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12/15/06 Help my confusion! Today's TV technology is driving me bonkers!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 14, 2006 6:16 AM PST

Hi! I hope you can help me out. My trusty, 12-year-old, 36-inch tube TV finally went kaput, and I'm now in the market for a flat-panel TV. I've been out of the TV technology loop for a quite some time now, and I'm absolutely lost. How do I know which type to get? I see a lot of words and acronyms thrown around, and none of them mean anything to me?for example LCOS, LCD, DLP, and of course plasma. And what does it mean when someone is talking about 720p, 1080i, and 1080p? What the difference between HD ready, HDTV, and HD compatible? I didn't have to consider any of these things 12 years ago as my choice back then was either a tube or rear-projection TV and that was it! Please help an old fellow out will you? Thanks!

Submitted by: Jeremiah L. of Nashville, Tennessee



Jeremiah, pieces of this have been touched on in previous questions of the week, but let?s try to summarize it and update it (things have changed, just in the past few months). Buying an HDTV can be incredibly difficult and complex because there are so many considerations.

Display format (nature of the image):

The numbers 720p, 1080i and 1080p refer to two different characteristics of the displayed image, it?s resolution (number of dots comprising the picture) and whether it is interlaced or progressive. The HDTV resolutions are 1280 x 720 (720i or 720p) and 1920 x 1080 (1080i or 1080p). Other things being equal, higher resolutions are better. The letter p or i after the number indicates the scan format. A progressive display transmits the entire image every frame. An interlaced display transmits the frame in two fields sent one after the other, the first containing the odd-numbered rows of pixels, the second field containing the even rows. Progressive is better than interlaced. There are some lower resolutions (below 720) which fall into the ?EDTV category (not really HDTV) and which should probably be avoided at this point. Note that the HDTV standard requires all sets to display all resolutions, but fact that you can watch a 1080p resolution image on a 720p set does not mean that you get the same quality that you would get on a 1080p set; you don?t.

Display technology (how the image is formed):

This refers to how the image is created, rather than its format. There are a lot of technologies and it can be hard to keep the technologies and their pros and cons straight. Here?s a list, followed by a brief description:

Direct view displays:
-Direct view LCD
-Direct view Plasma

Projection displays:

In Direct view displays, you are looking directly at the image as it is formed; the ?screen? is the actual image formation device. In projection displays, the actual image is formed in a small imaging device (often only an inch or so in size) and then projected onto a 40? to 70? screen for viewing. Except for CRT projectors, which are typically 5? to 7? in size, all of the other formats are sometimes also called ?microprojection displays? because the actual image as formed prior to projection is so small. There are also ?front projectors?, which look and work like an old style slide projector and screen, and ?rear projectors? where the entire projection assembly and screen are all built into the cabinet.

Here is a capsule summary of each type:

Direct view LCD: Essentially a very large laptop computer lid. Thin and flat. By far the most common and probably best display at sizes under about 42?. Can be made at any of the common resolutions. Although available at sizes up into the mid 50-inches (and still larger ones will become available in the future), these become VERY expensive at sizes above about 42?, especially if the panel is also high resolution (e.g. 1080). Contrast ratio (ability to produce truly black blacks) and response times (freedom from ghosting and smearing in fast moving action sequences) may be image quality issues in some displays. Won?t ?burn in? and has nearly unlimited life (inexpensive backlight lamp replacement may be required after 5 to 10 years).

Direct view Plasma: Another thin and flat display type, but very different from LCD. Better contrast ratio and response time than LCD. Really comes into its own at sizes of 46? and above, where its currently less expensive than LCD (but LCD will ?catch up? for cost in the mid 50-inch size range in another year or so). Subject to ?burn in? from static images, and has a limited albeit long life (by most estimates, about 60,000 hours in current production sets). Uses relatively a lot of power and many models have cooling fans (potential noise issue). Generally, plasma panels with a 1020 resolution don?t exist (one or two large 1080p plasma sets do exist, and more will appear next year, but they are out of the price range of most consumers).

[micro]projection displays:

-CRT: Very high brightness old-style ?picture tubes? projected onto a screen. In my opinion, any set using this technology should be rejected out-of-hand. While this is a relatively inexpensive technology (possibly under $1,000 for a 50-inch screen), no matter what the stated resolution, due to focus and convergence issues, these sets just do not deliver the image quality of any of the other technologies being discussed.

All of the following 3 technologies (LCD, LCoS and DLP) currently use a high intensity lamp as a light source. These lamps are quite expensive ($200 typically, but a few are $500 to $600) and they need to be replaced periodically. Although the manufacturers all quote lamp life as 5,000 to 8,000 hours, there are LOTS of reports on the web of premature lamp failures (often in under a year, at 600 to 1,200 hours of use), and in some instances it?s pretty clear that there are systemic problems with some models of lamps and sets using those lamps. All of the set makers have been responsive to these issues while the sets were still in warranty, but once the warranty expires, you are pretty much on your own. Note that many extended warranties, even if for 3, 4 or 5 years, only provide ONE lamp replacement under the extended warranty, and then you are on your own with regard to lamp replacement, but this is only a general comment and is not by any means universally the case. If you are buying an extended warranty, you need to ask about this. Alternative to the use of these lamps are being developed, but for now, with one exception, it?s a characteristic of all microprojection display systems. Samsung actually sells a set with an LED light source instead of these high intensity lamps, but it?s currently expensive (about $4,000). Development work is underway on laser light sources as well, but these are not currently available in any shipping products.

DLP: The light is reflected off of one single Texas Instruments DMD device, which forms the image. Since there is only one device, red, blue and green are presented in succession by using a spinning color wheel inside the set (except for the previously mentioned Samsung set with an LED light source, which works by flashing different colored LEDs). A small number of people can?t watch this type of set without difficulty, because the ?eye-brain physiology? that is supposed to result in proper perception of a full color image from this sequential technology isn?t perceived the same way by everyone.

LCD: The light is projected through three LCD microdisplays and onto the screen. There has been concern raised that the high intensity light will eventually damage color filters, resulting in deterioration of the colors over time. Not subject to ?color wheel effect?.

LCoS: The light is reflected off of 3 LCD microdisplays and onto the screen. The technology has some similarities to LCD and uses LCD elements, but like DLP it?s reflective rather than transmissive. Not subject to the ?color wheel effect?.

With the exceptions of specific characteristics noted, all of these technologies can produce excellent images, which is not to say that all sets using them will: Rather, differences in the design of specific TV set models are more significant than the technology used. Consequently, if you are considering a microprojection set of any type, you have to evaluate the set on it?s own characteristics and not solely on the technology used. What can be said definitively is that if you can ignore the lamp issue (and perhaps even if you can?t), these sets have higher ?bang for the buck? in 52-inch and larger screen sizes than either LCD or plasma direct view sets. The cost of a set with a picture size of mid-50-inches to as much as 72? may be as much as thousands less (half or less) what a plasma or LCD direct view set of that size would run, with a 720p or 1080p picture that is equal or better in most regards. But these sets use more power, and they are larger .... these are not thin sets, and they have to stand on a table or stand, they cannot be hung on a wall.

Now let?s talk about some TV receiver characteristics unrelated to the actual picture.

There are three different transmission systems that you would ideally like to be able to receive:

-QAM (preferably with ?cable card? capability)

NTSC is our standard ?old? TV system, approved by the FCC in March of 1941 (before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor) and in use to this day. All TV sets can receive this. Note, however, that some displays that you may look at are not TV sets, they are only monitors (they need an external tuner or other signal source).

ATSC is the system used to transmit digital TV over the air (HDTV is a subset of the broader category of ?digital TV?, although the two terms are often used interchangeably). This is replacing NTSC, and over the air NTSC is currently schedule to ?die? in February of 2009.

