it away this summer when cleaning). When your living room is only 15 x 15, you don't need all that noise. My 32 inch "tube" TV and sound are fine. So I don't want to go buying all new equipment just so I can read the sponsers logos on the front quarter panel.

BillWebz

Anonymous said...

While Congress has voted in favor of legislation demanding that local broadcasters turn over to a digital TV signal by February 17, 2009, that doesn't include cable or satellite TV providers.

There is NO NEED to rush out and buy a HDTV, you are fine with your Analog or Digital TV!!!!
Even if you did need a HDTV in 2009,can you imagine what the price will be down to and features available!!!!

Anonymous said...

Richard, thanks for the info and the link.

Anon 7:19 said: You can get a $40 coupon for a converter that will allow you to keep using your analog TV with "rabbit ears" or roof antenna.

Right; they're planning on giving two $40 coupon vouchers per household towards purchasing the converter boxes, by request. You can actually start requesting them January 1, so not too long from now. But you have to buy the converter within 90 days of getting the coupon, so you can wait a while. Probably best not to wait too long because everyone will probably start requesting vouchers last minute in February 2009 (the program runs through March 2009).

After visiting the link Richard provided, they have the coupon information there. (The National Telecommunications and Information website, from the US Department of Commerce)
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/faq.html

There's also a quiz and chart to determine if your TV needs a converter.

And a question from the FAQ on the site:

16. Will I need to buy a new television after February 17, 2009?

No. Your existing television sets will continue to work after the digital transition if they are connected to converters. You do not need to discard your analog sets.

jfs-va said...

Count me in as one who hates non HD sports programming now that I've experienced HD for a few years. Watching truck races on SPEED was ok, but just does not compare to the sound and visuals(when not in commercial LOL) I saw/heard on Fox,TNT,and ESPN HD.

It's great to see football players and stock cars in clear detail, not some distant blur. In other words, yes, I can see that it's Jeff Burton's orange car and not Tony Stewart's. :>)

Thanks for the info JD.

Daly Planet Editor said...

richard,

I chose not to go that route because what I am addressing is NASCAR product in HD, not the overall technical issues with HDTV.

When, and if, the HD cable roll-out contains additional costs I will speak to that issue if it involves the networks that carry NASCAR.

Anon 7:19PM,

I think its important to ask...why? Do you have an over-the-air TV and no cable of home dish? As I mentioned in my column, there is a converter for digital signals to your analog TV. That, however, will not help you to watch NASCAR in HD next season which is what folks were asking about.

bill,

You will be fine, but as I mentioned in my column, I was told that prices will be at their lowest point of the year in the two weeks after Christmas by an industy executive. All of the infrastructure in your house is already geared for HD, so a HDTV set would really make a change that you would enjoy. Its very different.

Anon 8:37 AM,

Please remember that what we are talking about is NASCAR fans, almost all of whom already have cable TV. What they were asking was general HDTV questions. My statement was that an analog TV will not work after that date. It will not, so I also mentioned the converter.

The entire over-the-air universe in the US is shrinking by the day, and it will be interesting to see how quickly it begins to expand when the new multi-channel feeds begin.

NOTE: We have slightly revised rules on the main page. Please drop me an email before posting web links in the comments section. These links are fine, as I visited them in creating this column.

Anonymous said...

The week or two leading up to the Super Bowl is also a good time to get a discounted new TV. Often the stores will throw in free delivery and installation during that time; a buddy of mine got his delivered the Thursday before the Super Bowl. With new TVs connecting to DVRs, video game consoles, cable, PCs,semiprofessional installation can be a big help.

Right now the prices for HDTV at Walmart.com , 26 inch for about $450 and 32-inch for about $600. 37 inch, about $1100.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said
"When, and if, the HD cable roll-out contains additional costs I will speak to that issue if it involves the networks that carry NASCAR."

I think the HD roll-out already has extra cost to the Nascar viewer. In my area you must buy the HD box or rent it from the cable company.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9;12AM,

Could you help us with that statement a bit? I think it could help the fans asking questions.

