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Help me understand HDTV

MeisterMeister Registered User regular
edited March 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a 360 and a Wii, and I'm trying to figure out how to best optimize their use on my HDTVs. Do all HDTVs have component input? For the Wii, do I just have to buy component cables and hook them up to the HDTV? Are there settings I need to change in the TV to make it recognize the component input? Also, what do all the 480p, 480i, 720p, etc. mean? Can different TVs support different resolutions? Or is it dependent on the cable or the console?

Basically I'm looking for somewhere I can find information on HDTV, especially in the context of game systems. The stuff on wikipedia is a bit too technical and doesn't explain the basic concepts.

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Meister on

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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    What kind of HDTV do you have?

    We might be able to help with some more specifics.

    Vis a vis gaming, with the 360 you will want either a VGA cable or an HDMI cable, depending on whether your 360 is a newer model that has the HDMI port on the back. If it doesn't, you'll need the VGA cable. It will look fantastic on an HDTV.

    As for the Wii, the Wii isn't actually an HD system. The best it can do is 480p, where the p stands for progressive scan. Without going into too many details, the Wii will not look as good as your Xbox will on an HDTV. To maximize its goodness-lookingness you will want a set of component cables for your Wii. You don't need to buy the official brand ones; as far as I know you won't notice mutch of a difference if you go with 3rd party. Just don't go too cheap.

    For both of these systems, be sure to set the system to high def/widescreen mode in the system options.

    One final note: depending on the TV, you may experience lag when playing your Wii on it. This is because HDTV's have a native resolution that is usually higher than 480p, the maximum resolution the Wii can output in. This means the TV has to upscale the signal, which can take some time. We're talking less than half a second delay; for many games this is unnoticeable, and you may luck out in that your TV handles it much better than mine.

    Good luck.

    MikeMan on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I went back and re-read your post and figured I'd go through it to help answer some more of your questions to the best of my ability.
    Meister wrote: »
    Do all HDTVs have component input?

    Yes. And almost all have multiple sets of each input. My Samsung, for example, has two HDMI ports, two or three VGA ports (VGA is what most computer monitors use to connect to computers), two component ports, a couple extra audio ports (red and white), S-video, RCA, etc. Tons of stuff all over the place.
    For the Wii, do I just have to buy component cables and hook them up to the HDTV?

    You do.
    Are there settings I need to change in the TV to make it recognize the component input?

    You simply hit the "source" or "input" button on the TV or remote until it cycles through to the one you want.
    Also, what do all the 480p, 480i, 720p, etc. mean? Can different TVs support different resolutions? Or is it dependent on the cable or the console?

    All modern HDTVs support up to 1080p resolution, which means they have one thousand, eighty lines from top to bottom that they refresh, in order. The "p" as I said in my previous post stands for "progressive." Progressive scan is always better than the alternative, "i" or "interlaced."

    Interlaced scans paint the picture by going through and doing first the odd numbered lines, then the even, then repeating the process. The first TV's and most TVs in north america are still interlaced. HDTV's are capable of doing both interlaced and progressive for all of their resolutions.

    To give you an idea for comparison, a normal TV screen on a normal TV is, as I've said, 480i. That's what we're all used to. 480p is progressive scan, which is what TVs in Europe use as their standard. The Wii can output in 480p. It looks a little better, but not much.

    720i and p are better still. The 360 actually outputs in 720 but it has a built in scaler to scale it up to 1080i (but that's neither here nor there).

    1080i is the resolution that some of your HD shows on TV come in at. 1080p is the ultimate in HDTV. TV stations do not even broadcast in 1080p yet, but the 360 (if you have an HDMI port) and PS3 support it. 1080p is the resolution of HD-DVD (R.I.P.) and Blu-Ray. It looks absolutely fantastic.

    The TV figures out which resolution is coming in and fixes it all for you.

    Hope that helped a bit.

    edited with harvest's correction. my bad

    MikeMan on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Your Wii neededs Wii specific cables, not just off the shelf ones.
    www.monoprice.com for all your cable needs.


    They should really donate money to Childs Play based on how much business we give them.

    Improvolone on
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    harvestharvest By birthright, a stupendous badass.Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    MikeMan wrote: »
    no videogame systems support it

    Both the 360 and the PS3 have 1080p modes.

    harvest on
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    MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    harvest wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    no videogame systems support it

    Both the 360 and the PS3 have 1080p modes.

    Yes, I had forgotten about HDMI when I wrote that. If you don't have an HDMI 360, then it's "fake" 1080p: it's just an upscaled 720 through VGA.

    And I mentioned the PS3, but i edited my post appropriately.

    MikeMan on
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    OremLKOremLK Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Yeah, there are currently no console games that support true 1080p, regardless of what their boxes or the systems say. Sure, you can stick it in 1080p mode but it still looks the same as 720p.

    OremLK on
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