Digital TV Models 2011 – Features Explained

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This year has seen the introduction of new terminology from the four major suppliers describing features on their digital TVs.

Labels stating such features as Motionflow XR800, Clear Motion Rate and Moving Picture Resolution have replaced the traditional 50Hz, 100Hz and 200Hz refresh labelling – much the same as when the industry did away with the millisecond response time labelling a few years back.

The introduction of Smart TV has seen an array of feature descriptions stickered on the screens displayed on the show room floor – from Built in Wi-Fi, Skype, Video on Demand, Viera Connect, Bigpond TV to Your Video and Search All.

Other common features include Passive 3D, Active 3D, Opti-Contrast Panel, USB Recording, Time Machine Ready and cornering glass, to name a few.

Features relating to Motion Samsung – Clear Motion Rate Samsung have abandoned the traditional Refresh Rate measurement, and opted instead for a “Clear Motion Rate” label for each of their Series LEDs.

Normally, we are used to being given a Refresh Rate, such as 100Hz, which only refers to the Refresh Rate of the screen. Samsung state that the Refresh Rate only forms part of the Picture quality during fast scenes, where as Clear Motion Rate determines the motion of an image by using three factors: chipset, TV Panel and Backlight.

Refresh rates only determine the number or frames drawn on the screen per second, while the clear motion rate refers to the TV’s ability to draw those frames correctly.

Example – Samsung Series 8 LED has a Clear Motion 800 Rating, while the Series 7 LED has a Clear Motion 600 Rating. While the Refresh Rate is 200Hz on both models – the Series 8 has a superior chipset and backlight technology which results in fast motion scenes being clearer.

Sony – Motionflow XR Similar to Samsung, Sony has this year provided a motion quality measurement as opposed to just the Refresh Rate. Sony State that their Motionflow technology creates smooth, detailed moving images for sports or action. Motionflow combines Image Blur Reduction, Frame Creation and backlight blinking technologies together. These three technologies combined are how Sony guages Motion performance from model to model.

Example – Sony’s HX820 range of LED have a Motionflow XR400 rating, while the HX925 LEDs have a Motionflow XR800 Rating. While the Refresh Rate is 200Hz on both models – the HX925 combines this with backlight blinking of up to 600 times per second, as opposed to 200 times per second in the HX820, which results in the motion appearing clearer. Basically the Higher the motionflow number, the better the motion enhancement.

Panasonic – Moving Picture Resolution

Panasonic have displayed both the Refresh Rate, and what they class as the Moving Picture Resolution. Just like Sony and Samsung, the Moving Picture Resolution is a metric which basically puts a value on how well a TV Panel deals with motion. The higher the number, the less blur that is added to the signal on the display.

Example – Panasonics ST30 range of Plasma have a Moving Picture Resolution of 1080 lines, and the Panel Speed is 600Hz Subfield Drive. In comparison, the U30 Range of Plasma screens, which also have a 600Hz Subfield Drive, have a lower Moving Picture Resolution of 900 lines, meaning the motion on the U30 won’t be as clear as the ST30.

Panasonic, Samsung and LG – 600Hz Subfield Motion

What 600Hz Sub-Field Driving does, with a 50Hz source like how our Australian TV is broadcast, is split each frame into 12 separate frames or “sub-fields”, and then show them individually on the screen. That means 12 sub-fields per frame in 50Hz (frames per second) creates 600 frames per second (50×12=600). The more sub-fields you have per frame, the more accurate the colour reproduction and less picture noise.

Features relating to Smart TV Samsung – Social TV

Samsung models labelled with Social TV have the ability to connect to Social Network services Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk. Twitter users can keep watching TV while their Tweets display on a separate part of the screen. Facebook users can also keep watching TV while accessing their Facebook page.

Samsung – Your Video

Your Video is a TV program and movie recommendation service – based on movies that you’ve selected in the past. You are served up with a selection of movies or TV shows which you are able to preview clips, synopsis, user ratings and even share your likes and dislikes via Facebook and Twitter.

Samsung – Search All

The Search all feature is an application which allows you to search for content or information across every aspect your TV has to offer. Enter a search query into the search all text box, and you are given matches from Your Video, recent Web searches, Tweets, Facebook postings and more. It is a convenient way to find information you are looking for.

Samsung – Smart Hub

Pressing the Smart button on your remote displays the Smart Hub, and it is from here that you are able to access all the TV has to offer in terms of connectivity such as the Web Browser, Your Video, Search All, Bigpond Movies and many more. The Smart Hub is the page you go to access almost every feature that Samsung has to offer.

