Earlier this month, Humax announced its intention to develop a line of LCD TVs that will include tuners compatible with the DirecTV digital satellite service. This means that these TVs will not require a separate “set-top box” in order to receive the satellite service signal. The compact displays will open up new opportunities for DirecTV subscribers. Humax plans to have a 20-inch SD model in the first half of 2006, and a 32-inch HD model later this year.
Cable subscribers almost have this option for HDTVs. Many models will accept a “Cable Card” which is designed to provide a direct interface with digital cable systems. The problem is that few cable providers make these cards available to subscribers, and even when they do, the sets with these cards are not able to take advantage of the interactive features offered by many digital cable systems.
Overall, I think the idea of building compatible receivers into televisions — especially smaller models — is an excellent idea. It saves space, and more important, makes it much easier for the owner to set up the set because there are fewer connections and cables required.