HDTV Question or

I recently looked at a 27" EDTV at Best Buy. You can see it yourself here: http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=11018311&m=1&cat=24&scat=27

Anyways I really liked the TV even though it wasn’t Digital TV. I have a few questions

  1. The resolution for playing DVD’s on a Digital TV and an EDTV is supposedly about the same. Is this true?

  2. The guy at best buy wanted to sell me a $80 power source that offered “clean” power. I told him to stuff it. Can this do anything for my resolution, or is Best Buy trying to pad its profits by selling me high margin junk?

  3. Which is better for playing off your DVD player? the S cable or the Component Video?

  4. Finally are those extended warranties a rip off, or again is Best Buy trying to rip me off?

I think I know the answers to these questions I just wanted to double check myself against the impressive collective intellect that is this message board.

  1. Component. SVideo is better than composite, but component is, IIRC, the best you can get at the moment.

As for #4, all I can say is that it reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer is discovered to have a crayon lodged in his brain. :slight_smile:

1). The TV you linked to says it has an aspect ratio of 4:3. HDTV and widescreen DVDs are 16:9. So you will have letterbox bars. As for resolution, the TV you linked to says 700 lines. HDTV can go up to 1080.

2). If you go to http://www.RANDI.ORG and read his commentary this week, he has some words about these things. In short, they are crap.

3). Component.

4). If you have to ask, you are probably too far gone already.

Yes, but there’s more to the story. (this is in addition to what xizor already said.)
It sort of depends on the DVD player. Most any player currently made will produce an analog signal to the TV (in order to work with any TV). Only a few DVD players actually bring out the digital signal, and only a few TVs (the fully digital ones) can process that signal. The EDTV is, like many, ‘digital-ready’, meaning it would require another box to actually receive a digital signal (assuming the DVD player had the outputs for it).

The DVD player’s analog signal is just like one you pull out of the air (or the ground, as it may be) and has 480-line resolution. The EDTV (and presumably, any self-respecting fully digital TV) does have line-doubling, which means that signal should end up looking better than on a traditional TV.

However, the key thing about digital & high-density TV is that things are on the verge of change. Most of the higher-end digital TVs accept a variety of resolutions, up to 1080i which IIRC should eventually be the standard broadcast signal (HDTV). DVD players that produce higher-resolutions will likely come even sooner.

This can’t possibly do anything for your ‘resolution’ if ‘resolution’ is taken in the technical sense of the first question … though I’m guessing you mean it in the more normal sense of picture quality.
It would only have a very very marginal effect on your picture quality unless you had very bad wiring in your house. (I’m assuming you live in the US and are powered off the grid.) Even then, I doubt $80 is really worth it. After all, if there is a problem, it’d be better and safer to have the whole house’s wiring fixed by an electrician.
Have a happy turn-off-your-TV week!

You forgot this line in the ad: Digital televisions require an additional converter box to
receive digital signals.

Pony up another $1000.00?

Digital signals require a rabbit ears antennae too, for most stations.

Another thing they don’t tell you about HDTVs…

You better not be hoping to watch the CBS Tuesday Night line-up because if you watch standard-size images on an HDTV more than 15% of the time, the tube will have an uneven burn pattern resulting in an image with varied contrast.

$5000 and you can’t even watch I Love Lucy. New technology sucks, doesn’t it?

Actually, this is misleading, if not completely wrong. There are NO DVD players that “bring out the digital signal”. All DVD players have analog video outputs and both digital and analog audio outputs. Similarly, there are no fully digital TVs. Here’s why:

The movie industry has decreed that until someone comes up with a copy protection scheme that is satisfactory to them, they do not want any consumers to have access to a hi-res digital stream. Therefore they will not get behind any format that has consumer players that offer such an output.

So the key is to get the best quality analog I/O you can. Currently the best you can do outside of HDTV is progressive component. This essentially gives you a 640x480 non-interlaced picture. Standard component I/O gives you the same resolution, but interlaced, so the picture won’t look as steady or as sharp. However, you’ve been watching interlaced TV your whole life, so don’t think it’s worse than what you’ve currently got.

I couldn’t find any information on this TV with an (admittedly cursory) search. However, since they don’t mention it, I suspect that the TV does not have progressive inputs. This strikes me as a bit odd, because it does have a line doubler, which converts interlaced to progressive video, and indicates that the video electronics are progressive-capable (progressive video requires double the analog bandwidth of interlaced, given the same resolution). However, you’ll get a better picture if you have progressive all the way than if you feed an interlaced signal to the TV and then have the TV convert it to progressive. Current HDTV decoders and quite a few higher-end DVD players have progressive-scan component outputs. BTW, you can’t get progressive scanning on S-video or composite.

The number of lines that a tube is rated at is somewhat irrelevant; even if it’s rated at 900 or even 1000 lines, unless the input and processing electronics can support it, you won’t do any better than standard NTSC resolution. More lines of resolution likely mean that it’s a higher quality tube, but it won’t give you more displayable pixels once you go above spec.

“Digital ready” is also somewhat of a misnomer. Any TV that has video inputs is digital ready to some extent - once HDTV becomes popular there will be converters that output to component, S-Video, and composite.

One other thing to keep in mind: this is only a 27" TV. Unless you sit only a few feet away, most of the benefits of HD would be lost on you anyway.

