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Top 10 HDTV Myths

man watching tv

With HDTVs becoming more common, consumers need to be able to weed out the myths from the facts. Many of the myths surrounding HDTV relate to a lack of understanding of the differences between broadcast and recording technology and screen resolution.

1. HDTV programs can be accessed only via cable or satellite subscriptions:

Those living in or near big cities will be able to watch HD TV programs broadcast by Fox, ABC, NBC, and others for free by receiving the signals through the tuner in the HDTV or a HD antenna on the digital set top box.

2. Flat panel HDTVs with 1080i resolution are available:

The resolution of a flat panel HDTV should be measured in its pixel count – 1280 x 768, 1920 x 1080, and so on. On the other hand some networks broadcast using the 1080 line interlaced format while others use the 720 line progressive format. However, all HDTVs display the images progressively, so the broadcast technology does not matter when choosing the TV screen.

3. Regular DVDs cannot be used to record HD video

Regular DVDs or red DVDs can be used to record HD video. However, blue DVDs such as Blu-ray discs have a superior storage capacity. More efficient codecs such as Windows Media player can even fit in a full HD movie into a regular DVD and play it back on a computer.

4. A TV with 1080p is better than one with 720p

A 1080p TV does have more pixels than a 720p TV. However, the screen size and the distance of viewing also affect the image quality. For instance, if the viewer is more than 8 feet away from a 42 inch TV then the resolution difference will not be visible. Also, a 720p screen works fine for most standard definition or SD TV programs and DVDs.

5. A HDTV automatically converts all signals to HD format

HDTVs stretch SD signals to fit their screens, but they cannot improve the resolution since SD has only 640 x 480 pixels. This can sometimes lead to blurred images and reduce viewing pleasure.

6. All flat panel TVs are HDTVs

To determine if the TV is HD, one needs to calculate the pixels. If the TV has 1024 x 768 pixels it can only provide 85 percent and 38 percent of the pixels in programs broadcast with 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) and 1920 x 1080 (1080i), respectively.

7. Expensive cables are a must to obtain best quality HD images

Smart tv and hand pressing remote control

The extra shielding provided by high cost digital cables is unnecessary when short lengths are required. This is because there is no interference when digital signals are transmitted, either the signals are transmitted or they are not.

8. HDTV provides consistent picture quality

Cable operators, satellite companies, and over-the-air broadcasters all compress multiple programs into bandwidth meant for a single HD program. This can lead to distortion in picture quality. The degree of distortion depends on the amount of compressing involved.

9. Every 1080p HDTV accepts all 1080p input signals

There are some 1080p HDTVs that accept 1080i TV broadcast signals but cannot accept other 1080 input signals, for instance, from a Blu-ray player or scaling DVD player. It is best to check with the manufacturer about this compatibility before purchasing a HDTV.

10. HD-DVD discs and Blu-ray discs offer the highest resolutions

The resolution offered by the discs depends on the manner in which the original movie was mastered. Those that were transferred from an early digital copy are likely to offer better resolution than those that were copied from a later, poorer quality print. The labels in a Blu-ray disc or HD-DVD do not indicate the quality of the print, but other sources provide such information.

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