Samsung – Your Video

Your Video is a TV program and movie recommendation service – based on movies that you’ve selected in the past. You are served up with a selection of movies or TV shows which you are able to preview clips, synopsis, user ratings and even share your likes and dislikes via Facebook and Twitter.

Samsung – Search All

The Search all feature is an application which allows you to search for content or information across every aspect your TV has to offer. Enter a search query into the search all text box, and you are given matches from Your Video, recent Web searches, Tweets, Facebook postings and more. It is a convenient way to find information you are looking for.

Samsung – Smart Hub

Pressing the Smart button on your remote displays the Smart Hub, and it is from here that you are able to access all the TV has to offer in terms of connectivity such as the Web Browser, Your Video, Search All, Bigpond Movies and many more. The Smart Hub is the page you go to access almost every feature that Samsung has to offer.

Samsung – Samsung Apps

Just like today’s smartphones, Samsung have incorporated apps (applications) downloadable via the Samsung App Store. If you have owned an I-Phone you will already be familiar with the endless array of programs you can download and the Samsung App store works in the same manner, albeit on a much smaller scale. There are Video, Game, Sports, Lifestyle, Information and Education apps available.

Samsung – Allshare

Allshare is Samsungs brand name for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) which is a platform for sharing media between compatible devices. Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and home theatre systems which are DLNA certified, are all able to be connected through your Home Network and through to your TV, enabling the sharing of Photos, Movies and music without wires.

Sony – Bravia Internet Video

Bravia Internet Video streams a selection of Internet TV channels, via your Home Network, through to your TV. There are channels such as The Wiggles, ABC I-View, You-Tube, Yahoo Plus 7, SBS and many more.

Sony – Video on Demand

Video on Demand is a portal to New Release and back catalogue Movies available for streaming, via your Home Network, through to your TV. You can “hire” movies without having to leave your lounge, and not having to worry about late fees or subscriptions.

Sony – Music Unlimited

Music unlimited is a Music store through your TV – you can search and listen to millions of artists, create playlists via a subscription service from Qriocity.com. Depending on which subscription you choose, you may be able to access features such as Global Top 100 tracks, Music channels compiled from millions of tracks around the world and the ability to create your own playlists and channels. For Subscription prices and further information, visit Qriocity.com.

Panasonic – Easy IPTV

Easy IPTV is Panasonics label for models which provide you with access to Social Networking sites, and have DLNA functionality. Models which have Easy IPTV give you access to You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, Picassa and more, as well as the ability to share Photos, Movies and music with DLNA certified Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and more.

Panasonic – Viera Connect

Viera Connect is an extension of Easy IPTV – besides the social network and DLNA connectivity, Viera Connect also offers Internet TV channels from You Tube, Yahoo 7, ABC I-View and Shoutcast Internet Radio. There is also a catalogue of apps from third-party application developers.

LG – Home Dashboard

Pressing the Home button on your remote displays the LGs Home Dashboard, and it is from here that you are able to access all of the TV’s connectivity functions such as the Web Browser, LG Apps, Media Link, Bigpond Movies and many more. The Home Dashboard is the page you go to access almost every feature that LG has to offer.

LG – Smart Share

Smart Share is LGs brand name for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) which is a platform for sharing media between compatible devices. Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Smartphones, Tablets, laptops and home theatre systems which are DLNA certified, are all able to be connected through your Home Network and through to your TV, enabling the sharing of Photos, Movies and music without wires.

LG – Media Link

LGs Media Link application matches information to video files via an extensive database called PLEX. This feature can provide you with movie information such as synopsis, casts, director, viewer ratings for the media content you are viewing, on a nicely laid out full page display.

LG – Apps

LG have Video, Game, Sports, Lifestyle, Information and Education apps available for use and download via the Home Dashboard. LG have a website – LG Apps TV – where you can download hundreds of apps. Visit LG Apps TV HERE.

Features relating to Panel and Contrast Technology

Sony – OptiContrast Panel with Gorilla Glass

Sony’s panels which use Gorilla Glass and Opticontrast have a frameless design with glass that reaches right to the corners of the TV. These sets deliver improved clarity by boosting contrast, and increasing brightness and minimizing unwanted light reflections.

Example – Sony’s HX820 range of LED have OptiContrast Panels with Gorilla Glass, while the EX720 LEDs have the standard panels. If you watch a movie like Batman, which has many dark scenes, you will find there is more detail in the HX820 than on the EX720 – especially in a brighter viewing environment.

Sony – Sony – Dynamic Edge LED

With Sony’s Dynamic Edge LED models, the LEDs behind the panel can have their brightness adjusted to deliver optimum contrast. This means that, depending on the picture you are watching, the Dynamic Edge LED system controls individual parts of the screen independently for a wider contrast within each scene – resulting in a stronger colour reproduction as well as brighter whites and greatly improved blacks.

