Monday, September 08, 2014

What’s Great About HDTV

Television has been around for a long time, but it took the advent of “digital” to mix with 21st Century technology for unprecedented strides in image quality. Flat panel TVs became — and still are — immensely popular when it comes to sitting and watching, and there’s a good reason for that aside from the appearance of large screens for the home that weigh barely a fraction of a TV tube model. There’s never been a better time to enjoy high-definition viewing on a HDTV. The reasons why involve the personal control that the viewer now has over the HDTV, combined with the strict control provided by the digital technologies themselves.

The Colors
No one would argue that a black and white TV is superior to one that has color, but there’s more things going on behind a great picture than being able to say “I like the red,” or “The sky looks more blue than when I look out the window.” HDTVs offer variable control over color through simple, but effective controls called Contrast and Color Temperature. Contrast, we all know, differentiates between light/dark and helps an image to “pop” out. Conversely though, it can also inhibit detail and “blur” image areas so that they are not at their high-definition best, or let you “see” into dark or shaded areas. Adjusting the contrast to one’s personal preference is always best, but there’s no harm in using either the default that the TV maker provides, or just “nudging” the contrast up/down a bit to see how it looks. Color temperature, meanwhile, affects the overall image and, at its simplest can be described as making the overall picture’s coloring look “warm” or “cold” or “ruddy” (my term) or the default middle-of-the-road where whites approach Tide-cleaned quality and blacks manage to remind one of walking in the woods on a summer evening after the sun has gone down. Again a personal preference holds here, as not all will agree on which color temperature looks best. It’s fair to say that changing it as the picture being viewed dictates makes more sense than just leaving it at one setting all the time — but then there are those who prefer a “warm” picture, so go for it!  That this form of overall control is available on the HDTV is powerful — use it wisely and enjoy.

Even and Overall Brightness
Looking at a screen where a section near one edge of the screen or the other is dimmer than the rest of the picture isn’t natural — at least as far as the brain wants it to be. HDTVs once had issues with “projecting” an evenly lit and bright picture on the display, and had to use varying methods and technologies to get around it. That’s old-hat today: not only do the latest HDTVs possess brilliantly lit displays, but there are those that have been certified for image clarity and other feature-sets that impact the image (think: THX). Don’t be put off or confused by the various lighting schemes TV makers employ. Just remember, seeing is believing, so take a look at what the TV maker is offering and not at the specs (at least to start). If it looks good to you, it is.

As noted in the introduction, digital is the big thing. Because digital TV signals aren’t analogue, ghosting and interference issues are a thing of the past. Video signals coming in from cable boxes, satellite receivers or video source devices (i.e., Blu-ray players) are able to provide that much wanted, stable 1080p video signal that is translated into a high-definition picture you can watch (that includes streaming too). Combined with the digital technology featured inside the HDTV, it’s one great picture that is being projected for viewing (whether the movie, TV show, etc., is worth watching is up to the viewer of course). Considering that nothing is perfect — people’s eyes degrade over time, prescription glasses don’t get updated as often as they should, and all the other viewing issues that occur on a personal level — that 1080p video image is just plain amazing to watch. And of course the price for a large screen (as in 55” or greater) is so affordable that it’s almost a crime not to “jump” up to the largest size possible when it’s time to bring your new HDTV “friend” home.


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