QAM is the system used by most cable systems to transmit digital TV over cable systems. If you have a QAM tuner, you may be able to receive unscrambled digital TV channels without a cable box. If you have QAM and a cable card slot, and if you get a cable card for the slot (typically from your cable company), you may be able to receive even scrambled, premium content without a cable box.

A set that is ?HD ready? has only an NTSC tuner, but can view HDTV material if it is provided as a video signal from another component (a separate tuner, or a cable box, for example). Note that for legal purposes, any set with the ability to display a 1280x720 or higher resolution picture is considered to be an ?HDTV? display. While such a set may show a 1020p or 1020i broadcast, however, it won?t do so at full quality unless it is a 1920x1080 device. ?HD compatible? generally means ?HD ready? plus having an HDMI interface socket, which brings us to the next matter:

Signal Input connections:

Since you will be watching not only over-the-air transmissions but also program material from cable systems, VCRs, Disc Players and perhaps computers, you need a variety of signal inputs to accept and allow connection of picture sources to the TV set. Ideally, you will have almost all of the following types of connections available (and, ideally, two or more of most of them):

-Composite Video
-Component Video
-Computer analog VGA

-DVI and HDMI are electrically identical as far as the electrical signals carrying video is concerned; it?s possible to convert either to the other. However, there are signal compatibility issues which may keep any source (DVI or HDMI) from working with any TV set. Problems are more common with a DVI source than with an HDMI source, but they sometimes occur even with an HDMI-to-HDMI connection.

-Most TVs don?t have a 15-pin analog VGA computer connection, but quite a few do. This is obviously more important to some people that to others.

-Just because you have the electrical connection doesn?t mean a given combination of TV and signal source will always work. There are 18 different digital TV broadcast formats approved for transmission in the US by the FCC. When you add non-broadcast sources and computers, the number of different possible signal types and formats gets even higher. Unfortunately, everything doesn?t work with everything in every format. But some sets are a lot more compatible than others. Unfortunately, you almost need to consult either detailed specification documents and/or user groups on the internet to be able to evaluate what really works with what.

Ok, enough (too much?) for the technical details. Here are some buying guidelines:

-If you are looking at anything up to about 42 inches, then you are probably going to be getting a direct view LCD set
-If you want a thin, flat ?mount on wall? set from 42 to 52 inches, then you have a choice of LCD or Plasma
-If you want a thin, flat ?mount on wall? set of more than 52 inches, Plasma is currently your only choice
-At 50 inches and above, or if you want a 1920x1080 display, a microprojection display technology will be a LOT less expensive than LCD; 1080 plasma has only existed for a couple of months, only a couple of models currently exist and it?s outrageously expensive.

I know that this has been a long response. I hope that it was helpful. The question, reasonable enough, has a surprisingly long and complex answer, which is why so many people buying new TV sets are so confused.

Submitted by: Barry W. of North Canton, Ohio
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by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 14, 2006 6:17 AM PST


I know the feeling. My last TV lived for a total of 30 years before giving up the ghost. Gotta love 70's era Sony products.

But anyhow... It's time for an upgrade! HDTV is definitely the technology to look into since traditional CRT type TVs seem to be going the way of the dodo. Let's look at the technology behind them first.

LCD - Liquid Crystal Display - First off, it's important to know that when someone says LCD, there are two types, First of all, it's a technology that's as common as dirt these days - laptops, PDAs and cell phones these days all sport LCD screens. These days, computers and TVs are also likewise are getting into the act. Basically, you've got a flat pane of glass which are hooked up in a matrix. Signals are sent to the X and Y coordinates to make each pixel glow at a particular intensity and color. Image size and resolution is limited to the size of the crystals used in the matrix.

In addition, there's LCD PROJECTION units as well. LCD Projectors work something like those mini-flashlights that use one circuit to produce a thin beam of light - though, there are usually many more of them to produce an image. They produce a fairly decent image.

DLP - Digital Light Processing - it's a technology that's been around for a number of years that works by taking a digital video signal and reflecting it off of a special chip that's coated with an array of mirrors. The resulting picture is then sent through a lens and winds up being projected on a screen or wall. This technology is quite commonly found in theaters with state of the art projection gear. A typical 3 chip DLP system can produce over 35 TRILLION colors and can produce a VERY sharp image.

LCOS - Liquid Crystal on Silicon - This is a hybrid technology between DLP and LCD projection units of sorts. Instead of using mirrors to create the image like DLP, the LCOS chip uses Liquid Crystals to refract and create the image. The main plus point of LCOS technology is that it isn't subject to the usual pixelation - where individual pixels are clearly defined. The liquid crystals have an effect of softening the edges, making them blend together better.

And we can't forget Plasma based sets either. These are similar to regular CRT sets in their electronics are stored inside the unit.

Now then, let's settle the mysteries of 720p, 1080i and 1080p. As with computer screens, pictures are generated horizontal line by line. The number portions reflect the number of lines being displayed on the screen at any given time. A 720p screen is 720 lines tall - and the P portion refers to Progressive Scan. In 1080i, we're talking about a 1080 line image but the i refers to an Interlaced picture.

Interlaced vs Progressive has to do with how the TV displays each line. With an interlaced picture, you get the 1st line displayed, the 3rd line, 5th line and so forth until the maximum resolution is displayed and then it goes back to the top to display lines 2, 4, 6 and so forth to fill in the gaps. A Progressive scan unit displays all lines in sequential order - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc...

Interlaced displays, in the past, have been known to create headaches and such because of the minute lag in the creation of the odd and even lines of the image. This was certainly true of CRT computer monitors from the early to mid 90's and I'm not entirely sure if modern HD tech has solved that 100%.

Progressive Scan is ALWAYS better because the image is laid out in their native sequential order.

Now then, HD Ready, HD Compatible and HDTV - these are all terms that define the interface the TV has with the outside world. HDTV is a general "catch all" term for higher than standard definition TV.

HD capable means a TV that displays pictures at the resolutions of either 720p or 1080i or 1080p AND has a built in tuner for getting your channels via a special antenna or via a cable or satellite box.

HDTV compatible... That term, in and of itself leaves a lot to interpretation. A TV is either capable of high res display or not.

HD ready means the TV displays at high res as the HD Capable TVs, BUT it doesn't have the tuner built in - it requires an additional box - be it a cable or satellite tuner. In essence, this is basically nothing more than a monitor - like the one hooked to your computer. The benefit of this type of TV is that it's generally a bit cheaper than the HD capable because the tuner's not included. On the other hand, you will need to get the added expense of cable or satellite which you probably already have anyhow.

So.. which is best?

That's up to you. The best recommendation I can make is to figure out how much you're willing and able to spend on a TV and then visit your local electronics superstore and LOOK at the units they've got on display. Pay attention to the screen and the sound coming from the speakers.

Then, go home and read reviews on the ones you like. Learn from other's experience by reading their reviews of the unit in question. Never rely entirely on a salesman's pitch. You might find the unit he's pushing isn't as good as another comparably priced TV.

Given HDTVs are generally a fairly major expense with the cheaper units going from $1500 to the high end ones going past the $10,000 range, you DO want to take your time, do some research and consider your options before shelling out a significant chunk of change.

Submitted by: Pete Z. of Los Angeles, California



Firstly I personally advise against plasma. They are brighter than LCD, but they burn far too easily, and with broadcasters placing permanent logos in the corner of product that they don't actually own, it is not uncommon to see that logo permanently burned into the plasma screen. You know that the kids are watching too much TV when you can see the "cartoon channel" burned into the corner while the TV is turned off.

LCD (liquid crystal display) is the same technology on laptop screens. It may not be as bright, but in my experience is far more reliable and long-lived than plasma. Most of the acronyms thrown at you can be replaced with one you more readily understand: BS.