Sony – X-Reality, and X-Reality PRO

X-Reality is Sony’s brand name for their Picture processing engine. Every TV has a chipset inside which is responsible for how the image finally looks on the screen. It is like the puppet master, with the puppets being all of the other aspects of the TV like the Panel, Tuner, Refresh Speed and Contrast to name a few. These all rely on the Picture Processing Engine to combine them and deliver a result as high as possible. The X-Reality engine is the standard in five levels of Bravia TVs, with the HX Models both having X-reality PRO Picture Engines. Along with the benefits of their standard processor, X-Reality PRO combines a dedicated 2nd image processor which tweaks hue, saturation, brightness, and in addition, Super Bit Mapping and face detection technology. In simple terms, more processing power delivers clearer images, and better colour reproduction.

Samsung – HyperReal Engine

HyperReal Engine is Samsungs brand name for their Picture Processing Engine. It is the chipset responsible for Contrast, Motion and Colour, and optimizes performance and image enhancement.

Samsung – Micro Dimming

With Samsung’s Micro Dimming LED models, the LEDs behind the panel can have their brightness adjusted to deliver optimum contrast. The Micro Dimming LED system controls individual parts of the screen independently for a wider contrast within each scene -resulting in less judder and artefacts as well as brighter whites and greatly improved blacks.

Samsung – Clear Image Panel

The new Samsung Plasma range uses a new filter and panel structure to produce clear images from wider angles. Compared to the conventional glass filters used in the past, Samsungs Clear Image Panels eliminate the layered images you may see on some sets using conventional glass filters.

Samsung – Ultra Clear Panel

Similar to Clear Image Panels in the plasma range, Ultra Clear Panel is the terminology Samsung are using to describe the panels in their LED range. Ultra Clear Panel eliminates diffusion and absorbs much of the external light which provides a comfortable viewing experience with minimal detail loss.

Samsung – Wide colour Enhancer, and Wide colour Enhancer Plus

The wide colour enhancer is a new chipset in Samsungs 2011 range which simply improves the colour quality in detailed scenes. The wide colour Enhancer Plus is described as a superior enhancer which drastically increases the colour spectrum and improves upon the colours created with the standard Wide Colour Enhancer chipset in detailed scenes.

Samsung – Cinema Black

Cinema Black is a very clever feature designed to improve your viewing experience of movies watched in letterbox format. You will come across many movies in 2.35:1 format, which give you a black band top and bottom of the picture. Cinema black switches off the LEDs at the top and bottom to provide a deep pitch black which highlights the image and provides a more immersive viewing experience.

Panasonic – Neo Plasma

The higher models in Panasonics Plasma range, the ST, GT and VT models, are gifted with Panasonics Neo-Plasma panels. Neo-Plasma is the name given to Panasonics high performance screens, which produce smoother Motion, higher Contrast and better efficiency. The Neo-Plasma is capable of a 5,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, which produces industry leading black levels.

Panasonic, and LG – THX Display

THX Certified Plasmas and LEDs, featuring THX Movie Mode, let you recreate shadow, colour and detail as it was intended to look like when produced in the studio. Each TV and has gone through a rigorous design and laboratory testing process, which includes more than 400 data points to ensure exceptional image quality and signal processing performance from your set. Read more about THX certified panels HERE

Panasonic, Sony and LG – 24p Cinematic Playback, 24P True Cinema and Real Cinema 24P

If your Blu-Ray player is set to output 1080p/24 directly, which most Blu-Ray Players can do, then with a 24p processor you’re seeing the image as close as possible to how the director intended – how it looks when displayed on a cinema screen from a film projector at your local movie theater and with the reduction of a lot of the artefacts.

LG – LED Plus

LG’s LED Plus technology is the name given to LGs panel lighting system. LED Plus provides even greater control of brightness through local dimming technology to deliver better contrast, amazing clarity and colour detail.

LG – XD Engine

XD Engine is LGs brand name for their Picture Processing Engine. It is the chipset responsible for Contrast, Noise Reduction, Motion and Colour, and optimizes performance and image enhancement.

Features relating to 3D Technology

LG – Passive 3D Technology, or Cinema 3D

Passive 3D means the ability to watch 3D without having to use powered (or as they are known – active shutter) glasses. The big benefits of passive are lightweight, comfortable and cheap eyewear, without the flickering you can get from active shutter glasses. Another benefit to passive 3D glasses is that because we are shown both images at once it doesn’t halve the frame rate of the content like active glasses do. Passive glasses cost a fraction of the Active Shutter Glasses from Sony, Samsung and Panasonic.

