480i: The resolution currently being used in the America’s. It means that there are 480 horizontal display lines and they are shown in a progressive format. 480i is not an HDTV format but SDTV (Standard Definition).
720p: This is the lowest possible resolution needed for HDTV. 720p means that there are 720 horizontal display lines and they are shown in a progressive format.
1080i: This is an HDTV resolution. It means that there are 1,080 horizontal lines of resolution and they are shown in an interlaced format.
1080p: This is an HDTV resolution. Like 1080i, there are 1,080 horizontal lines of resolution, but they are shown in a progressive format. Currently there is no programming for 1080p, but a 1080p set will display better than 1080i.
Aspect ratio: A ratio of an image width to its height. 16:9 is a widescreen aspect as the ration is 1.78:1. 4:3 is a typical full frame aspect on older televisions and is 1.33:1.
ATSC: Stands for Advanced Television System Committee. ATSC uses MPEG-2 compression for the signal and can take up to 19.39 Megabits-per-second of bandwidth. An ATSC tuner is a digital tuner.
Brightness: A measurement of the light output that can be displayed. The lower the brightness, the more that ambient room light will interfere with a display.
Component Video: An analog cable interface that is capable of transmitting digital HDTV signal. The video signal is sent in three pieces: one cable is used for luminance while the other two are used for color. This is the lowest quality interface for an HDTV signal.
Contrast: Usually indicated as a ratio, such as 1,000:1. This example would indicate that the brightest level of a set is 1,000 times brighter than the darkest level simultaneously. The greater the contrast ratio, the greater the difference in a set's ability to display light and dark levels
CRT: Cathode Ray Tube, the standard television display technology since the 1950's. Until recently, CRTs were known for the best color reproduction, brightness, contrast and resolution. In the past few years, flat-panel and micro-displays have closed the gap. CRTs can display up to 1080i.
DLP: Digital Light Processing, an HDTV technology created by Texas Instruments. A DLP chip has thousands of tiny mirrors on hinges. The mirrors send light through a color wheel to display the proper pixel color. DLP chips now are capable of 720p and1080p.
DTV: Digital Television. There are 18 approved standards for DTV. SDTV, EDTV and HDTV are all subsets of DTV. DTV is television using a digital signal as opposed to an analog signal. Just because a signal is a DTV signal, that does not mean it is HDTV.
DVI: Digital Visual Interface is a cable interface similar to HDMI. However, DVI is for video only and HDMI is video and audio. It is an all digital interface and provides a digital display signal similar to HDMI.
HDMI: High-Definition Multi-media Interface is a cabling medium between two high-definition components. HDMI is the best interface for displaying a high-definition source on an HDTV.
HDTV: High Definition Television. It's actually a subset of DTV. The HDTV standard requires a screen resolution of 720p or better.
Interlaced: This indicates how the display is drawn. Interlaced means that half of the screen is drawn during a refresh; the other half is drawn on the next refresh. This happens so quickly that the eye sees the whole screen. During fast motion video there could be flickering or artifacting.
LCD: Liquid Crystal Display, and HDTV display technology. LCDs typically use a light source and color filters to create an image.
NTSC: National Television System Committee or the analog television system widely utilized in the United States.
PDP: Plasma Display Panel, or plasma TV, is an HDTV display technology. PDPs are the prevalent flat-panel set in the over 42-inch size market. PDPs use plasma gases near the surface of the display and each pixel has three cells (Red, Blue, Green). As the pixels are electrically charged, the plasma gas is charged and emits light, while the phosphors determine the pixel color.
Progressive: A display format that indicates how the display is drawn. Progressive means that the entire display is drawn during every screen refresh. The picture qualiity is better than interlaced, especially with fast motion video.
SDTV: Standard Definition Television. A subset of DTV and the lowest resolution available at 480i (or 480-interlaced).
Sharpness: Reducing the sharpness on a set causes images to gain a fuzzy appearance. Increasing the sharpness can cause images to gain jagged edge appearances.