someone educate me on televisions technology

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by krossfyter, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. krossfyter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #1
    im looking into buying a big screen tv. im clueless about what hd high definitis means... plasma... rear projections ... all that noise.

    anyone able to help?
     
  2. krossfyter thread starter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #2
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #3
    High definition refers to a television's ability to project resolutions higher than standard NTSC or PAL resolutions (NTSC is only a few hundred lines of vertical resolution).

    There are various "higher-definition" standards, which allow for a confusing variety of definitions/resolutions, but, essentially, anything labeled "HDTV" (high definition television) or, I think, "EDTV" (extended definition television, which I think is somewhat lower resolution than HDTV but still better than 'standard' TV) will provide decent resolution. However, you pretty much need to see the TV for yourself to see if the picture looks "good" to you, as there is a wide, wide variety of quality and "flavor" to the pictures.

    Plasma and LCD screens are, for your purposes, essentially the same thing: flat and thin TVs (the kind you could wall-mount). Rear-projection TVs use a variety of means to project the image to the screen, but most newer ones are relatively thin themselves - typically a bit more than a foot deep. However, you can't wall-mount them, and they're heavier. But they're also a LOT cheaper for a given screen size.

    The set-top box mentioned in the RCA write-up you link to means that the TV doesn't have a tuner - the set-top box is the tuner, and the TV is simply the display. It's generally better to get both in the TV, but not a big deal to have the separate box. Edit: this means you need to buy another item - the TV's price does not include the tuner.
     
  4. krossfyter thread starter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #5
    thanx. whats a "tuner"?

    you cant watch tv ... local or cable then without this tuner? is it ready to go straight out the box or not?

    so is the resolution projected by this tv higher than standard NTSC or PAL... even without the tuner (which im guessing is the set top box that projects hdtv). what res is this tv? i saw it in person and it really did look crisp and clear and i dont remember seeing a set top box.. anything on top of the tv.

    it was on display.
     
  5. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #6
    kross,

    You can go crazy trying to figure out what HDTV to get. There's just so much stuff out there. Bottom line, go to a store and check out a few screens, talk to a few people, and buy what fits your situation.

    Here are a couple of things you should know. HDTV (in the US) is either 720p or 1080i. You can think of it kinda like a computer's resolution. 720p = 1280x720 progressive. 1080i = 1920x1080 interlaced. BTW, don't think that 1080i is better than 720p, they're pretty much equal when viewed on a TV.

    The following networks use 720p - ABC, ESPN, Fox. All of the others use 1080i, including the cable channels.

    As far as tuners go, if you buy an "HD Ready" set, that means you'll need an external tuner. If you want to use an antenna to get "off-air" signals, you'll need to buy a HDTV box. If you're using cable or satellite, they can provide you with a decoder box that will output HDTV (you'll probably have to pay $10/month for the HD package).

    For more information, take a gander at avsforums.com. Lot's of activity on those forums.
     
  6. krossfyter thread starter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #7
    thnx. so this tvs resolution is better then regular tvs resolution? i did see the model in person and what i saw was stunning. my confusion is is this an hdtv and gives off hdvt resolution even if it doesnt the set top box?
     
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #8

    how good are this screens as computer display? i'm not talking about regular work, more like showing presentations, pictures, casual web surfing and similar tasks.
     
  8. cmvsm macrumors 6502a

    cmvsm

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    #9
    Big Screen

    Actually, I just bought one and went through the learning process. I came up with a few conclusions.

    First there's DLP (Digital Light Processing). This is what I went with. It functions off of a single 130W lamp and a spinning color wheel. This is the same principle as a movie theatre, except there you have three wheels instead of one. DLP is great as they are the brightest and arguably the clearest that one can get aside from a plasma. The DLP's don't burn in as they are technically a projection, so the shelf life is about 25 years. You don't have to deal with burned out pixels like an LCD either. Maintenace wise, you may have to replace the bulb every few years which could be anywhere between $100 to $300 to replace, and you can do it yourself. In 3 years, after you replace the bulb, the picture will look as good as the day you brought it home.