HD ready and HD compatible mean that the unit is capable of receiving a High-Definition signal, but as yet, I have not seen a single unit that is capable of displaying true HD, which is 1920 * 1080 pixels (now you know where one of those numbers, 1080 comes from). Standard PAL and NTSC use interlace scanning to reduce flicker by splitting one frame into two "fields' so instead of a PAL screen flickering at 25 fps, it's actually scanning 50 fields per second, and NTSC is showing 60 fields instead of 30fps. Cinema does a similar trick. Film is run at a standard 24fps, but to reduce flicker, the projector actually shows each frame twice so that the 'flicker' is 48 fps instead. That is what the i and the p after the numbers mean. 1080i means 1080 scan lines split into two INTERLACED fields, 1080p means all lines are scanned in PROGRESSIVE sequence, but it is common for such TVs to show each frame twice or even four times to reduce the flicker. A proper HD signal is broadcast at the cinema equivalent of 24 fps.

As stated, these units are signal 'compatible', but I have never seen one on the market that is capable of displaying the true resolution of 1920 * 1080. SD (standard definition gets even messier, because it still complies with NTSC and PAL which conflict with each other. 720p is actually PAL resolution of 720 * 576 at 25 fps, PAL analog resolution is 800 * 600, so we took a back seat there.

Whilst 1080 is a vertical resolution, 720 is a horizontal one (again for no adequately explained reason). The I and the P still mean the same thing.

NTSC digital is the good old VGA of 640 * 480 at 30 fps (actually 29.97, but no one has adequately explained why).

Some basic maths shows that 1920 * 1080 is (3 * 640) * (3 * 480) which means nine times the definition on a screen that properly handles it. I repeat that I have yet to see one, so when I change over to digital reception I'll be using a 2048 * 1536 PC screen. It may not cover the wall, but at least the alleged detail will be visible.

You must also remember that High Definition TV will still have to cope with 'legacy' broadcast material. I don't imagine that they're going to reshoot all the frames of THE SIMPSONS in HD, so the existing material will still have to be broadcast with either lost frames to reduce 30 to 24, or the equipment will have to cope with the higher frame rate. PAL has it a little easier as there is only one frame difference and this is handled by simply speeding up the movie material by 4%, and I don't imagine that old TV shows that have been transferred to DVD will be upgraded, because the original resolution doesn't exist. I LOVE LUCY was shot in NTSC at 30fps, broadcast at that rate and stored on video at that rate and resolution. If people want to waste time and money on an HD version of this material, it will all be computer guesswork, because those extra pixels simply do not exist.

That's just flat panel TVs. Rear projection units I have found fall into the same less-than-HD category and still have brightness problems, along with regular bulb and ballast changes.

Wall projectors usually enter into the higher resolutions because they are also meant to handle hi-res PC, but bulbs are expensive, and everything is focused through a display panel about 1/3" across. That's a great deal of heat on a delicate unit! Search eBay, and you'll find people selling projectors rather than replacing the bulbs.

I've been more longwinded than I intended, but I hope I've simplified some of your questions. If you really want to blow your mind with numbers and tech specs, visit the DVD-FAQ site.

I don't recommend spending thousands on the current technology. Buy something equivalent to what you had (second hand even) and a cheap set top box, then when the market finally reaches the levels it claims is the time to consider a larger investment. Even 5.1 sound is faked. There are still only two audio channels and the surround component is 'extrapolated' by circuitry. Hopefully by the time the screen resolution issues are sorted, the J-Loop system will be adequately established to give genuine surround without the extra space used up by DTS (a complex audio track laid down on DVDs which has the full 5.1 data in it).

Submitted by: Treknology Net



LCOS is a projection technology used only by JVC and Sony. It uses three chips to process the video signal, and uses the smallest pixels for a better picture than is possible with projection LCD or DLP. DLP uses a bulb sending light through a spinning color wheel, which then goes to the chip with about 1 mil microscopic hinged mirrors. A very good projection technology. LCD projection is the oldest form of the bulb projection TV's, and is only being used now by Sony.

Flat panel LCD and Plasma both are high end of the technology scale. If you play a lot of video games and have a brighter room, a flat panel LCD may be best. If you don't play games, and your room can control the light, a plasma offers the best possible picture and color quality.

Both of these type sets have a life-span (time till half as bright as new) of over 60,000 hours. So go to a store, look at the different "engines" (technologies) and choose the one which looks the best to you. The old 90's technology 3 picture tube projection is the cheapest, but has the poorest picture compared to the other models.

The broadcast industry broadcasts a high def signal in 2 ways: one is called interlaced which sends half the signal 1/60th of a second apart...a total of 1080 scan lines, while the other TV stations broadcast a signal all at once with 720 lines. Since there is no refresh rate on this type of signal (progressive scan) it looks the same as the 1080 interlaced. All TV's receive and display both signals automatically. 1080 progressive is a new possibility with a Blu-Ray DVD player, and the new model TV's which have an extra million pixels to display the 1080p signal. There is no broadcast signal of 1080p, only those from high definition DVD players (2 types on the
market) and from the play station 3 games.

Submitted by: Paul



As a new member of CNET I decided to answer the question on buying a new, digital TV. I am a retired Sony Engineer (18 years) and bought a new Sony Trinitron 27? tube TV after my 2nd year there. The set is 18 years old. I have been retired from Sony for over a year now and my old set just wouldn?t lock in on stations. I guess the tuner was out because the picture from a DVD was great. I decided to buy a new TV and started studying, by the internet, the different types of TV?s. I compared LCD, DLP, Plasma and whatever else was out there, I visited my local Circuit City so many times they knew me by name.

I finally decided to buy a LCD set and have not regretted it. I bought a Samsung, LN-S4092D, 40? set. I chose this instead of a Sony mainly because of the price difference. I also noted on my internet studies that Samsung makes the LCD screens for Sony in the same factory they make their own. This set is a 720p/1080i resolution. I can honestly say that there is just a slight bit of difference between the two. I sit just about 10 feet away and either way the picture is just beautiful in HD and acceptable in standard digital. I also bought a Samsung DVD-HD860 DVD player. This is an up converting player to either 720p or 1080i resolution with HDMI. I run it on 720p because the movies look ?smoother?. I don?t know how else to describe it.

I also installed a small, omni directional antenna on my roof. This is a small antenna rated at about 40-50 miles but receive digital channels very well from at least 80-90 miles away. They sometimes get broken up but most of the time, they are near perfect. DLP (rear projection) sets I rejected because of having to change the light every few years. The plasma type sets had some burn-in problems. LCD is the way to go. I read one of the drawbacks of LCD is the lack of deep black. Don?t believe it. Black is black and the dark colors in different shades are great with the contrast settings I have. Also, which ever type you buy, spend some time adjusting the set. My lcd has many, many types of adjustments. But once set, leave it alone.

I have my set and DVD player hooked up to my surround sound system through a Pioneer 7 ch. Receiver. I just run the digital optical output from my TV and DVD through the receivers 2 digital optical inputs. I run the HDMI cable from the DVD to the TV. This still leaves another HDMI input on the Samsung TV incase I decide to go with cable and another box. My advise is this. Try a small outdoor, omni directional antenna for HD programming. You will be surprised at the FREE stations that are out there and usually much better, clearer signals than cable, and NO BOX. By the way, CBS,ABC, NBC, and Fox have great football games in HD, again all free. If you went with a std. UHF/VHF directional antenna with a rotor, this would be perfect. One other thing I purchased with my new set and DVD player was a Monster surge protector and AC cleaner to protect my investment. I hope this helps and what I found out about new TV?s is don?t chase the numbers. Go look at them somewhere like Circuit City and don?t buy something ?too big?. These sets look smaller in the store than when at home.

