December 31, 2010

New TV means new wires

So I've finally entered the HD era... Now that's it's quickly being replaced by the 3D era and/or the 4-Color era. Oh well, at least it's progress. If you somehow haven't yet taken the leap from SD to HD, I will tell you that there are a lot of cords to deal with. On an standard TV, you might have 2 different kinds of cords, a coaxial cable or "coax" cable - like the single thick wire from the cable company and old school VCRs, or a component cable with RCA connectors. So, basically, if your cord had three heads, it would go in one place, if it only had one, it would go in the other. And the 3-headed beast was clearly color coded so you'd always know which one goes where.

Not so with an HDTV. No, they have a *LOT* more options. The simplest, and best, for HD content, is the HDMI cable. The more connections for these you can have on your TV, the better. Mine has 3, and that's not enough. An HDMI cable is digital, not analog, so there's no signal loss. Basically that means you can get the cheapest HDMI cable on the market, and the image and sound will be no better, and no worse, than the most expensive cable out there, so - my advice - go CHEAP. The main concern is it needs to be long enough to get from your TV to whatever you're plugging into it. HDMI also carries video and audio in one wire, meaning there's only one thing to plug into each device. No color coding needed.

HDTVs can also still use component video, and some still have Coax. The confusing part comes with composite video. Component video is SD - Composite is HD. Not only are they spelled and pronounced almost identically, they also look very much the same. Whoever designed and named the later is an idiot. Composite video is basically the HD version of component. It's a multi-headed color-coded beast, only it has 4 heads instead of 3. And then there are hydra monsters like the Xbox 360 cord that has 6 heads because it combines the two (composite and component). They actually share one cord, and the connections are all RCA style.

So what all am I plugging into my new TV that needs all these wires? Well, 2 game systems, my DVD/VCR combo, my cable box, and my computer. (The HD also has a VGA port, so I had to get an adapter for VGA for my computer. I ended up not liking it, so I found a Mini-Displayport to HDMI adapter instead. It hasn't got here yet.

I bought all these cords and stuff from 3 or 4 different websites, and compared prices and explored options on at least half a dozen others. But one place I didn't know to look was - wish I had known about that site before I scoured the internet looking for the parts I need. One stop shopping is nice.

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