    Next is the LCD Rear Projection. Sony makes a great one of these called the Grand Wega. It is a little large however for its screen size if that is a factor. In terms of fitting into my entertainment center, my Samsung 46" is smaller in footprint than the Sony 42". As with all LCD's, you also have to deal with a possibility of burned out pixels. The brightness and blacks also suffer on LCD's as they are more of a grey than black but they are getting better with the technology.

    Finally is the Plasma. These operate on gas which is in a constant state of consumption within the monitor. Once the gas is gone, it cannot be replaced. The shelf life of an LCD monitor is, in my opinion, limited in terms of the amount of money you are shelling out, as they are the most expensive of the group. Plasma's also suffer from burn in on the screen. If you leave anything on the screen too long, it will burn the screen in. You don't have to worry about that with the other technologies.

    So in my summation, dollars versus shelf life, the DLP is the winner in my opinion which is what I got. DVD's look really great and HDTV is completely awesome! There are many manufacturers for DLP now, including Mitsubishi, Panasonic, RCA, and Samsung. Samsung was the first on the block with the DLP technology from Texas Instruments, so is a little familiar than the rest. I have the 46" Samsung DLP and couldn't be happier.

    Hope this helps!
     
  9. krossfyter thread starter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #10
    so is that rca a DLP? this was in the description of that rca....

    what is all this?

    -Intellifocus digital audio convergence
    -Progressive-scan up-conversion removes interlacing from analog video signals for a smoother, more film-like picture
    -3-line digital comb filter eliminates dot and edge crawl


    didnt find any info on it being DLP. if its not what is it?
     
  10. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    #11
    You might want to look at 16:9 home theater projectors as well. You can project a huge, bright, sharp picture for $1 to $2K. Upgrades will be easier to, as you can sell the relatively small projector easily on ebay while the big plasma screens can be difficult to ship.

    Just a thought. Go look at a local hi-fi store and compare.
     
  11. rccola70 macrumors regular

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    #12
    That RCA is neither a plasma, DLP, nor is it an LCD. Its just a regular big box TV with HDTV capabilities.
     
  12. cmvsm macrumors 6502a

    cmvsm

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    Nov 12, 2004
    #13
    HDTV


    If it doesn't sport a DLP tag, then it is not a DLP. What you have there, it seems like, is a garden variety projection television that has three guns (RGB) that project onto the screen. I didn't really include them as that technology has greatly fallen by the wayside as the other technologies are advancing. A good old fashioned projection is good as long as if you are watching the screen from dead on center. If not, the quality gets distorted from the side or bottom viewing. I once saw all of these projections in Circuit City on display. When I walked up to them from the side, I thought why are these all turned off. Come to find out they weren't, I just wasn't looking at them from the side angle. Also, with the three guns that project the picture, they have to be serviced every so often because they get out of whack. If one gun's projection is off, then the whole picture color will be off. I understand that regular servicing of the guns is expensive per house call.

    I WOULD NOT buy a television off the internet. Too many crazy things to go wrong with such a high priced item. Pay the additional $100 or $200 at a retail store and be happy that if something goes wrong, you can take it around the block for servicing or exchange. If you had to box something like that up and send it back it would be a real hassle and not worth the small dollars you are saving. If you buy from say a place like Circuit City, you can get their 3 year extension which is highly worth it. In my great state of Florida, the lightning is ridiculous during the summer months and surge protectors dont' work on a direct hit. The service plan covers anything except abuse. On the DLP's they will even replace the bulb which right there, pays for the plan.

    Good luck!
     
  13. Jovian9 macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

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    #14
    I would suggest that if you buy an HDTV you look at it in person first. My wife and I went through this about 2 1/2 yrs ago. We read all kinds of information and reviews prior to purchasing. We thought we were going to spend around $3,000 on a 50"? Sony which had great reviews. We went to Circuit City, Best Buy, and HH Gregg to look at them. When we got to HH Gregg they had a 53" Panasonic sitting next to that Sony and the picture quality of the Panasonic was a lot better (with them running the same channels and me adjusting the settings). The Panasonic had good reviews but not as good as the Sony (online reviews we had read)....but in person it looked so much better and cost us $2000 instead of $3k and is 3" bigger. Digital cable/HD cable & digital satellite/HD satellite look great on this television......as well as DVD's and video games. If we had ordered online we would have spent more money and bought a television that was not as good (in my opinion) or as big as the one we found looking in person.
    Just a suggestion.
     
