Out of the loop on TV's help please

black-thumbFebruary 10, 2009

Hi everyone

With prices being so great right now I figure if I'm going to get a flat screen now is the time to do so. MY mother has a Vizio and I saw a few in that brand name in Walmart. The picture on them was outstanding. Very clear and the sound on my mothers is pretty great too. So I am definite about getting this brand.

What I need to know is everything else. HDTV, Digital tuner, HDMI, Resolution etc. What should I be looking for. I looked at a few on the walmart website and frankly it just looks like a bunch of letters and numbers in the add I have no clue what any of it means.

Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. I am not sure what size I want to get yet. It would be for my bedroom and would go on the long dresser that sits across from my bed. Its not a super large room but with the prices such as they are I figure why not go for the 42".

Thank you

Here is a link that might be useful: Walmart

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Resolution refers to the number of pixels on the screen, in a horizontal x vertical count. Marketing terms refer only to the horizontal figure. A higher number is better. Standard broadcast TV is something like 320 pixels. VHS I believe is 240. Standard DVD is 480. True HD TV and DVD is 1080. 720 displays fall between standard DVD 480 and HD 1080.

The p and i, as in 1080p or 720p or 1080i or 720i refers to interlaced or progressive. Standard TV broadcast is interlaced, meaning the electron gun in the picture tube draws the picture by "painting" every odd-number row of pixels across the screen from top to bottom, then goes back to the top and fills in the even-number rows. Progressive means all the rows are painted consecutively one after another, from top to bottom. Progressive is better. HDTV is typically progressive, and standard DVDs can be displayed progressive if the player and TV support it.

HDTV simply means a TV picture at a higher resolution than the standard broadcast that has been used for so many years. HD is typically 16:9 (rectangular, widescreen), which is the ratio of width to height. Standard TV is 4:3 (square, fullscreen). Fullscreen is a misnomer in a way. It refers from the point-of-view of a 4:3 screen, a 4:3 picture fills the screen completely, while a 16:9 picture displayed on a 4:3 screen has black fill-in bars across the top and bottom, thus is not "full"screen. A 16:9 picture on a 16:9 screen certainly is "full" on the screen.

Digital (vs. analog) refers to how the signal is broadcast from the TV station or sent over cable wire. A station may broadcast in analog, but a cable or satellite service converts it to digital for delivery to your home. All broadcast TV is required to be a digital signal, by whatever date it eventually happens, LOL. Digital DOES NOT necessarily mean the picture is also HD.

A digital tuner can pick up a digital broadcast signal over an outdoor antenna.

HDMI is High Definition Media Interface, a type of connection jack between a TV and a DVD player, satellite or cable tuner box, or a computer. Other kinds of connections/jacks are coax (coaxial cable), composite, s-video, component, and DVI. HDMI carries both audio and video in a single wire/connection.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

HDTV is "high def TV' and refers to screens that have 720 or 1080 lines of horizontal resolution. For comparison, older standard definition TVs are capable of displaying 480 lines of resolution. And yes, I'm generalizing here.

You'll also see a "P" or an "I" added to those numbers; 720p, 1080i, referring to "progressive" or "interlaced". Progressive is better than interlaced.

You're considering a 42" screen, for a screen that size 720p would be fine. You might not even be able to tell much difference between 720 and 1080 on a 42" screen at normal viewing distances.

A "digital tuner" or ATSC tuner will, with the proper antenna, allow you to receive digital and high definition network signals over the airwaves. No cable or satellite needed. If you have cable, I believe you could also run the coaxial cable right to the TV without a cable box and you could get all the unscrambled digital signals using your digital tuner. For scrmbled channels you'd still need a cable box.

"HDMI" is a type of connection to get the signal from your cable box or DVD player to the TV. HDMI is pretty much the best interface out there now, and the HDMI cable carries both audio and video. To use it though, you'll need a cable box with an HDMI output, or a DVD player with HDMI output.

It's likely that the TV, in addition to HDMI, will still have the "older" inputs as well, like component and composite video inputs. Component consists of three RCA-type jacks, each one a different color. Next below that in signal quality would be a composite video input, these are the ones most everyone is familiar with, it's a single yellow jack.

Unlike HDMI which carries both video and audio, the component and composite inputs are video only. So with those you'd need audio cables, most likely the old red and white RCA jacks that we're all familiar with.

With LCD screens take note of how the picture looks when you view the screen at an angle. With some screens, the brightness can drop of dramatically as you view at an off-angle.

Another thing wold be to note the "pixel response time" of the screen. It's usually listed in milliseconds, or "ms". A screen with a 4ms response time would give a better picture than one with a 12ms response time, especally when watching action movies or fast moving sports where there is a lot of screen movement.

It's always good to check for "dead pixels" as well. If you were viewing an all white screen and you noticed a small red dot here, another there...and they never change color...that's a dead pixel. There's no repair for a dead pixel, so you either live with it or arrange to return the TV. Some manufacturers consider a certain number of dead pixels per screen to be acceptable. I consider zero to be acceptable.

Hope this helps more than it confuses...and to the folks who really know this stuff, my apologies if I screwed things up!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oops, sorry for the duplication, dadoes types faster than me!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dadoes and Mongoct

Thank you both so much you broke it down very well for me. I feel ready to go out and beging my search! I truly appreciate your taking the time to explain it all to me.

Thanks a mil!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 7:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Buy any HDMI cables online , where they are much , much cheaper . I bought the cheapest HDMI 6 foot cable I could find on amazon for a couple of bucks (it works just fine) as opposed to a 60 dollar Monster cable of the same length . Generally anything with the Monster name on it is way overpriced and a ripoff , since you can find other brands for a fraction of the price that work just as well . Good luck !

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Crutchfield.com is a great retailer with a lot of educational resources.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video on Choosing an HDTV

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 3:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that crutchfield.com is a great place to buy, and if you do not live in Virginia, you do not pay sales tax. Their sales persons are very, very tech asvvy, and the company has a policy of helping you with the tech aspects in detail to make sure you get the best from your purchase.

They may not be the cheapest, but their prices are competitive.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Speaker Placement for multiple watching configurations
We have a minor dilemma about where to put our speakers. Our...
Midcentury decor - suggestions for media stand
My son has a very large flat screen TV with components...
Help connecting my DVD recorder to my Vizio Smart TV
I recently purchased a Vizio SmartTV. I am trying to...
Which Gaming System is the Best: Game Cube, Play Station or XBox?
Which do you think is the best and why? What games...
DVR with disk burner?
I'd like to buy a hard disk recorder to record over...
Sponsored Products
Helping Handle
$13.99 | zulily
Mild Suspension by Leucos Lighting
$933.75 | Lumens
Wood Molding & Trim: Bruce Building Materials Sunset Sand Light Hickory 3/4 in.
$19.41 | Home Depot
Ponderosa Small Outdoor Wall-Mounted Lantern
$544.00 | Bellacor
Intense 4" Non-IC Fluorescent Remodel Recessed Housing
$86.91 | Lamps Plus
Polished Chrome Shower Faucet Set with Single Lever
Innermost | Facet Lozenge Linear Suspension Light
Brussel Blush Tufted Sofa
$3,339.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™