Submitted by: Jim R. of Midland City, Alabama



Hi Jeremiah, I hope I can help you out. Let's first cover those technologies you asked about.

LCD's (Liquid Crystal Displays) are displays made up of tons of little dots (pixels), in front of a light source, or reflector. In the past LCD's had slow refresh rates, but they've sped up a lot.

DLP's (Digital Light Processing) use tons of tiny little mirrors, to project a monochrome image. DLP's use a spinning color wheel to turn the monochrome image into a color one.

LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) is said to be a mix between LCD and DLP. It uses liquid crystals, as LCD's, but they are on silicon, as the name implies, with a reflective layer. Because the liquid crystals are on the silicon chips, it allows for much higher resolutions than LCD's or Plasmas.

A PDP (Plasma Display Panel), or plasma display, creates the image you see by exciting phosphors with a plasma discharge between two glass panes. Plasmas usually have better pictures than LCD's and are thinner.

Now the difference between 720p, 1080i, and 1080p is rather simple. P stands for progressive, and i stands for interlaced. Progressive writes one line after another, interlaced writes every other line, then comes back and writes the remaining lines. The numbers refer to the vertical lines of resolution. 1080i has 1,080 vertical lines of pixels, 540 of which will be written at once. 1080p is the best of current HD formats.

HD Ready is a display that can receive an HD signal, but does not have a built in tuner, so no HDTV free over the air. HD Compatible is a set that has lower than HD resolution, but can still receive the signals. I cannot recommend either of the two. HDTV is the one that is fully capable, and what you will likely want unless you just want a cheap display that will get you by for a bit.

So what does all this mean? Not much. None of this will even matter if you're viewing VHS tapes or watching DVD's with a player hooked up through composite video (one yellow cord for video), or watching everyday TV, unless it is broadcast in HD, and you have your receiver set up properly. So likely you'll be wanting to upgrade your DVD player soon (use the S-Video connector to tide you over until then if necessary), as well as your cable/satellite provider, to get an HD signal. Sorry. When you go to the store, just look at the displays they have, see which ones you like, shop around, and make sure whatever display you end up buying has more than one DVI or HDMI input (what you'll be using to plug in all your HD video sources most likely), if you want it to last another 12 years like your last set. Good luck!

Submitted by: Isaiah A. of Port Saint Lucie, Florida



Hey, Jeremiah!

Here?s the ?readers digest? version: Unless you have some restrictions (chassis dimensions, access to Hi-def programming) the LCOS ( Liquid Crystal on Silicon), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) are the 3 dominant rear-projection (micro-display) technologies and will be the biggest screens for the least money (on a per-inch basis). The newest ones are available in 1080p (1920 X 1080 pixels) and use a projection lamp that is user-replaceable and lasts about 3000 to 4000 hours in most cases.

720p (progressively scanned) and 1080i (interlaced) are the two current broadcast standards for Hi-def broadcast from any source. If you want a flat screen then your choices are plasma or flat-panel LCD displays. They?re cool and take up no-room-to-speak-of but usually cost more than a comparably sized micro-display. The majority of available plasmas are native 720p or 1080i resolution, though a couple companies are making 1080p (they?re amazing, but so is the price).

What all these numbers mean is that some TVs are higher resolution monitors than others, just like on computers, and that a higher-rez display can show you a more detailed, film-like image, but you MUST supply them the quality signal they?re designed for. Analog (the signal most have been watching for the past 70 years) looks like crap on a hi-def TV, and it?s the signal, not the set (unless you bought a real ?bargain?).

If ambient light is an issue in the room you plan to put your new set in, be advised that plasmas are glass, just like your old CRT, and will reflect. Image-burn is still an issue, but a fading one (pun intended) - just be aware of what to avoid (4:3 analog with stationary black vertical bards) during the first 200 hours or so. Plasmas have excellent viewing angles and good black levels, while LCD panels are generally brighter (no image-burn or reflected light) and are now available in sizes that are competitive in both price and quality to many other sets.

Most sets now have PC inputs and some have both CableCard hi-def decoders (eliminates your cable box, but no pay-per-view or VOD) and media-card (digital camera) readers. Also, if you?re used to a 36? 4:3 aspect (more-or-less square) TV, you need to be looking at a 46? 16:9 (wide-screen) or larger to get at least as much vertical screen as you?ve been used to. Bottom line, Jeremiah, is this: after all the specs and acronyms and friends? opinions - HOW DOES IT LOOK TO YOU?

Make sure whichever sets you?re trying out can be demoed with Hi-def, analog and DVD sources so you really get to see what they can do.

Good luck.

Submitted by: Dan of Wildomar, California



I just recently purchased a 50" TV for our meeting room. After hours of study, lots of price shopping and side by side comparisons I reached a simple conclusion. Based on these questions:

1. What are you going to view and how does it look compared to another set.

2. How many people are watching

3. Configuration of room.

4. Cost of Unit.

I could give you pages and pages of information but here it is in a nut shell. If you are a sports watcher or view shows with lots of action you probably don't want plasma due to slow response of the chemicals to changing voltage. This leaves LCD or projection.

If you will have viewers watching from a side angle, avoid the projection as it can get dull and out of focus looking from extreme sides. This however is probably the cheapest alternative and a very good option for those in dimly lit rooms with mostly a head on viewing angle. The DLP projection from many of the units is so good that you can not even see the pixels even at a very close range. Most of the sets are very thin but do not hang on walls. You want to avoid direct light from windows with all the units so try to have minimal lighting

LCD units are a good over all choice. They are usually not the most expensive and fall in the middle of the set prices. They come in all of the resolutions you mention. I believe it was CNET that just did a side by side comparison of 720 to 1080 sets and found it was actually pretty hard to tell the difference in the p or I specification so I wouldn't let that even enter into your decision. However, since you are probably going to keep it a long time I'd go for the highest resolution and PURCHASE the extended warranty. This is a significant purchase and repairs are not cheap when then are needed. Keep in mind that some warranties do not cover a single pixel going out but you can bet it will happen right where you notice it the most so be sure to check for what is covered.

Good Luck.

Submitted by: Robert K. of Olathe, Kansas



My normal advice would be not to buy any HD product, unless it has HDMI 1.3.

Please can you ask the person the following questions?

In this situation where the person wants to replace the TV has soon as possible:-
1) Can the person give an indication of how much money they want to send?
2) The distance of how far away does the person want to watch the TV from?
a. This is so that I can work out what size television they want by dividing by 2 or 2.5 for a digital TV?
b. Does the person want to hang it on the wall?
c. Does the person suffer from flashing lights?
d. Does the person want to use the TV in bright day light?
e. Would the person worry about interlace possibly causing headaches?
f. Will the person worry about having to run a plasma TV in for maybe a few weeks?
g. What quality non-HD signal does the person have?
i. Will they be using Cable and if so what portion of non-HD to HD?
ii. Will they be using Satellite and if so what would be the portion of non-HD to HD?
iii. Will they be using an external TV aerial (Antenna) ? have they checked that they have a strong enough one?
h. Does the person want Picture-in Picture?
i. Will the person be using a computer with the TV?
j. What size TV range would they like?
k. What things would be attached or used with the TV for example games consoles and if so will it be HD?
l. Would they want to hang it on the wall.
m. What name and model TV does the person have at the moment and were they satisfied with it or what were the advantages and disadvantages?
n. If it is going to be 40? then the Sony 1080p 40?, 46? or 52? if affordable would be excellent buys.
o. BUT! If 40? TV then there would be no trouble giving a short list, because I have properly researched 40?-42? range.
p. Does the person want reliability?
q. Does the person like a sharp picture or a soft picture?
r. Does the person have another TV which he can watch until the next generation of HD TVs arrive in 2007 and some should arrive in 2008 ? SED and Laser?
s. Besides, no doubt, substantially further improvements in picture quality due to HDMI 1.3 and the price war.
t. In England, it appears that the best and mediocre TVs are being sold for about the same price.
u. I would only want to recommend arguably the best TV and cables and also equipment.