If you already have digital cable, which you need to see the SPEED Channel, I was told there was no additional equipment needed. On my Comcast system, that is the case.

If you have a basic cable package, that does not include digital channels like SPEED or ESPN Classic, that is what you have to upgrade, right?

I think we would like some more info, it might be a good discussion point for fans struggling with this issue. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

"COMMENTS containing links to other websites or using third party information without prior approval might not be posted."

This is one of the most puzzling things I've ever seen on a message board or a web site that requests comments after columns or articles.

It's puzzling for someone who just wants to click Post Comment right then and there to have to email you, wait for a reply, then come back to the site and post a link instead of posting and moving on with their day or evening. Most of the links here are from racing sites anyway. I find many of them helpful and timesaving (since I wouldn't have found some on my own) and I'm sure many others do as well.

Does Speedtv or any of the driver/NASCAR message boards have problems with posting links? No. Actually they encourage people to post links. What they don't allow is posting of entire articles, though a poster can include quotes.

What is third party information anyway? All comments that don't come from you on this web site are techncially third party.

Just very puzzling.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
Anon 9;12AM,

Could you help us with that statement a bit? I think it could help the fans asking questions.

When I got HD, I had Comcast digital at the time. You must have a "Digital Tier" to get HDTV plus upgrade your box to an HDTV box. Comcast does not charge extra for the service of HDTV as long as you have a Digital plan, it is the box needed for HDTV that there is a cost. Comast offers the box free I think if you have their $100+ digital plan. I think I pay $5 month for my HDTV box, which you will need for each HDTV.

The easy annswer is to call your local cable provider for your local costs, but that is much like torture!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the HD info, JD, it's much appreciated. I was wondering about the SPEED HD conversion.

anonymous 9:26 said...
Most of the links here are from racing sites anyway. I find many of them helpful and timesaving (since I wouldn't have found some on my own) and I'm sure many others do as well.

Agreed. I don't see anyone posting spam sites or advertising their own sites. Unless I missed it. I visit here several times a week most weeks. Most times people provide information related to the NASCAR Tv topic at hand.

I'm concerned about the third party information rule as well. I know I've written things here that I've seen on TV or online on other sites to contribute to whatever NASCAR thought I'm posting. JD, I think you may find after a time that this rule is too stringent.

Anonymous said...

If you use cable or satellite exclusively, your analog TV will contniue to work just fine even after the Digital TV switchover; the box you use to change channels now will send the right signal to your TV.

If you use over-the-air antennas, your analog TV will work fine with a separate converter box you can get 9and use the $40 coupon to buy).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kevin said...

Great article, John. I agree completely with you about HD over the air. My parents recently bought a great Vizio HD TV from Wal-Mart for $760, and they get nearly 15 HD stations for FREE over the air, and all are great quality.

I'm going to wait until just after Christmas, buy a new HD TV from Wal-Mart, and cancel my cable contract with Comcast! Only downside, you can't record HD channels to a VCR and still hold the quality. I record all the NASCAR races to a VCR to avoid watching the commercials... Only problem is that although I'll have an HD TV, I still won't get to watch the races in HD unless I put up with the ads.

Anonymous said...

If you cancel your cable, I do not think you will get SPEEDTV,ESPN or TNT over the air!

Anonymous said...

buy a new HD TV from Wal-Mart, and cancel my cable contract with Comcast!

So you're willing to miss all the races on SPEED, ESPN and TNT?

No cable or satellite = no way to see those channels.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:26 & Anon 9:54 AM,

If you would like some additional information about this issue, please send me an email.

If you would like to address your comments to the HDTV topic in today's column, please feel free to post your opinions and suggestions. Thanks.

JD

Anonymous said...

Kevin said...
Great article, John. I agree completely with you about HD over the air. My parents recently bought a great Vizio HD TV from Wal-Mart for $760, and they get nearly 15 HD stations for FREE over the air, and all are great quality.

