DTV Primer

Chris Llana, Editor


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May 9, 2006

Well, it's spring and not much is happening.

The HDMI standard version 1.3 is not yet out. In a Widescreen Review article, a Monster Cable rep complained about the lack of progress in the full and proper implementation of the HDMI standard (HDCP problems, etc.). Apparently people are returning Monster HDMI cables after the connections do not work correctly.

As mentioned in my earlier article, the cable is the trivial part of the equation. When the link does not work, sometimes the order in which each of the devices is turned on makes a difference. This, of course, is not how it should be.

Could be incomplete implementation of the standard. Could be the different devices in the chain were designed to different HDMI standards.

And speaking of HDMI. . . Sony announced that its PlayStation 3 will be released on November 17. There will be two models--one for $499 with a 20 Gb integral hard drive, and the other priced at $599 with a 60 Gb hard drive and an HDMI output. Both will have a Blu-ray Disc player.

The roll-out of Blu-ray Disc is dragging. As reported earlier, Samsung will have a player out on June 25. Panasonic and Sony players will hit the market in August (perhaps). Pioneer in September.

The various movie studios will dribble out BD titles in a similar fashion.

Might not be a bad thing, considering the teething problems the HD-DVD folks have had.

And in Washington, the national cable TV franchising bill now has number--H.R. 5252. It's just sitting there.

And no action from NTIA yet in carrying out its responsibilities under the DTV Transition Act. They have a static DTV web page ready for action--just no action.

I suppose they don't feel there's any need to rush.

On a brighter note, DirecTV will begin rolling out local HD services to more cities later this year (third quarter). Cincinnati, Madison Wisconsin, Austin Texas, Memphis, Albuquerque, Portland Maine, Grand Rapids, Portland Oregon, Green Bay, Providence Rhode Island, Greensboro NC, Reno, Las Vegas, and San Antonio.

The big expansion in coverage will occur in 2007 with the launch of two new satellites.