The Picture Suddenly Gets Clearer

With this week's first broadcast of digital high-definition TV, the U.S. takes the lead in a pivotal industry for the 21st century

If all goes according to plan -- a big "if" when it comes to new technology -- broadcast history will be made in a meeting room on Capitol Hill this week. A new kind of television signal will leave the Bethesda, Md., TV tower of WETA, a PBS affiliate, fly across downtown Washington, strike an antenna on the roof of the Capitol building and zip down a cable into the Thomas P. O'Neill Room two floors below. There, before an audience of Senators, Congressmen and assorted commissioners, magician Harry Blackstone Jr. will draw back a black cloth and reveal the first...