Submitted by: Barrington T.
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Some good advice here, but some flat-out wrong info, too
by noslwde99 / December 14, 2006 10:12 PM PST
In reply to: Honorable mentions

Most of the advice here is correct, but a LOT of it is wrong, too. Be very careful when it comes to resolution (720p, 1080i and 1080p). I saw some mention of 720i, or 1080i LCD panels, or LCD panels that do both 720p and 1080i. None of that is true. Today, your choice is 720p or 1080p (there are a few CRT rear projection TVs using 1080i, but they're tough to find on a retailer's showroom). No consumer TV that I know of supports both, either you get 720p or you get 1080p. Any signal coming into your TV that doesn't match this resolution will get converted to you TV's native resolution.

Having said all of this, don't get caught up on the resolution thing. Its at least 50% marketing crap. 720p, 1080i and 1080p are all "true" HD resolutions, and part of the official spec. If all things are equal, 1080p will give you a sharper picture than 720p, but you'll need a pretty large TV to notice (some say 60" or bigger). Even then, you won't notice on a lot of source material. BR or HD-DVD, and uncompressed HD TV (no HD lite from the cable and satellite providers) will take advantage of 1080p, unless you're watching ESPN, ABC or Fox, who broadcast in 720p. In today's world, 80% of what you'd likely watch will be scaled to 1080p anyway, loosing a lot of the benefits.

When evaluating a TV, resolution is probably the 3rd most important factor behind contrast ration and color accuracy. These two factors are actually a LOT more important than counting pixels. A 720p TV with good contrast and color will look a LOT better than a 1080p TV with average color and contrast.

Regarding the people who have no clue and should stop posting lies and misinformation. The following people should research before posting:

Treknology Net - Where to begin. Completely ignore this post. Full of Crap. 720p is *not* PAL, it is part of the ATSC spec. 5.1 sound isn't "faked", Dolby Digital and DTS are true multi-channel sound formats.

Jim R. of Midland City, Alabama - your TV is 720p. No digital TV that I know of supports multiple resolutions. When you switch, you're just switching how your DVD player scales up 480i DVDs.

Barrington T. - What the hell was that? 20 questions? Does the person suffer from flashing lights? does the person want reliability? Worthless questions. And, HDMI 1.3 won't mean squat for years.

To anyone who says "wait, cool technology x y or z is just a year or so away." Do not listen to such a person. If you did, you would never own a TV. There are constant advancements in technology. Some even improve your viewing experience instead of simply adding another bullet item to the marketing handout. If you're ready to buy now, go for it. Be confident in the fact that it won't be obsolete in a year's time. No one is revising the ATSC or NTSC television standard.

Enjoy your new TV and don't get caught up in the marketing hype pissing match.

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HDTV misinfo
by tstonerock / December 14, 2006 11:39 PM PST

Thanks for clarifying a lot of the "mis-info". Buying a new TV is a very trying experience. I've been looking for about six months and I'm not even close to a purchase.

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GREAT post. Thanks very much. One follow-up question please
by XXPepper / December 15, 2006 12:23 AM PST

When I looked at TVs last year, it was hard to find store samples w/ actual broadcast signal; especially off-the-air NTSC or straight DVD. When it was found, the results varied so widely and ranged to such awful pictures that I decided to put off buying an HD TV 'til either it got better or I could figure it out.

I still haven't figured it out, but it does seem that TVs on display and showing standard broadcast images (we still have a few years of this to go, right?) are getting better. But some still suck. Some still suck when showing canned "HD" right next to others that look great.

So my question is this: what do you look for in the technical description of a set (the words) that tells you that this TV is going to look great with any signal type? (NTSC, standard DVD, HD/BR DVD, 780x or 1080x).

Thanks again for your terrific post above. Most helpful and clarifying.

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Additional advice from our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 14, 2006 6:17 AM PST

Hey you guys,

Just some information regarding HD TELEVISION. Five years ago, I set out to find the best HD Plasma Television on the market at the time. I looked at all of the top brands, and a lot of the store brands, which five years ago there weren't that many store brand Plasmas Televisions on the market.

I had just built a new home, and had it pre-wired for the surround sound system and Plasma Screen Television, which was going to be wall mounted, and there were not going to be any wires showing.

After approximately two (2) years of research, I decided to purchase a new Pioneer Elite 50 inch screen. I have to say up front it was the most expensive set out their at that time, and for that matter, it's still the most expensive set. However, it's worth every penny!

So when you shop around for the many HD Televisions that are available today, make sure the last one you look at is a Pioneer.

Submitted by: Larry Y.



I just went through the same situation and found that most of the answers are on the web and can be found using various search terms. After learning some rudimentary information such as the difference between 1080I and 1080P, I visited various retailers and asked the salespeople additional questions for information I could not find on the web. For example a LCD TV does not have a good picture if viewed from the side while a plasma does. So if you want to invited a group of friends over to watch football the LCD would be a poor choice for the fellow sitting on the side. Also the salesperson told me plasmas today will last about 10-12 years before they burn out and the image becomes unacceptable. The early models only lasted about 5 years if used at full brightness.

Because of the complexity and many choices in the TV arena much research is required. However if you do not want to get involved just buy a 32" tube model. That is was an 80 year old friend of mine who did not want to do his homework did and he is a happy camper. Good Luck!

Submitted by: Verschoor2



Hi Jeremiah,

I certainly sympathize with your confusion over all the new developments in televisions in the last few years. My husband and I recently bought a new tv. I almost felt like I needed to take a course to learn about all the changes in order to figure out what we should buy. I realized however that the information was available in the forum that you and I like to visit - CNET. I've attached the links to two of the CNET sites that we found very useful.

TV Review Website:

Editor's top televisions:

Use the links under the "Editors' top products list" for additional information on the different technologies (eg. LCD, plasma, rear-projection, etc.)

We went into this thinking we would get a rear-projection tv, mainly because they have a good picture and they start at a lower price point. However, when all was said and done, we bought the Sony SXRD. It is a rear projection, but it does cost almost as much as a flat screen. However, it's worth it. It has the newer LCOS technology and has an amazing picture. Even regular cable tv looks good but HD DVD's are great. We are very pleased with our new tv and owe it all to the informative CNET website.

Submitted by: Lesley K. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



Hi Jeremiah L.,

My tube Sony TV 32" 10 years old has dead, I went to buy Samsung 40" LCD 50.26Lbs for $1499.99, 1366X768i (pixels). Interlace Scan (simulation) is not as good as Progressive Scan ( best for Football Live Games). The more Pixel the better such as 1922X1080P. My Contrast 4000:1 is not as well as 10,000:1. My refresh rate 6ms is not as good as 2ms.

Now is the time to buy either LCD (direct project) or DLP (rear project) which they are Light Weight & are on sale during Xmas Run. LCD is thinner than DLP and easy to carry.

My Samsung has 1080i, 720p format good enough to cover TV station broadcasts 720P Signal without any problem. I would like to suggest that you buy the cheapest one to get by.

P.S. New TV set format both SED and OLED are mast production in Asia. You can watch 3D movie in your home with the special glasses.

Submitted by: Bill B.



Hi Jeremiah,

It's easy to get confused with HDTV. Many articles have been written about it. Consumer Reports does a great job of sorting it out for the layman. I don't think there is enough room in this publication to go into all the details about HDTV. I can only offer you my experience with HDTV.

