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This guide is to show you how HDTV works and how to get the best video and audio you can get out of your home theater. The guide will show you, what the cables are and their benefits, also how to hook it up, so you can be ready to enjoy your high definition gaming, movies and music. If you have any further questions please feel free to PM and I will do my best to answer your questions and help you out. Let’s begin!

Firstly here are some tips about buying an HDTV from SmartMoney TV.

I. First you will need to understand what all the ports on the back of your TV are. A lot of times you will look behind the TV and ask your self what the heck do I do here, when I first started learning about TV I asked my self the same questions. Here is a explanation of each cable:

Video: Explanation of Cables


HDMI has high Definition Digital Video and Digital Audio. Different versions do offer different levels of support for audio and video signals, but all versions are capable of ATSC video standard resolutions, 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and the DVD related compressed formats Dolby Digital and DTS.

The Good:

- HDMI is the new all around standard. It’s awesome and will give you the best picture.
- When you use devices that support it, it takes care of both Audio and Video in one cable.
- HDMI is always being updated with new features and versions while still remaining backwards compatible with older versions.
- The small size allows more connectors in a limited space such as on the back of your Receiver allowing a Receiver to have on-board HDMI switching. Also it takes away all the clutter that you’d have with using component.

The Bad:

- The connector has nothing to lock onto so it is easily pulled out by accident.
- HDCP copy protection unfortunately does not allow conversion to analog for compatibility with older HDTV’s and other displays you may use.

As you can see not to many negative of using HDMI.


DVI can be either a digital only connection, or a combination digital and analog connection, for home theater it is mostly digital only. Computers may have this connection as well, although if they do not support HDCP, they are not compatible with the source devices that have HDMI or DVI with HDCP. A lot of the large and new computer displays support high resolution by using dual link connections.

The Good:

- You get wide range of support for various resolutions all depending on the source and display.
- You can lock the connector with screws for locking.
- Some have support for either analog or digital video.

The Bad:

- No audio support unfortunately.
- Very confusing due to support of digital and analog video.

Component Video

This connection is available on most HDTV’s. If you see the red, green and blue color coded connectors, They are not compatible with RGB computer devices. Component video is capable of all high definition resolutions, depending on the source and display capabilities. Component video in its analog form is of course being put out for copy protection issues in high definition source devices.

The Good:

- Component video saves a lot bandwidth and disk space without losing detail.

- Can have excellent video quality if equipment and cables are of good quality.

The Bad:

- No Audio.

- Three connectors, which is where the benefit of having HDMI is.


Seperates the luminance white level and chrominance color information signals with seperate cables and connections for a better video image than composite video connections. Used with DVD’s, TV’s, Satellite receivers and cable boxes.

The Good:

- It’s a single connector.

The Bad:

- It’s not used for high definition video signals.

- No audio at all.

HDTV: What you want to look for

· Resolution and frame rate – resolution is measured with horizontal pixels by vertical pixels. You can think of each pixel as a tiny dot of resolution holding one different color. Each pixel is too small to see with the human eye it makes up a image when combined with other pixels.

There are two types of frame rates, progressive and of course interlaced. In high definition, progressive is when the full image is refreshed every 1/60 of a second. Interlaced is when every other line of pixels is refreshed every 1/60 of a second. So the full image is combined by the two fields and refreshed every 1/30th of a second.

Frame rates and resolutions:

(fps = frames per second)

    • 480i = 640 or 720 x 480 pixels @ 30 fps
    • 480p = 640 x 480 pixels @ 60 fps
    • 540p = 960 x 540 pixels @ 60 fps
    • 720p = 1280 x 720 pixels @ 60 fps
    • 1080i = 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 30 fps
    • 1080p = 1920 x 1080 pixels @ 60 fps

i = Interlaced p = Progressive

Screen Size – Measured diagonally off of the front of the TV.

Screen Aspect Ratio – The ratio is in width over height of the television screen. You can either go with 16:9 which is the HD aspect ratio or 4:3, which is a standard TV ratio. If you want the true HD feel and see more on the screen go with the 16:9 ratio, as you’ll be able to see more on your screen.

Many other things to look for:

+ Number of Video Inputs and Outputs.

+ Number of Audio Inputs and Outputs

+ Contrast Ratio

+ Overall Size

+ Wall Mountable

+ Lifetime

+ Picture Quality

+ Colors: Look for how good the HDTV displays its full range of colors and the overall color intensity. Don’t get tricked by the brightness setting being set to high.

+ Blacks: How good is the black color level shows projected is important in accurately displaying the shadow detail. Make sure the black level definitely reaches true black and not grey.

+ Reflective screen

+ Horizontal Viewing Angle

+ Vertical Viewing Angle

+ Motion Bur: When moving picture is on the screen how well does the image play, without blurring.

+ Dead Pixels: This is a little dot that will show up on your screen when it’s not displaying a color, not too noticeable until you start having a bunch of them apear on your screen.

+ Burn-in: Occurs when a static image displays on the TV screen for a longer period of time, eventually the image still stays on the screen even when you change the channel, but usually goes away after a few minutes.

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  1. avatar MrMan

    Nice guide, I just wish I had enough money to buy a HDTV :(
    The fonts keep getting smaller & smaller and harder t read.

  2. Good guide but more needs to be said about contrast ratio. This is an important factor in the decision making process that consumers may not be as aware of as resolutions and size.

  3. Yea, I’m not going to change anything to the article, but I did say to go ahead and post if any questions arise.

  4. Correction, I didn’t in the article. But here I’ll answer any questions anyone has in the comment boxes.

  5. avatar Josh

    Very good guide wish i had something like this when i started selling home theater packages 4 years ago.. but have learned alot over the years.. but the truly sad part is that most people end up buying a tv by its brand name and not its overall quality or they buy a really visually beautiful tv and want to continue to use basic cable… grrr.. but like i said good guide!! THUMBS UP TO YA!!

  6. Thanks pal this was an easy one to put together for me, I have good passion for A/V.

  7. avatar Janice

    Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at
    this web page (Janice), and article
    is truly fruitful in support of me, keep up posting such articles
    or reviews.

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