Video and Audio Center Blog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


When you're opting to watch a movie or TV show, that smartphone or tablet's small screen won't do - it's got to be a TV. And since high-definition is pretty much the default now, there's no reason to have to stay with whatever you've been putting up with till now. But buying a TV isn't like getting a toaster to do one thing because there's more going on than just the picture - not that the picture isn't right up at the top of the list. But have you noticed that the "specs" (specifications) for HDTVs have gotten complex and confusing? They have to me. That's why I've put together these 4 bits of tech that can make or break an HDTV, at least in my house..

An HDTV has got to have great color that's intense. LEDs provide that, because their color palette is superior to that of LCD. This is particularly noticeable when it's a smaller HDTV, like 40" or even less. Come into one of the Super Stores (Santa Monica, South Bay, Agoura Hills) and check out the Sony 1080p LED HDTV specials. And don't forget you can use your phone's camera to take a pic of yourself to enter the exclusive contest for a free trip to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

There's something cool about watching a movie in 3D, but if the TV doesn't have the tech built in, forget about it! But do you go with glasses that have batteries and cost about a $100 bucks or so per pair, or use inexpensive polarized ones? That depends on whether the TV has "active" or "passive" built in. Which looks better? Best come to the store and take a look for yourself because looking on the Internet is a waste of time here. I will say that the bigger the screen, the better the 3D - Sharp has a 60" with proprietary color tech that can only add to making the 3D view big and bold.

Remember when the menus on a TV consisted of "Brightness" and "Contrast" and "Color?" Now there's tons of menus and sub-menus and sub-sub menus, because there's so much more going on in a HDTV than just a picture (think "Smart TV"). The TV is like a computer in that it has to handle all kinds of functions simultaneously - which might explain why sometimes menus go by so slow. If the TV has a co-processor, that means it can work on things faster, and that translates into less time spent doing and more time watching (besides affecting the picture in a positive fashion as well). Stick in a quad-core processor, like found in Samsung's 60" HDTV and speed doesn't become something you count the seconds for.

An HDMI plug is easy to insert, partially because there’s no lock on it, just insert and give a push till it stops. But the number of wires being used by the plug can change, providing that the powers-that-be agree as to how many are needed to do what. Which they did when they added 3D to the mix: a TV has to have v1.4 to do 3D. That leaves out using an amplifier as a switcher for routing video if its HDMI is only 1.3 or even less. So if you have a Blu-ray player that can do 3D, that means its HDMI is onboard too.

And if you’re thinking of getting one of those 4K TVs, then there better be a HDMI 2.0 port, because that’ll be needed to be able to handle the next 4K video formats (think of how tasty sports is going to look here). There’s no worries if you’re picking up one of Sony’s 4K TVs because they’ve got that covered.

There’s a reason you want your “Smart TV” to have built in wireless. It’s not just that few have their TV next to the computer and the Internet modem and other connection devices, but a WiFi-equipped HDTV can also access content from your computer (with the appropriate software) as well as from the Internet (examples being Netflix, apps/games from the Google Store, the Sony Entertainment Network, Internet radio and more). Today’s HDTVs feature more robust antennas and technology to ensure that the wireless connection is stable and fast too, even if the HDTV is right up against the wall or mounted onto it. That’s really good, especially if you’re streaming 3D content, like can be done with LG’s 60” LED 3D Smart TV.


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