Frequently asked questions – and answers

We passed another milestone this weekend, racking up more than 11,000 registered users on the site and 50,500 posts, writes Andy Clough.

So a very big thank you to all of you who have joined and made this one of the most enjoyable and interactive hi-fi and home cinema Forums on the web.

It occurred to me that it might be useful to highlight some of the most frequently asked questions on the site and, for the benefit of newcomers, summarise the replies. So here goes!

Is plasma obsolete now that LCD dominates the TV market?
No! Plasma still has considerable benefits in terms of deeper blacks, high contrast and excellent motion handling, so don't rule it out. LCD is used for screens up to 32in, but from 37in upwards plasma still has a part to play. Clare Newsome has provided all the latest stats and facts, as you can read here.

Do I really need 1080p Full HD?
Another hot potato this one. HD-ready sets are ideal for watching Sky HD as HDTV is broadcast in 720p or 1080i, so 1080p isn't necessary. And frankly, on screen sizes under 42in, you're unlikely to see the benefits of 1080p anyway.

Where it does come into its own is with Blu-ray discs on larger screen sizes, so if you want to enjoy the full 1080p resolution of Blu-ray on a 50in+ screen, then yes, it's worth considering. But don't get hung up on the specs – an HD-ready screen such as Pioneer's superb Kuros can still produce stunning picture quality.

How important is 24fps (frames per second)?
Oh boy has been this a topic of debate! In fact, we've probably had more questions on this than virtually any other topic on the Forums. It's been so exhaustively covered, I'll simply suggest you type 24fps into the search bar and read on. This thread makes a good starting point.

Now that HD DVD is dead, can I buy Blu-ray with confidence?
In a word, yes. The end of the format war is good news for everybody and means manufacturers and film studios can now focus on developing high-definition video using a single standard. There aren't a huge number of Blu-ray players on the market yet, but that will soon change and prices are bound to fall. The demise of HD DVD has been extensively documented by us.

Should I buy a new TV now, or wait for the 2008 models to arrive?
Another hot topic at the moment, especially as most manufacturers are right in the middle of model changeover time. Rest assured we'll bring you all the news about the latest models, and exclusive online reviews, as soon as we can.

We've already published extensive details of Panasonic's 2008 model range, including an exclusive review of its Full HD TX-32LZD80, and tested Samsung's brand-new LE40A656 Full HD LCD. Keep logged on to the Television channel as there's plenty more news and reviews to come.

When will I be able to get high-definition on Freeview or Freesat?
Our man Dominic Dawes has all the inside info on this one, so check out his posts on news that some viewers will get the 2012 Olympics in HD, but the broadcasters are desperate for more free-to-air HD channels. The Digital TV Group is none too impressed by Ofcom's current proposals, but there's hope Freesat may come to the rescue. Panasonic is set to launch a range of Freesat TVs.

Why can't I get my HDMI connection to work properly?
A bit of a minefield this one, as HDMI isn't quite the simple, universal 'plug and play' solution we'd hoped for. Sometimes you'll get video, sometimes audio, but not always both. Andrew Everard's excellent Guide to HDMI 1.3 explains all.

OK, I hope that answers some of your questions. There are bound to be many more, so keep posting. We'll do our best to provide the answers.

Technorati Tags: 1080p, 24fps, Blu-ray, Freeview, Full HD, HDMI 1.3a, HDTV, high-definition, home cinema, LCD TV, plasma, TV

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.