A look at the latest in HDTVsAlso: ■ SD cards for cameras
By Marc Saltzman
Q: I’ve heard about some new features in
HDTV: LED lighting and Internet access. Can
you explain them?
A: With technology evolving at such a rapid pace,
buying a new TV can be an intimidating proposition. After all, no one wants to invest in a high-def-inition television (HDTV) that’ll be outdated by the
time you take it home and plug it into the wall.
Complicating matters is all the confusing jargon
thrown around: 1080p, HDMI, ATSC, 240Hz, Blu-ray. Huh? You probably—and justifiably—feel like
you need a degree in electrical engineering just to
understand it all.
And now we have two new terms to learn: LED
backlighting and Internet apps, commonly called
widgets. Don’t worry, I can help.
Until recently, plasma TVs where generally considered better than LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs
when it came to displaying the blackest blacks. But
LCDs are improved with something called LED
backlighting. LED stands for light-emitting diodes.
Many LCD TV makers are now placing LEDs
behind the liquid crystals (instead of fluorescent
backlights, also known as cold cathode fluorescent
lamps, or CCFLs), resulting in darker blacks, as well
as increased brightness and more vivid colors. When
an older, fluorescent-backlit LCD TV displays black,
by comparison, it might be closer to a grayish hue
LED-backlit TVs tend to cost more than regular
LCD TVs, sure, but this feature is well worth the
price if you can afford it. Plus, these televisions are
generally thinner, are more energy efficient than
non-LED LCD TVs and don’t have mercury.
You might also see LCD TVs with “edge-lit
LED,” which refers to light-emitting diodes arranged
around the edge of the screen, which also results in
a very thin profile. Some companies claim that
when it comes to image quality, these televisions
aren’t on par with full-LED-backlit TVs.
Concerning Internet access, you might have
seen Internet apps or widgets advertised on newer
televisions. This term refers to a graphic icon on the
screen that you can click to play content ranging
from You Tube videos and Flickr or
Picasa photo galleries to local weather,
news, sports updates and stock quotes.
Q: My camera takes photos and video, but I
often run out of space on the memory card.
Can I add a bigger card?
A: You’re probably aware that the most popular type
of flash memory used in digital cameras is called
secure digital (SD), a postage-stamp-size card that
slips into the bottom or side of the camera and stores
the photos and videos. These cards are referred to as
“secure” because a switch along the side can prevent
an accidental deletion of the files housed within.
You might have seen this memory advertised as
“SDHC” cards, which stands for secure digital high
capacity. These cards offer high capacities (which
means they are capable of storing more files), typically between 4 and 32 gigabytes (GB). Most SD
cards max out at 2 GB. SDHC cards are faster, too.
Before buying SDHC memory, make sure your
camera or camcorder supports these cards. It should
say in the manual, on the box or on the camera’s
Web site. C
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? E-mail them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
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Costco offers a selection of HDTVs featuring the
new LED backlighting technology in the warehouses and online at Costco.com. Also available
are SD cards in a variety of sizes. These products
are protected by Costco Concierge, Costco’s free
a leading high-tech
reporter, contributes to
more than three dozen
prominent publications, appears on radio
and TV, and is the
author of 14 books.
FEBRUARY 2010 ;e Costco Connection 15