High Definition TV (HDTV)
We are now offering a number of HDTV channels for all TV plans, many of which may be viewed without a cable box.
Local and Sacramento DTV Channels
The requirement that TV's have ATSC tuners that work on cable channels no longer applies. Therefore one no longer needs to purchase TVs from a limited list of brand names. While all TVs will work with a cable box, any TV that has a QAM tuner should be able to receive most of the local DTV channels without a box, so it is a good idea to check the specifications before buying a new TV.
If you have a TV that lacks a QAM tuner (e.g., a "HDTV Ready" set or a "HDTV Monitor"), you will need a cable box to receive the digital programming. We have cable boxes for regular TVs (the DCT2000) and for high-definition TVs, some of which have built-in DVR's.
HDTV National Cable Channels
In addition to the local channels, Expanded TV users have access to ESPN and HD NET high-definition programming. Just like the local channels, these can be accessed with by a TV with a QAM tuner.
In early May we will be offering an optional HD Pak and Starz! HD. These channels require a cable box and a subscription.
HDTV Set Selection
The explosion of interest in HDTV and the dramatic reduction in the prices of these sets has resulted in many articles that can help in deciding the best set for a given room. Here are some brief pointers that Lucas Valley Cable customers should pay particular attention to.
Please be aware that HDTV demands a much larger screen than regular TV viewing because of the greater detail that it presents. Select a screen size that is about one half the distance between the screen and the viewer; smaller screens don't allow you to see the detail that you are paying for when buying a set with HDTV capability.
If you watch regular TV in addition the HDTV, as most people do, you need to be sure that your HDTV set looks good when displaying regular TV. This is best done in the "4:3" (non-wide screen) display mode because forcing regular TV into a wide screen creates an over-magnified image that can be quite unpleasant. For that reason we recommend displays that will not burn in, such as DLP, LCD panel, or LCoS (Sony "SxRD"). We do not recommend Plasma sets for this reason. Even with your set in the 4:3 mode, however, you may need to adjust your viewing distance. Regular TV should be viewed at a distance of about six times the screen size.