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Wow! A Lot of questions! Let's start by looking at those confusing HDTV definitions and then we'll look at how the signals are received from your DVD player or Cable box.
Basic, old fashioned TV (the kind you might have bunny ear antennas behind) are 480i. The 480 means that there are 480 lines of "light" hitting the screen of your TV from behind (counting from bottom to top). Now let's call the very bottom-most line, line 1, the one above line 2 and so on, okay?
The i indictor, you are quite right, means "interlaced". The problem with old analogue TV signals is that they can't carry very much data at one time (they have a small "bandwidth"), which makes it difficult to reliably get 480 lines of data to your TV at once. Instead, they actually only broadcast half of the signal, (lines 1, 3, 5, etc) and then right after that the other half (line 2, 4, 6 etc) in a separate transmission. If your TV keeps alternating the picture between odd and even lines fast enough, you don't see much of a difference. It is therefore interlacing the two separate pictures of 240 line each.
naturally this means that the other type of indicator, p (which stands for progressive), simply means that the device is showing you all of the lines all of the time. That is to say instead of updating lines 1, 3, 5 and then 2, 4, 6, it updates 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, which makes for a much smoother looking picture, especially when your are watching something with a lot of fast movement like an action movie.
The screen resolution will also tell you the number of lines on the TV screen (in your example of 1920 x 1080 this would be a resolution of 1080 lines).
There are three "defintions" for TV types, Standard Definition (SD), Enhanced Definition (ED) and High Definition (HD). SD simply means 480i (480 lines, not all shown at once). ED means 480p (480 lines, all seen at once). You will very rarely see ED as a TV feature anymore, and I think most people on this board would strongly recommend against even looking at an ED set. So, anything that's left (anything with more than 480 lines) is considered HD.
Therefore because progressive is the best way to deliver a signal and 1080 lines is the highest number of lines in use today, a 1080p TV will future proof you and provide the highest quality picture options. These are getting so cheap now that unless you are looking for a real budget unit I wouldn't buy anything else.
For a long time LCD and Plasma HDTVs only came in 720p (unless you had LOTS of money to burn), but more and more 1080p sets are now out there, and at very reasonable prices, almost all projection TVs produced new now are 1080p.
Now let's move onto how we get that HD picture to your TV. Just like music, your picture quality will only be as good as your weakest component. If you are listening to an old audio cassette, it doesn't make much difference how expensive your sound setup is, you are not going to get great quality music. The same is true of TV.
People generally get their TV one of 3 ways, Cable, Satellite or the Free over-the-air kind.
All of these ways of receiving TV offer HD content (they broadcast a digital signal that can carry HD information, separate to the analogue signal that older TVs pick up). Most cable and sat providers can rent you an "HD Box" that will allow you access their HD content.
They may broadcast some shows in 720 lines, but most now come in 1080i. You should beware that in order to "save space" both cable and satellite providers compress their HD signals. Decompressing these signals for you to see is what their "HD Box" is doing (just like ZIPing a computer file). You will inevitably lose some picture quality due to this compression process but for most people the difference is minimal. Just a side note, an HD satellite signal is typically less heavily compressed than its cable cousin.
You can watch a 1080 signal on a 480 digital set if you want but you will of course lose some of the detail. Likewise, you can watch a 480 broadcast on a 1080 set. In this case your TV actually has a small "brain" inside it, which creates new lines to make a full 1080 image (it looks at the colors above and below the line it is creating and guesses what should go in the middle). This process is called "up-scaling". If you are going to be watching a lot of regular DVDs (which are in 480p as long as you have a "Progressive Scan" DVD player) then how well the TV up-converts should be a key question you want answered before you buy.
You dont need to worry at all about NTSC versus ATSC versus QAM. NTSC is the name given to the way US broadcasts manage color in the picture. ATSC is simply the name of the council of people who set the rules for HDTV (so that you can buy any brand HDTV and it will work with any HD signal) and QAM is simply a way to modulate the signal to fit more data into the same signal. All HDTVs will use QAM and comply with ATSC.
Finally your question on "Media Connectivity". This simply means it has a lot of plugs in the back and front... that's it. It means you can connect it to a standard digital connection with a Digital Coax Cable, or through an HDMI cable or to a computer with DVI etc. Often you can plug a USB thumb drive or your digital cameras memory card right into the TV to view pictures on them as well....
