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TV & associated buying advice. What’s going on in the jungle of new screens, formats, high definition, digital switchover etc…. Hope your ability is better than ->. HDTV - present and immediate future. Available & forthcoming services Display devices PVRs and recording devices

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Tv associated buying advice

TV & associated buying advice

What’s going on in the jungle of new screens, formats, high definition, digital switchover etc….

Hope your ability is better than ->

Hdtv present and immediate future
HDTV - present and immediate future

  • Available & forthcoming services

  • Display devices

  • PVRs and recording devices

  • The analogue switch off and its effect.

  • Modulation and encoding

  • HDef resolutions and “HD ready”

  • The HiDef DVD format war (HD-DVD vs BluRay)

  • Analogue and digital connections

  • Some practical pointers to choosing a TV.

From www avforums com

  • Sky digibox to freeview

  • This site looks like the kind of place where I get the answer!I have a Sky digibox (Sony) which I am trying to transform into a freeview box (I now have a Sky+ box so this one is no longer of use). So I am plugging it into the TV aerial, but it says 'no sattelite signal being received'.Is this a problem with my aeial not being a digital aerial? Or is it no possible to transform a Sky digibox into a freeview box?I should also point out that I do not have a viewing card into my box (i.e. it is now in the Sky+ box) - do I need to purchase a Freeview card?? If this is not possible - was told it was - I will simply go out to purchase a new Freeview box. I just wanted to make use of my Sky digibox.Thanks

Similar confusion in usa
Similar confusion in USA

  • Broadcasting and Cable via NewsEdge Corporation : If you haven't shopped for HDTV yet, the first thing you'll encounter is confusion. You want LCD or DLP? Or LcoS? Flat-screen or rear-projection? Get ready to hear about pixels and resolution--"Sir, would you prefer 1,080 lines drawn on-screen in an odd/even or interlaced pattern, or 720p, 720 lines scanned in one sweep, or progressively? Plasma or cathode-ray tubes?"

  • There is so much to know about HDTV. A co-worker told me the story of his friend, who had just bought a big-screen HDTV and invited everyone over to watch the game. They stood around oooohing and aaaahing.

  • But my co-worker, who owns an HDTV, thought something was amiss. Turns out that, while the friend owned an HDTV, he didn't know that he also needed to upgrade his cable box to HDTV. (Research shows as many as half the consumers with HDTV sets aren't actually receiving it.)

  • I contacted a friend who had just bought an HDTV and had used Consumer Reports as his guide to help me sift through all the confusion. I determined that a 36-inch screen fit my family's needs perfectly. For that size, Consumer Reports says sets with cathode-ray tubes, although bulky and heavy, still offer the best picture quality and value.

  • The magazine recommended a Sony model selling for about $1,100. Circuit City had a floor model for sale for around $900. We were in the process of buying it when the salesman mentioned that the set he had in his house was better. (I bet he says that to all his customers.)

  • It was a Polaroid--yes, a Polaroid. He showed me a lightweight, plasma Polaroid. It was beautiful--just an inch or so deep, and I could lift it with one hand. Impulsively, I changed my mind. I took it home and turned on the football game. My son saw it and proclaimed, "Dad, it's all blurry." He was right. So I boxed it up, took it back and got the Sony.

  • The Sony picture was clear and clean, even before I had it hooked up to HDTV. Now I thought it would be a good time to try something really new. Rather than get my HDTV set-top box from a cable or satellite provider, I could use Verizon Fios. (We happen to live in Keller, Texas, the first area in the country to offer Verizon's new fiber-optic connection.)

  • We watched our first NFL playoff game in HDTV, and it was beautiful. When we watched an HDTV underwater special on the Discovery channel, we thought the fish would jump through the screen. Everything is beautiful. Letterman and Leno somehow seem funnier in HDTV.

  • As my son remarked, "Life should be in HDTV, Dad."

  • Indeed, son, indeed.

After analogue tv ceases
After analogue TV ceases ?