I'm going to wait until just after Christmas, buy a new HD TV from Wal-Mart, and cancel my cable contract with Comcast! Only downside, you can't record HD channels to a VCR and still hold the quality. I record all the NASCAR races to a VCR to avoid watching the commercials... Only problem is that although I'll have an HD TV, I still won't get to watch the races in HD unless I put up with the ads.

Wow, it is very scary how little knowledge is out there on HDTV,OTA & Digital TV. I wonder if it is caused by consumers not doing their homework,it does not end with school!, or the salespeople in the big box stores? You then have to deal with the crazy cable company in the next step.

Anonymous said...

Best advice on these subjects is to try and find a friend,co-worker or relative that has HDTV and see what they are using,Cable,SAT or OTA. Check with them on all equipment involved and pricing. This will give you a good place to start.

HRSHop94@aol.com said...

J.D.
If you think I'm going to plunk out any more cash for a HDTV so that I can watch more commercials on the NASCAR broadcasts, you got a hole in your head. As for telephones, I have no use for any of them. I have always told my wife, "That if she ever left me, the second thing out the door would be the damned telephone". After 48 years, I don't think she's gonna leave any time soon.
Colin Baird
Van Buren, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Any reviews coming up on the Jimmie Johnson TV show appearances this weekend? I think he has been on 7 shows since Monday.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:14AM,

Thank you for that great suggestion. I believe that will help fans who are on the fence about this issue. That is exactly what I did in making that decision.

Anon 11:32AM,

There will be upcoming columns about the NYC activity and the fact that there is more TV coverage this week of NASCAR by non-NASCAR shows and networks than there is by the four NASCAR TV partners...combined.

Anonymous said...

If you think $400 is cheap please donate $400 in your spare pocket change to me so that I can experience the "affordable" miracle of HDTV.

Personally, I consider $400 half a mortgage payment or nearly enough groceries to feed a family of 6 for a month.

The price of an HDTV set might look affordable to people who are willing to max out their credit to have the finest in toys, but to those who try to raise a family without piling up debt its got a long way to go before it becomes a routine purchase.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would be nice to already have a column up where we could comment on the TV appearances that have been going on this week. Plus the banquet hosts and guests have been announced.

Good Morning America really gave the drivers the short shrift today, pretty amazing compared to last year when there was no ABC contract. They didn't even introduce them individually like they did last year, just a quick pan shot of #2-9 and an quick interview with Jimmie Johnson. Then one minute at the end of the show when they were all in their cars ready to drive. The NASCAR PR people are probably not happy. They should have had Robin Roberts do it like last year, she was great and funny in her firesuit and seemed to have fun with the drivers.

The focus today instead was all on Helio Castroneves, who came across great he was on two or three segments of the show in the second hour. The NASCAR folks probably really wish he was one of their guys right now.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:56AM,

I am afraid I do not understand your point. I am not rich, nor do I have "lots of toys."

Many people asked me about HDTV and NASCAR in 2008, so this is my column about it.

The option to proceed or not is certainly up to the consumer. The reason I mentioned four hundred dollars in the column is that was almost the same price as a good color TV a while back.

Hopefully, the cost of this technology will continue to decline and it will even be more affordable to more Americans.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:08PM,

That is a great suggestion, I am going to add a page for the NASCAR driver appearances so readers can fill us in on what they saw.

I am not an entertainment TV watcher, so I am out in the cold about all that.

JD

Racingphan said...

I "inherited" an HDTV last month. The race on it is spectacular. I can see all the lug nuts on pit road after a pit stop.
All I had to do was take my cable box into Time Warner and they gave me an HD DVR for the same price. And about ten channels on the HD tier at no extra cost. Of course, I had to have my teenage son hook up all the cords.

Daly Planet Editor said...

racingphan,

My experience was the same. The cable guys seemed to be very nervous about the over-the-air free product coming our way, and there was no increase at all in my price for HD access.

Since I already had the digital basic package, the HD networks just appeared and I had immediate access.