If you want the simple answer, then 1080i is the best and if you can find it, then LCD 1080i is the absolute best. 720p is the most popular because it's the cheapest. 1080p is a marketing ploy that only works with selected HD-DVD players and selected game systems.

We bought our HDTV in March 2006 after studying the marketplace for 3 months. We settled on a LCD 45 inch 1080i HDTV that we just love. The main purchase point was the native 1080i signal and the fact that the set had the absolute best viewing angle of ANY HDTV set we looked at. I can stand practically parallel to the set and see a great picture. You cannot do that with Plasma or Projection. On a Projection 1080i HDTV, the viewing angle starts to drop off at 30 degrees off center. We didn't like the burn-in problem with Plasma HDTV's. We saw many Plasma HDTV's in the stores with still images burned into the TV like ghost patterns.

One vital thing that most people overlook about HDTV is that the HDTV is only half of it. You still need a HDTV signal to use it. If you have Cable TV, then your decoder box must be a HDTV decoder box, not a regular decoder box. We had to trade in our regular cable box for a HDTV cable box so we could get the HDTV signals. When we watch the Discovery Channel in full 1080i, it's like being there.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Will H.



Jeremiah - I feel your pain friend. I came screaming and kicking into the HDTV world this past month. For I loved my faithful Sony Trinitron 32? CRT, Bessy, alas, I bid a farewell to her at the end of October. My tried and true companion had always been the butt of many jokes.
Especially from my HDTV owning neighbors, who were always too snobby to come to my abode and view any Sports events. Ahhhh, I prattle to myself now, how the tides have turned !!

Grieve no more my friends for the Bessy?s of the world. For you see, those who would mock and ridicule, are also the ones who paid inflated prices for HD sets in the infancy of the technology. Imagine the aristocracy, thinking they were so privileged and elite with their under-impressive Plasma 37? 720i.

Haa !! I laugh to myself now. I?ll see your measly 37? 720i and raise you with my 50? 1080p. My philosophy is to let the other guy feel the pain of bleeding edge technology. Let him pay too much for the R&D that will eventually trickle down to me, the small guy. Slow and steady always wins the race.

Arise now my cheap and tawdry peers. Now is the time to take control of your viewing life and strike whilst the iron is hot. Take heed and take advantage of holiday sales under way at the retailer near you. To the masses of Jeremiah?s? out there I say ?Spend now !!!? For the world of 1080p is OURS.

It belongs to the minions of the meek and many, who could not afford to overpay for inferior technology. How you get there now is a matter of personal preference ? LCOS, DLP, Plasma, LCD. It doesn?t matter you see. The important fact is that superior 1080p is within your grasp and your budget. Fight the good fight with your feet and your dollars. Go big I say. Go now !!

Bidding you Godspeed.

Submitted by: Tim of New Jersey



You've already proven that you're computer literate by sending in this question. All of your concerns are just a google click away. It took me about six minutes to get answers to each question you asked using the terms as my search terms. Another great resource is Consumer Reports, one of the few organizations that does not take advertising dollars and gives unbiased ratings on products. One more suggestion: Do a Google Search with the words flat panel TV ratings. You may get a bit of "garbage" but you'll also get some good articles and lots of good explanations.

Submitted by: Richard H.



Well, there is a simple answer to that. Go to a good store in your neighborhood, look at a number of televisions within your budget (make an estimate of that before you go!), and choose the one that you like. If you have any family members who also use the television, take them with you. If you know the people in the store, check with them that if things turn out really bad when you see the TV in your home, you can return it and choose another one.

The complex answer will take around 3 hours, and that is just about getting the definitions straight (720, HD, 1080i/p, DLP etc.). After that you can do a lot of reviewing on several websites, for every choice there will be a group of people saying that their choice is the way to go.

One of many guides on the web:

And don't forget, to have fun while you're watching TV, whatever technique you choose!

Submitted by: Martin



An excellent source is the November issue of Consumer Reports Magazine, their annual technology issue. In addition to the information sought, they also laboratory evaluate most sets available on the market, complete with ratings and cost information.

Submitted by: Lavert T.



Go to any web site search engine and type in TV and you will get more information then you can handle. I won a new Sony 46' HDTV and that is how I got caught up.

Submitted by: skylane



Jeremiah - I recently bought a new Toshiba LCD TV, and did some research. My suggestion: first determine what HD service is available to you (cable, disc, optical, antenna). Only then will you know what TV you need, because HD is not "plug and play", like tube sets. Look at Dec. 2007 Consumers Reports magazine for a good summary. Then, talk with several TV dealers. You'll love HD!

Submitted by: raystom



Did a lot of research for my particular needs and wants, according to all of the pro's and cons, on the net and in the stores. I pretty much settled on the Sharp 32 inch LCD selling for about $900.00.

However, just reading the sales people...I selected a 37 inch Vizio High Def from Walmart for $995.00 which was Sams Club and Costco's price...(they match it). For the money this is a great TV... The sound is so good I didn?t need my surround system. I am 64 and I highly recommend this unit.

Submitted by: Bill C.



Flat screen TV's with only about 5 inches of depth are the plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD). If reflection is a concern, buy the LCD since it has a mat screen. Plasma has a glass screen, but you can get a bigger set. LCD's are limited to 46 inches.

Digital light projection (DLP) is probably the best in large sets with about 15 inches of depth. The LCD is more expensive. Buy a monitor, which is the cheapest, if you will use a box as the tuner. Buy one with a tuner if using a box and want PIP. Two tuners are necessary if not using a box and wanting PIP. Get a set that is HD ready that will let you connect to an HD box. Get the HD box with a built-in digital video recorder. 1080 resolution is now the average in the HD world. A 720P TV will show 1080 but now is the time to get a 1080 TV and be prepared for the next jump in resolution. Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Jim




I am from a backward country (Belgium) and I am not a technician. Can I give you my opinion?

Nowadays there are so many ways to get images on a screen : for instance : antenna ; cable ; satellite antenna ; DVBT - digital video broadcasting terrestrial ; internet and so on. All these systems are available in low resolution, high resolution, high definition in plenty of varieties of PAL ; NTSC and SECAM. To transmit the images between television, ?PC, recorder, player there are many systems also such as : analog, digital, wireless, fibre optics and so on. To render the images there are again many solutions : CRT ; LCD ; plasma ; OLED : This is not limitative.

Not one of the nowadays available televisions is capable of handling all those systems. Quality of image : The CRT tube carries an experience of more than 60 years and is really mature now (still improving). Not one flat panel can compete with the CRT in matters as : color, vision angle and rendering of moving images.

Quality of sound : Few people think about it, but, due to the very small volume of the casing of a flat panel, real good sound is impossible unless you connect external boxes. In this case the biggest advantage of the flat panel is gone.

Remember the fight in video systems : super 8 ; VCR 2000 and VHS. Only the last one survived. The same is happening with television standards now. So, unless you have money to throw away, the CRT tube is the best buy at this moment (could be a rear projection system which is based on the same technology).

Best greetings and sorry for the poor quality of my English.

Submitted by: Jean-Marie of Belgium



The multitude of tv choices and terminology today is mind-boggling. I just bought a 55" plasma tv with the help of Consumer Reports. They did a very comprehensive review of all the options in their November and December issues; or check online at:

Submitted by: Ed Z.



The answer to all the questions can easily be found in Dealerscopes HDTV Handbook. It's in plain English. It is filled with details and photographs. I give copies to all my clients with questions.

Submitted by: Richard J.




I don't have the answer, but he can go to There is lots of good information there.

