High Definition

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High Definition

Postby butch » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:46 pm

Thought I'd throw out a bit about what I've learned about HD in the past few months. We've all been aware of flat screen TV and computer screens for a while now. But what is HD (high definition)?

HD requires not just a proper display device (screen), it requires HD input. Garbage in garbage out, but NOT QUITE. If you are are watching video, you can now get DVR (digital video recorders) with UP conversion. But I digress.

Old style TV transmitted and received interlaced video... the display showed every second line then "filled in" the rest of the image in the second/following scan of the screen. Of the 525 lines of transmitted signal, only 480 lines were displayed. The remaining stuff was data for the TV to use to get the image right, on your screen. And the signal was analogue... the signal varied in strength just like an AM radio signal (I won't get into those details... I'm going to assume you know/don't know, or don't care).

Computers upped the ante by using completely different techniques to display and transmit signals. An immediate compatibility problem happened... how to make an analogue signal work on a digital interface (screen) using signals which were coded numbers/symbols.

That took a lot of ingenuity and is too complicated to cover here.

What you need to know is that if you have a modern laptop you have a high definition screen, already. What you need is a high definition signal. In the world of computers, if an image has at least 720 lines of information from top to bottom it is considered HD. That is about to change in the next 5 years to 1080 lines to catch up to TV.

If you buy a flat screen TV it may, or may not be HD. If it is inexpensive, it is not able to show an HD image. It may likely be first generation flat screen and show only 480 lines of information from top to bottom. To be HD able it must display a minimum of 720 lines from top to bottom.

And... all of that is obsolete already. The market will soon adjust.

What is HD by modern standards is a minimum of 1,080 lines of information from the top of the screen to the bottom. It may, or may not be 16x9 ratio... the new and coming standard.

So what should you be looking for in a TV? If you want the future now, you should be looking for a screen that is 1080 lines (usually 1080p which means progressive scan... one line after another is displayed starting at the top).

What is even newer is how FAST this is done. Old style TV synchronized with household current... 60 cycles per second and the image was drawn, one line at a time every 60th of a second, so a complete image could match the recording speed of 30 frames per second.

The latest and greatest of HD TV sets now do that at 2 to 4 times faster for a crisper image, so if you want the future NOW then you should be looking for a screen that says 1080p 240 hertz (cycles). These will be the most expensive, but the price should fall rapidly as the old (read 720p screens) are no longer made... this will occur in the next 5 years.

As for camcorders, if you buy a camcorder that is not labeled HD (not HDD which means hard disk drive) then it was obsolete when you paid for it. That is why regular camcorders are so inexpensive now... they are ALREADY obsolete and manufacturers are adjusting their manufacturing to the new standard which is 720 and 1080 lines. You can buy point and shoot cameras with 720 HD already and Minolta makes the FLIP camera which is 720 lines and relatively inexpensive. CREATIVE also makes an inexpensive HD camcorder.

What I'm telling you is, don't waste any money on a new camcorder unless it is at least 720 lines in its specs. And if you want REALLY spectacular image results, the sensor should be in the 8-12 megapixel range. Sony makes an HD camcorder for about $600 in Canada and it's really neat, but the sensor is only 4 megapixels. If you up the ante to their $1,000 model you will get 8 mega pixels of recorded information... you may want to save up for the better camera if you just bought a really high end TV and want the stunning results the more expensive camera will give you.

YouTube is converting to HD and encourages you to upload HD stuff. They even upped the limit of file size to 2 gigabytes. That is why Butch is so interested in all this HD stuff and I'm now uploading only HD video to my 4 YouTube channels. I'm saving my pennies to buy the $1,000 Sony HD camera. Should have that quite soon. I'm using a Samsung point and shoot with HD for now.

So, that is Butch's crash course... hope others will ad their experience to this... or ask a question and I'll attempt to give an answer.

:D :D :D
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Re: High Definition

Postby butch » Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:46 pm

The main way I keep up with what's new in technology is looking at the junk mail flyers I get each week from Future Shop and Best Buy and London Drugs.

Today I noted that there is a new standard in high definition and it is 600hz screens. I mentioned, before, that the newest and most advanced screens were 240hz screens. That was new this past year which shows to go you how quickly technology is changing. The 240hz screens refresh 4 times as fast as conventional flat screens, and the 600hz screens have pushed this to 10 times as fast... that's the easiest way to explain what good that is. It means less blurring on fast moving objects on the screen.
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Re: High Definition

Postby matinee » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:50 am

It is all marketing crap. There are 3 flat panel manufacturers on this planet. Guess what? There is very little difference between TVs and even the cutting edge is not worth the premium.
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Re: High Definition

Postby butch » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:55 pm

matinee wrote:It is all marketing crap. There are 3 flat panel manufacturers on this planet. Guess what? There is very little difference between TVs and even the cutting edge is not worth the premium.


I guess everyone has their opinion. I think you should have your eyes checked. As a photographer, painter, videographer I have to disagree. The difference is screamingly obvious to moi.

The original flat panel units look quite blurry and soft with no contrast and streaking colours... to me.
You need to know, it isn't the actual screen that makes the difference, it's the electronics behind them.
The newest of the new, the 600hz ones, digitize the sub-field image... they delay it a few microseconds, and slice it into much smaller units, before being displayed. The actual number of dots (pixels) on the screen have to be there, but it's how the image is delivered to the pixels that mostly makes the difference if one doesn't take into account some other minor differences in screen voltage, clip voltages, damper circuits etc.

I've been looking at the large screen 240 hz 1080p screens that are available now, and they are incredible... the difference between the old and the new is like looking at one (the old) with old wrong prescription scratched-up glasses and the new 1080 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio screens are like crystal clear fantastic images.
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Re: High Definition

Postby nimby » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:12 pm

For me, the question is how much more real life do you really need? Do I really want to see the clogged pores up close on an actor's face? Or the hairs peeking out of their nostrils? Don't think so. For me TV is a fantasy. It tells a story. I don't want or need it to be as life-like as possible. I got enough real life all around me as it is. Just my two cents.
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Re: High Definition

Postby butch » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:30 pm

I've heard that quite a few TV personalities are a bit uptight now that their flaws can be seen now in HD. I expect many will request a "soft focus filter" in their contracts.
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