Tech Time: HDTV Time

To recap, home theatre is effectively a combination of devises to recreate the movie theatre experience at home. Components needed include:
· A speaker system
· A big screen with great picture quality
· A playback system or source (such as a blue ray disc player or HDTV signal)

Our last programmes generated a lot of calls, comments and questions about the screen and playback systems, so, let’s elaborate.

When buying a DTV or HTV set, there are some specs to look out for (pun intended) to ensure the best image quality. DTV and HDTV are better than SDTV for several reasons, not the least of which being resolution.

· Frame Size: this is the number of pixels usually states as the number of horizontal pixels by the number of vertical pixels (e.g. 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080)

· Scanning System: With interlaced scanning, half the image is displayed at first, then the other half, with progressive scanning, the entire image is displayed (e.g. i25 p60)

· Frame Rate: this is the number of frames per second, the number of times the image appears on the screen within a single second

To put it in perspective:
· For SDTV’s the standard displays have a 4:3 aspect radio, DTV/HDTV has a 16:4 aspect ratio (much more like a movie theatre)
· SDTV’s have a resolution of 704 x 408, DTV/HDTV’s best resolution is 1920 x 1080
· SDTV’s generally have a 24 frames per second frame rate, HDTV has 60
· And finally, using plasma and LCD technologies, you can enjoy huge screens, without the bulk of CRT monitors

Now that you have the TV, you need to watch something on it. Source options include:
· Satellite or cable services providers
· Game consoles
· Computers
· Blue ray discs

Notice, I didn’t say DVD. DVD looks great on an HDTV, but its not a true HDTV signal. Not all channels or programmes will broadcast in HD, but those that do look amazing, and those that don’t look good.

Game consoles such as the PS3, some computers and blue ray disc players all transmit a true HDTV signal.

Note, you’ll need special cabling to true enjoy the magnificent picture. Ideally, you will need a HDMI cable. Second best is a composite video cable.

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