High Definition TV Buyer's Guide
High Definition TV
High-Definition TV is the new, super level of transmission that means picture quality is sharp – imagine seeing a blade of grass on a football pitch and to the back of the stadium. Reception of HD is now available with Sky HD through a paid for subscription, while the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five are offering a trial period for terrestrial viewers with a digital box.
Non HD TVs cannot accept the new signals, so to receive HD films, sport, wildlife programmes and the like, you will need a TV which is HD ready. A simple rule is the bigger the screen the higher the definition will be.
The old style of satellite and aerial broadcasting is being replaced by digital, where the signal is transmitted to a box.
HD broadcasters have 2 formats available to them. The 720p (progressive) format is usually used to broadcast sport ( fast moving images ) where as the 1080i (interlaced) format is used to broadcast films. Both formats deliver a new dimension to TV like you’ve never seen before.
LCD, LED or Plasma
At the moment this is a big debate and no-one can really answer it, as all have their pros and cons.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, LCDs work by shining light through a matrix of tiny coloured liquid crystal cells. LCD screens are similar to computer screens and, so far, have been more durable than plasma TVs. LCD TVs are also lighter in weight, thus making them easier to hang on walls, but they use more electricity to power them than LED technology. You will find that most televisions are now of the LED type, and that very few branded TV's will be LCD.
Plasma screens are gas filled and consist of millions of pixels with a phosphorous coating, transmitting billions of colours. Plasms TVs come in larger sizes than LCDs – the smallest is a 32 inch screen, and large plasma TVs are cheaper than the bigger sized LCD TVs, also they have not lasted as long, but the technology is improving all the time.
If you are looking to be Eco friendly, then LED is the way to go, and also cut down on your electricity bills.
Before you buy a TV
Above all make sure you purchase a TV which is HD Ready - either 720 or 1080 and has Freeview built in. If you want HD Freeview channels, then make sure you buy a TV with a Freeview HD tuner inside.
Smart TVs give you access to BBC iPlayer, Channel 4 on Demand, Channel 5 and ITV Player. These are brilliant, but they do require internet access. This can be via WiFi (some televisions have WiFi built-in, others require you to purchase a separate USB WiFi dongle) or by plugging an Ethernet cable directly into the back of the TV set from your internet router. Using a cable is often better, as wireless can be patchy at the best of times around the house when trying to watch internet content on a TV set.
3D TVs were once the popular thing to purchase, whilst you will still see a lot of TV manufacturers selling 3D TV sets, these will mainly be the more expensive TVs. I still see 3D TVs as bit of a fad, but I am sure when they bring out 3D TVs that do not require you to wear glasses they will become popular again.
TV Recommendations are built-in to a number of TVs, they allow the TV to show you upcoming programmes that may be of interest to you, these are all based on your previous viewings. So the more you watch the better the recommendations will be.
A high Frame Rate will make the pictures on the TV a lot smoother, especially in fast moving scenes, such as sport or action movies. It is therefore recommended to look at TV's with a frame rate of 100Hz and above. Most of the old CRT big box TV sets were 60Hz.
DLNA enables you to stream audio, image and video files from another device and display them on your TV set. Again the TV will need to be connected to your home internet. Having DLNA built-in is a useful feature is you have a lot of content on your laptop, tablet or your Network Attached Storage device. Most TVs will allow you to plug-in USB drives, so if you don't have DLNA, then you could always copy your audio or video files onto a USB pen stick and then insert that into the TVs USB slot and then watch your video on the TV.
What’s next in TV
The latest in TV technology is the High Definition 1080p screen. 1080 refers to the number of horizontal lines that make up the picture, and the ‘p’ stands for progressive. Progressive is a new scanning method, which allows 60 frames per second to pop up on the screen to form the picture. TV programming to suit these screens is still unavailable.
But next we will be looking at Ultra HD Televisions, which is a 4K or 4,000 pixel screen instead of a 1080 pixel screen.
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