Category Archives: Television

S-Video: Format and Use of Technology

S-Video is an abbreviated term for Separated or Super Video. This video technology enables you to divide the video information to a cable into two signals: according to (1) brightness, and (2) color.

Difference from Other Video Formats

This video format is unlike composite video, which transmits solely the picture information; hence the signal is of lower quality. Meanwhile, component video is also different in that the picture information is divided into three separate signals that are of higher quality – mostly one for brightness and the other two for color.

The S-Video technology creates better picture quality and sharper images when transmitted to a television. The reason being televisions are mostly designed in such a way that separately displays the luminance (Y) and chrome (C) signals. Thus, S-Video is also referred to as Y/C video.

Overview

The separation of the brightness and color components of the video makes this type of video signal often considered as a type of component video. But knowing the great breakthroughs that video schemes has seen (say, RGB), it can be considered to be of low quality.

What sets S-video apart from other (and much higher) video schemes is the fact that color information is transmitted as one signal. Therefore, it needs a special device to encode the colors. However, if you aim for full compatibility on these signals in an S-video, you have to use a compatible device for color encoding. Aside from that, S-video typically has lower color resolution.

History of the S-Video

Despite the fact that S-Video technology has been present in the market since the start of the 80’s, it wasn’t until nearly the end of the 80’s that it was recognized, alongside the release of the S-VHS. The said video system, though, failed to reach mainstream success, despite being adopted as home theater segment.

Meanwhile, during the 90’s the S-Video port was released alongside the larger TVs (25”). Other devices that also brought along a support for S-Video technology included DVD players, videocassette recorders, video game consoles, satellite receivers, and computer Video cards.

To connect an S-Video signal, you will need a 4-pin mini DIN connector and because of the expansive use of this technology for most home component systems such as DVD players, you can get this cable in the market at relatively low price.

How CMYK Works

The acronym CMYK means cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (or black). CMYK is a color model used for most color printing. The term is also used to refer to the actual process of printing itself. While the variety of printing color models vary depending on the print house or press manufacturer’s standards, the inks used basically follow the order of abbreviation.

Before the introduction of laser or inkjet printers, offset printing used CMYK colors. Offset printing is the conventional method of printing the hard copies of images. The three colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) serve to represent the primary colors. Black is used to mix with each color to cover the entire spectrum of colors.

Basics of CMYK Printing

A colored picture is divided into four separate constituents for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The image then is turned into a plate to determine the right concentration of colored ink to apply. As soon as the printing starts, a combination of colors will eventually form the image.

While the CMYK model does not represent all colors available, it can produce millions of colors with different shades and combinations. Even though it may not exactly replicate the color of certain objects, the use of ink ratios and concentration will enable the picture to closely resemble its real color.

Other elements that contribute to achieving the exact color include hue, tone, and intensity.

The Use of Black Ink

Black ink is used in this color model for the following reasons:

  • Texts are basically printed in black and consist of fine details. Hence, it is easy to accentuate fine details in an image without blurring it.
  • It is inexpensive to use black as an alternative instead of using colored inks to produce the same color.

Subtractive and Additive Colors

Subtractive colors are those produced by the mixture natural colorants which absorb light wavelengths and reflects others. This color system starts with white light or reflection. Colorants (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key [CMYK]) that are added to the white object subtract wavelengths of light from it, thus, the term “subtractive”.

There are also additive colors which are produced by the combination of red, green, and blue, or RGB. In contrast to the subtractive colors, these start with the lack of light, or a black object. Colorants or light sources add light wavelengths to the black object, thus this color system is termed “additive”.

It is difficult to compare the RGB and the CMYK color models since the processes involved are different. However, with the technologies available today, it is now possible to convert CMYK to RGB and vice versa. Yet, since these systems of color are not related, it is still impossible to replace one color with the other.

Irdeto

Irdeto refers to a type of encryption system which is primarily offered by a company known by the same name. This encryption system is used in satellite broadcasting systems. Broadcasting companies that incorporate the Irdeto system include those in countries such as South Africa and Australia.

Irdeto services cover a wide set of technologies. This encryption system provides digital content protection in mobile services, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), and digital television.

To perform encryption, Irdeto uses a conditional access system. This system enables legitimate subscribers to properly view the content they want. At the same time, the conditional access system of Irdeto prevents unauthorized individuals from viewing certain content. The latter is achieved by using a specific device which provides a set of secret keys. These secret keys scramble the signals, making them unreadable for devices that are not allowed to have access to the content.

Irdeto is available in two major packages:

  1. M-Crypt is intended for small and medium-sized digital broadcasting systems.
  2. PIsys is intended for digital broadcasting systems that offer numerous channels and those that have a much larger clientele.