Although 1080p sets can play up to 1080p signals, there are no broadcasts out there in any definition better than 1080i right now (and due to bandwidth restrictions, there wont be for some time yet). However your 1080p ability comes into play with the new High Definition DVD formats (HD DVD and Blu Ray DVD). These both send out a 1080p signal, for the best picture quality possible.
In short, when you are in the store, look at any 1080p TV. If you are looking at it in a store try to see if they can show you a standard 480 signal on it as well as HD to see how it handles both types of signal.
I hope this helps!
Submitted by: gingaskunk
Now its all explained.
Ok, lets start with the resolutions/outputs.
480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p all refer to the second half (the smaller number) of the resolution, so both 1080i and 1080p would display the resolution 1,920x1,080.
P. vs. I.
As you quite rightly said before P stands for progressive and I for Interlaced.
With I, the image is made up of horizontal lines, these lines are then dived by two (ever other, not top and bottom) and the information for these lines is spread over two frames of the video, this saves on storage space, and makes is easier on broadcasting companies, but with decoding of the interlaced video or fast moving scenes you'll see the horizontal lines.
Progressive scan on the other hand, each frame has a complete image which it displays, this more powerful hardware to display it without stutters and requires a lot more storage space, but the image is always good.
Compatibility: You said its compatible with NTSC, if your from the USA then thats fine, don't worry about the others because everything you play will be encoded in NTSC.
Media Connectivity: is quite simply a word used to say the input jacks on the rear and side or front panels. Nowadays with HDTV's theres a lot more connections to think about. Theres you old S-Video, Scart, and RGB, these are fine for standard definition video. However for HD video you'll need to use, HDMI, Component, (VGA, DVI these two are PC connectors). HDMI is one large plug (much smaller than Scart though) this will provide the best in video quality allowing you to watch in full 1080p with any interference as it is digital. Component has 5 jacks, 2 for sound and 3 for the image, i believe this will only allow for 1080i but i am not sure, and as the signal is apologue you may pick up interference.
And now for one other thing you may need to know but did not ask.
Contrast ratio: This is quite simply how black the blacks are and how white the whites are. So the higher the ratio the better the image. 1:500 no thanks, 1:3,000 yes please.
I hope this helps and, have fun with your new TV when you buy it.
Submitted by crog_bad
Nat C. True HD Resolution comes in 4 flavors. 720i, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. The 720s represent pixel dimensions that are 720x1280 and the 1080's are represented by 1080x1920. The letter "p" and "i" represent 2 things frame rate and interlacing. Interlaced video is always 30 frames per second (29.97 fpr NTCS) and has 2 fields per frame or 60 fields per second. These fields are developed from scan lines which represent every other line. All you need to know though is interlacing, because of the fields is more akin to a little better than the progressive resolution below it. So 1080i is similar though slightly better than 720p. That is why most 720p TVs also support 1080i resolution. Now regrading 480i and 480p those are what are called Standard Definition or DVD resolution.
From a practical standpoint. 1080p is the best, but you only really need to buy a tv with that high resolution if you intend to buy a Blue Ray or HD DVD player. Both will display 1080p, otherwise nothing else (other than a PS3 and an XBOX 360) will display 1080p. TV shows via cable or ATSC (I'll get into that next) are always 1080i, 720p, or a Standard Definition. The TV station chooses to broadcast at what ever the resolutions they decide. The Tuners NTSC ATSC and QAM, all are differnent animals. NTSC is the "standard" over the air signals. Like the ones you get with rabbit ears. Interestingly enough, they now have ATSC tuners which also use rabbit ears, but they can receive and HD signal (for free of you local channels). So both of those tune signals from the "air waves" like NTSC. QAM tuning is the ability for your TV to accept a cable signal without a settop box. If you don't have NTSC and ATSC tuners you may not beable to get a signal from the cable box either.
Media Connectivity usually refers to the multitude of connections that your TV can have, like multiple HDMI ports(what you use to connect HD devices to your TV) as well as computer VGA ports so you can use your tv as a monitor.
I hope this covers everything.
Submitted by orbital318
Screen Resolution is just the beginning for HDTV
My response to your questions is in somewhat reverse order but I think I covered the bases. This is a complicated topic to make simple in a few paragraphs but here we go.
