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A Guide to Speaking Consumer Electronics

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Quick, you’re shopping for a Blu-ray DVD player at your local electronics store and the sales associate starts speaking terms like “progressive scan, profile 2, and up conversion”. You know they’re speaking English but have no clue what they are talking about. What do you do?

With technology changing so fast and new consumer electronics products seeming to hit stores daily it’s very confusing and hard to keep up. Adding to the consumer confusion are the product brands who use their own unique terms (some call this “marketing-speak”) to try and differentiate their products from competitors.

We’re putting the consumer back into consumer electronics by describing those terms in a simple language anyone can understand. Presenting “Geek Speak” for HDTVs, DVD Players and Home Theaters. Bring it with you on your next shopping trip and shop like a pro for your home entertainment needs!

HDTV Geek Speak

  • Plasma or LCD: Both great. If buying 50-inch and up, go Plasma for anything below 47-inches, go LCD.
  • Screen Size: 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal size for optimal viewing distance; 42-inch TV equals 6 to 7 feet
  • Refresh Rate: How fast your TV displays images. 60 Hz is standard, 120 Hz equals less blurring.
  • Inputs and Outputs: Inputs determine video quality. The picture is only as good as the signal.
  • 1080i vs 1080p: i (interlaced) scans half the lines at a time and p (progressive) scans all lines at once for a smoother picture

DVD Players Geek Speak

  • Progressive Scan (PS): Scan lines are less visible but your TV has to support it
  • Blu-ray: Latest standard for storing High Definition (HD) content on a disc
  • Input and Outputs: Composite (Good), S-Video (Better), Component and HDMI (Best)
  • Dolby vs DTS: Sound formats. Most TVs support both
  • Up Conversion: Converts low resolution content into HD. Next best thing to Blu-ray and much cheaper.
Home Theaters Geek Speak

  • System Power: Total power of the amplifier. Don’t go below 800 watts.
  • Surround Sound: Total number of speakers and audio channels. 5.1 (Standard), (6.1 (Better), and 7.1 (Best).
  • Harmonic Distortion: Lower percentage equals better sound quality
  • DSP Sound Fields: Mimics different enviroments, e.g., orchestras, stadium, movie theaters.

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