MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
Random Access   chris, kp & rob
Geek Candy
TV Alphabet Soup
by rob

So you're in the market for a huge, flat LCD or Plasma display to put on your wall. Looking though specifications, it's as if you're trying to read a completely different language: ATSC, NTSC, OTA, DVI and other acronyms are everywhere. Here's a quick glossary of terms.

NTSC - National Television Systems Committee - The group that sets TV standards in the US. When you see this as a spec, it's indicating the presence of a built-in analog tuner.

ATSC - Advanced Television Systems Committee - The ATSC standards will eventually replace the NTSC standards. This spec indicates a built-in digital tuner.

OTA - Over The Air - Free HDTV signals transmitted using radio waves like old-fashioned broadcast TV. You'll need an antenna to capture the signals so your TV can decode them with its tuner. Also referred to as Free To Air.

DVI - Digital Video/Visual Interface - A high-resolution digital video port. Use a DVI cable from matching DVI ports to ensure a pure digital signal.

HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface - The successor to DVI that can carry both digital audio and video signals.

HDCP - High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection - A copy-protection standard developed by Intel that works with DVI and HDMI connections.

VESA - A standard for screw hole placement for mounting flat panel TVs to wall brackets and arms.

For a more in-depth look at flat screen specs, load up the March 05 episode of Random Access.

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