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Glossary

1080p

1080p is a high-definition format with 1920 x 1080 pixels. Each video frame is transmitted on the screen in a single sweep, hence the letter “p” for “progressive scan.” This means superior picture detail.

1080i

Unlike its 1080p counterpart, these models do not feature progressive scan technology. However, the lines are displayed in consecutive sweeps, or “interlaced,” hence the “i”.

Aspect ratio

The ratio of width to height for an image or screen. The two most common aspect ratios are 4:3 (standard televisions) and 16:9 (HDTV). 16:9 is better at displaying widescreen materials like anamorphic DVDs and HDTV broadcasts.

Audio/video inputs

Using a TVs direct A/V inputs to connect a DVD player or other component directly to a TVs A/V inputs gives you superior picture and sound. Many times, A/V inputs are located at the rear of your TV. However, front A/V inputs let you more easily connect or disconnect different components.

Black level

Black level can be important for picture quality. High black level capability means deeper blacks, and better detail during dark scenes in a movie, television program or video game.

Burn-in

Burn-in occurs when any static image or other on-screen graphic gets “burned” permanently onto a screen because the television it was left on the same channel too long. Burn-in happens most often with plasma and rear-projection CRT TVs. However, advances in plasma TV technology have greatly reduced the frequency of burn-in. LCD and LED TVs are not subject to this. Heavy use of video game consoles can also cause burn-in.

Component Video

A component video connection splits video signals into three parts, providing better picture.  Component video is recommended when connecting compatible DVD players, satellite receivers, and cable set-top boxes vs. using composite video or RF outputs.

Composite Video

Composite video contains only brightness and colour information. It is inferior to component video but superior to an RF signal.

Contrast Ratio

The difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks on a television display is known as the contrast ratio. The higher the contrast ratio, the better a television is at adjusting to ambient light in a room (light coming from windows or lamps). Contrast ratios can now exceed 1,000,000:1!

Direct-view TV

A direct-view TV is a non-projection television, such as conventional tube TVs, flat-panel plasma or LCD.

Dolby®  Digital

Dolby Digital is the official audio standard for HDTV and DVD. Dolby Digital is normally associated with 5.1-channel surround sound; however, a “Dolby Digital” soundtrack” can mean anything from 1 to 5.1 channels.

Downconversion

Downconversion converts a high-resolution input signal number to a lower display number, such as 1080i input to 480i display. Some HDTV tuners downconvert digital HDTV signals so they can be viewed on a regular analog TV.

EDTV (Enhanced-Definition Television)

An EDTV displays signals in 480-line progressive (480p) mode, from progressive-scan DVD players and other components. 480p picture quality is superior to analog TV (480i), but far inferior to HDTV (1080i or 720p).

Front-projection TV

Front projection systems use a video projector and screen arrangement to display images that can be up to 20 feet diagonal! They used to be large and expensive, but today, compact, lightweight digital projectors are more popular, and more far affordable.

HDTV (High-Definition Television)

Digital high-definition television (HDTV) has at least twice the linear resolution of standard television, which means sharper picture detail.

HDTV-ready

HDTV-ready TVs can display digital high-definition TV if they are connected to connected a separate HDTV tuner. They have built-in tuners that can receive regular NTSC broadcasts, but not digital signals.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

Liquid Crystal Display technology is what makes some flat panel, rear-projection and front-projection televisions possible.

Light Output

This is an important specification when choosing a front-projection TV. The measurement is expressed in “lumens,” with a higher number indicating greater light output.

Luminance

Luminance measures the brightness of a color video signal, which helps determines picture detail quality.

Pixel Response Time

If a display’s response time is too slow, you might see faint motion trails following behind fast moving objects, like ghosts. Aim for a pixel response time of less than 12 ms (milliseconds).

Progressive scan

Progressive-scan picture quality is more film like, with more fine detail and less flicker. A television must be “HDTV-ready” to accommodate progressive-scan viewing.

Rear-projection TV

Recently known as “big screen TVs”, these televisions used to be heavy and bulky. However, digital microdisplay technology has made it possible to create lightweight rear-projection televisions that can be placed on a tabletop or other stand.

Resolution

Resolution describes the sharpness of a video image, signal or display. VHS VCRs, cable and broadcast TV, non-HD digital satellite TV, DVD players and camcorders have a typical vertical resolution of 480 lines (480i ). Digital television signals have vertical resolution from 480 lines for SDTV up to 720 or 1080 lines for HDTV.

Widescreen

The 16:9 aspect ratio, or widescreen ratio, is considered the optimum for viewing DVDs and HDTV broadcasts.