The first version of Irdeto was used for a certain period of time; however, broadcasters noticed a set of vulnerabilities within the encryption system. These vulnerabilities enabled experienced users to pass through the digital protection service and illegally access content. Consequently, the developers of Irdeto revised the system and created Irdeto 2. This revision provides a higher security level and better technologies to detect unauthorized access.

HDTV Receiver

What is an HDTV receiver?

An HDTV or high definition TV receiver is a gadget that admits and decodes high definition television signals. Also known as HDTV tuner or HDTV decoder, it is a digital broadcasting system that features a higher resolution than the standard-definition television (SDTV).

An HDTV broadcast has to be paired with a high definition ready television in order to view high definition programs.

Requirements for an HDTV Receiver

Consider the following points before buying a receiver for HDTV:

  1. Most HDTV sold nowadays has an integrated receiver or tuner. However, if the HDTV does not indicate that it has a built-in receiver, it should indicate that it is not HD ready.
  2. HDTV requires HD signals to display pictures superior to those provided by STD channels. HD signals typically provided by:
    • Broadcasting on the air with an antenna. Some networks broadcast on the air in HD. An HDTV receiver is required to get this signal. Cable or satellite companies for televisions without a built-in HDTV receiver often provide a detachable HD tuner.
    • Cable TV companies
    • HDTV broadcast that is usually offered by cable television companies as an element of their digital broadcast service. A set-top box or a cable card issued by the cable company often receives HD signals from this source.
    • Video game schemes and digital set-top boxes that rely on internet connection.

    The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Apple TV are all capable of outputting an HD signal. Meanwhile, the Xbox Live Marketplace, iTunes Music Store, and the PlayStation Network services provide downloadable HDTV movies, shows, clips and movie trailers.

  3. HDTV receivers have different features that facilitate their use and functionality.
    • Most HDTV receivers allow an easy shift from HD broadcast to standard TV broadcast. However, some receivers require a manual shift between the two settings.
    • Some HDTV receivers have the ability to hook up various components to it. Ideal receivers for this feature are those that are fitted with outputs for HDMI (high definition multimedia interface), S-Video, and digital audio. This takes out the need for additional wires and cables for hooking up state-of-the-art multimedia and audio components.

HDTV

High-Definition Television, better known as HDTV, is a form of broadcasting system that has a higher resolution than traditional broadcasting systems. The use of HDTV became widespread because it uses less bandwidth and video compression.

Rise of High Definition TV

Although the MPEG-1 video standard was used in digital TV, it paved the way for more advanced TV standards. Over the years, there was a growth in large screens and projectors in the market and using these devices revealed the limitations of the SDTV technology.

However, an HDTV still requires a High Definition signal to produce superior picture.

To obtain signal, you can try the following:.

  • You can use an antenna, but this still requires an HD tuner. However, most HDTVs nowadays are already equipped with an HD tuner. If not, then you can purchase a High Definition tuner box from your cable or satellite company.
  • Most computer devices today come with either a DVI or HDMI interface that is required to produce images for an HDTV.
  • Most digital or cable companies offer their clients an HDTV set-top box so they can get the HDTV channels for free.

Advantages of HDTV

When it comes to quality, a High Definition television usually produces more quality pictures and images than the standard ones. This is due to the higher number of resolution lines; hence, there is a narrower scan line that is almost invisible to the eye. This results in a sharper image when the visual information is translated into your television sets.

You can also expect fuller sound capabilities because the HDTV video signal comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Disadvantages of HDTV

Although the concepts of HDTV technology sound quite pleasing, it is not often achieved in practice. The reason behind this is High Definition TV specifications are often not followed to a full extent. Some operators reduce the resolution to include more channels, thus sacrificing the quality of the video.

Since the technology in itself is very sensitive, you need to practice the appropriate use of cables. Unless you properly input the device or configure them in the way they were designed, you cannot expect optimum results.

DVD Decoder

A DVD decoder is a type of software used to uncompress or undo the encoding process done on media files in DVD discs. Common examples of media files stored in DVDs are full length movies and videos. DVD decoders enable DVD drives in computers to access these types of data.

DVD decoders perform a number of unique functions. Unlocking the copy protection of DVDs is the first. Copy protection is a security mechanism created and placed on DVDs by major film studios. This mechanism makes it difficult for users to copy the data on the DVD. Decoders can unlock the copy protection, which then enables DVD players to view the files. DVD decoders also recreate the data. Since most DVDs have encoded videos, the image quality of these files is oftentimes modified. By recreating the data, DVD decoders allow DVD players to display the original images of the video.

The type of DVD decoder needed normally depends on the data encoded in the disc. For instance, data Digital Theater System, or DTS, requires a decoder compatible with the said type of data. Also, DVD decoders may decode audio, video, or both. Almost all DVD decoders support MPEG-2 because it is the most popular video format.

