The new HDTV set can be used not only for viewing traditional TV content from cable, satellite, terrestrial broadcast and optical disc players but also content from other multimedia devices. These can be your gaming console such as the PlayStation 3, the Wii, the Xbox 360, or your personal computer. This is the reason why newer HDTV sets now have multiple inputs and functions to cater to multimedia requirement.
HDMI output is standard for almost all new gaming consoles, except for the Wii, which came up with its own Component Video Cable. TV manufacturers complemented this by equipping their sets with picture presets like "Game" or "Sports" configured specially for video games. Most games are produced on widescreen 480p or 720p, with some even done on 1080i. Older versions of these game consoles come with analog outputs only. If you want to connect them to your new HDTV set, use the S-video or component video connections for better picture quality.
Sony's PlayStation 3 or PS3 has HDMI outputs that support high definition 16:9 video and its Blu-ray drive can also be used to play back movie titles. Micrososoft's Xbox 360 allows users to download games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, and movies. This console supports all games in high-definition 16:9. It can also play back DVDs at 480p without any additional hardware and also has an option for HD DVD playback ( discontinued due to defeat in format war with Blu-ray). Nintendo came up with the Wii but opted to concentrate on the gaming experience rather than the add-on features that Microsoft and Sony included in their game consoles. Wii does not have an HDMI output but it came up with a Component Video Cable that allows you to hook your console system to an HDTV to view 16:9 or widescreen 480p progressive output. It is also has no stand-alone DVD or Blu-ray player like PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
New personal computer models, Macintosh or Windows-based, now have DVI interface, the digital version of VGA. This is a type of connection that inputs uncompressed video signals from the computer to the display device. Since there is no compression used, there is no loss of picture quality when the source signal is displayed on the monitor. If your HDTV set has no DVI input, you need a DVI-to-HDMI adaptor cable that is normally available in electronics stores.
We are now witnessing a new trend in the household wherein members of the family converge in the living room with a large HDTV set to view movies or TV programs, surf the web or play their favorite video games. Television has certainly evolved from the traditional boob tube into a multimedia necessity. So before buying a new HDTV set, see to it that it has the right connections and the necessary features for your new multimedia devices.
Edward McKellen is an HDTV expert who writes HDTV reviews and other helpful articles about HD television.
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