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High Definition TV question

  1. Aug 1, 2008 #1

    dlgoff

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    Okay. If I purchase a new digital TV for the upcoming change in broadcasting, should I get a high definition one? Living in the country, I have DirectTV but without the high definition package. I've been told that non-high def programs look real grainy on high def TVs. Is this true? I know some programs on DirectTV do provide free HD, but not too many. Should I consider HD with the posibility of more free HD programing?

    Thank you for the help.
     
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  3. Aug 1, 2008 #2

    FredGarvin

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    I can agree with the statement that non-high def stuff looks crappy on a high def TV. I have one as does my brother. With component video out of a DVD or Blue Ray they look good, but regular video inputs do look horrible IMO. I have seen some things advertised as being able to "fill in" the missing resolution gaps to make regular inputs more palletable, but I have heard bad things about them. My brother doesn't really notice it any more. I personally notice it every time I look at it. I guess it's just personal preference and threshold.

    One thing to note that I learned when I bought my TV. I have one that 1080p. There are only a couple of things out there that can make that resolution. I believe they were top end Blue Ray players and one of the game systems. HDTV will not be that capable for quite a few years down the road (unknown timeframe). Take that into consideration when shelling out a bunch of money for an HDTV. The retailers are all pushing 1080p sets now it seems. The only reason I got the 1080p was because I got it at the same price as a 720p. You can save quite a bit of money by looking at the 720p and you won't be able to tell the difference in pictures.

    EDIT: I just found this article. It talks about what I just mentioned.
    http://www.cnet.com/4520-7874_1-5137915-1.html
     
  4. Aug 1, 2008 #3

    dlgoff

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    Thanks for the info Fred. When you say they look crappy, do you mean that they are worse than if viewed on an old style TV? Do you think the 720p sets would look at least as well on an old tube set or more grainy?

    EDIT: Thanks for the link. I knew I could get answers here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  5. Aug 1, 2008 #4

    NoTime

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    I've been experimenting with a 52" LCD unit a little.
    From what I can see (with rare exception) the majority of the commercial programming looks like upconverted NTSC media (480i), independent of what the claimed transmission mode is.

    This unit will do upconverts on standard DVDs.
    The results are much the same as over the air transmission.
    Not bad from 10' viewing distance.
    Haven't tried VCR yet.

    The late night Johnny Carson equivalents seem to have higher real resolution, but to my eye still a lot lower than displaying a computer generated image or high res digital photo.

    I've looked at some other peoples cable setups (I don't have cable).
    Apparently the local cable company's HD box outputs on the component connection and does not have an HDMI connector.
    The resulting image is pretty bad.
    Much worse than over the air or DVD input.
    Looks like a lot of dual conversion artifacts from the cable box downconverting to analog component and the set upconverts again to digital.

    In my area there are a lot of on air stations.
    Unlike the old day where you needed a fancy antenna to get a good picture, the digital picture comes thru clear, with a $30 fixed mount antenna, even though the NTSC analog air transmission is unwatchable.

    Don't know how the current satellite boxes interface to the display.
     
  6. Aug 1, 2008 #5
    Also, watch the black level. You don't want the darkest color on your screen to be an annoying light gray, as it casts a gray film over every detail compared to a screen with rich blacks.
     
  7. Aug 1, 2008 #6

    FredGarvin

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    Absolutely. I have a Sony Wega in our den which is what we spend most of our time viewing. That is a Trinitron tube. It has a flippin' beautifully crisp picture. A DVD with composite inputs look great. The regular satellite TV input into my other TV is grainy and really annoys the heck out of me so I only watch DVDs on it.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2008 #7

    Integral

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    I have a 1080i 50" plasma screen, we watch regular def Direct TV and component out DVD. I do not have any trouble with the quality of the picture. We recently got a upconverthing DVD, not sure that I can see the difference.

