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Extremely Large and Extremely Small Televisions

Mikael Rieck

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For the last 5 or 6 years the media (and therefore also the public) has focused either the huge television sets or the extremely small televisions that can be carried around in your pocket. On the tiny end of the scale you have the portable players with 2-4 inch screens that can pack enormous amounts of video into a piece of hardware the size of a wallet or even a credit card.

On the other end of the spectrum there are the large HDTVs where anything smaller than 42 inches isn’t even worth talking or writing about if you ask much of the popular media. You are sometimes left wondering if there's still anything in between these two extremes - while both of these types of technology are impressive nonetheless.

Finding a normal television with a 4:3 aspect ratio in a similar size between twenty to thirty inches is actually becoming more and more difficult. That is unless you are then compensation by going for digital televisions like LCD screens or plasma screens. The most significant difference between the TV's that are available today and those that were available ten years ago is the fact that modern standard definition television sets typically have digital tuners built in. The TV manufacturers are preparing for the change to digital television (planned for 2009) even though it's unclear whether or not it will actually happen on schedule.

There is a bigger question than whether or not standard TV sets are still available. There are many arguments against investing in a standard definition television right now and the most obvious argument against getting one is the fact that more and more TV shows are being produced in the HDTV format. Secondly many TV distributors are preparing to offer more HDTV channels over the next couple of years.

As the popularity and availability of HDTV programming increases, we are likely to see a great (and expanding) effect in the number of TV channels and TV shows that will change to High Definition Television. The more channels and programs that make the switch, the more people will watch the programs on these channels and the public will begin to ask questions why the rest of the channels haven't also made the switch to HDTV and will put pressure on them to do so.

This is not to say that standard definition TV will be nonexistent in the future. But it is more likely that the TV programs and shows that are produced in the High Def format will be “down converted” to standard definition format and be shown on standard definition television channels, at least for some years to come.

This is actually already happening to some extent as it was seen in the most recent Star Trek series which was shot in high definition. Because this was still a very popular show for people to watch on normal standard definition channels and while it originally aired in standard definition a lot of its fans probably didn't even realize that it had actually been shot in HD. This brings us to another of the many advantages of HDTV sets - Even if you are not watching HDTV on it, there's an increasing trend to broadcast normal television shows in the wide screen format that looks good on HDTV screens.

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