Choosing an HDTV for Video Production
Charlie Fulton: Welcome to the Tips and Techniques segment. I’m Charlie Fulton.
Mark Montgomery: And I’m Mark Montgomery.
Charlie Fulton: And this week we are going to discuss HDTV, going HD whether you want to go HD just for home entertainment, or part of your video production work in the future. A few considerations here.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, there are a lot of things to consider. Nice thing is the price is going down, but there are a lot of features and different technologies that you have to consider when purchasing an HDTV.
Charlie Fulton: Absolutely. Yeah.
Mark Montgomery: Should we get right into it?
Charlie Fulton: Yeah. Let’s definitely get into it.
The first things that comes to mind, of course, we just discussed cost. It’s getting cheaper, and then, features that were previously in a high end sides, are now trickling down to lower end sides. So, this is good for everybody.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah.
Charlie Fulton: But then, of course, if you’re doing video as a business, you can always right that off as, you know, business expenses.
Mark Montgomery: Right. It’s important, too, to note that with HDTV cost going down, it doesn’t necessarily mean as a producer, you’re going to be ready to show that to your audience, your consumers, because really, there’s no sure way to get your video to their television. Of course, if you’ve got digital cable or satellite that are RHD offerings.
Charlie Fulton: Right.
Mark Montgomery: But for editing HD and watching your footage back, this is a good way to monitor that. Enjoy it.
Charlie Fulton: Definitely.
Mark Montgomery: As a consumer. So the cost, what seems to be the cheapest technology or I should say the cheapest expensive?
Charlie Fulton: Hm, well, I actually got HD myself a couple of weeks ago. I spent about $1500 for a 37’’ LCD. So that gives you some idea how much things are costing. The prices vary between whether you go with plasma, LCD, direct view CRT, or any of the reprojection styles of TV you can get these days.
Mark Montgomery: Right. And the next consideration, of course, without cost, you have is size.
Charlie Fulton: Size, size, right. If you want to take your HD display capabilities to somewhere bigger, say a venue, you want something portable. So, a front projector would be a good choice. And then you have to figure out a screen or something like that, a nice wall to project on to. But that’s kind of a secondary concern.
Mark Montgomery: Right. There are some DIY screen creation opportunities out there that use really inexpensive materials. And there’s also lot of parks out there also, that you can put in to your home, you can have a low remote and have a screen like that.
Charlie Fulton: Those are pretty cool.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, really iffy kind of systems. Yeah, those, size is definitely an issue, especially if you want this solely on your editing desk. You’re probably going to look at an LCD or plasma. Although plasmas usually come in bigger sizes, is that true?
Charlie Fulton: For the most part, yeah. The larger hang on the wall sets are usually going to be plasma. And that’s another consideration there, if you want to stick it on the wall, it’s usually going to be plasma or LCD panel most that will give you that choice. There’s just a standardizes set of holes called VESA mount. V-E-S-A, not like the credit card. So, Video Electronic Standard Association is what that stands for.
And then, also speaking of mount, you can also mount a rear projector, or a front projector rather, to the ceiling of a venue or a medium room you might have. So, there’s a lot of flexibility there.
So what do you say we go to the technical things to look for?
Mark Montgomery: Yeah.
Charlie Fulton: All right. So, one of the first things that I thought of was display technology and the forms that they can take. Of course, you’ve got the plasma panels here. LCD, you can get panels or projectors. There’s technology called LSOS, of Liquid crystalline silicone, which basically is an LCD, but is translucent, you know, to a certain extent. So, you pass light through that, focus it, and then go out on your screen in that way.
There’s technology called Digital micromirror device, these are technically, usually from Texas instruments, called the DLP. They’ve got a lot of advertising out there.
And CRTs, there are projectors, they’re going to be big projectors. Or, view direct TVs, like these monitors that are out there, too.
Mark Montgomery: What, for our viewers, is going to be best as far as longevity? If you’re going to buy, I’ve heard rumors, and I don’t know if this is true, that plasma has some issues with leaking or whatever, I don’t know what that’s…
Charlie Fulton: I’ve heard that, too, yeah. For longevity, plasma, especially previous generations of plasma probably are not going to be something you want to look to closely at. The newest generations of plasma are supposedly really good. Although, from the specs that I read, there aren’t many plasmas that will be true resolution, you’re not going to find any that are actually going to be 720p, or 1080i. There are a few, but they are hard to find.
Mark Montgomery: Sure. Brightness, contrast, another technical spec?
Charlie Fulton: This is where actual plasma would be better. Because plasma can actually get black, whereas in LCD, because there’s always a backlight on to illuminate the viewing panel, you can’t always get that as black as you get a plasma, or LDP for example. So…
And then, the other side of that is the brightness, how much brightness the device can generate. So if you have to illuminate a dark room, then you want something that will be pretty bright.
Mark Montgomery: If you’re interested in getting a front projector, that’s something that’s especially critical, because projecting is a lot more difficult to see in a well lit room. So you’re going to look at probably something, would you say over 1200?
Charlie Fulton: 1200 luminance would be a good starting point. Yeah, yeah.
Uhm, let’s see. If you’re going to take your projector on the road, you want to make sure to bring extra bulbs with you. The bulbs tend to burn out at the most inopportune time you found.
Mark Montgomery: It’s true, it’s true, and you’re also going to want, if you’re purchasing one of these, want to look into how much your bulb is going to cost. Because that can make a pretty hefty price, and the life, of course, of the bulb, it can actually set you back, upwards to $300.
Charlie Fulton: Oh, yeah. It’s not as simple as just incandescent software bulb or something like that.
Mark Montgomery: Unfortunately, no, it’s not. What are some other considerations?
Charlie Fulton: Resolution is a big one. If you want to be able to, well, basically, the lowest tune, high definition resolution is 1200 by 720p. The highest broadcast resolution right now is 1080i by 1920 by 1080. And then there’s also something called 1080p. What i and p stand for are interlaced and progressive skin.
1080p takes more bandwidth than a broadcast can handle. But HD and BluRay can both generate 1080p signal. So that’s something kind of interesting there. Some people are questioning whether 1080p is actually viable, but I certainly hope it is because the TV I just bought is 1080p.
Mark Montgomery: Is the 1080p the Mecca of high definition?
Charlie Fulton: I certainly like it, yeah, yeah.
Mark Montgomery: The difference, of course, progressive and interlaced, you get a little more crisp, clear images in a progressive skin rather than an interlaced one?
Charlie Fulton: And if you’re watching it in a dark room, you don’t have the flicker that you get when you get out of the room, and turn on some lights, and say, wow, my eyes got really messed up.
Another really important thing is, look at the inputs you’ve got. If you’re going to use your computer as source, DVI input is mandatory. HDMI is common for some setup devices. A lot of them have VGA component, S video deposit input as well. So a lot of them are very, very flexible for what kind of video sources you can put into them.
Mark Montgomery: Right. And we’re actually seeing growth with HDMI, it’s offered at a lot more camcorders, Prosumer camcorders, and Black Magic design just released a card that goes, I think about 250, and it’s got an HDMI in.
Charlie Fulton: Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting device.
Last thing we’ll leave you with is, don’t forget about sound. If you’re going to use, say, front projector and output, and you’re going to show several hundred people, the old speaker is just not going to cut it.
Mark Montgomery: Well, laptop speakers…
Charlie Fulton: Essentially, yeah. So, you get a beautiful image but the sound would be subpar. So, don’t forget to bring some other arrangements for the sound. Rent a sound system, in-house sound, what have you, for big venue.
So, that’s it for our Tips and Techniques segment.