What equipment do I need?


Off-Air / Satellite Set Top Boxes

Brand

Model

Comment

Plextor

PX-HDTV500U

Mini USB! Watch HDTV right on your laptop.

Samsung

DTB-H260F

ATSC off air only reception.

DirecTV

H-20

Second Generation MPEG 4 receiver. Off air reception is available.

ATI

HDTV Wonder

HDTV on your PC

HiPix

DTV-200

HDTV on your PC

DirecTV

HR-21

Latest HD-DVR using MPEG 4. Off air reception no longer available without a second add on tuner.

Dish Network

722

DVR, HDTV PVR, OTA using MPEG 4, USB 2.0 to connect external hard drive

Dish Network

625

DVR, HDTV PVR, OTA using MPEG 4

DirecTV now controls all distribution and sales of future stb's similar to the Dish network business model. The next generation of HD boxes from DirecTV are MPEG4 as all HD service is converted. As of 3/1/06 DIRECTV® now requires a 24 month commitment and all equipment must be returned to DIRECTV® if customer cancels service with DIRECTV® All Digital TV's sold in the U.S. since March 2007 are required to have an ATSC digital off air tuner installed. Larger displays were required to have an ATSC tuner prior to 2007 so there is a good chance your digital TV can receive HDTV signals with a standard TV antenna.

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Bright House Networks Cable Customers

You need to call 1-877-892-EASY and request a High Definition Digital set top box.

The HD-DVR currently in deployment is the Scientific Atlanta SA8300HDC.

If you have digital cable service it does not cost any additional money to upgrade to HD service. A second HD tier is offered for $6 adding even more HD channels.

Tivo customers require cable cards and a tuning usb module to receive future switched digital channels

Bright House Networks HDTV page.

Brand

Model

Comment

Scientific Atlanta

8300 HD

HD DVR with hdmi output and Navigator Software Interface

Scientific Atlanta

3250 HD

Standard version with DVI output active

Scientific Atlanta

3250 HD *

Special version with firewire output active. You must ask for a supervisor.

Scientific Atlanta

4250 HDC

HD non DVR with hdmi output and Navigator Software Interface

Scientific Atlanta

8300 HDC

HD DVR with hdmi output and Navigator Software Interface

Samsung

SMT-H3050

HD non DVR with hdmi output and Navigator Software Interface

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HD Display Equipment links

Panasonic

Mitsubishi

Marantz

RCA

Hitachi

Loewe

Zenith

Runco

Benq

Samsung

JVC

Sanyo

Pioneer

Toshiba

ViewSonic

Sony

Sharp

Philips

Infocus

NEC

Optoma

Sim2

Canon

Dwin

Daewoo

Akai

LG Electronics


Where to buy electronics locally?

The store with the lowest price, right?

Not so fast. Think about the complexity of what you are buying. Multiple components that need to work together plus be friendly to setup and operate. You need to ask yourself if you have the knowledge to make decisions on what technology and brands to buy. If your not sure there is a good chance you will buy the wrong equipment or end up struggling with multiple remote controls. The typical home theater has a TV display or projector, cable box, DVD player, 5 speakers, a subwoofer and a AV receiver. That is 4 remote controls on the coffee table plus the connections between the equipment.

You have options in addition to the big box stores. You can bring in the local CEDIA professional to advise, sell, setup and teach you on a system taylored just for you. CEDIA is the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association that serves to provide training and certification to AV professionals. CEDIA pros provide customers with a single remote so simple to operate it is literally one or two buttons to watch TV or a movie. Learn more about the CEDIA professionals in your area with this locator.


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Display Technology Choices

It use to be you could go to the store and buy the new TV brand you liked because all the manufacturers used the same analog CRT technology. Times have changed and the technology choices are now more diverse. This means you need to do your homework before going to the store.

The following table lists all of your TV technology choices.

Name

Definition

View Types

CRT

Cathode Ray Tube

Front, Direct

DLP

Digital Light Processing

Front, Rear

LCD

Liquid Crystal Display

Front, Direct

LCOS

Liquid Crystal on Silicon

Front

Plasma

Plasma Gas

Direct

GLV

Grating Light Valve

Exhibition Only

SXRD

Silicon X-tal Reflective Display

Front

OLED

Organic Light-Emitting Diode

Direct

SED

surface-conduction electron-emitter display

Direct


Digital displays come in 2 basic types. Flat screen and Front projection. Flat screen can be either a Plasma panel or LCD panel. Front projection comes in 3 types. DLP, LCD and LCOS. There are advantages to both groups so choose what works best for your room and budget.