  • 1st Border 20082nd West Country 20083rd HTV Wales 20084th Granada 20095th HTV West 20096th Grampian 20097th Scottish TV 20098th Central 20109th Yorkshire 201010th Anglia 201011th Meridian 201112th Carlton/LWT 201113th Tyne Tees 201114th Ulster 201115th Channel 2012

What do we do after 2009
What do we do after 2009 ?

  • Can use analogue TV with STB

  • Existing Freeview , $ky or cable boxes can be connected to old TVs via SCART

  • Some boxes have modulator so connection via aerial socket possible

  • Very few Freeview STBs have a modulator- SCART or phono connection only.

After 2009 continued
After 2009 continued

  • VCRs may not be much use – but modulator may allow them to act as interface between Freeview STB and non-SCART TV.

  • VCR being ousted by PVR / DVD recorders anyway

  • Not many of above have 2 tuners (for recording 1 channel whilst viewing another).

Communal aerial smatv issues
Communal aerial & SMATV issues

  • THOUSANDS of Glasgow tenants could have their tellies switched off - unless housing bosses act quickly.

  • Satellite TV giant Sky today warned that social landlords across the city are being too slow in changing over to digital technology.

  • And the Government plans to stop broadcasting in the old analogue system as early as 2009.

  • Many tenants and home owners have already switched to digital by buying a set-top box from Freeview or a satellite dish from Sky.

  • But social landlords - housing associations and councils - have to make the switch for tenants who live in large buildings, such as tower blocks, with communal aerials.

  • Simon Jackson, Head of Sky Homes, said: "In just two years' time, the Government plans to begin switching off analogue television - landlords need to act now to upgrade their aerial systems."

  • Glasgow and the west of Scotland, which has a higher density of tower blocks than anywhere else in Britain, is particularly vulnerable.

  • The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Government's ministry in charge of the switchover, last year revealed that half of all registered landlords had not even started upgrading their aerial systems.

  • One Glasgow housing association, however, is well on the way to sorting things out for its tenants bygiving them early access to all the free-to-air channels available, like CBBC, BBC3 and Sky News.

Pvr dvr

  • There are no Twin Tuner PVRs that also have DVD burners.You can buy:An HDD-DVD machine with a single Freeview tunerAn HDD only machine (PVR) with two tuners.If you get the latter, you can connect via RGB (preferably) to your existing DVD recorder and create a disc for something you want to keep.

  • You can also use the internal HDD for recording/timeshifting.

  • Editing features on PVRs are usually very limited/basic.

Sky hi def plans
Sky Hi-Def plans


  • Launches in 2006

  • Sky+ HiDef box (£400) will initially output HD via its analogue component outputs

  • Ultimately will only output HD via (secure) HDMI (digital) output

  • HDMI uses HDCP content protection- requires display device with HDCP built in

Late march 2006 ky announcement
Late March 2006 $ky announcement

  • Sky has moved closer to the launch of its (HDTV) service. The company today announced pricing details and confirmed that the first installations of Sky HD are scheduled to begin in May 2006.

  • Customers will pay 299 ( 433) for the Sky HD set-top box and 10 ( 14) per month in addition to their Sky digital subscription. As an introductory offer, standard installation of Sky HD is free for all new or existing Sky digital subscribers taking a Sky HD subscription.

Bbc press release feb 20 th 2006
BBC press release ,Feb 20th 2006

  • BBC commits to HD on FreeSat and onlineThe BBC plans to make high-definition television available through its online media player and free satellite platforms. The corporation's plans come as British Sky Broadcasting is expected to launch commercial HD services within three months, predicting the number of homes with sets capable of displaying high-definition images will rise from 700,000 to 2.1m this year.Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of new media and technology, said: "We want to be ready to move with HD on to FreeSat and I'm also very interested in getting HD on to the interactive media player."

Sky italia
Sky Italia

  • SKY Italia HD package.

    SKY Italia has leased an additional HOT BIRD transponder taking its total capacity used across Eutelsat's HOT BIRD satellites to 18 transponders. Launches 17th May with live coverage of the European Champions League Cup Final.

    In June, SKY Italia will cover 2006 World Cup. sting in DVB S2 with MPEG4 compression.