It will be interesting to see how other readers handle the HD question. It seems some cable folks are trying to add a lot of fees to something that is only a technology upgrade.

Andrew in TN said...

As many posters have said, for the foreseeable future, if you have satellite or digital cable, you'll be OK with your analog 4:3 set.

And, yes, Digital does not equal HDTV. My only High-Definition set is a 51" Toshiba rear-projection that has only component video (analog) for high definition input. But, it can still do up to 1080i and DirecTV and my Playstation2 prove it.

Lisa Hogan said...

Like a lot of fans, I am on a budget. The majority of my entertainment budget is allotted to attending races. I have a low tech house with dial-up internet and basic/standard tiers on Brighthouse cable. I called Brighthouse, when SPEED announced their HD plans, to see if I would still have regular SPEED on my standard tier. I was assured that I would still receive SPEED as I do now.

When my current TV needs replacing or January, 2009, whichever comes first, I will buy the digital HD television. I make technical advancements when I have to in order to use that money to go racing. :)

Richard said...

JD,

Thanks for updating your original blog post with the correct information I posted. Nice to see you are willing to own up to your mistakes and get the most accurate information to your readers eventually. In the future I hope you will be more thorough in your research and prevent readers from being misinformed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

Why so harsh? Why the shot at the end about being more thorough?

This is exactly the type of response that makes me want to close the comment section, and not even continue this project.

I indicated to you that I had to "tone down" the TV terminology that I was trying to use because this was not a TV technology brief, but just a column about NASCAR and HDTV for readers.

Many of them not into TV do not know digital from HDTV, and that is the reason I chose to use HDTV in the original article.

I am happy to refine any article after comments from readers suggest positive changes that can be made to topics being discussed.

I think you may have just helped me to decide what to do with this site for next year. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi JD,

I don't normally post a response, as I am usually in agreement with those who respond to your blogs.. But when it comes to your HD blog, and those who've commented on the 'value and cost' of HD, all I have to say to them is that they are really missing out on a true technology (and racing) experience

In late Oct I finally made the jump and purchased a new HD receiver and Dish via DirecTV. I waited this long mostly because of SPEED and their jump to HD at that time. I have to tell you, watching the races and other sporting programs was the best thing I ever did in terms of money well spent. My wife was killing me about it, but when she watched her first HGTV program via HD, she was sold..

Now, all we do is watch the HDTV channels.. and with DirecTV exanding their programs in 2008, we'll have over 200 channels to watch..

Can't wait for Daytona.. the racing is going to be awesome to watch on my HDTV Plasma..

BTW.. please keep the blog and comment section going.. as you know, there are some real anal people out there who think they know more then others.. but the majority of us who read your blogs and comments are normal people..


Regards

LF

Anonymous said...

JD don't let a know-it-all jerk like Richard have any negative impact on you project here. For every one like him, there are thousands that appreciate what you are doing here.

Anonymous said...

Many of them not into TV do not know digital from HDTV, and that is the reason I chose to use HDTV in the original article.


But, JD, if your article is factually incorrect, is your pride so great that you'd rather leave it that way than have a "Richard" correct you?

If it were me, I'd rather fix the story and be right.

The choice of allowing comments is yours, of course. But this case seems like an excellent reason to keep them, not to eliminate them.

JEH said...

Hi JD.Great info !!! I just bought my first HD tv and love it.I did alot of reaseach before I bought it.Your post brought alot of questions from readers,which is great.This gives them time to research their options.One thing people should be aware with a HD tv.With the analog channels,the picture clarity suchs compared to HD channels.Not,a problem,try to stick to HD channels,LOL.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly:
If I could cite one column out of all the excellent columns you've written this year, this HDTV column is the very best!
In one of your earlier columns when you made reference to SPEED's upgrading to HD for '08, I asked a question which you answered that finally led me to the government HD website. It's still a confusing issue, but today's column puts this issue into a more understandable state.
I also want to join with the posters at 2:44 and 2:54pm - the effort and personal experience you bring to this site educates and enlightens scores of people out here in internet land! You are appreciated!
(no thoughts or musings about that!)
Tom in Dayton.