Samsung – 3D Sound

Samsung’s 3D Sound Technology delivers a greater depth of sound than traditional stereo speakers, creating a more immersive experience through what is described as “Depth Rendering Technology”. Simply put, a series of speakers in the set can switch on and off, and volume to each is adjusted according to the image on the screen, providing a wider range of sound.

Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony – 2D – 3D Conversion

Some models from each of the suppliers enable you to convert regular 2D Images into 3D images, enabling the viewing of content not originally recorded in 3D to be viewed as such. The resulting image will not give you as much of an impact and depth as properly recorded 3D content will, as such content is shot using specific dual lens 3D Cameras. It will however create a little depth on your favourite non-3D content.

Design, Connectivity and other Various Features

Samsung – Plasma +1

With Samsungs 2011 range of Plasmas marked with Plasma+1, the screen size has been increased by 1 inch diagonally, due to cosmetic improvements from the thinner bezel. Samsung provides 43″ and 51″ sizes compared to 42″ and 50″ size offerings from LG and Panasonic.

Samsung – Eco Sensor

The eco Sensor is a chipset inside the TV set which senses the room brightness, and adjusts the TVs brightness and backlight settings accordingly. This results in a controlled amount of light being emitted from the screen, which in turn reduces or levels out the energy usage.

LG – Smart Energy Saving

The Smart Energy Saving Sensor is a chipset inside the TV set which senses the room brightness, and adjusts the TVs brightness and backlight settings accordingly. This results in a controlled amount of light being emitted from the screen, which in turn reduces or levels out the energy usage.

Panasonic – Eco Mode

Eco Mode is a chipset inside the TV set which senses the room brightness, and adjusts brightness and backlight settings accordingly. This results in a controlled amount of light being emitted from the screen, which in turn reduces or levels out the energy usage.

Sony -Sony – Intelligent Presence Sensor, Face Detection

Bravia TVs with Face Detection and Presence Sensor technology will dim or turn off the screen if you look away or leave the room, and is designed for those people who like to have the TV on just for a bit of background noise, or while surfing the web or reading a book. The settings can be varied to suit the situation – from the picture turning off when you look away, to the picture remaining on for a specified length of time after the last detected movement.

Samsung – Anynet+

Samsungs Anynet Technology allows you to control any connected HDMI-CEC device with a single remote control. Features and benefits include switching to the correct AV input when you turn on the connected device, and the ability to control both the TV and connected device with the one remote.

Sony – Bravia Sync

Sony’s Bravia Link Technology allows you to control any connected HDMI-CEC device with a single remote control. Features and benefits include switching to the correct AV input when you turn on the connected device, and the ability to control both the TV and connected device with the one remote.

LG – Simplink

Lg’s Simplink Technology allows you to control any connected HDMI-CEC device with a single remote control. Features and benefits include switching to the correct AV input when you turn on the connected device, and the ability to control both the TV and connected device with the one remote.

Panasonic – Vieralink

Panasonics Viera Link Technology allows you to control any connected HDMI-CEC device with a single remote control. Features and benefits include switching to the correct AV input when you turn on the connected device, and the ability to control both the TV and connected device with the one remote.

Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and LG – Wireless LAN Ready, Wireless LAN Built In

Wireless LAN is the protocol required to connect your TV with your Home Network and devices. With Televisions which are labelled WLAN Ready, or WI-FI Ready, these are able to connect to your network with the purchase of a (usually) separate WI-FI Dongle from the manufacturer of that TV. Wireless LAN Built in does not require the purchase of a separate Wi-Fi Dongle to connect to your Home Network.

Panasonic and Samsung – USB Recording

USB recording is the ability, via a connected external USB stick or hard drive; to record the TV you are watching on the screen.

LG – Time Machine Ready

Time Machine functionality allows the unit to automatically record live TV and make it available for viewing at any time. You can pause and rewind normal TV, after initializating USB Device. To use the feature, you must have a USB device over 40 GB.

LG – Magic Motion Remote

LG’s Magic Motion Remote is a “Magic Wand” type of remote similar to Nintendo Wii controllers, and allows easy movement of the cursor on the screen without having to press up, down and sideways arrows on your traditional remote.

Samsung – QWERTY Remote

Samsung’s QWERTY Remote is an innovative remote control which has the normal television buttons on one side, and a Full QWERTY Keypad on the other side. This allows you type as you would on a normal Keyboard, without the hassle and time lag of pressing numerous buttons to input a single character as in your traditional remote controls when surfing the web or entering information on the screen.

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