    SKY Italia will put up to 5 HDTV channels in a single HOT BIRD transponder

Other hd sources
Other HD sources

  • BBC carrying out tests and announced HD via satellite by May/June 2006

  • NTL / Telewest making HD noises –nothing firm . Telewest previewed an MPEG2 HiDef box at IBC in Sept 2005. My spies tell me it is now trialling in UK (made by SA) and has HDMI output.

  • HD1 (formerly Euro1080) already available. This is currently using MPEG2, will move to MPEG4

  • German channel Premiere, Sat1 , ProSieben

  • Astra and French HD tests

  • Check


Modulation and encoding
Modulation and encoding

  • MPEG4, especially H264/AVC, much more efficient vs MPEG2 (but needs more processing power).

  • DVB-S2 (usually combined with 8PSK instead of qpsk) enables more “channel efficiency”.

  • If used for terrestrial will obsolete the MPEG decoder in current IDTVs & STBs.

  • IDTV owners would have to buy an external STB , defeating the original object of integration !

Hd ready what this logo should mean
HD Ready (what this logo should mean)

  • To be able to legally sport the logo a display device must…

  • Have at least 720 lines native resolutionHave approx 16:9 aspect ratioHD inputs must accept 720p and 1080i resolutionHD inputs must accept component and digital inputs HD inputs must accept 50 and 60HzDigital inputs may be DVI or HDMIDigital inputs must accept HDCPThere are many sets that do not meet those requirements, and they will be cheaper than those that do.

  • HD compatible means either the set was produced before the logo certification system existed or 1 or more of the above conditions is not met (e.g. no digital input)


  • 720P – 1280 x 720 pixels , progressive

  • 1080i – 1920 x 1080 pixels , interlaced i.e. sequential fields(input)

  • 1080p – 1920 x 1080 pixels, pixels updated twice as often.

  • Forget 1080P at present – no affordable sources (some £1000+ HD-DVD players, possibly some games <PS3?>).

  • 1080P needs lots of bandwidth (expensive to transmit)

  • Would need 50 or 60 inch screen viewed from less than 8 feet to notice any difference !

  • May be affordable (under £2000) by 2008

  • NB – EDTV = 852 x 480 (USA marketing term)

High definition dvd format war
High Definition DVD format war

  • BluRay – Sony (new Playstation has Blu-Ray DVD player)

  • HD-DVD – Toshiba + Microsoft and Intel

  • Hollywood split : Time Warner, Paramount, NBC Universal & Viacom = HD-DVD. Disney, Fox , Sony and MGM (Sony owned) backing Blu-Ray

  • Samsung already announced a “hybrid DVD player” – others hopefully will follow

Hd dvd camp
HD-DVD camp

  • Microsoft CorpIntel CorpToshiba-Samsung Storage Technologies (TSST)NEC CorporationToshiba CorporationSanyo CorporationMemory-Tech CorporationVerbatim (Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co Ltd)Hitachi Maxell LtdD&M holdings Inc (Denon&Marantz)Alpine Electronics IncOnkyo CorporationBandai Visual Co LtdFuji Photo Film Co LtdKenwood CorporationRicoh Company LtdFunai Electric Co LtdRitek CorporationAcer IncKonica Minolta Opto IncTeac CorporationSumitomo Heavy Industries LtdToho Company LtdViacom (owns Paramount Pictures & Home Entertainment, and 33% of United International PicturesGeneral Electric majority owner & Vivendi 20% of NBC-Universal which includes Universal Pictures)Time Warner Inc(Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, Warner Music)Digital Theater Systems IncDolby Laboratories IncImation CorpProdisc Technology IncRitek CorporationThomson