  14. krossfyter thread starter macrumors 601

    krossfyter

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    #15
    you are right it looks like its off from a certain angle. im curious though..the tv i have now is not like that at all... its not plasma nor an lcd... its just a run o the mill jvc 27". does this one also work on the rgb projection? if so why is it not looking like its turned off from a certian angle?


    :confused:
     
  15. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

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    #16
    These are just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm not trying to crap on anyone's purchases.

    First off, that RCA is a CRT rear projection screen (RPTV). There are 4 types of rear projection screens. CRT is the oldest, most proven technology for RPTVs. The others are DLP, LCD, and LCOS. All have their plusses and minuses.

    CRT RPTV - Pros - least expensive, best picture, proven reliability, excellent black levels. Cons - Prone to burn-in, bulky cabinet, needs regular maintenance (i.e. convergence).
    DLP RPTV - Pros - Excellent contrast, small cabinet size, low maintenance. Cons - Rainbow effect, expensive, moderate black levels (although better than LCD RPTV), unproven reliability.
    LCD RPTV - Pros - Small cabinet size, low maintenance. Cons - Expensive, moderate black levels, relatively unproven reliability.
    LCOS RPTV - Pros - Small cabinet size, excellent picture, low maintenance. Cons - Very expensive, unproven reliability.

    If you have the space, the CRT RPTV represents the bang-for-the-buck in this category. As long as you don't watch CNBC with its ticker 24/7, you don't really have to worry about burn-in. The newer technologies are great as well, but you're paying a premium.

    The other technologies are direct-view sets. They include plasma, LCD, and CRTs. CRT's are the most reliable and cheapest, but they are limited in size to 36" or so. LCDs and plasma are equally expensive and both have their own sets of pros and cons.

    CRT - Pros - Best picture, least expensive, proven reliability. Cons - Unavailable in larger sizes, heavy, prone to burn-in.
    Plasma - Pros - Excellent contrast, excellent picture, thin screen format. Cons - Expensive, prone to burn-in, smaller sizes aren't full resolution (i.e. 1024x768, 1024x1024).
    LCD - Pros - Excellent picture, thin screen format, light weight, excellent in room with high ambient lighting. Cons - Most expensive, mediocre black levels.

    I didn't list the limited life-span on Plasmas and LCDs as a Con since they are all currently listed with 60,000 hour life-spans. That's 20 years of usage at 8 hr/day. I think in 20 years, you've gotten your money's worth. On a plasma, it's still watchable, only less bright. On LCDs, you can replace the backlight.

    As far as off-angle viewing goes, the only type of TV that isn't bothered with this problem is the direct-view CRT. With the other TVs, you lose contrast and brightness as you get away from the center. I don't think you can generalize that one technology is better than another one with this problem. It really depends on the set that you're looking at. And don't get bogged down in stats. Trust your eyes, not the numbers.

    When you go to the store, have the guy show you the different set with different feed sources. Just about all HDTVs will look great with HDTV and DVD feeds. Have them show you a Standard Def signal on several TVs. This will probably represent most of the material that you'll be watching anyway. Some sets deal with SD better than others. Some can be downright hideous with SD. I would tend to think that CRT and CRT RPTVs would handle SD the best, but that's just a generalization.

    To answer the other question about using these sets as a computer monitor. Yes you can. Most sets have excellent resolutions (at least 1280x720). You just need a set that has the correct inputs (usually VGA or DVI) and that your video card can drive the correct resolution.
     
  16. cmvsm macrumors 6502a

    cmvsm

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    #17
    Store Feeds

    Also, when you go to the store to look at different sets, be aware that in many stores, the same cable or HDTV "feed" is serving a multiple amount of televisions at the same time. The closer the set is to the feeding source, the better the signal. If a set is at the end of the daisy chain of lets say 8 or 10 televisions, the signal will be crap and the picture won't look very good.

    This is a great selling point to the stores, as they set their most expensive sets closer to the feed and their less expensive far away, so it looks as if the less expensive television set is really crap in comparison when that is not always the case.
     

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