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Wanted: A Degree in HD

4 Oct, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange

HDTV, Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD, HDMI, CRT, Plasma, LCD, DLP — these are a few of the alphabet soup of terms consumers need to master before truly understanding the high-definition revolution.

Yesterday, “The Today Show” did a segment on the HDTV conversion, which made it all seem so simple. But I know differently. The segment only touched on the many different options facing consumers. In addition to the TV, HD requires certain programming delivery services or new broadcast tuners, not to mention the connection with the receiver and home theater system, which is another whole can of worms.

There's a new industry of “Geek Squad”-type professionals emerging whose sole job is setting up your HDTV home theater system (putting it above the fireplace, by the way, which is where most people want it cost extra). Since when do you need an expert to plug in your TV?

This year, Wal-Mart and other discounters seem bound and determined to take the HDTV business away from higher-end stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City. They want to make it mainstream. But they don't provide the kind of service many folks need to get the stuff working, and they may see a slew of unhappy customers.

While this year may be the year many folks buy and HDTV, it also may be the year many return it.

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