Well, that remains to be seen. DVD players with component output pretty much display everything that DVD is capable of. There’s talk of developing HD-DVD, but because of the aforementioned situation with the movie studios, it’ll likely be a long time before something is actually produced. For the moment, your options are:

NTSC: N x 480 (with N being somewhat less than 640) interlaced
Progressive DVD: 640x480
D-VHS, HDTV: up to 1920x1080 interlaced

D-VHS is kind of an orphan format - a couple of companies have offered recorders and then withdrew them from the market. I’m not sure if any are currently available.

1080i is theoretically the highest-resolution format offered by HDTV, but it’s interlaced; I believe one of the broadcast networks (ABC?) is broadcasting 720p, which can look superior. 1080i combined with a line doubler (once someone comes out with one that can handle the bandwidth) would probably be best. However, you’d need a high-quality front projection system in order to see the difference.

I’ll just second what Frogstein said, and emphasize that a 4:3, 27" television is going to be just about useless for HDTV. If you display a 16:9 HDTV picture on it, you’re going to have to be sitting about two feet away from it in order to resolve the extra resolution. From a normal living-room seating position, you’d be hard pressed to tell an HDTV signal from a good quality broadcast, and especially a regular DVD.

The only digital outputs on DVD’s are for audio. The available options for video output are component, S-video, and Composite (RCA jack). An S-Video connection will get you a decent picture from a non-progressive DVD player. If you want to display a progressive signal, you need to use the component outputs and connect them to a TV with component inputs which can process a progressive signal.

As for the power conditioner - hey, it’s almost certainly crap, but it’s cheap crap. Get into the high-end audio/visual stuff, and you’ll find guys spending $500 for POWER CABLES, insisting that they make a big difference. Of course, these are the same guys that spend $400 for an S-video cable, and $1800 for a set of speaker cables.

I agree pretty much with everything you said, but there is at least one in existence. I admit that this is of almost no practical use today; I was trying to allude to future developments.

“HDTV-ready” might be a better way to put it than “digital-ready”. I do think there’s a big technical difference between displaying 720 or 1080-line images with all the lines over having to lose half the lines when “downconverting” to current TVs. In practical terms, though – that smallish-screen TVs may not be visibly different – you’re probably right.

Though any customer should decide for him or herself what they like.

You’re correct, and I was unaware of that model. However, I was referring to consumer players, and this appears to be a player modified for the pro market. Notice that this uses a “D1” output, a standard I’m not familar with (not being involved in the pro video industry) rather than IEEE-1394 (firewire), which is likely what consumer DVD players would output if they were allowed to.

The following blurb appeared in Sound and Vision Magazine, April issue, p. 87 (I couldn’t find it on their web site):

Accompanying the blurb are pictures of (presumably) two prototype players.

This reminds me of an article published in a highly respected Australian electronics magazine when Monster Cable (and others) started becoming popular. The magazine did a double-blind test using the most sensitive measuring equipment they could lay their hands on. They found that they could not measure a difference between the very expensive audio patch leads and quick-and-dirty leads made up with the equivalent diameter of general purpose wire.

When you think seriously about it, the esoteric patch leads and cables will only connect the components to each other, or provide power from the wall socket. The wiring in the rest of the building, and the rest of the power grid all the way back to the generator, is certainly not going to be of the same spec. Kinda shoots a great big hole in the bullshit these cables are marketed with, doesn’t it?

Well, it shoots a big hole in the notion that a $400 power cable can make a difference. But it doesn’t really say much about interconnects between components. It IS worthwhile to pay a little extra for better interconnects than the thin ones that typically come with the equipment, but not that much more. For example, Radio Shack makes a ‘Gold’ line of interconnects (S-Video, RCA, component video, etc) that are usually in the $15-$30 range, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to measure an audible difference between those and the high-end Monster Cable stuff.

As for speakers, if you’re making short runs (say less than 10-15’), I don’t think you can tell the difference between any set of speaker cables once you get up to perhaps 14 gauge lamp cord as a minumum. Yet people spend enormous amounts on these cables.

The ones I get a kick out of are the hideously expensive ‘premium’ digital cables for transferring the digital audio signal. Some of these are made from some very well-respected manufacturers, yet they are complete snake oil. I love some of the ad copy for these things, where the manufacturers make the usual untestable quack claims: “A more open soundstage”, “More definition”, “Less muddy”, etc. Nonsense phrases impossible to quantify.

But what cracks me up is that these digital cables are just carrying digital signals, which have error correction built into them. There is no way to tell a ‘high’ from a ‘low’ electrically, so any claims that these cables will improve bass reponse or high frequency response are complete crap.

The scandal here is that these products are outrageously marked up, both by the manufacturer, and by the retailer. The retailer typically makes so much money from these cables that they jump on board and help spread the lies. If the markup was similar to other audio equipment, the folks at Monster might find a lot more skepticism on the part of their wholesalers. So in essence, they bought them off.

A store that sells a $10,000 stereo and $500 worth of cables to hook it up will typically make more profit on the cables than they did on the stereo.

Thanks for putting in writing what I’ve always known. My network runs fine on 10¢/foot category 5 cable (where the bandwidth is actually much higher); why should my stereo be any different?

But just try convincing your average audiophile… :slight_smile: