31 May 2006

What kind of LCD TV to buy?

A lot of readers have been wondering what sort of LCD TV to purchase. Will the current LCD TVs support the standards that the two broadcasters use ?

As we have discussed before, most of the current DVB-T or DVB-C tuners might need firmware upgrades to decode the high profile AVC. At this moment, most of the LCD TVs you see in the market do not support digital receivers to receive such signals, be it via cable or terrestial (if you know of any, pls leave comment).

Secondly, most of the LCD TV that are selling right now supports up to 1366x768, some only supports up to 1280x768. These are only 720p compatible. What about 1080i at full resolution ? You will need something that can support 1920x1080.

Anyway, these LCD TVs can display HD TV by hooking up to a set top box provided by Starhub or Mediacorp during this trial period thru HDMI or component IN. So it all depends on whether you want to wait or grab the chance to buy one right now.

The cheapest 32" LCD TV is now at S$1200. Some of the China made models from SHINCO or AMOI are probably even cheaper and they're also using SAMSUNG panels. So why pay more since they're probably using the same sort of panel (perhaps of a lower grading).

29 May 2006

UK ITV begins HD trial soon

UK ITV begins HD trial soon on 9 June 2006 at 12:00 on channel 503.

Mediacorp's HD Channel on Air

Just in case you are not aware, Mediacorp's HD Channel "HD ONE SINGAPORE" has been on air for the past few days. I am able to receive the signal just like what I did with TV mobile, CNA, Digital 5 and Digital 8.

This new channel is broadcasted on UHF Channel 36 (610MHz), 8K mode, QAM 64 modulation. It's audio bitrate is at 384Kbps and broadcasted in AC3.

The broadcasts are in H.264 (AVC) High Profile Level 4. This means high-quality images at a very high bitrate. Audio is transmitted in 5.1 AC3 (Dolby) for true surround-sound.

To receive this HD channel "HD ONE SINGAPORE" you would need a DVB-T device, be it a set top box or a USB, PCI-E card that can receive terrestial broadcast. Next, you would have to update the firmware to support AVC codec at a cost. Some devices will not be able to support the new codec depending on its design.

28 May 2006

Welcome to my blog

First of all, I would like to welcome all to my humble blog on HDTV developments.

Let's start off by talking a bit on the latest trend. Lately, Starhub and Mediacorp has announced HDTV Trial from June onwards. With this in mind, a lot of people have been trying to purchase the very latest HD Panels, LCD or Plasma TVs just to be in the forefront.

A look at some of the local forums shows that most people are still discussing abt Plasma vs LCD. They can talk abt the technology, colours etc. The only thing that they never talked about is the resolution supported.

As you are probably aware, the HDTV trials by both are using MPEG 4 AVC compression. That is the same thing that is being used in the UK in their trials. Mpeg4 conserves more bandwidth than the HDTV broadcasts in Australia.

The standard is 1080i and 720p. If you happen to own a Plasma panel bought earlier, you still can 'playback' HD signals just like anyone else who uses a CRT. This i s because the images will be downscaled to fit the resolution of the older plasma panels or crt (provided the STB has RCA out).

When you go out to buy the latest LCD or Plasma HD panels, please ensure the panel can support up to 1920x1200 (for 1080i) or 1280x720 (for 720p). Anything below that resolution, you might as well just got for a DELL 2405 :)