How Do I Know if I am Watching HDTV

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Okay, you just purchased your new High Definition TV. You get it home, you plug it up and you connect your cable or satellite box to it and turn on the TV and…

Hey! The picture on my new HDTV looks the same as my old TV… Why?

Watching HDTV

When you plug in your new HDTV, everything doesn’t just magically become high-definition, there is a process.  Here’s what you need in order to be able to watch and enjoy HDTV:

HD Source

You must be signed up to receive high definition service. This is done by contacting your cable or satellite company, they will provide you with a set-top (converter) box that is capable of sending you HD service.  Unless you have already contracted with them ahead of time for HD service, your current set-top-box may not be able to receive and send HD signals. Note: this will probably cost you extra $-cash-$.

Another alternative is for you have your HDTV’s HD tuner connected to an over-the-air antenna (also called  OTA). This antenna will let you receive FREE HD programming from many TV networks. The trick is that you have to be close to a station and have your antenna pointed towards the HD signal in most cases.

I do not pay or subscribe through my satellite company, I receive HD programming by using an over-the-air antenna, which is located in my attic. This antenna lets me receive several channels FREE, especially sporting events from the major TV networks, such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and WGN.

HD Connections

Your set-top-box and your TV must have component-video or High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) connections and you need to have the right cables to connect you HD source and your HD TV together.

HD Channels

High Definition channels use a different numbering system on your TV and remote control. You will need to tune or switch from standard definition TV to HDTV in order to start viewing high definition channels.  I have a 55 inch LG television and I have to press a button on my remote to switch from the standard definition channels to HD channels, it’s that simple.  Also, the numbering format for HD is different. For example, some customers might get to NBC by pressing 5.1, while others get there by pressing 5-1, it may vary depending on your HDTV.

Note: If you have cable, such as Comcast or Satellite, such as DirectTV, this is usually handled for you by the set-top-box.  Most of the time if an HD channel is available, you will be prompted to select that channel if you would like to.

Johnny Rogers is a local business technologist with more than 15 years of personal computing experience. You can find more on HDTV or New Technology by visiting John’z PC Hut or by sending him an email at

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