2004 might be remembered as the year that HDTV really became an institution in the United States and became established in much of the rest of the world. Although there has been a substantial quantity of television programming in HD for several years, 2004 marks the first year in which all four of the major commercial U.S. networks broadcast the majority of their prime time programming in HD, and PBS also airs a substantial amount of HD. The broadcast nets have been joined by many cable networks, so that the complaint often heard in past years that, "There is not enough HDTV programming available.", is no longer viable.
2004 is also the first year that saw all broadcast NFL games aired in HD, not to mention much other sports programming. It is, in fact, becoming the norm, rather than the exception, to produce sports and special events programming in HDTV, with the SD version being derived by down conversion.
2004 also witnessed the emergence of HDTV in Europe, as well as a number of other areas of the world.
2004 was a good year for the consumers of HDTV as well, with large quantities of HDTV displays and receivers being made available. HDTV is both driving and benefiting from developments in the advanced display industries. A variety of flat-panel displays and microdisplay-based front and rear projection systems based on exciting new technologies have appeared in consumer electronics stores. In addition to the development of new technologies, existing technologies are being continually improved. One of the big display trends to emerge in 2004 was 1920 x 1080 progressive displays using a number of technologies. With this reality, displays have caught up to scanning formats, with the capability to display HDTV scanning formats on a pixel-for-pixel basis.
With all these exciting things happening in 2004, it is with eager anticipation that we await 2005's developments in HDTV!
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