Before we start, we’re assuming that you have a high-definition monitor or television, and that your cable or satellite feed is in HD as well. If not, bookmark this page and come back when you do – since you can’t watch high-def programming on a television that’s not equipped for it.
Not many people snag their television signals directly from the air anymore (it’s still certainly possible, but you won’t have much choice in channels). Almost everyone has either a cable or satellite feed so they can watch TV, so that’s the easiest way to watch high-definition movies and programs.
However, you still need to connect the cable box to the TV, and that’s a crucial step. Ideally, you’ll want to use an HDMI cable to make the connection because it’s designed to carry both high-res video and high-resolution audio in a single cable. If you don’t have an HDMI port on either your TV (which is doubtful, if it’s an HDTV), or your cable or satellite box, you can use three-jack component video connectors instead; most will handle up to 1080p resolution.
What you don’t want to do is use the familiar yellow composite video cable, an S-video connector – or worst of all, the coax connector you’ve used between your cable box and TV for years. None are capable of delivering high-def signals, and coax connectors can’t even transfer a passable 480i analog signal. (Also remember that if you don’t use an HDMI cable, you’ll need separate stereo RCA cables for the audio).
Once your high-def TV signal is connected and working properly, you’ll have access to all of the HD shows and movies available on “regular” and cable TV, high-def on-demand channels, and pay-per-view high-definition movies.