GinaV24 said...

Hey, John, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the information included in your column. I'm not a real "techie" on the subject of HDTV but you explained it well. I have comcast digital cable and I actually have a HD compatible TV that I bought but since I can't lift the darn thing it's still in the box! I have to borrow a friend and get some help in getting it rigged up before next year's NASCAR season (at least I'll watch while Fox is doing the TV). Also, thanks very much for your column this year. It was great to read and be able to comment on the info included. I hope that you keep it up AND open for comments from the fans for next year too. Please don't let a few worms in the apple spoil a great thing.

Newracefan said...

One of the first things I remember about seeing cars on the track at Dover was the color of the cars, how vibrant they were, the closest thing to that is HD. I do not have HD at this point but one TV is "HD ready", I think all I need to do is to break down and get the HD DVR from Comcast (and pay higher monthly fees) which will happen for 2008 race season. Right now I do have 1 digital cable box which allows me to see some additional premium channels on that set which they had to give me for free when they changed how they transmitted the premium channel I already buy. The other TV's can no longer access these channels and I wasn't buying a box for them too. Thankfully the numbers are the same on both digital and analog. I use to think HD was not necessary and then I went to Dover.

Anonymous said...

The HDTV price is one thing, but then I have to buy a cable package of HD channels and I hate cable companies!!!

Charlie said...

I just got off the phone with Charter Communications. This is the cable company I have. I asked them what it would cost for me to get HD. The first thing they wanted to know was, do I have a Digital Box now? I have one Tv with the Digital Box and one without. The Tv with the Digital Box gets all the channels Charter has to offer, if you subscribe to all their different tiers, from channel 2 to channel 999. The Tv without the Digital Box gets channel 2 up to channel 74. Right now I pay $5.00 more a month for the Digital Box. I told the person I had one Digital Box. The person said that is I wanted to get HDTV on an HD ready Tv I would have to exchange the Digital Box for a Digital HD Box. The cost would be $10.00 a month for this box. In other words it would cost me $5.00 more a month to have the HD box over the cost of the Digital Box. The person said that any channel that showed a program in HD would now be HD on my HDTV at no extra cost, except for the cost of the Digital HD Box.
Looking at the Tv listings for this evening from 9pm to 12pm I see that ESPN and ESPN2 are showing HD programs. Plus there are many more channels that are airing HD programs.
Charter also has an HD tier you can subscribe to that shows HD all the time, even if it is not being shown in HD on the regular channels. The cost of this is $8.00 more a month. In the area I live in there are 17 channels which include, ESPN and ESPN2 but each area Charter serves is different for the number of channels in their HD tier package.
Looking at the list of programs on the TV listing guide there are lots of programs right now in HD without getting that HD tier.

Cheryl said...

Anonymous said...
The HDTV price is one thing, but then I have to buy a cable package of HD channels and I hate cable companies!!!


You are missing one of the main points John made in this article! You don't have to pay a cable or satellite provider for most HD. Just put a UHF antenna on your roof or get rabbit ears if you are close to the station and you can begin enjoying a lot of HD content on the OTA networks for FREE! Plus all the races on Fox and ABC.

Anonymous said...

Sighing here. My tv is only 3 or 4 years old. A widow on a fixed income, I'm not inclined to buy new major appliances or tvs every few years. (This tv replaces a console that was something like 18 years old.) I find this entire subject extremely confusing and I cannot, for the life of me, understand the hype over HD! The picture I currently get on my 27-inch screen suits me just fine. I really don't need to see lugnuts on pit road; I see what I need to see, the picture is sharp, the audio is more than sufficient. . .and $400 is a lot of money for some of us. An extra monthly fee is something else I don't need, especially with the current health insurance premium. I think it's so confusing that when I'm forced to change or quit - I'll quit watching. There are plenty of movies I haven't seen yet, books I haven't read. . .