"The picture and sound are so crisp -- It's a total package," Breland commented.
Of course, the large TV wouldn't fit in his bedroom, where Breland originally wanted to place it, but Breland admitted he was just mesmerized by his new purchase.
Sales of digital television (DTV) products totaled 853,443 units representing dollar sales of more than $1.3 billion for the first quarter of 2004, the Consumer Electronics Association reported last month.
Compared to the same period in 2003, the 2004 sales represent a 124 percent unit increase and a 100 percent increase in dollar sales.
"HDTV is the thing of the future, and it's going to get more and more popular," noted Darell Fowler, manager of Homestead Electronics in Sikeston. "I've had people stop in their tracks while I was running a demo in the store and they'd say, "I've never seen anything like it.'"
With HDTV, viewers feel as though they're sitting right in the middle of the action of a baseball game, in the stands of a NASCAR race or having a conversation with someone in a movie.
Fowler gave of a comparison of regular TV versus HDTV: "Take a window blind and close it. That's regular TV. Open it up and that's HDTV."
HDTV has five times more detail than analog TV, according to CEA. It has sharper, clearer pictures, a widescreen format and a better sound than regular analog TV.
But there is a difference between DTVs and HDTVs, pointed out Greg Boyd, who works in sales at Kingsway Appliance in Sikeston.
"All HDTVs are DTVs, but not all DTVs are HDTVs," Boyd said. So it is possible to buy a DTV that is not HD. Standard Definition (SDTV) or Enhanced Definition (EDTV) are also available although HD is considered to have the best quality. "Basically, it's like having a movie theater in your home," Fowler described about HDTV.
However, purchasing a DTV can create a little confusion. Boyd compared it to that of buying a car.
"You can buy a car with cloth seats, with leather seats, with or without other things," Boyd said. "And with DTVs you can get anything on them and get them plain."
For example, an HDTV tuner can be purchased alone or is already built into a TV. The tuner receives and outputs HDTV signals. Tuners are a must for true HDTV, Fowler said.
"If I'm showing HDTV to you here and you take the same TV home, if you do not have an HD signal, you will not get that same picture," Fowler explained.
HDTV signals are received in three ways: over-the-air-broadcast, cable or direct broadcast satellite. Cable and satellite companies that supply the local residents with services such as Dish Network, Charter Communications and DirecTV, all offer subscriptions to certain HDTV channels. Sometimes new dishes or receivers are required for the services, too.
And of course there are different monitors, or screens, to choose from such as the thin and wall-mountable Plasma and the flat and lighter Liquid Crystal Display and others. There's surround sound and built-in DVD players, too.
Boyd said he thinks the Federal Communications Commission's effort for broadcasters to switch from analog to digital signal has played a role in the increased number of DTV sales this past year. The deadline for the completion of the conversion in households is Dec. 31, 2008.
Trends will continue to climb as more people become educated about HDTV and the benefits of having one, Fowler said.
Both Fowler and Boyd said consumers have been people of all ages.
"I'm definitely seeing the younger crowds and even the retired guys who like their sports and football and baseball games purchasing the TVs," Boyd said.
And Fowler noted it's people in their 30s and up who appear most interested in the HDTVs.
In a recent news release CEA Director of Industry Analysis Sean Wargo said no longer is the transition theoretical -- it's reality. He said every day, more and more consumers are embracing digital television.
And for consumers preparing to embrace DTV, Fowler offered a suggestion.
"One of the best things I can advise people to do is go in and get a true demo and see the difference," Fowler said. "Sometimes they don't take people's word for it so they have to see to believe it."
For more information about purchasing DTVs, visit CEA's Web site: www.ce.org/hdtv.