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HDTV TECH

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Mike Kahn Posted: Feb 26, 2008 Published: Jan 26, 2008 0 comments
Your tax dollars at work.

Nestled deep within the corridors of the sprawling NIST (the National Institute of Standards) campus lives the Flat Panel Display Lab. This special facility is dedicated to the development and implementation of metrology, or the measuring methodology, for flat-panel displays. Founded in 1992 and located in Boulder, Colorado, the lab's scientists have created a comprehensive and robust set of measurement methods for accurately evaluating the quality and accuracy of displays.

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Gary Merson Posted: Nov 15, 2007 0 comments
The 2007 HDTVs

This time last year, we tested 61 2006 HDTVs to learn how they process all the detail contained within 1080i, the most common high-definition broadcast format. It's the highest resolution format the majority of HD broadcasters and cable channels use, including CBS, NBC, CW, HBO, and Showtime. The results of our 2006 tests were quite disappointing; less than half of the HDTVs were able to properly process the interlaced broadcast signal to the TV's native, progressive resolution. This year, we have expanded our testing to include 74 HDTVs that range from 19 to 67 inches. We have added a new test for 1080p displays to judge their resolution with motion as compared to their stationary resolution. This test illustrates how all HDTVs lower the amount of detail you can see when the camera is panning or where there is action in a scene, such as on a football field. More on this later.

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Nov 11, 2007 0 comments
How to set up your TV to look its best.
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 13, 2007 Published: Jul 13, 2007 0 comments
The bad, the ugly, and the 120 hertz.

I have long been a complainer about motion blur with LCDs. It drives me crazy. I have gotten a lot of flack over the years for this, which I really couldn't care less about. (You don't see me making fun of your issues, do you?) I would just like to point this out: Why, if I weren't the only one who hated motion blur with LCDs, would nearly every LCD manufacturer come to market with 120-hertz LCD panels that claim to eliminate motion blur (a problem that they, surprisingly, haven't mentioned before)? Before I rub it in and say, "I told you so," let's look at what causes motion blur, why it may or may not be a big deal, and how a 120-Hz refresh rate can help solve the problem for LCDs.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Aug 13, 2007 Published: Jul 13, 2007 0 comments
This year's TVs are incorporating ease-of-use features.

While I love the amazing picture on my flat-screen HDTV, there are times when I find myself nostalgic for the days when all you had to do to watch TV was pull on a power button, turn the channel dial, and adjust the rabbit ears. It's bad enough that we home theater enthusiasts struggle to decipher menus and muck about a 75-button remote control, but it's our loved ones who curse us when they can't figure out how to use the TV. Manufacturers and retailers have been talking about simplicity in home theater for the past few years. Well, 2007 is the year that easier menus, setup, and remotes have been incorporated into some HDTVs. Some companies have been quietly working toward ease of use; others, like Philips, have made the pursuit a brand tag line: "sense and simplicity." Perhaps you can finally relinquish your remote to your nervous spouse.

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jul 16, 2007 Published: Jun 16, 2007 0 comments
Several new technologies are poised to break the ties that bind.

Imagine being able to place that brand-new flat-panel HDTV anywhere in your living room without having to figure out how to hide the video cable that tethers it to your A/V receiver, DVD player, or set-top box. You won't have to imagine it much longer as wireless HD transmission moves from the drawing board to the retail shelves. As always seems to be the case in this industry, we'll go from having virtually no options to having multiple technologies competing for the attention of manufacturers and consumers alike.

Shane Buettner Posted: May 01, 2007 0 comments
They're both sexy slim, and can hang on the wall. But in spite of the similar physical profiles these two technologies are very different, and each has its strengths and weaknesses and they're not necessarily the ones the sales guy at the Big Box Store will tell you about.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Apr 30, 2007 0 comments
You've just come home with that new TV. Want to know how to get the best picture you can, in about five minutes? Even if you've never done more with your TV than turn it on before grabbing the popcorn, we can help you get the best picture from your TV using nothing more than a DVD you already own.
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 21, 2007 Published: Apr 21, 2007 0 comments
Have no fear. HTis here.

There is a lot of confusion for most people as to what they should look for when buying a TV. With the plethora of acronyms, abbreviations, nomenclatures, technologies, and other multisyllabic synonyms for "huh?" this is hardly surprising. While we feel, as you would expect, that prodigious study of Home Theater magazine would educate you to make an informed decision, we also appreciate the need for a boiled-down version for those new to the home theater world—the Cliffs Notes version, if you will. Well, let us oblige.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 08, 2007 Published: Mar 09, 2007 0 comments
Test your own TV like we do it.

To test your display's performance, you'll need not only specialized test generators and measurement devices, but also actual video material. After all, just because a display measures well doesn't mean it's anything you want to look at. For that matter, there are no objective measurements for things like scaling and deinterlacing. For consistency, we try to use the same or similar test DVDs (and now HD DVDs) for our testing in each display review and in our video Face Offs. If you want to see how your TV stacks up—or you wonder what we're talking about every month—here are most of the test discs we use and why we use them.

Graham McKenna Posted: Mar 08, 2007 Published: Mar 09, 2007 0 comments
THX is setting a new standard for picture quality and making shopping for HDTVs easier.

When you think of THX, you think of great sound, right? Those three letters have been synonymous with cinema and home audio for more than two decades. So, when THX launched a new certification program for high-definition video products at last year's CEDIA and helped introduce several new THX-certified projectors from Runco and Vidikron, it raised a few eyebrows in the consumer electronics community.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 08, 2007 Published: Feb 09, 2007 0 comments
Yet another way your TV is obsolete, sort of.

If you scoured all of the details on the recent HDMI 1.3 release (and who didn't?), you may have noticed the inclusion of xvYCC and Deep Color. These are two different things that together will theoretically make displays' color more realistic. The short version is this: Deep Color increases the available bit depth for each color component, while xvYCC expands the overall color gamut. Sure they do, but why?

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Peter Putman Posted: Feb 08, 2007 Published: Feb 09, 2007 0 comments
There's a whole lot of stuff that makes up a digital TV signal. Here's a primer on how it works.

In the beginning, there was analog television. You aimed the antenna, tuned in the channel, and then sat back to watch as the amplitude-modulated pictures flashed on the TV screen and the frequency-modulated audio blared forth from the speakers. Some time later, analog TV added color by shoehorning in a small signal with the necessary information amongst those amplitude- and frequency-modulated pictures and sounds.

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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.

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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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