Televisions since 1948 have worked in what is called analog mode with the standard for broadcast known as NTSC being used mainly in the U.S. and Canada. Other countries had other standards. The U.S. TV industry has wanted to move to a digital transmission mode since the late 1980s. The newly developed (1996) digital standard for TV broadcast is called ATSC and specifies virtually everything about a broadcast signal via radio waves, satellite, cable and within the TV studio itself. ATSC is used in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and Honduras and is being considered by some other countries. Other countries use other standards (Japan had the first one in the mid 1980s). QAM is an error correction scheme necessary to transmit all the digital data over a cramped TV bandwidth with no errors. It is a must for Cable reception and its addition means you wont need a set top box with your cable TV HDTV programs
So you need NTSC capability to watch conventional TV until February of 2009 when the government has decreed that analog TV signals will cease. You need ATSC capability to watch HDTV (digital high def) programs, which are being broadcast more and more. You need QAM to error correct signals for both over the air broadcast and especially for receiving cable TV HDTV without a converter box.
Media Connectivity refers to the ability to send computer stored pictures, audio and movies to your television and have them displayed correctly usually over an Ethernet connection. Most people other than tech geeks like me wont use this feature.
ATSC has a collection of screen resolution possibilities for its HDTV standard. This came as a result of much argument in the committee on whose transmission system would prevail so the committee made several screen resolutions part of the same standard. Numbers like 480, 720 and 1080 refer to the number of horizontal lines of resolution in the picture. The higher the number, the finer the detail shows in the picture.
Since 1080 lines was a hard thing to produce in 1996, the scheme of interlacing 2 separate 540-line pictures together was adopted. One of the 540-line pictures is displayed and then immediately another one is displayed but slightly shifted down. This tricks the human eye into believing that one complete 1080 line image has been displayed. This technique has been used with conventional TV and computer monitors for years. That explains the 1080i notation, the i standing for interlaced. Some people feel that there is a flicker associated with interlacing and that action scenes tend to be more smeared as a result. 480i isnt used by anyone for HDTV to my knowledge but it is part of the standard nonetheless. It would consist of two 240-line pictures being interlaced.
720p stands for 720 lines being progressively displayed and that means no interlacing. The latest TVs that are out today can display 1080p or 1080 lines progressively scanned with no interlacing. Most TV stations are broadcasting in either 720p or 1080i. Nobody currently is broadcasting in 1080p because it uses too much bandwidth. That doesnt mean that they wont in the future but they will have to come up with a new scheme to do it. Current 1080p televisions take the two 540-line interlaced signals and combine them to form a 1080 line picture and then display it twice to give a nice crisp effect.
One other point to consider is How does a 720p broadcast get displayed on a TV that is set up for 1080p lines of resolution? They do it with very sophisticated electronics that up-convert the signal by duplication of certain lines to create the higher resolution. By the same token a 1080i signal must be down-converted to 720p for a set of that resolution. This is where a quality TV can make a big difference with the right electronics.
Another consideration is plasma vs. LCD. Plasma was the king for many years in larger HDTV sets (50 in. and up) but is being surpassed in sales by LCD today even in the larger sets. Today there are way more 1080p LCD sets on the market than 1080p plasma. Salesmen like to sell the more expensive 1080p sets even though nobody broadcasts in this mode yet. Plasma sets have a shiny screen that causes glare but I think the picture looks sharper. LCD screens are almost glare free but the picture looks softer to me. Also watch a very fast action DVD and you will see more smear on an LCD than you will on a plasma. The old bugaboo about plasma sets burning in a logo is not true any more because the electronics now corrects for those issues. Life expectancy on a plasma is about 20 years. Life expectancy on the fluorescent bulb that lights up your LCD display is about 6 to 10 years and you had better count on replacing it. The LCD set itself will last forever. I dont currently care for the rear projection sets because their brightness varies with the viewing angle. Too much to the side or standing up and you lose brightness. Plasma is best in wide viewing angles but recent LCDs also have a wide viewing angle.
Go into the store and look at a 720p side by side with a 1080p on the same size screen running the same picture. Be sure the picture is a HDTV signal and preferably a live sports event because they look the best. Note the depth of the color. Consider your house windows and reflections that may occur. Stand the distance away that you will be sitting at home and see if you can tell a difference. Choose accordingly. Purchase it and dont second-guess your choice. Get it home and be sure to watch real HDTV sources, not the old cable TV you have had for 30 years or you wont be happy.
