HDTV

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Digital TV Buyer's Guide

Buying a digital television can be confusing. There are many different technologies and standards to choose from, and a lot of technical details need to be understood so that an independent, informed decision can be made.

EDTV vs. HDTV

When it comes to native resolution, digital televisions come in two varieties: "Enhanced Definition TV" (EDTV), and "High Definition TV" (HDTV). EDTV is 852x480, 1024x768, or 1024x1024; and HDTV is 1280x720, 1366x768, or 1920x1080.

When shopping for a television, always determine what it's native resolution is. HD programming can be viewed on an EDTV, but the programming will be limited to the EDTV's resolution and much of the HD image quality will be lost.

HD-Ready

Some digital televisions do not have integrated ATSC tuners to receive HD channels via an antenna; these televisions are labeled as "HD-Ready" or as an "HD monitor". A separate ATSC tuner would be required for over-the-air reception.

Television Connectivity

Every digital television should have the proper connections for current and future video components.

HDMI - "High Definition Multimedia Interface" is an all-digital audio/video interface capable of transmitting uncompressed data streams between compatible digital sources like DVD players, cable/satellite receivers, and audio receivers. HDMI will eventually replace older analog input interfaces such as Component Video and be the only connection used by future audio/video devices because it supports the HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) standard. HDMI is backwards compatible with DVI-D. It is recommended that a television have at least two HDMI inputs.