Blu ray camp
Blu-Ray camp

  • - Sony Corporation - Sony BMG Music Entertainment- Hitachi Ltd- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co Ltd (Verbatim)- Panasonic (Matsusita Electric)- Victor Company of Japan, Limited (subsidiary of Matsu)- Pioneer Corporation- Sharp Corporation- TDK Corporation- Yamaha Corporation- D&M holdings Inc (Denon&Marantz)- Onkyo Corporation- Sanyo Electric Co Ltd- Mitsumi Electric Co Ltd- Kenwood TMI Corp- Canon Inc- Fuji Photo Film Co Ltd- Ricoh Co Ltd- Konica Minolta Opto Inc- Alpine Electronics Inc- Funai Electric Co Ltd- TEAC Corporation- Toho Company Ltd- Toei Video Company Ltd- Bandai Visual Co Ltd- Disney Corp (Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista International, Miramax Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Dimension Films)- Apple Corp- Dell Inc.- Hewlett Packard Development Company- Imation Corp- Memorex Products Inc- Texas Instruments Inc- Sun Microsystems Inc- Digital Theater Systems Inc- Dolby Laboratories Inc- Sigma Designs Inc- nVidia Corporation- Sdi Media America- Electronic Arts Inc- Lsi Logic Corporation- LG Electronics Inc- Samsung Electronics Co Ltd- Daewoo Electronics Corporation- BenQ Corporation- Lite-On It Corporation- Ritek Corporation- CMC Magnetics Corporation- Optodisc Technology Corporation- Prodisc Technology Inc- MediaTek Inc- Royal Philips Electronics- Thomson- Vivendi Universal Games- Ati Technologies, Inc- Meridian Audio Ltd- News Corp (Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox searchlight) AUSTRALIA- Lions Gate Inc- Universal Music- Zoran corporation

Differences blu ray and hd dvd
Differences Blu-ray and HD DVD ?

Each has single-layer and dual-layer formats.

HD DVD - 15GB and 30GB

Blu-ray - 25GB and 50GB.

Toshiba had expected HD DVD earlier (this year) but now plans to launch products worldwide in Q1, 2006.

Coincides with spring launch of Blu-ray, eliminating the early debut advantage.

Blu-ray uses Sun Microsystems' Java software for built-in interactive features, whereas HD DVD uses a technology called iHD that Microsoft and Toshiba have worked on.

Display types
Display types

  • CRT (not many are HD)

  • Plasma – on 6th-8th generation

  • LCD – improving fast

  • SED – likely from 2007or 8 1080p for 50 inch+ screens

  • RPTV (DLP, LDC, LCoS). Good value, large ‘n dark

  • HT projectors – prices dropping needs large room


Crt cathode ray tube
CRT – Cathode Ray Tube

  • So-called “direct view” technology.

  • Few HD models (Samsung, Sony , LG making slimmer, Philips ?)

  • Geometry issues but best contrast etc.

Tv associated buying advice

  • Progressive scan by default

  • Response times improving (<10 mSecs) – but almost impossible to compare like with like as no standard method of specifying this ! This is 1 cause of “motion tracking” errors.

  • Backlight technology improving

  • Some have audible hum/Buzz (PSU compromises in design)

  • Insects can get trapped between layers !

  • Not childproof – unless extra glass front like Loewe models

  • Half power of plasmas

  • Contrast / greyscale issues – poor blacks / greys. Easy to “cook” the specs to get high numbers on the glossy !

  • Watch for dead pixels – manufacturer policies vary

Dead pixel policies and examples ctl
Dead Pixel policies and examples (CTL)

  • 12" - 17" LCD Screens: 2 lit, 2 unlit, or 4 colored non-performing pixels

  • 19" & 20" LCD Screens: 4 lit, 4 unlit, or 7 colored non-performing pixels

  • Plasma screens
    Plasma screens

    • Power hogs

    • Good brightness / contrast

    • Possible image “burn in” issues (logos if static)

    • Regassing myth !

    • Many are not HD – how good is internal scaling ?

    Rptv rear projection
    RPTV (Rear Projection)

    • Great value if you have the space

    • Full 1080p available – needs 60 inch+ to distinguish advantage

    • Poor brightness in daylight conditions

    • Lots of space for connectivity

    • Cheap way to get “attention grabber” – tends to dominate a living room !

    Home theatre projector
    Home Theatre Projector

    • Great if you have dedicated room / space

    • UXGA / HD types < £1000 by mid 2006

    • Same technology base as RPTV

      Next : some future happenings….

    Sed s urface conduction e lectron emitter d isplay
    SED - Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display


    • Promises to eventually oust LCD / TFT with better contrast

    Hdr lcd the future
    HDR LCD – the future ?

