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31 Flavors And Then Some


By: Robb Smith


If there's anything Americans love, it's choices. Buying a car, ordering ice cream - heck, even shopping for a mattress - the more dizzying the array of options, the better.

Folks abroad probably look at our affinity for choices as glut: "more for more's sake." But the point they often miss is that Americans were born and bred with a healthy dose of "rugged individualist" baked right in. Each of us is unique, with unique tastes and needs, and we want our "uniqueness" respected by the world around us.

So when it comes to channel surfing, it's no surprise that American viewers feel more is better. More channels equals more options, which means a greater likelihood we'll find the show, special or sport that's truly right for us.

Imagine the frustration of early adopters who hopped aboard the HDTV train a few years ago. Sure their picture was crystal clear - six times sharper than normal TV - but they'd never know it, because the programming options just weren't there.

You see, with HDTV, the viewer not only needs an HD television and an HD receiver, but the programming on your favorite channels needs to be HD compatible, too. (To this day, cable companies still only offer about ten - that's right, ten - HD channels. It's enough to make any "choice champion" weep with despair.)

Well, thanks to rocket fuel, the two satellite television providers Dish Network and DirecTV are putting the choice back into channel surfing. Both companies have been in a HD race and we consumers are benefiting. As each programmer converts their broadcast from Standard Definition to High Definition, cable and satellite companies scramble to be the first to launch that channel in HD on their platform.

So why do the satellite companies have twice as many HD channels as cable? Well, it comes to down to bandwidth and equipment. The satellite companies have more bandwidth available allowing them to add more channels. The only thing that's really stopping the satellite companies from adding more HD channels is the availability of HD content from the programmers. Cable companies have a large amount of bandwidth as well; however, they have chosen to use it for On-Demand programming which remains popular with consumers.

Between their cutting-edge HD receivers and strategic partnerships with forward-thinking programmers, the two satellite television providers offer the most HD programming available, with over 39 High-Definition channels in all their sharp, refined, crisp-as-a-fresh-spring-morning glory.

So saddle up, rugged individualist, and join the HD revolution - the satellite companies are giving away HDTV that has a razor-sharp picture, theater-like sound, and more options than you can shake a remote at.

What could be more American than that?

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