What is the difference between 1080p and 1080i displays?

The difference is how the source conveys the information to the display. Interlaced: 1080i sources get transferred on the screen sequentially. The odd-numbered lines of resolution appear on your screen first, followed by the even-numbered lines all within 1/30 of a second. Progressive: 1080p sources get transferred with all lines of resolution simultaneously, which makes for a smoother, cleaner image, especially with sports and other motion-intensive content. The right technology for you is dependant on the content you watch. The majority of HD content via satellite and cable will be available in 720p & 1080i. Your Blu-ray or HD DVDs will be available in 1080p with the appropriate player.
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What type of TV should I get Plasma or LCD?

Depending on the room characteristics and the time of day you watch TV, one of these displays will be more appropriate than the other. In general, the most notable difference is the overall brightness of the display output. You will find plasma offers less light output, consequently offering superior black levels. LCDs will offer more light output and less impressive black levels. In a room with low ambient light and no direct sun reflection, plasma will typically be your best choice. Keep in mind that some plasma displays do have issues with image retention; plasmas without gaming modes should not be used for excessive gaming or computer graphics. In a room with high ambient light and potential for direct sunlight, an LCD display would be a better choice. The less reflective screen and higher output of light will offer superior overall viewing pleasure in this application.

What should I use to clean my TV?
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Today’s displays are catering to the cosmetic side of the home décor with bright glossy finishes, multi-color exterior cabinets and specialty screens to resist glare. The most notable advice is to avoid abrasive cloth material and cleaning agents containing ammonia. The typical glossy finish is very sensitive and can easily be scratched by a standard cloth or paper towels. We suggest using a very fine material such as micro fiber. Your typical household cleaning agents with ammonia will result in smears and overall build-up of chemical sediment; simply use warm filtered water. You can slightly dampen the cloth with warm water and wipe down the entire display. If there is excessive dust on the display you should remove the majority of it with a feather duster prior to cleaning, avoiding scratches from the dust particles when cleaning with cloth.

How big of a TV should I buy?

Before you start thinking bigger is better, there are a few things that need to be considered before getting the big screen you desire. Where is this TV going to go? The size of the room is to be included before deciding on the TV. The bigger the TV the bigger the room needs to be. To get the most out of your TV you need to fit the TV to the room. Shop around; with the price of TVs dropping, it is getting easier to buy bigger and bigger TVs. Read the reviews and consider enough space between you and the TV for the optimal picture quality. The rule of thumb is to double the width of your TV screen and that is how far back you need to be from the TV (Ex. a 52″ diagonal TV measures 45″ across x 2 = 90″ or 7.5ft distance back from TV).

Is Blu-ray the new standard or just the latest fad, soon to be obsolete?

Although the purchase of regular DVDs are still very common, Blu-ray offers better picture when connected with HDMI wiring to the proper TV and better sound when connected to surround sound equipment. There are also other forms of media such as media servers and video-on-demand that are gaining in popularity. These types of media are convenient but also lack the picture and sound quality of Blu-Ray. As technology evolves over the years, newer technologies will eventually replace older ones. As of now, it looks like Blu-ray is here to stay.

Are the expensive cables worth the money or go cheap?

There has been long debate between the differences in expensive and so called “out of the box” cables. When investing in your TV and audio/video set up, it is always recommended to also invest in nicely made cables and connections. This is very important when running longer distances as degradation in signal quality exists. Choose cables such as Monster Cable or other high performance cables. With many high performance cables, you can be guaranteed the excellent engineering and craftsmanship in the cable. Many of these companies provide extensive, quantitative testing before certifying their products for consumer use.

Do I need to have my new TV calibrated for the best performance?

Most would agree that current HDTVs display an impressive image. What most don’t know is that the majority of new HDTVs are not always calibrated for the proper environment. Hiring a professional with Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certification will guarantee optimal viewing pleasure from any new HDTV. The goal of ISF is to reproduce the original image as close as possible within the confines of your viewing environment and within the limitations of your display device. However, there are other alternatives to hiring a professional. Digital Video Essentials on DVD or Blu-Ray provides simple step by step instructions on calibrating the TV yourself, but professional calibration will certainly get the most out of your equipment.

Are all blu-ray players the same?

All Blu-Ray players will play all Blu-Ray discs. This is where the similarities end. Blu-ray players vary in the time it takes to load and read a disc, some provide more interactive features than others and some have the capability of updating firmware automatically. If you are a budget minded consumer, an inexpensive player will work just fine. With prices continuing to fall as consumers begin to switch to the new format, many of the expensive players of the past are now becoming affordable for the masses.

I own so many movies, what can I do to save space?

There are two modern approaches to media management. The first would be to incorporate the use of a large disc changer or ‘Digital Jukebox’. In this instance, DVDs and CDs would be stored inside the changer and accessed through an on-screen display. This is very useful in cleaning up the clutter of potentially hundreds of disc cases. The downside is that disc changers tend to be very slow, taking time to spin and find the correct disc and reading the information. This approach can take several minutes for a movie to play. Secondly, video and media servers are becoming more prevalent. Utilizing a video server such as a Video Request can store ‘ripped’ movies digitally on a hard drive server to be distributed throughout the home. Some media and video servers do output in high definition, as with the Video Request, and does provide for instantaneous playback.