Buying the right TV and Home Entertainment system may now seem like trying to navigate
a mine field.
With so much choice, so many terminologies & dozens of abbreviations to understand,
it’s often difficult to work out exactly what you you want or need. We thought a
quick guide might make the path a little clearer.
Below are some of the most common bits of jargon you’re likely to encounter when
looking for a new Home Entertainment system. We would always advise seeing the new
equipment in the flesh & are of course here in store to demonstrate & answer your
questions in detail before you buy. You can also contact us using @HickmansOldTown
or via email.
The term “HD ready” means that the TV has the minimum resolution & relevant connection
to accept today’s HD signals. This spec is OK for TVs up to 32”, above this “HD ready
1080p” is preferred. Broadly speaking all TVs on the market in the UK are at least
Hz ratings on TVs used to be fairly simple to understand. 100Hz was flicker free
and gave you a slightly better picture on the old tube TVs. They did this by changing
the number of pictures on screen per second to 100 instead of 50. Today’s LCD & Plasma
sets however, are very different.
Looking around you’ll now be able to see ratings up to & beyond 2500Hz. These figures
do not mean that the picture is 25x better than a 100Hz version, nor does it mean
that there are 2500 images being sent to the screen every second. What it does indicate
is the amount of processing being done by the TV to give you the best picture possible.
There are very complicated explanations as to how manufacturers reach these huge
numbers, which even to us are very confusing and hard to explain.
One very important thing to remember when looking at the Hz ratings on TVs is that
different manufacturers measure & calculate their ratings in different ways. This
means that you cannot compare a Panasonic directly with a Samsung or LG TV. You may
not even be able to compare last years range with this years due to technology &
measuring techniques changing.
Our advice is not to ignore these ratings but to take them with a pinch of salt and
view the sets in person before making your decision. To a certain degree manufactures
know big numbers on sticky labels tend to sell TVs, particularly through the supermarkets
or out of town stores where staff knowledge & training may not be of the highest
This digital connection allows you watch games consoles, DVDs, Sky+HD & Cable boxes
on your TV in High definition. All “HD ready” TVs now have at least this one of these
sockets but in most cases there will be 3 or more. The plug is much smaller than
the old SCART connection and less likely to fall out. It is also far less likely
to degrade the picture performance due to the digital error correction that is built
in to the technology.
HDMI cables are available in various lengths and prices, starting from about £20
for a standard 1.5m cable, running up to £100 plus for higher quality & longer variations.
New 4K TVs are likely to have the new HDMI 2.0 specification sockets. These allow
the TV to be connected to 4K sources for future use. These sockets look identical
to the existing HDMI sockets and also work with your old equipment too. A cable upgrade
may be needed but is not a guaranteed requirement.
DLNA stands for “Digital Living Network Alliance” & is concerned with linking (or
networking) equipment in your home. A product with DLNA connects into your home network
via WiFi or through network cables to give you access to videos, photos or music
stored on a another device that is also connected.
This means that your TV can display photos that are saved on your computer, or your
Home-Cinema can play music that is stored on your Smart-Phone or NAS-Drive. There
is generally very little to setup when using DLNA as once a device is connected to
your network it will actively seek out any other devices that it can talk to & play
“HD TV 1080p” has everything that a “HD ready 1080p” TV has, plus a built-in tuner
capable of receiving and producing a HD picture. This could be a Satellite, Freeview
or even a Cable tuner. Some sets may even have two of these options built-in giving
you the opportunity to record directly using the TV
NeoPDP stands for Neo (New) Plasma Display Panel & is the name given to the latest
generation of Plasma panels that sit inside Plasma TVs & monitors. The name has been
chosen to reflect the fact that today’s sets produce much better images, consume
far less power, are far thinner whilst being more aesthetically pleasing than those
To a certain degree the name change is also an attempt to get away from the unfounded
myths that have been dogged Plasma TVs since they started going on sale in the late
LED has become one of the most asked about pieces of terminology in our store. It
is also one of the most misunderstood. Its full name should be “Light Emitting Diode
Backlit, Liquid Crystal Display”. This obviously is a bit of a mouthful and as a
result seems to have been condensed to LED TV.
Contrary to many peoples understanding, LED TV isn’t, as such, a new technology.
It is simply an advancement on a traditional LCD TV. These oldersets had their LCD
screens illuminated from behind using small fluorescent tubes. By replacing these
tubes with LEDs the TVs are able to be made significantly thinner whilst also using
Smart TV has made the biggest change to the way we use our our TVs since Teletext
& Ceefax came out in the 1980s. A Smart TV connects to your broadband to bring some
of the best visual & social aspects of the internet, such as BBC iPlayer or Skype,
to comfort of your living room. Some sets will also let you browse the web on their
own integrated web-browsers. Click here for more details on Smart TV from our blog.
In order to enjoy the original image quality of a movie, you need to have a display
that portrays the picture exactly as the movie's creators intended. Some TVs have
cleared the high standards set by the THX Certified Display Program, so they can
produce both 2D and 3D images with cinema-like quality. If a TV passes the strict
criteria set by THX they will have this logo on them.
A “HD ready 1080p” TV has about 30% more pixels on the screen than a normal “HD ready”
On larger sets this gives you a cleaner, sharper picture, especially when watching
HD broadcasts, films or HD games consoles. Most TVs above 32” tend to be this resolution,
although there are still some low end models that are not.
The term “Full HD” is commonly used in place of “HD Ready 1080p” but is not officially
recognised by any governing or regulatory bodies.
Almost all TVs sold in the UK today have Freeview built-in to ensure you are able
to watch TV straight out of the box.
4K is the new buzzword in the the Home Entertainment world & is something everyone
has started to hear or ask about. Put simply 4K refers to the resolution of a TV
screen or the video output quality of a content player. For TVs it means that the
total resolution is four times higher than a Full HD model (8294400 pixels compared
to 2073600 pixels). This added level of detail is fantastic for watching movies on
super-sized TVs but for sets smaller than 50” will be of little benefit to most viewers.
To gain the benefits of 4K the viewer either needs to be sat closer to the screen,
or have a proportionally larger set compared with Full HD. As yet an official 4K
logo has not been approved.
3DTV Has been a TV industry buzzword since 2010 & is unlikely to go away. In the
past there have been fads for the
odd 3D film that needed the horrible red and green cardboard glasses, but thankfully
these days have now gone &
3D can be enjoyed in full colour & in stunning HD quality.
Most TVs above 32” now tend to have 3D built in. Some will require the purchase of
3D glasses, whilst some will come
with them supplied in the box. Some TVs do not require glasses at all but these are
few & far between.