Submitted by: Ed F.
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Look for the new generation Laser TVs
by pmanuell / December 14, 2006 8:32 PM PST

The TV dilemma probably takes a new twist if you read the article posted here in Australia about the new Laser TVs - I'll let you judge for yourself - but I think they are going to be the next great thing in display units:,23599,20556847-2,00.html

Paul M

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Laser TV
by ZillionDoux / December 15, 2006 6:41 AM PST

There are mast production of SED 55"(Surface Cinduction Electron Display) by Panasonic in China. OLED(Organic Light Emmiter Diode Display) screen is more expensive to make.

Both format claim they are super HD & 1" thin.
PRO: 180 degrees, Lighter,& bring 3-D to your home.
CON: Too expensive, life span unknown.

I wish the Laser TV is cheapest than both formats.


1. Go google search & type in NEC, Canon, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, & Samsung (SED or OLED).

2. It will display at CES convention, in Los Vegas, on Feburary,2007.

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(NT) Forget it, it's a myth...been demoing for 4 years now...
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 6:04 PM PST
In reply to: Laser TV
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LCD Angles
by JaredE / December 14, 2006 11:25 PM PST

From Verschoor2:
"For example a LCD TV does not have a good picture if viewed from the side while a plasma does. So if you want to invited a group of friends over to watch football the LCD would be a poor choice for the fellow sitting on the side."

Whoa???!!!!!!, what salesperson gave you that advice? He must have been talking about LCD projection because one of the MAIN benefits of LCD flat panels are their viewing angles. Some get up to 178 degrees of viewing capabilities. Just check out a LCD computer monitor and you will see what I am talking about.

As far as I'm concerned, LCDs are the way to go:

1) High resolutions
2) You can get higher size TVs now in LCD(Samsung has 57" LCDs for example)
3) Response time is under 8ms for even the worst of the newest LCDs making ghosting no longer a problem.
4) Blacks are much better on LCDs than they were, hurting one of the main benefits of a plasma.
5) No glare on the screen.
6) Long bulb life, and it does not dim over time (also they are fixable if they break).

Also, before I;m done, I want to give a shout out to my 46" Samsung LCD 1080p flat panel. It's down to about $2400 now on Amazon, no tax, no shipping. Check it out, you won't be disappointed (HD programming, especially 1080i channels look great on it).


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Easy buying of TVs

Does anyone ever seeing it going back to being easy to buy a TV? A time when it will be less confusing?

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Re: Easy buying of TVs
by Watzman / December 14, 2006 11:46 PM PST
In reply to: Easy buying of TVs

It will never be as simple as it was, but with time some of the inferior technologies will disappear, for example in a few years plasma and perhaps all projection technologies may disappear as LCD displays become both better and cheaper even in very large sizes. And, with time, the manufacturers will sort out various compatability and interconnect problems so that even the worst sets do more better. But it used to be that you had a TV set connected to an antenna and you watched 3 stations (CBS, ABC and NBC). Those days are gone forever. Now we have off-air, NTSC (which will disappear), ATSC, cable, DVD, pay-per-view, on-demand, media center PCs and more formats and interconnections technologies than you can shake a stick at. It's progress, but at the same time it's choices, and choices add complexity to the purchase decision (and subsequent use).

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Progressive and Interlaced does not affect all TV's

Something to note is that the Progressive vs. Interlaced issue that so many are overly worried about is not a problem on most LCD, DLP, LCoS or Plasma TV's. Why? Because these TV's will only display a single full frame one at a time, they build a full frame before it even hits the screen, so the effects of interlacing that used to affect CRT type displays and too many are worried about are not even a factor in the display of one of these type of TVs.

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Re: "Progressive and Interlaced does not affect all TV's"
by Watzman / December 14, 2006 11:39 PM PST

Well, there is no flicker to any of these sets, and that's one of the classical issues with interlace, so to that extent you are correct.

However, a progressive scan is still sending twice as much data per unit of time as an interlaced image of the same resolution, and there are "artifacts" that can appear when an interlaced display is presented that are not an issue with a progressive display (specifically, the two fields of an interlaced display are photographs that were not "taken" at the same time, if there is motion things will have moved between them, and this can be obvious on the screen). So while the flicker issue is gone, other things being equal (and agreed that other things are not always equal), the progressive display is still better.

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Not at 30 frames/sec
by tbcass / December 15, 2006 8:00 PM PST

I have owned a Sony LCD projection 50" 1080i for 2 years (yes, same bulb, 5000+ hours)and I am sure of this. There are none of the interlace problems you mentioned visible at all. 30 frames/sec is faster than the eye can discern. Movies work at 30 frames/sec. When compared to TV's I see in the store 1080i is better than 720p and about equal to 1980p. I can see the individual pixels from 10-15 feet away on a 720p set. On my 1080i set you must be within 6 feet or less.

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Congrats on long bulb life; but movies are 24 fps & ....
by XXPepper / December 15, 2006 10:52 PM PST
In reply to: Not at 30 frames/sec

Movies are 24fps (or 18fps for standard "silent" speed).

The human brain/eye chain can blend images at 8fps without conciously perceiving "flicker". The flicker as a matter of physics (as in 'the laws of ...') does exist and it does have an effect on the human viewer and the perception of the overall quality of the image.

A non-interlaced -- a.k.a., progressive scan -- image will be perceived by a viewer with normal vision as looking "clearer". There actually is twice as much image data being presented to the viewer in each 30th of a second.

In the case of interlaced image, you are mistaken that the frame is a 30th of a second. The full image of two interlaced frames does take about a 30th of a second, but the images presented to the viewer are actually coming at the rate of a 60th of a second. Half the image -- every other line -- in each 60th. The scan goes back and does the other "missing" lines in the next 60th. Two 60th's = one 30th to get the equivalent of the full image.

LCD latency does mitigate flicker a little bit, as does the effect of slow phosphors in tube TV's, but it is still there. Wave your open fingers in front of your TV and you'll see many fingers. If you wave your open fingers at the same speed in front of a progressive scan TV and you'll see about half as many strobed fingers (if any).

Chew flicker will also be apparent with your interlaced TV. If you open your mouth and make a chewing movement with your jaw you'll see your TV image flicker on and off. That's called chew flicker and comes from the interaction of the nerves in your jaw with the optical circuit in your brain. If you try the same thing in front of a TV with progressive scan in operation then you will note that the chew flicker is dramatically reduced or even seems to be gone.

Hope this helps. Anyone with better info on flicker and scan rates please correct my errors.

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The human eye...
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 6:16 PM PST
In reply to: Not at 30 frames/sec

...can differentiate between 30ms and 60ms frame rates.

You are fooling yourself.

Go look at a digital TV.

Sorry to burst your bubble.


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No such thing as a 1080i LCD
by griz_fan / December 12, 2007 12:05 PM PST
In reply to: Not at 30 frames/sec

Sorry... but you're wrong on several technical details, which only serves to confuse people. First, there is no such thing as a 1080i LCD projection TV. You have a 720P TV, that's why you don't notice any interlace issues. Also, movies are 24 frames/sec, not 30. 1980p is non-sense, too. Finally, you can not make out the individual pixels on a 720p TV from 10 to 15 feet away. That's just a pure load. If you could, you would certainly notice that on your 720p TV.

The amount of flat out wrong information found in this discussion is really appalling. People, do so research, and if you only listen to one thing on this forum, let it be this: Go to AVS forums for your information, not here. sheesh...

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Olevia 237V 37" LCD HDTV

i just purchased one of these for a great price on and am very satisified.

if your interested, i have a review over at:


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(NT) Pity.
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 5:30 PM PST
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How to buy new TV

Excellent, though long and techn., i found the article very informative. Thanks, Daniel Facemyer

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PC compatable??