    • A new patented variation on LCD backlighting from Brightside


    • Apparently very impressive

    • Not yet licenced by the main display manufacturers & will initially be costly

    • Relies on dynamic variation of backlight level

    • $50,000 for current 50-inch display !!!! (Canadian firm called Brightside , working on this since 1999)

    Lcd improvement
    LCD improvement

    • Choice of White LED, RGB LED, OLED, CCFL & hot cathode backlighting

    • LED has aging problems unless compensated for

    • RGB LEDs if switched fast (needs more complex control / diver ICs)

    • Dramatic improvements possible as well as purer whites

    • Luxeon hi-brightness LED market leaders

    Color gamut
    Color Gamut




    Attainable Colors with CCFL & LED Backlight Systems

    Colors that Human can See

    Rgb leds controller ad5120
    RGB LEDs Controller – AD5120

    Color Sensors

    Power Management


    per channel avg


    Color Control




    Signal Condition



    Look Up





    Timing Control


    12-Bit PWM_G

    Indep SHDN for FSC

    12-Bit PWM_R


    I2C Control Logic

    12-Bit PWM_B

    12-Bit PWM_G

    Adjustable Digital Ramp


    Connections digital
    Connections - digital

    • HDMI High Definition Multimedia Interface. Supports 165 MPixels/second (almost 5 Gbps). 19 pins, supports audio packets, TMDS signal identical to DVI, 19 pin connector

      HDMI switches are newish and costly ; not many TVs have more than one.

      HDMI includes content protection (HDCP).

      For DVI it is a manufacturer’s option !

    • DVI Digital Video Interface. No audio,-I has VGA (RGB) output (like Graphics cards).

    • DVI-I DVI-D

    Connections analogue
    Connections - Analogue

    • VGA = analogue RGBHV or RGB + Csync

    • YPrPb or “component” = luminance + colour difference signals , normally using phono sockets AKA “RCA jacks”.

    • SCART – has RGB or S-video , Cvbs (composite) and audio, fast blanking for RGB, pin 8 I/O switching. 21 pins.

    • S-Video Y/C , luminance and chrominance widely used in camcorders

    Motion processing artifacts
    Motion & Processing artifacts

    • Blurring may be due to :

    • internal picture processing assistants (Pixel Plus, Crystal Vision etc.)

    • or poor screen response (especially LCD with >25 mSecs response

    • or poor colourspace conversion or scaling (picture size / format conversion)

    • 100 Hz interpolation & processing done badly (on CRTs)

      Other artifacts can be due to :

      Any of the above

      Or Poor MPEG decoding

      Or Over compression of the signal ( usually the broadcaster’s fault) – stat-muxing

      Broadcasters may have used transcoding or transrating in the signal chain

      Look for display that allows turning off enhancement features – not all do.

    Motionblur extreme example
    MotionBlur (extreme example)

    • The same effect as “frame blending” (simulated motion in some games).

    • Here’s the correct image

    Motion blur
    Motion Blur

    • Look for this by watching a soccer ball

    • There may be other motion artifacts and jerkiness also, especially if the video transmission is over compressed.

    • Javelin may jerk in flight as well as not appearing to be a straight line shape (aliasing jaggies)

    How do you test preview
    How do you test / preview

    • Take good DVD with you & ask shop to play it through your chosen display device via decent connection (not composite or RF input)

    • Go to A/V specialist shop; you may pay a little more but you’re paying for some decent advice and service.

    • John Lewis 5 year g’tee is often worth paying a little extra for (try a price-match attempt 1st)

    Testing previews contd
    Testing / Previews (contd.)

    • Don’t be fooled by DVD demos showing Toy Story, Monsters Inc and similar “3D cartoons”

    • These always look good even on a poor display

    • Make allowances for poor signal distribution in DSG / Comet etc. when you compare

    • Confirm that viewing angle will be ok for your room (especially with LCD displays)

    Other points
    Other points

    • Cables do vary in quality – but £30-£50+ for a SCART cable is only a placebo (but it is worth paying £5 rather than £1 in order to get individually screened cores).

