When my wide screen Hitachi showed signs of going on the blink last year I decided that it might be time to consider buying a new set. It seemed to me that the next one would have to be a LCD flat screen, so I started looking. My search around various stores was unrewarding. It seemed at first that most sets were only capable of showing 'Finding Nemo'. It seems that the industry, and by that I mean programme producers, broadcasters and the TV equipment manufacturers need to get their collective heads together. If we are heading for High Definition then they need to agree on, at least, a European standard, preferably one that is agreeable to LCD and Plasma sets without the need for umpteen combinations of picture format (1080i,720i,720p,50hz,60hz etc etc). Hedging your bets is not a final solution. We may envy the USA having HD transmissions, but a glance at the HDTV Newsgroups will show the situation there is one of much confusion and disappointment. A local, independent, dealer told me that by the end of 2005 he hoped to stop 'selling glass' as he put it. It is true that the number of new CRT sets seems to have diminished. The aim now seems to be to bring down the costs of LCDs. Plasmas have already plummeted. Our local JEEP dealer was giving them away last year with new vehicles! Sony's latest sets were described as these new models fall within our mainstream range; they offer superb home entertainment at affordable prices With the emphasis on 'affordable' the WEGA engine was dropped from the smaller screens, no attempt was made to lose the 15:9 screens and connections were limited. The same philosophy can be seen from Sharp with its GA5 model and its minimal connections. Joe Public is understandably confused. With 'flatscreen','widescreen', 100hz,'digital', High Definition ready' being flung at them is it any wonder that Cu**ys and Di**ns salesmen are having a field day. From my observations many of those owners of wide screen sets and digital set top boxes rarely have the feeds switched to 16:9. The need to fill the screen with a picture no matter how distorted the image might be leads to the popular misconception that 'wide screen makes people look fat'. Do people really care about quality? And goodness knows do we really need sets with bolt-on light shows from Philips? Now that the BBC's finances have been sorted it would seem like a good time to look at their long-term policy. What is clear is that money is short in the TV production business. Too many channels relying on repeats and not enough cash for new, quality, material. High Definition is going to impose a further burden on that budget, so my guess is that programme material from Sky will be limited to films and the occasional sports events. Little mention is made of the addition of Dolby Digital sound, which is part of the High Definition specification. I wonder how TV and set top box manufacturers are going to cope with this. I've seen HDTV, on both LCD and Plasma screens, and it is something I would look forward to if there were a wide range of programmes to watch. It may be fun to have fiddle to find the right settings, but is really so difficult to make a LCD TV that responds to a decent digital signal and accurately represent the image that the programme, or film, producer intended? With the pace of technology today one can never really expect to be always 'up to date', but the introduction of a range of reasonably priced sets which at the very least match up to the PQ, and screen ratio, of the present CRTs might have me dipping my hand into my pocket. If they are HD ready to a standard which meets future broadcast needs and DVD's then perhaps they might be worth the £1k plus I might have to pay. In the meantime my Hitachi seems to have righted itself so it's what I'll be watching for a while longer. My guess is that things might start to come together later this year. Any thoughts ?