The Fine Print: TV Talk

You say pixel, I say … what? Confused by the jargon-wheeling salesman? We’ve tuned in the most necessary digital terms so you can get a clear picture when buying:

HDTV (high-definition TV): You get a more vivid, clearer picture, most complete with surround sound.

ASPECT RATIO: It’s the size and shape of the picture on the screen. With HDTV you get a wide-screen view (referred to as 16:9), like you would in a movie theater. Older TVs are more square.

PIXEL: Tiny blocks of color that make up the picture on your screen. The more you’ve got, the clearer the picture.

RESOLUTION: They’re the columns made up by the lines of pixels. The more columns, the higher the resolution, the better the picture; look for 1920-by-1080.

SCAN: You’ll see two options when you go to buy: interlaced (1080i) and progressive (720p and 1080p) scan. Video geeks have strong opinions, but with a good HDTV you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

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