I noticed in recent ads some of the TV's are advertisied as PC compatable. As I would like to run computer games on this larger screen, does it make a difference which to purchase (ones marked as PC compatible or not)? My computer was purchased right from Dell over a year ago, a Dimension 9100, Windows XP Home, PCIe Nvida 6800 graphics card, 3Ghz and is there anything I need to do on the computer to get this done? Any help or suggestions appreciated. Thank Ed.

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Yes, it matters ...
by Watzman / December 14, 2006 11:35 PM PST
In reply to: PC compatable??

Yes, if you want to use a PC with an HDTV, you need to investigate it's PC compatability. It's not enough that it be "PC Compatible", the details can kill you.

An example: The JVC 56FN97 (57" HD-ILA (LCoS) microdisplay projection set) has dual HDMI and also a 15-pin analog VGA interface. JVC says that the HDMI inputs are not PC compatible, but of course the 15-pin VGA input is. But here's the real story:

The 15-pin analog VGA input works fine, but it only supports 640x480 and 1024x768. As far as it goes, that's ok, but obviously those are severe limitations. Windows Media Center often switches to 800x600, which this interface won't display, so you may not even be able to use Media Center with this TV set. And none of these displays is "full screen" on this 1080p 16:9 TV.

Initially connecting a PC to the HDMI ports (using a DVI to HDMI cable) doesn't seem to work (no picture at all). But with some configuration of the resolution and refresh rates, you can get an image from most modern video cards at SOME resolutions. In my testing, I was able to get 1080i to work and produce a functional good image, but the problem is that the set overscans enough that both the task bar and the top row of desktop icons may be off the screen entirely. Additional work with custom resolutions (using something like "Powerstrip") may be able to address this, but it's a lot of work, and when you start Media Center, Media Center changes the resolution on it's own (often to 800x600), thus you may not be able to use Media Center at all with this TV, at least not without even more work (work that may not be possible on some systems).

This set is actually kind of typical of what you can run into, so it's important explore the situation before you buy, and to be prepared for surprises (almost always unpleasant).

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On purchasing a new TV, the flip side
by gadgetdad / December 15, 2006 12:26 AM PST
In reply to: Yes, it matters ...

I feel that there are a host of other factors to consider while deciding to purchase a new TV besides the technical ones. But, let me say before I go there, I first want to say that with today's fast paced emerging technology I feel that TVs are like underware, they feel good (better than your old CRT set) at first but after a few washings (viewings) you need to replace them because they just don't feel as good (a friend told you he got a 1920p set) and your new/old HD set can't measure up. This thing about all the specifications has gotten out of hand like so many other things. Do you have a HD signal source to really exercise the new HDTV you paid for. Consider when you last got your eye glasses prescription renewed. How large is your room and how far beck will you be viewing. Don't buy something that is too large for your room. I have several friends who bought large TVs and took them back because they were monsters in the room and they were eaten alive in there own homes and returned them for smaller sets. I almost did the same thing. Are your willing to keep throwing money at this new baby with all the new innovations that will be combing out in the next few years like me. I have five almost new HDTV of different kinds. There all great. Finally I chose sets that were highly recommended by CNET's team of very practical reviewer's. I listened to what they said and I have never gone wrong with their advise. Use the posters advise from above it's all valuable. I can't wait to buy a new Lazer set. Ask for more help. Good luck

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Acording to recent research...
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 5:59 PM PST 2010 the average in-home TV size will be 70"
People who get "overwhelmed" by the size of the TV either:
1. Don't really buy into the Home Theater Experience and should stick with a 27" CRT, their loss, or...
2. Did not keep the TV long enough to appreciate it...most vendors give you 30 days to return it...USE THE 30 DAYS!
3. Don't have surround sound, "60% of a movie effect is in the sound" - George Lucas. I guess he knows....

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full hd versus hdready
by barrylando / May 9, 2007 8:26 PM PDT

Hi, i live in Paris and am interested in purchasing a new flat screen...i would like at least 50 inches. i have been told that plasma gives the best quality...but am now stuck betwen buying hd ready or full television cable provider say they will be providing an hd tuner within the next 12 months...i am not a big videogame fan, though my son uses ps 3; do take some videos in hd...? what would you advise and which brand--again, i have been told that pioneer is currently in the best in the wide screen..
thanks barry lando

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Once again, too much info...
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 5:34 PM PST
In reply to: PC compatable??

If it is "PC Compatible" it means:
1. It has a VGA input
2. It Has a DVI input
and it has a subsystem to handle pc images.
This is the ONLY thing that LCD is good at...
Whatever, it takes tweaking... and patience

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Also the HDTV ready has no tuner on it, I guess it needs a top of th eset box. The signal can be from cable service, satellite, but HDTV local stations transmits digital signal that can be received with the new HDTV antenna. Prices for those antennas are close to the old type of tv antennas. Now, when I was working for a well know company, as a tv tech, there were news that by 2006,. by the FCC, all stations had to go digital. One question would be; that changed, but to what date? What will happen to the old tv sets? (poor people can not afford HDTV's)

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(NT) 1999 no more analog signals
by tpwild / January 11, 2007 5:36 PM PST
In reply to: HDTV
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HD Ready is a cheaper solution for many people

If you live in a rural area where you will never receive over-the-air HD signals, or even in urban area but will never use over-the-air signals, an HD Ready set will give you everything you need for less cost. It's silly to pay extra for the HD tuner if you'll never use it.

I use an HD ready Sharp set with DirecTV satellite input, and get an excellent HD picture. It would be the same with a cable connection. An HD ready set would be $100-$300 cheaper than a full HD compatible set, but may be hard to find, especially in the larger sizes.

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CRT is still the best. dont waste your money.
by CathodeRayTube / December 15, 2006 3:12 AM PST

dear Jeremiah. dispite all the hype and bulls#it being thrown around, a cathode-ray-tube (large heavey glass box )based HDTV set is your best bet. CRTs simply deliver the best picture qualety, they have the best color purity,responce time and contrast. LCD and ALL OTHER fixed-pixel displys have a fatal flaw, that will never be able to be overcome by todays technology, and manly the ******** monkeys designing them. an LCD or plasma screen has a native resolution, wich is fixed, if you have a disply that has a native resolution of 1080, then 1080 content will look great but 720 and 480 content will look blurry and distorted because its being scaled. but whats reely horrible is that most flat screen "HDTVs" today are made with a native res of 1024 or 768, so EVERYTHING they display is scaled and looks half-assed. the lines have to line up perfectly, 1024 is pretty close to 1080 but its not 1080.

a propor HDTV should be able to disply all 3 resolutions 1080, 720 and 480. a fixed pixel disply would have to have a native resolution of 4320 to display all 3 resolutions without interpolation (scailing/blending lines together). or if 480 doesent matter, then 2160 would still display 720 and 1080 perfectly but not 480. the native res has to be an even multiple of all the differant resolutions the set has to display.

a CRT by nature has no set resolution. just a maximum rez. all it has to do is ajust the width of the scanning beams to match the resolution its displaying, so a crt can display any resolution perfectly with no interpolation at all. and it can allsow display interlaced or progressive content nativly with no issues too.

they do have 2160 lcd screens...but there way too expensive for a reasonable person to buy..and 4320 is no where in sight.

all of the marketing crap pisses me off. these compainies are trying to push an immature technologly on unsuspecting people who belive it. just because its cool and new doesent meen its better.

if you still want a "cool" and not nesicaraly "good" HDTV then atlaest make shure it has a native res of 1080 and not 1024 or 768 or 720, and a contrast ratio of 1000 or more and a responce time of 10 milliseconds or less. that will be the best you can get LCD wise. and STAY AWAY FROM VISIO.

so in conclushion, what you want to get is a 16:9 WIDESCREEN CRT HDTV. it will perform better and last longer than anything else on the market and will be much cheaper.

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