If you still have an older television or DVD player that still functions you may not have noticed the changes on the technological horizon. It is inevitable that your television and DVD player will eventually cease to function and you will be exposed to a lot of technical jargon.  Lots of acronyms and numbers.  Hopefully, this article will make your transition to newer technology a little easier.

The last initial

A quick word about the last letter you’ll be seeing in the screen resolution.  You’ll see either a ‘p’ or an ‘i’.  The ‘p’ stands for progressive-scan or non-interlaced and the ‘i’ stands for interlaced.  These refer to electronic methods of displaying information on the screen.  Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different opinions.  For the most part, I believe that you want to go with the progressive-scan.

The screen resolution

Resolution refers to the clarity of an image on the screen.  This is usually measured in dots per inch on the screen.  Higher numbers mean better quality. Your older television set displays images at 480p or 480 vertical lines.  They call this standard-definition television or SDTV.

The newer televisions and monitors of today use a different technology for displaying the images on the screen.  You will hear the terms LCD or Plasma thrown around a lot.  LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Diode, and Plasma is an ionized gas. Depending on who you talk to,  you will get many opinions about which is better.  I love the sharpness and deep contrast of Plasma, but I chose LCD because of my budget at the time of my purchase.

Current screen resolutions are 720p and 1080p.  That would be 720 and 1080 vertical lines respectively.  The more vertical lines there are means a better resolution image.  This is called high-definition television or HDTV.

I’ve included a link to a CNET article for more details on which is better 720p vs. 1080p HDTVs

Blu-ray Disc features

  • A single layer Blu-ray Disc can store 25GB of information on a single disc.  A double layer DVD at best can only store 8.4GB of storage.  In other words a Blu-ray disc can hold the equivalent of 3 double layer DVDs.
  • Regular DVDs contains a movie at 480p
  • Blu-ray Disc contains a movie at full 1080p
  • Many other featurettes all on the same disc.

Blu-ray player features for around $100

  • Upscale standard DVDs to 1080p
    • Your investment in standard DVDs will not be lost
  • Plays Blu-ray Discs at 1080p
  • Compatible with HDTV
    • HDMI (High-Definition Media Interface) connectors are standard
    • Many have component out, which work with some SDTVs
    • Eventually you will need to replace your old SDTV with a new HDTV
  • Compatible with SDTV
    • Your results may vary with this one, to reduce costs some manufacturers may drop less used connectors and use HDMI connector only.
    • Component video output – the Red, Green, Blue connectors
    • Composite video output – the Yellow connector

The bottom line is that there are some great deals to be had on some Blu-ray Disc players.  If you’ve been thinking about replacing or upgrading your DVD player, the great deals are coming.  Get familiar with the features and the prices, so you will recognize the deals when you see them.