High-Definition Television:

Applications for This New Technology

IMTEC-90-9FS: Published: Dec 11, 1989. Publicly Released: Jan 18, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO identified the uses for high-definition television (HDTV) technology, focusing on the potential effect that the selection of an HDTV production standard would have on the development of nonentertainment applications in the United States.

GAO found that: (1) although many of the HDTV applications were in the television, motion picture, and consumer electronics industries, HDTV had potential applications in such areas as defense, medicine, and space exploration; (2) many researchers and manufacturers proposed HDTV systems based on widely varying production standards, since U.S. industry had not agreed on a single HDTV standard; (3) the HDTV systems developed in the United States used from 787.5 to 1,200 scanning lines, the Japanese industry agreed on 1,125 scanning line systems, and European countries formed a consortium to work toward a single HDTV production standard; (4) some industry officials believed that if computer graphics, entertainment, research, medicine, and other applications shared a common HDTV standard, the volume would justify mass production and reduce costs; and (5) most of the current applications were for independent closed-circuit systems with independent methods and standards for production, transmission, and display.

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