There are a number of ways you can receive high definition digital
television. As of very recently, HDTV is currently available in
all 50 US states. The easiest way is to purchase a new HDTV-capable
or HDTV-ready set. You can also add a set-top box to your existing
television but you won't receive the full benefits of HDTV without
the wider screen, Dolby® Digital surround sound, and other features.
Broadcast HDTV is meant to work with an antenna. Seeing the wave of the future arriving today, cable and satellite companies also offer digital service, which may not be true HDTV. These digital systems only allow cable and satellite providers to offer more channels and other services and do not adhere to the same digital standards used by broadcasters. Special digital set-top boxes are still needed to convert digital cable signals for display on existing TVs. Satellite TV providers currently deliver programming to consumers using separate satellite reception equipment.
The best thing to do is check with your local cable or satellite company to see if they carry any HDTV signals and what type of equipment you need to receive those signals. You can check the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) website to see what stations you can receive using an HDTV antenna in your area.
Whether you're looking at a satellite receiver box or a cable box, look for wide band component video outputs or a DVI output on the box itself. Because of varying signals, set-top boxes may handle conversion to high definition differently. Basically, you want to make sure that the box you use puts out a compatible HD signal with your HDTV monitor. Satellite television providers should be able to help determine compatibility.