Flat Panels

Good

Bad

Plasma

Only 3 inches thick, Great black levels, Great off axis viewing angles, Mature technology in its 10th generation. Lower cost. Fast refresh rate.

Higher cost than rear projection, Can be heavy in larger sizes. Glass can glare in very bright environments.

LCD

Only 3 inches thick, Available in sizes smaller than 42 inches, Very bright. Matte finish screen will minimize glare in bright environments.

Poor black levels, Poor off axis viewing angles, Slower native refresh rate, Higher cost in sizes above 50 inches.


Front Projection

Good

Bad

DLP

Good black levels, Good intr-contrast ratio

Can show dithering at low black levels

LCD

Bright picture

Poor black levels, some visiblle pixel structure

LCOS
sold as
SXRD, D-ILA

Great black levels, No visible pixel structure. Great native contrast ratio.

Cost higher than LCD

CRT

Great black levels, Low cost, No visible pixel structure

Requires more maintenance

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Display Technology Shopping Checklist

Type of Display Technology - compare from the list above

Size of the Screen - screen width x 1.5 = seating distance

Image Brightness - measured in ANSI lumens. Most products market inflated numbers that when calibrated are often not as bright.

Viewing Angle - When you are at the showroom be sure to notice how far off axis from dead center you can still view a bright image. LCD has trouble with off axis viewing.

Image Resolution - measured in pixels - higher the better. 1280 x 720 and above equals HDTV. Below that resolution is only EDTV. You need to watch out for this when buying LCD.

Contrast Ratio - higher the better - 50,000:1 is great / 500:1 is poor. Check to see if black is really black or only dark gray.

Color Accuracy -measured in degrees kelvin closest to 6500K. This refers to the color of white when measured by calibration tools. Many products add extra blue to artificially increase perceived image brightness.

Inputs - Quality and Quantity of video and audio connections like HDMI and ethernet.

Do not assume the sales person is current on the latest technology. Demo model displays on the showroom floor are in some of the worst possible lighting conditions to judge picture quality.

The smart way to purchase a HDTV is to do all your research before you go to the store so when you arrive you are strictly focused on the price.

Do not pay $100 for a 2 meter HDMI cable from Monster Cable. 2 meter HDMI cables are available on the web for $20.

More general information is available in the FAQ.

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Front Projectors

Where the picture is measured in feet, not inches. The main issue to consider here is if you have adequate light control.

JVC

Infocus

Avielo

Marantz

Sony

Sharp

Runco

Benq

Canon

Sim2

Samsung

Optoma

Panasonic

Epson

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Front Projection Screens

Factors to consider when choosing a front projection screen include Size, Gain, Viewing Angle, Cost, Gray or White base color, and mount type

Stewart

Da-Lite

Draper

Screen Innovations

Vu-Tec

Carada

Goo Systems

LiquiScreen

Screen Research

DIY

Additional options include perforated screens to allow sound to pass through the screen material, electric lifts and electric aspect ratio masking systems.

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Blu-ray & HD DVD

The replacement for DVD has arrived. These two new competing formats offer 5 times more resolution for both video and audio beyond standard DVD. The mastering format for film based media is 1920 x 1080@24p with new audio codecs from Dolby and DTS offering never before available uncompressed digital audio.

Blu-ray specifications

HDMI 1.3 specifications

Hi Resolution Audio

Dolby True HD

DTS HD

HD Movies

Blu-ray Movies

HD DVD Movies


HD Players

Blu-ray

Samsung

Sony

Pioneer

Sony PS3

Panasonic

Oppo

Denon

Sharp

LG

 

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Equipment Reviews

audioholics.com

audioreview.com

cnet.com

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TV Antennas

To find out what size antenna you would need to receive over the air HDTV broadcasts and what direction to point them, click here . Follow the 3 steps and you will receive a map showing the direction to point your antenna and a list of stations that can be received. The TV stations are grouped and color coded to indicate the size of the antenna needed to receive the station. Click on a TV station to see the recommended antenna size to receive the station. Radio shack carries a wide variety on TV antennas that will most likely fit your needs.

All the digital stations in Central Florida are broadcasting from Bithlo on the UHF band except WESH-DT which is VHF channel 11. The correct length for rabbit ears to pick up channel 11 is 28 inches tip to tip. Position both rabbit ears down flat parallel to the top of the tv for best results.

There is no such thing as a "digital ready" off air antenna.
Digital ready is just marketing language to sell the same rooftop antenna that we have used since the 1950's.

Before you erect your TV antenna, see the FAQ page for information on protecting yourself from the Florida lightning.

Never install a TV antenna near power lines.

Channel Master

Winegard

Blonder Tongue

Televes

ATech

Stark Electronic

solidsignal.com

Antennas Direct

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