    • Digital connections should be less critical (as long as they are built such that they don’t fall apart after a few insertion/extraction cycles)

    • Surge/spike protectors are worth having, especially if they also have RFI filters

    • Forget the guarantee on the above

    • None will protect against a direct (or very near) lightening strike.

    Brands to look at
    Brands to look at

    • Genuine Japanese household names (Sony, Hitachi, Panasonic,Sharp,Toshiba,JVC , Sanyo, Mitsubishi ? etc. )

    • LG & Samsung (improving)

    • Loewe

    • (possibly/arguably) B & O

    • Dell – but newish and unproven for displays

    • Philips and Thomson – very variable

    Debatable brands low end of market
    Debatable Brands – low end of market)

    • Tevion / Medion (Aldi, ToysRus)

    • Video Seven, Crown , Acer

    • Benq (good name in USA)

    • Bush, Goodmans , Alba , Wharfedale, Pye, Grundig – all are marketing names trying to live off reputation they had when they were real manufacturing companies

    • H & B – French marketing company

    • Beko ,Vestel, Fusion – Turkish (make low end sets for Toshiba, Philips and others as “branding exercise)

    • Orion, Naiko, Akura, Watson, Mikomi

    Some setup hints 1
    Some setup hints 1


    • TV channels look same as before HD was installed :

    • Have you connected your HD box using the HDMI lead ?

    • You could still be actually watching SDTV ! Ensure your box is set to HDMI output

    • Confirm you are tuned to an HD channel

      The new HD channels sit alongside the old SD ones, and you may inadvertently have tuned in to the lower-quality digital signal.

    Some setup hints 2
    Some setup hints 2


    • Common complaint about new HDTV set-ups is that the picture quality of SD material is poor, with huge gaps in detail :

    • Standard definition programmes have only 480 lines of information rather than the 720 or 1,080 of HD.

    • So when you buy a large new flat screen the picture quality on SD programmes is woeful.

    • Unfortunately, there's no real affordable solution, with upscalers capable of changing 480 into 720 costing up to GBP1,250 (Lumagen, Iscan etc.)

    • Manufacturers promise that next generation of TVs will have better upscaling software built-in as standard.

    Gaudy bright cloours
    Gaudy bright cloours

    • Not a problem with high-definition, rather the way manufacturers set up their TVs before shipping them :

    • To make them stand out on the shop floor, colours are always set too bright and vibrant.

    • Go into your TV's menu, choose the picture-settings option and adjust all the elements until you get a more natural image.

    • If you need help with this, look out for THX-certified DVD movies e.g. Star Wars titles & many Disney, which often come with THX Optimizer in the special features list on DVD. This walks you through the process.

    • Otherwise purchase Avia or Video Essentials DVD

    Heavy contrast
    Heavy Contrast

    • If the protagonists in your HD drama stand out a little too far from the crowd, with what appears to be a halo of white around them, it could well be that your TV's contrast setting is too high.

    • This is often a problem if you had your flatscreen TV before you got HD, and the contrast was boosted to improve the picture on SD broadcasts :

    • Similar solution to Overly Bright Colours.

    • Enter your TV's picture-settings menu and adjust the contrast until the lines disappear and normal service is resumed. If necessary, use a THX Optimizer (see box above) to help you calibrate the settings.

    Films blurred out of focus
    Films blurred, out of focus

    • Are movies a disappointment ? Perhaps your TV is outputting at too low a resolution.

    • There are 2 HD formats: 720p and 1,080i.

    • While sport looks great in 720p - faster image updates to follow the action more easily – this is non optimum sharpness for films at this resolution.

    • If your HD box's settings menu allows it, set it to output to your screen in its 'native' resolution - ie, how it's broadcast - rather than default to 720p or 1,080i.

    • This allows the processing software in your TV to deal with the image and (hopefully) make it look its best.

    Artifacts in dark areas
    Artifacts in dark areas

    • When you look at the dark areas of an HD image, there are annoying amounts of movement in the picture, as if the black is 'crawling' across the screen.

    • This irritating problem, known as 'dynamic false contouring', is the result of poor signal processing :

    • The answer ?

    • New TV !

    • Be warned, when looking for a new screen - particularly from one of the less well known brands - ensure you test it with some dark images before parting with your money.