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The Digital Transition: A Sports Bar's Worst Nightmare

The Final Sayye by Gary Kayye By Gary Kayye, CTS

Everybodys heard and read something about HDTV and the worlds transition from our current analog standard TV system to the new digital standard, right? Today most countries in the world use either a system known as NTSC or PAL for broadcast television transmission and display. Both systems are very similar in that they are analog-based and display either 525 or 625 lines of resolution on the screen. Regardless of screen size (from 3" to 300") youre still seeing either 525 lines of video or 625 lines of video.

But, over the next three to five years, the entire world will be switching to a digital-based transmission system that will accommodate up to 1080 lines of resolution for TV viewing. That will yield much higher resolution images and broadcasts for everything from sitcoms to educational shows to sporting events.

In fact, in many areas of the world, you can already receive these new digital signals with a conventional rooftop antenna and pick up a couple of local channels broadcasting in the new HDTV (high definition television) format. Soccers upcoming World Cup, footballs Super Bowl and baseballs World Series are all available in HDTV. 

In fact, much of whats out there on HDTV now can actually be displayed in either digital or analog HD formats. Sure, the digital HD format with its DVI (digital visual interface) or HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) connector and signal formats look a lot sharper than the analog component video counterpart. But, they still blow away NTSC and PAL sporting events that are blurry and at a loss for resolution. 

Sports bars love this. The added resolution makes large-screen projection and flat-screen formats look awesome. So good, in fact, that you can actually see facial expressions on the faces of the fans sitting on the sidelines, the puck flying across the ice in hockey (assuming hockey still exists), the color of shoe laces in soccer and you can even read the obnoxious signs held up by fans at virtually any sporting event (my personal favorite was ?Duke Sucketh) in HDTV resolution.

But, are these Sports Bars really ready for the transition? Did they plan for this? When they were working with their AV integrator, did they have a transition plan from analog HD to digital HD?

Probably not.

Today, its estimated that more than 6,000 sports bars exist across North America touting their new HDTV display technology drawing sports fans from as far as 200 miles away just to see the big game in HDTV format. In Europe, there are another 1,200 sports pubs, as they call them. But, did you know that more than 90 percent of these are routed and displayed in the current analog HD format and not in the future digital format? 

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Related Keywords:HDTV, transition, analog standard TV system, digital standard, NTSC, PAL, sports bars, broadcast television transmission, display, resolution, 1080 lines, HDMI, DVI

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