DVD decoders generally need to be purchased. Most video formats require licensing; hence, royalties must be given to copyright owners before the data can be decoded. There are, however, DVD players that have decoding capabilities included in them.

Dish Network Satellites

Dish Network satellites are equipment that provide direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services. This service delivers satellite television, interactive television services, and audio programming. Among the companies that use this service is EchoStar Satellite.

These satellites are located in a geostationary orbit. This means that dish network satellites have a constant position that is relative to the surface of the earth.

Dish Network satellites offer a set of unique advantages to both the satellite television providers and subscribers. Dish Network satellites provide a set of wide geographic coverage for satellite services. This allows them to reach certain areas which other types of satellites cannot cover. They also allow systems to have significant downstream bandwidth. Furthermore, the network to which these satellites belong is can provide redundancy. This is important in maintaining the service in case a number of the satellites fail.

Many households and businesses use satellite television services provided by Dish Network satellites. This is because of the generally high quality of images transmitted by the said type of equipment. Dish Network satellites also enable viewers to enjoy numerous channels. Using the television services given by Dish Network satellites, individuals can have access to more than 250 channels. A number of these channels support High Definition Television, which gives higher resolution for much clearer shows. Moreover, new channels are added regularly. Also, the cost of Dish Network satellite services is relatively less expensive than other similar services.

DirecTV Satellites

DirecTV satellites are used for direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television service. These transmit television and audio signals via equipment orbiting in space. These satellites are placed in an orbit and have a constant position, which is determined in relation to the earth’s surface. DirecTV satellites are developed and maintained by DirecTV, Inc. The company services households in certain parts of the United States, the Caribbean, and in most Latin American countries.

DirecTV satellites use advanced telecommunications technologies for them to give quality broadcast services. Certain DirecTV satellites use intricate electronic systems, while the newer satellites use more advanced space systems to reach a wider set of customers. All these technologies add to the image and sound clarity of TV and audio programs offered by DirecTV satellites.

DirecTV satellites allow service providers to offer numerous regular channels and about a hundred HDTV (High Definition Television) channels to households and businesses. Apart from this, companies using DirecTV satellites also serve audio stations. DirecTV satellites delivers television and radio services not only to homes and business establishments, but also to cars, RV’s, boats, and aircrafts.

A device that receives signals from DirecTV satellites is aptly known as a DirecTV satellite dish. Television and radio programs are uplinked to the DirecTV satellite and are directly sent to the satellite dishes. This type of hardware can acquire signals from a DirecTV satellite at a specific number of degrees. Examples of these satellite dishes include the DirecTV Phase I satellite dish, DirecTV Phase II satellite dish, and DirecTV Phase III satellite dish.

Satellite Television

When a television is turned on, the broadcast station converts data into microwave signals, then sends them up to a satellite. These signals are retransmitted continually into a dish. The dish sends the microwave signals into a receiver with a broadband antenna to collect electromagnetic energy.

Depending on the receiver, the microwave signals are converted to analog, Digital or High-Definition frequencies, and signals. These ensure that the TVRO (a television receive-only earth station designed to only receive and not to transmit satellite communications) antenna has a clear view of each satellite. Any obstruction can absorb or reflect microwaves and subsequently lower the detected SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) and hinder the TV reception.

TI (Terrestrial Interference) is the direct interference from natural and unnatural antenna frequency. Interference, mainly from telephone companies’ microwave transmissions, causes signal loss and makes pictures unwatchable. Even water in deciduous trees is a particularly strong absorber of microwaves.

LNA (low-noise-amplifier) is the basic building block of every satellite system dish. If the LNA is poor, then even a 15 ft dish on Galaxy 1 won’t give a good picture. It is considered as the heart of the system. If the signal-to-noise ratio is allowed to drop too low or is “in the mud”, no level of amplification will improve the image. Having too much signal power is never a problem.

A feedhorn is a device that collects microwave signals reflected from the surface of an antenna. An LNA on the other hand, is a short piece of metal with varying shapes and sizes designed to effectively transfer the microwaves from the focal point (exact center) of a waveguide into the feedhorn.

To work adequately, the LNA must be correctly situated on the dish and attached properly to the feedhorn. Signals are routed through the feedhorn, which is the antenna of a satellite receiver, and into the LNA.

If the feedhorn is off the center, the LNA adds excessive noise or doesn’t add enough gain (input power often expressed as decibels), or the dish doesn’t add enough gain, no matter what happens after the LNA contact, the picture will not be clear once the signal from the receiver drops below 40%.

Once entered into LNA, the signals are amplified 100,000 times so that there would be enough signal to drive the RG cable, which connects the direct current into the receiver. These signals are at a level of about 120dBm. dBm is a ratio of power level used to indicate gains or losses of signals. The receiver converts these signals into the television either as digital or High-Definition frequencies to bring the viewers pictures and sound.

