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Home theater Explained - , HDTV, LCD TV, EDTV, MTV or NO TV

Searching for a home theater can be a little more involved than walking into a store and drooling. Basically the key components of a home theater are:

1. Display - TV or projector
2. Video feed be it a satellite system, DVD, VCR or regular broadcast
3. Sound System in the form of a receiver and a bunch of speakers
4. A whole lot of cables depending on your setup.

Television Terminology: Here are some common terms you may hear or have been exposed to:On the television angle HDTV and EDTV stand for High definition and Enhanced definition television respectively. The resolutions or numbers you might see in your shopping are:

· 480p - 640x480 pixels progressive
· 720p - 1280x720 pixels progressive
· 1080i - 1920x1080 pixels interlaced
· 1080p - 1920x1080 pixels progressive

Regarding the numbers essentially the higher the number the better the picture. Progressive (scan) provides a smoother and clearer picture without flicker unlike interlaced. It's found in larger sets. Progressive scan also applies to DVD players for the same reason. For the record HDTV is 1080p and EDTV is 480p or 720p. Picture quality aside price is also a big factor. EDTV is cheaper.

Types of televisions or displays are:

1. DLP-Digital Light processing or processor
2. LCD-Liquid Crystal Display
3. LCOS-Liquid Crystal on Silicon
4. Plasma
5. Rear projection
6. Projectors
7. CRT

1.The ability to display HDTV depends upon the resolution of the set as discussed above.
2.DLP a Texas Instruments device uses a bunch of tiny mirrors, one for each pixel.
3.Plasmas use a gas similar to neon in small chambers. They are the expensive thin jobs you can hang on your wall.
4.LCD's - Liquid Crystal Display. They're based upon laptop display technology. If you've seen a laptop then you've seen an LCD.
5.LCOS - Liquid Crystal on Silicon is a hybrid between DLP and LCD.
6.Rear projection use 3 guns to project an image onto a screen.
7.A projector is just that. It projects an image onto a blank
surface.It's also small and lightweight.
8.CRT is your traditional television. We are all familiar with.

Basically when choosing a model it comes down to price and size: Plasmas are more expensive than the rest and everyone wants one. Rear projections are cheaper but heavy. Plasma's generally have a life span of ~10 years. LCD's and DLP's are not subject to screen burn. Meaning a static image can be literally burned onto the screen, an annoying and ruinous effect. With the exception of projectors and CRT's they range in size from 23" to 80" monsters on the rear projections. CRT's generally stop at 40". They also weigh a ton because of all the glass. DLP sets are relatively light. With rear projection and projector it's best to sit a distance away for the best viewing experience. Something else to consider regarding size: Unless you are secure in your home they all will have to be moved at some point. If you live out of a suitcase get a projector and a laptop with a tv tuner.

Two important factors to consider is a built in HDTV receiver and an up converter. The cheaper models generally don't have them. Meaning to receive HDTV over the air or cable etc you need an additional component. The dreaded set top box. An up converter takes a standard 480p DVD output and converts it to HDTV using a mathematical algorithm. Some DVD players have this capability built in. Some are also better at it. I believe Samsung was the 1st to incorporate this feature


To get the best possible sound an audio system is required consisting of a receiver and speakers. When you see the terms 5.1,6.1 etc that refers to the number of speakers to be placed around the room. The .1 is a subwoofer for that rumbling effect and adds to the experience.
The placement of a 5.1 setup is as follows:
Center channel for dialog sits atop or below the television The subwoofer to the left or right of the set
2 Front speakers are placed in front of the seating area
2 rears are placed behind and to the sides of the seating area
The fronts and rears are for surround sound effects.
A nice system need not need not cost an arm and a leg.