Submitted by retiredtech
In the 1980s, the ATSC (Advanced Television System Committee)
was formed to move TV forward. Many years later (1996), the
ATSCs recommendations for a digital-television system were
adopted by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission the
folks who set standards for TV broadcasts, regulate phone companies,
and fine Howard Stern). ATSC standards use newer-than-1953
technology to give you TV like youve never had before:
Widescreen images like those in the movies
* Greater detail up to six times more detail
* Sharper images
* Smoother, more filmlike images with no video flicker
* All digital, with none of the ghosts and other image problems
found in analog TV
HDTV (and digital TV, DTV, in general there are some digital TV
variants that are not high-definition, and we discuss them in this
section) is all about giving you a bigger and better picture, better
audio, and generally making your TV-watching experience more
like a movie-watching experience. In fact, at its best, HDTV is so
realistic that its often described as looking through a window
as if youre really there, not just watching a program.
There are three essential concepts to understand when you are
comparing different video standards:
Resolution: the number of individual picture elements that
make up a TV image. The higher the resolution, the more
detailed the image, and the sharper the image will appear.
Resolution is defined by one of two factors:
* Lines (the number of left-to-right lines the TV can display).
CRT-based TVs (tube TVs) are rated this way.
* Pixels (the number of pixels across the screen times the
number up and down). Fixed-pixel displays (plasmas,
LCDs, DLPs and the like) are rated this way.
Scan Type comes in two forms:
* Interlaced scan: These TV images are created by lighting
up every other row of horizontal lines on the screen
one instant, and then going back through and lighting
the remainder of the lines in the next instant. It happens
so fast that your eye cant really tell its happening.
* Progressive scan: These systems light all the horizontal
lines in the same instant, which can make the image
seem smoother and more like film (or real life).
Aspect Ratio (the shape of your TV picture):
* Traditional TVs have a 4:3 aspect ratio (screen shape).
This means that for every 4 units of measure across the
screen, you have 3 units of screen height. For example, if
the screen is 12 inches wide, it will be 9 inches high.
* HDTVs have a 16:9 aspect ratio which makes the
screen relatively much wider for the same height, compared
to a 4:3 TV. Most movies are widescreen (16:9, or
even wider), so HDTVs can display most movies without
the annoying letterbox black bars on the top and
bottom of the screen. Figure 1-1 compares aspect ratios.
There isnt a single HDTV standard out there. Instead, ATSC
contains many different TV standards (with different resolutions,
aspect ratios, and scan types) 18, in fact. Some of these standards
are truly HDTV; most are not. In the real world, you will deal with
four standards when you try to watch TV content on your HDTV.
The two primary HDTV standards are these:
* 720p: This provides 720 lines of resolution with progressive
scan (hence the p). By comparison, NTSC has less than 480
lines of resolution. 720p uses a 16:9, a widescreen aspect ratio.
* 1080i: This variant (the highest resolution within the ATSC
standard) uses interlaced scanning, but provides 1080 lines of
resolution. 1080i is also widescreen, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The p and i is defined by the TV signal type.
There is actually a higher HDTV variant in the ATSC standard
1080p, which is a progressive scan variant of 1080i. Only a few
HDTV projectors (in the $40,000 and above price range) can handle
this variant, and we know of no material that is broadcast or otherwise available as 1080p. So dont worry about it.
True HDTV performance requires at least 720p performance. If a
TV program, movie, or other content is not at least 720p (either
720p or 1080i), it is not HDTV. If a TV cant display at least 720 linesof resolution, it is not HDTV-capable.
If a salesperson tries to tell you that an inexpensive plasma set,
regular DVD, regular digital cable, or regular satellite TV is HDTV
just because its digital, its not so.
Not all HDTV signals are equal across all providers. When the
signal is sent from its source to you, it is usually compressed to
cut costs and bandwidth requirements. How much the signal is
compressed and what digital encoding scheme is used
determines a lot about what you see on your HDTV.
MPEG-2 is the standard used by digital-TV broadcasters today to
compress, encode, and then ultimately decode the TV programs.
This is necessary because there is not an unlimited amount of
space available on the cable, satellite, and broadcast-TV networks
for transmitting these signals.