Widescreen

Widescreen is a term describing the aspect ratio of a monitor or television display. Some Standard Definition TVs (SDTV) and all High Definition TVs (HDTV)come in widescreen television formats. Widescreen-format images have an aspect ratio greater than 4:3, which stands for four units of width for three units of height. Widescreen HDTV is 16:9.

Widescreen-format monitors have recently entered the market. Most companies now opt to manufacture 16:10 aspect ratio models, virtually abandoning the 4:3 format.

Most motion pictures shown today are in the 16:9 format and are optimally viewed on a widescreen monitor or television. Picture displays on standard TVs have a 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning some parts of the image are cropped. Picture displays on widescreen TVs present the entire image. Widescreen is sometimes referred to as “letterbox” because of its rectangular shape.

Advantages

Widescreen format displays are optimal for computer playback due to the aspect ratio of modern DVDs and some TV programs. This display, compared to the 4:3 display, is closer to the aspect ratio of the common keyboard. This is important for laptops, where the total surface area of the device is limited.

Disadvantages

Some old programs, such as computer games, were created for full-screen monitors. The image becomes deformed when such programs are displayed on widescreen monitors.

Some older video drivers or graphics controllers cannot display widescreen resolutions. Images are usually stretched horizontally if a widescreen monitor is used with these graphic controllers. Video driver companies may add updates supporting widescreen resolutions, although this does not always occur.

Installing a more recent graphics controller supporting widescreen resolution or reconfiguring the widescreen monitor may allow the proper translation of the images to the widescreen format.

IPTV

IPTV refers to Internet Protocol Television, a technology that allows households and businesses to receive television programming through a broadband connection. It is a service that requires subscription. In addition to this, users need to have an IPTV set-top box to enjoy this technology.

IPTV presents several advantages over regular television. Interactive communication is the most unique quality of IPTV. Using Internet protocols for two-way communication, IPTV can allow viewers at home to directly participate in quiz shows aired by certain TV channels.

Another application is the picture-in-picture viewing. This feature gives viewers the ability to watch a particular event simultaneously in multiple angles. Picture-in-picture viewing also lets viewers browse through other channels while watching one main show.

IPTV also has options for the viewer to rewind, fast-forward, or pause the show he is watching. Furthermore, IPTV can enable digital video recorders or DVR’s to record more than one broadcast at the same time.

IPTV also supports remote programming. For example, if the user is in a meeting and his favorite TV show is about to start, he can simply use his mobile phone to remotely set the IPTV box to record the show.

Aside from this, other Web services can also be included along with IPTV. While the viewer is watching IPTV, he can receive e-mail alerts and instant messages. If a digital phone is packaged with IPTV, the user can see a caller ID window when someone calls.

IPTV may generally have a lower price compared to other similar services. This is because IPTV offers more efficient streaming of video and audio than other digital transmission technologies.

HDMI Cable

The HDMI cable carries audio, video, and other device-controlled (CEC) signals. The HDMI cable takes the place of tangled wires at the rear of the audio-video system and presents the single cable alternative.

The Simplified Connection

The availability of HDMI cable has significantly simplified the process of setting up the home theater systems, at the same time bringing top level performance to its users. HDMI can do this due to its liberal amount of bandwidth and speed. It, along with its variants, also carries at least eight digital channels of video and audio, resulting to a precise surround-sound.

The Cable

There are usually 19 wires wrapped inside a single cable, similar to a USB wire. This is the HDMI cable with a bandwidth of 5 gigabits per second, more than two times the needed bandwidth to convey multi-channels of audio and video.

Four versions have been released by HDMI. Each version uses the same 19-pin cable and connector.

There is another type known as type “B.” Type “B” has 29 wires. This is especially designed for the use of motion picture companies and other related applications.

The previous interfaces in video needed separate audio cables because the great majority of users had the standard analog RCA L/R audio jacks.

The Cable Length

Specifications do not define the maximum cable length but because of signal fluctuation, an upper limit can be established using the HDMI cable. The length of HDMI cable needed largely depends on the quality and materials of the device.

It is necessary to consider the thickness of a cable gauge, which is composed of the internal wires. For instance, if the internal wires of the HDMI cable are gauge 28, then you get the length of about 5 meters. Tougher cables with thicker 24-gauge wires will function well up to 15 meters.

However, these given figures are applicable only for ideal conditions. Many cables cannot efficiently transmit with these given lengths. If you require long cable lengths, a better alternative would be the CAT-5 cables which allows the HDMI to function at a length of 90 meters.

When purchasing cables, they don’t need to be expensive, but remember to get them from a quality manufacturer.

Additional Reading on HDMI Cable