AV GLOSSARY

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 21, 2006 Published: Nov 22, 2006 0 comments
Less than meets the eye.

The most frequently asked questions I've received this year have been about the difference between 1080i and 1080p. Many people felt—or others erroneously told them—that their brand-new 1080p TVs were actually 1080i, as that was the highest resolution they could accept on any input. I did a blog post on this topic and received excellent questions, which I followed up on. It is an important enough question—and one that creates a significant amount of confusion—that I felt I should address it here, as well.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 16, 2007 Published: Jun 16, 2007 0 comments
What it is. What it isn't.

In our November 2006 issue, I wrote an article in this space on the difference between 1080p and 1080i. In the same issue, we reported on how many TVs don't deinterlace 1080i correctly, and how even fewer pick up the 3:2 sequence when given a 1080i signal from a film-based source. The resulting confusion caused a torrent of e-mails. Let me clear up what this all means for you. But, before I go on, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I feel that every TV should deinterlace and pick up 3:2 properly; but, while it is a shame if they don't, it is not the end of the world.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 05, 2006 0 comments
A different "twist" on LCD.

It may not sound very exciting, but Advanced Super In-Plane Switching (AS-IPS) is a pretty neat technology. It is yet another improvement in the world of LCD, brought to you by Hitachi, as well as Panasonic and Toshiba.

Joshua Zyber Posted: Feb 09, 2009 0 comments
In movies, one size never fits all.

By now, most home theater fans have undoubtedly grown used to seeing letterbox bars on many movies they watch. In today’s high-definition era, any content with an aspect ratio that’s greater than a 16:9 (a.k.a. 1.78:1) HDTV screen must be presented with black bars on the top and bottom of the frame. Blu-ray viewers have many examples of this. Approximately half of all modern theatrical films are photographed in the scope aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, and Wall-E fall into that category. Scope photography is sometimes referred to as 2.35:1 for reasons that are too complicated to explain in detail here. Just know that 2.40:1 is technically correct, although many people in the industry continue to use the term 2.35:1 interchangeably. At the other extreme, material narrower than 16:9 (classics like Casablanca and The Adventures of Robin Hood are 1.37:1) will have pillarbox bars on the sides. In the middle, movies composed for 1.85:1 (such as the The Sixth Sense, Hellboy, or Knocked Up) nearly fill an HDTV.

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Steve Faber Posted: Sep 21, 2007 2 comments
The art of making your whole system sound great.
A. Grimani Posted: Aug 21, 2005 2 comments
Bass is like salt. Really, it is. Salt is a seasoning, a treat that we add to good food to make it taste even better. Bass is the same way. A sound system without it lacks the last little element that transforms an ordinary activity like listening to music or watching a movie into an extraordinary, emotionally charged experience.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 14, 2009 0 comments
How does color accuracy measure up?

There’s more that goes into making a good display than accurate color, but it’s certainly one of the biggies. Color in a video display may seem like a relatively simple subject, but it’s not. In this Gear Works, I’ll outline the two most important factors in assessing and measuring the color accuracy of the HDTVs we review—color tracking and color gamut. I’ll also show you how we present this in the HT Labs Measures graphics that accompany our reviews. This article will shed some light on what these important measurements tell us about the color accuracy of the displays we test here at Home Theater.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 28, 2005 Published: Nov 28, 2005 0 comments
If it gets your signal in or out, it's probably here.

Talking about connections isn't very exciting. Cables themselves are about as sexy as hair clippings. Both are crucial, though, in getting the best-quality signal from your source components to your playback components. (This doesn't include hair clippings). So, here is a list of all the connections you're likely to come across and how they do what they do. They're also arranged in order from worst to best. Keep in mind that, in some cases, the connector and the signal share the same name; in others, the connector isn't exclusively associated with a particular type of signal.

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Dana Whitaker Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
Now that you've bought an HDTV, make sure you hook it up correctly.

Ah, the golden age of television. The only thing I loved more than Lucy was the solitary input on the back of my TV. It was a simpler time. Now we must choose between 300 channels and only slightly fewer inputs. Add HDTV to the mix, with all of its inherent confusion, and it's a recipe for connection disaster.

Various Posted: May 21, 2007 Published: Apr 21, 2007 0 comments
It's the Sound!
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Mike McGann Posted: Mar 06, 2002 Published: Mar 07, 2002 0 comments
The ins and outs of A/V connections.

Anyone who's looked at the back of a new, high-end TV or receiver and gazed upon row after row of ports knows that there just might be too many ways to connect other devices. Believe it or not, more inputs are going to become commonplace in the next few years (a number of high-end TVs already have seven video inputs in four different formats). Whether you fall into the category of those who are just discovering the merits of S-video or those who like to argue the merits of their projector's five-wire RGB inputs, the number and type of connections, ports, and inputs has exploded in the last decade, and it isn't going to get any simpler in the next few years.

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Gary Merson Posted: May 25, 2006 0 comments
What's the difference?

The next generation of prerecorded video content is here. The new machines use a blue-violet laser to read discs with far more storage capacity than current standard-definition DVD, and they can play high-definition content in full 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. The big attraction is the promise of the best picture quality you have ever seen on a display. The prerecorded, high-definition content offers pristine, near-perfect images with fewer artifacts (noise and blocking) than is possible today with broadcast or D-VHS content.

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Joshua Zyber Posted: Mar 16, 2009 0 comments
How important is HDMI 1.3 anyway?

The HDMI standard was developed with noble intentions. Most people in the home theater hobby know the hazards of cable clutter. When you have a lot of equipment connected this way and that by separate audio and video cables, you wind up with a tangled mess of wires behind your equipment rack or entertainment center. The problem is compounded by component video (three cables just for picture) and multichannel analog audio (six to eight more cables!). Now factor in a DVR, a couple of DVD players, a Blu-ray player, a video processor, and an A/V receiver all interconnected in one theater room. If you want to add or remove any piece of equipment, you’ll have to squat behind the rack with a flashlight and trying to trace each cable from end to end. Which unit did this blue one come from? If I plug that red cable into here, will I get my picture back, or will my speakers start blaring obnoxious noises?

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Mar 24, 2008 0 comments
Still lacking simple self-control.

The holy grail of home theater simplicity is to have fewer remote controls and one-touch operation without confusing programming. HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) promises to control components that are connected via HDMI cables with just one remote. Turning components off and on and one-touch play and record are some of the first features enabled on these initial HDMI CEC home theater offerings. But they often prove to be not so easy. You must set up the HDMI CEC in each component’s menu, and controlling the components can be inconsistent. Plus, each brand has its own nomenclature for menu and action items. But perhaps being forewarned will enable you to be forearmed.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 08, 2010 0 comments
All for 1.4, and 1.4 for All?

In 2002, the video world was just getting comfortable with component analog video. HDTV and DVD were only starting to acquire mass-market status. We were using three separate video cables to connect our shiny new HDTVs to our best sources. Add to that up to six audio cables to our A/V receivers. This forest of cables wasn’t heaven (except to cable vendors), but it worked, and it provided most viewers with their first real taste of high-quality video. We also had DVI, a standard for digital video borrowed from the computer world. But because its clunky connector only carried video and not audio as well, it never achieved critical mass.

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