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Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008
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Why are digital TV signals delayed?
I subscribe to satellite television. I recently upgraded my service on two of my televisions. They now receive high-definition programming. However, I have noticed something strange. The high-definition programming seems to be delayed five to eight seconds. I've noticed this when I have multiple sets on. Is this delay common? Do you know what causes it?
Television stations these days are broadcasting in both digital and analog. Digital delay occurs because it must be encoded by the broadcaster, then decoded at your home. Both ends cause a delay. Analog isn't encoded or decoded. So, it runs faster.
Most people don't notice this, because their TVs are all analog or digital. So why don't the broadcasters delay the analog and solve the problem? Analog will be phased out by most stations in February. So why put money into it?
In addition to decoding the digital signal, your television also buffers the video. It stores a set amount of frames before starting to play the video. (A buffer is an area of memory. Buffering is used when you watch my Video of the Day. As the video plays, a dot moves across the bottom of the video. An area ahead of the dot is filled, keeping the video playing. That is a buffer.)
The TV takes information from the frames before and after the insert, and uses that to create the new frame. This process, which is essentially high-tech guesswork, is called interpolation. (Interpolation is the opposite of extrapolation. You learned that in calculus, right?)
Your television needs to see both frames bracketing the interpolated frame. Otherwise, it can't guess the content of the interpolated frame. Buffering aids in that process.
Still awake? Let's move on. I have more thrilling info on buffers!
Every day, Team Komando produces some of the best content you'll find anywhere on the Internet. Here is a sampling of what's new on our site today!
• Only 5 More Days to Enter: Enter today to win great prizes in my Great Giveaway Sweepstakes! Head on over to giveaway.komando.com and enter online to win today's online prize—a $200 Epson Artisan 800 All-In-One Printer. The Artisan 800 excels at everyday photo and document printing, copying, scanning and faxing needs. Enter every day online for more chances to win daily prizes and our Grand Prize drawing, too!
• Video of the Day: The ancient world is filled with wonders. But would you believe in an ancient computer? This Greek invention is amazing.
• Cool Site of the Day: National Geographic has some amazing photos. Now, you have the chance to appear in National Geographic magazine!
• Digital Minute, on your radio: It's time for year-end lists! Google has just released 2008's top search terms. And they will surprise you!
• Free Download of the Day: It's great having tons of photos on your computer. But organizing and searching through them isn't easy.
• Tip on the site: Are you looking for an HDTV this Christmas? Which is better, an LCD or plasma screen? I can help you answer that question.
Tomorrow's Tip, in your e-mail: Saving electricity with your computer
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