Home' Fantastic Living : Fantastic Living 7 Contents ow is the perfect time to shop for a new widescreen
High Definition television. As screens get bigger
and prices shrink, there’s never been a better time
to go large in the lounge room and upsize your home
In the store
Your search usually starts in store – but dont be baffled by
salesmen and their tech talk. Specs arent the only thing
that are important .
• Don’ t be lured in by brightness and vivid colours, as these
are easy to adjust on any TV set, and are usually cranked
up on showroom floors to look impressive.
• Do look for detail in the shadows, and check that areas
of the screen that should be completely black do indeed
look deep, dark and truly black, not just dark grey.
• Do look at the skin tones and the detail in close-ups of
• Don’ t judge a television by animated movies, watch a
sample of live action content for the best idea.
• Do watch for motion blur, especially in fast-moving action
such as sport . Are the lines on the ground jagged? Are
the players surrounded by a halo of blur? Does the ball
become a streak? These are the tell-tale signs which
help sort the good televisions from the bad.
At a given budget, the choice is often picture ‘quality v
screen size’. So have a careful think about your screen size,
because too big means you’ll miss peripheral detail, while
too small often means you may be disappointed when you
get your new set home.
• For a typically sized family room, T V sets between 46” to
55” are the ideal size.
• The optimal viewing distance for full HD content is
supposedly 1.5 times the screen size.
• However, t wice the screen size is as close as most
people would comfortably sit when immersing
themselves in a favourite movie (which is around 2.5
metres away for a 50” screen) .
Is 3D a must-have feature?
Yes and no. A good 3D TV is only as good as the content
available to it, and the uptake of 3D in the cinema has been
slow, and thus, its passage on to DVD and Blu-ray in your
home. While televised 3D broadcasts are still rare, the cost
to have a 3D-capable TV is low, so it’s better to future-
proof yourself and get a set that can do it all.
Many 3D TVs can convert 2D to 3D. For regular TV and
movie viewing the results vary. Content that is very crisp
and well defined, though, converts very well. That means
computer generated content, particularly kids’ movies.
Games also look spectacular in 3D.
Let’s go HD
‘ HD’ means High Definition, and there are two standards
for HD at the moment : 720p and 1080p. All but the
smallest and cheapest new TVs will support basic HD
(720p) or the higher quality Full HD (1080p).
The numbers simply refer to the number of vertical lines of
dots (or ‘pixels’) on a screen. So, 1080p fits in more lines
than 720p, and hence offers a crisper image.
A TV can only display the resolution that it is receiving
from its input source, so buying a 1080p TV doesn’t
necessarily mean that everything you see will be at that
high resolution. DVDs, for example, usually display at 576
lines, while Blu-ray is the best at Full HD (1080p). Services
like Foxtel HD and free to air HD channels vary, with some
shows at 720p, others at 1080p.
Many Blu-ray players are able to ‘upscale’ a DVD to
HD quality, and that’s a feature worth looking out for if
you’re buying a new player as your DVDs playback will be
much crisper and clearer when played on a Blu-ray than a
conventional DVD player.
Do I need a set-top box?
Digital tuners, otherwise known as ‘set-top boxes’,
are essential, as all of Australia will switch to
digital-only television broadcasts by the
end of 2013. Your new TV will almost
certainly come with this tuner, but
if it doesn’t , or you just want
to add digital capability
to your existing TV,
This is a type of cable that is now the standard across
home entertainment devices. The beauty of HDMI is that,
in a single cable, both audio and video signals are carried,
saving clutter. Image and sound quality on HDMI is also
much better than old-style cables. You will need one HDMI
port for each input device you want to use, such as a DVD,
Xbox or set top box, so it’s very important to cover your
9/04/13 11:21 AM
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