    We can get a single HD channel off the antenna so I do have something to compare to.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2008 #8

    dlgoff

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    Too bad you can't go into Best Buy or someplace where they can show you the difference between HD and non-HD sources. But then again I have asked yet.

    Well I bought one of those converters (with the $40 gov. coupon) to use on my old TV since I also use an antenna for the local stations. But I don't like how you have to either cut or squeeze the picture to fit the screen.

    Oh. Now I worried. I was hoping that maybe the 768p might be a good compromise.
    Now this gives me hope.
     
  10. Aug 1, 2008 #9

    Borek

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  11. Aug 2, 2008 #10

    jtbell

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    There aren't very many standard-definition digital TVs (CRTs) out there. Best Buy lists three on their Web site: a 20" Dynex (house brand) at $149 and a 24" at $199, and a 24" Samsung at $249. It looks like all their LCDs and plasmas are HD.

    You have the same issue with digital SDTVs because they're all 4:3, not 16:9, and they should all offer pretty much the same options as the converter boxes for displaying 16:9 material: letterbox it, chop off the sides, or squeeze it horizontally.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  12. Aug 3, 2008 #11

    NoTime

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    Yea! I was wondering the same thing before I started playing with this HD unit.
    Don't know about older HD sets, but this one does a nice job upconverting NTSC DVD from an S-video connection (AFAIK roughly the same bandwidth as component connection).
    I've seen old projectors and NTSC expanded to this size looked pretty rude without the upconversion.
    Next week I'll try a VCR (composite) and see what it does with that.

    With the 16:9 screen you get the opposite.
    Black bars on the sides, like a sideways letterbox.
    However, if the source is in letterbox format you can hit zoom and it fills the screen without cutting anything off.
    I was expecting the picture to get pixelated from the zoom, but the perceived picture quality remained about the same.
    Granted the fine detail is not there like in a full 1080p image, but I don't know if being able to count the pores in someones skin is a real plus.
    To my eye, people look better fuzzed out a bit.
     
  13. Aug 3, 2008 #12

    Borek

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    I read somewhere that upconversion quality depends on the chip used, and that there is a specific chip that does better job than others. But all I seem to remember is that its name (or producers name) started with A - and even that could be easily wrong :frown:
     
  14. Aug 3, 2008 #13

    dlgoff

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    Thank you all. I'm getting a real good education. Now it's time to start checking out a good place to purchase a good set for the least amount of money.
     
  15. Aug 3, 2008 #14

    FredGarvin

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    It is a bit on the old side, but it still holds true. I just got my TV a few months ago and that same conversation still came up.

    The point is your own personal threshold for the picture difference. Like I mentioned, my brother could care less. It doesn't bother him one bit. It may not bother you either. This picture difference is my personal pet peeve.
     
  16. Aug 3, 2008 #15

    Borek

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    I am not referring to the picture quality and whether you will see it or not part (I am with you here, even if you have a proper source of HD signal difference is well beyond eye resolution in most cases), rather to the fact that prices have changed, and while 1080p is still more expensive, it is not as huge gap as it was some time ago. At least that's what I see here.
     
  17. Aug 3, 2008 #16

    dlgoff

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    Went to Best Buy today to check them out. I asked a few questions; like is there is a s-video input for my satellite dish and are there inputs for my daughters Play Station 2 (RCA conectors for video and audio).

    They all look great to me. And as Fred says it's "your own personal threshold for the picture difference". So it's only a matter of size and price range for me now.
     
  18. Aug 5, 2008 #17

    FredGarvin

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    Ahh....I see (pardon the pun). If there isn't a big gap in pricing any longer the point is kind of moot. Perhaps the lack of being able to tell is what is keeping the pricing close.
     
  19. Aug 20, 2008 #18

    NoTime

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    Finally got around to checking out how it works with a VCR.
    The results are not very impressive on a good clean tape.
    The worse part for this one is that if the tape is at all noisy the pic will flash black while it tries to resync or occasionally even give up completely and do a full reboot of the internal processor.
     
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