I know that PCCW will be bringing out a high-definition television (HDTV) service in the near future. My family and I have been thinking about getting a flat-screen television for some time, and I know you once wrote about the differences between plasma and LCD displays. What about HDTV? Are there things one should look out for? Is there a special logo or technology we should be looking for? There are many different resolutions as well. It is all a bit confusing. Is 'HD ready' enough? Name and address supplied PCCW executives do not want to talk about the details at this time because these are still being worked out. However, the following discussion is as accurate as it can be for now. One should remember that some details may change by the time of the official launch. There are a number of issues here and it is important to understand all of them. First off, 'HDTV ready' is an extremely vague term and refers to the ability of a television to display a picture generated by a high-definition signal. That is not the same thing as displaying high-definition content. For the absolute best picture that the service will provide, you will need a television that can handle HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. But don't run out and buy one of these just yet. There is more to this than the resolution. There are two resolutions that matter, sometimes referred to as 1080i (1920x1080 interlaced) and 720p (1280x720 progressive scan). Although the 1080i is obviously of a higher quality, it is likely to be a while before there is a great deal of content in this format. If you want to get a television of this quality, that is fine, but do check to see that it is capable of handling the lower resolution. This is called 'down-converting' and it is an important ability to have at this time. Many places that are experimenting with this technology are only broadcasting in the 720p. (The BBC, for example, uses a 1080i camera but broadcasts its high-definition programmes only in 720p.) One more very important point is HDCP. It is expected that most of what PCCW will be broadcasting may well be sent this way. This technology is used to prevent unauthorised access to the content as it passes from the set-top box to the TV set. If your television does not support HDCP, you will not see anything with this form of protection turned on. When the time comes, it is hoped that shops will begin to display some kind of sticker such as 'Now TV HD Ready', but that has not yet been agreed upon. Finally, remember it is likely to take a while for the content to be produced. Like all new technologies, it needs support. PCCW has little control over this but you can be sure that many sporting events will be broadcast in HDTV format. Sports, in fact, is one of the big supporters of this new technology. Now all you have to decide is plasma or LCD.