So suppose an over-the-air broadcast TV signal starts out its life at
the central network hub as a 1920-by-1080i signal. This signal can
first be encoded for broadcast at a rate of around 995 Mbps. By the
time it is sent to you over the air, its compressed to a mere
18Mbps signal. Thats a lot of compression, but the picture still
If the station chooses to compress that signal a little more, say
down to 13 or 14 Mbps to make room for other channels in the
same signal, then the compression is even greater. We can tell you
that the difference between an 18Mbps and a 14Mbps signal is
indeed noticeable, especially when the programming contains a lot
of motion. And dont forget, once the signal enters your HDTV set,
it will probably encounter another round of downward resolution
as it tries to put the original 1080i image on, say, a 720p TV set.
Satellite providers also have similar compression challenges.
Transponder space (the satellite-located transmission systems) is
so expensive that compression is required for everything. Popular
channels are typically encoded at 15 Mbps or more before they
go to the satellite operators. Depending on the available satellite
bandwidth (could be 24 MHz or 36 MHz, which yields 27 Mbps
and 40.44 Mbps of bandwidth respectively), satellite operators
can compress these 15Mbps signals down to 13.5 Mbps, so they
can cram two or three HDTV streams on these satellite signals,
Cable operators have about the same options with the two major
digital-cable modulation schemes in use today 64QAM , which
offers a max bandwidth of 27.7 Mbps, and 256QAM, which has 38.8
Mbps available. QAM is a type o cable tuner. They can compress the signals further, and cram more channels into each signal, or they can offer higher-quality signals as a way of competing better in the market. After all, the 38.8Mbps rate of the cable companies is twice the bandwidth per signal compared to the 19.4Mbps data rate of the broadcast TV folks so they can send two HDTV streams for each single HDTV stream that the over-the-air stations can send.
Cable companies have to deal with the sheer number of places
where the signals are converted from digital to analog and back.
Signals start out as digital, but may be converted to analog composite
by the distributor. The signal is converted to a digital composite
(that is, component) signal by the recipient cable operator.
Then, as its fed into the TV display unit, the signal is converted to
one of several types of video signal: analog component, S-video, or
composite. TVs that take in digital signals via digital interfaces can
reduce some of this conversion as can improvements in signal
distribution between the broadcasters and the operators.
In a nutshell, do not settle for anything less than the following:
HDTV (not EDTV or HD-ready or Digital TV etc.)
1920 x 1080
most HDTV's have built in HD Tuners so dont worry about this
Submitted by kentpaul_65102
Reply to Nat C.'s question
As an Engineering Supv. for a broadcast TV station, maybe I can help. Let's start with "basic" TV. For years, TV as we've known it is analog - based on the rules written by the NTSC many years ago. This is your analog, 525 line off the air/analog cable signal. Then comes along DTV and HDTV. These were developed by a committee called the ATSC - Advanced Television Standards Committee. Let it be said now, DTV ( Digital TV ) is not necessarily HDTV ( High Definition) TV. The F.C.C. mandated that over the air TV stations needed to have a *DTV* signal on the air by May 1, 2002. Many didn't and came later.
A DTV signal of 480i is (more or less) the equivalent of your analog NTSC stereo signal. ( 1 STANDARD DEFINITION video signal w/ vertical interval things like C.C., AMOL, etc. + 2 channels of audio). 480 is lines, i means interlaced - just like NTSC. There are actually 18 standards defined in the ATSC rules, but only a few are used.
The ATSC said the DTV signal *COULD* contain an HDTV signal. Over the air broadcasts are mainly 2 types - 720p (ABC, FOX, ) and 1080i (CBS,NBC,PBS - at least in my neck of the woods). 720p is a 720 line progressive scanned picture. 1080i is a 1080 line *interlaced* picture.
There are no 1080p over the air broadcast signals. ( then why do the sell sets that do 1080p? - hang on a bit! )
Which is better?
Both have pro's and con's. Here is my short answer. 1080i looks better - it has more lines. It looks better in movies, and things with more static scenes. 720p looks nice, but not as nice as 1080i, but when it comes to sports like football, baseball, and my fav NASCAR give me 720p anyday. There is much less macroblocking going on in a *busy* picture with 720p than 1080i - and it's pretty simple.
720p has less lines, therefore needs less compression, which leads to less macroblocks..
Are these switchable? No. The station or cable network determines which format you get.
So on to your receiver question. If money is no concern - go for the best 1080p. These are now out on the market. *But you said nobody broadcasts 1080p*!! Right, however the new Blue-Ray and HD DVD will come in 1080p formats.
If money is a concern ( for most of us, it is ) it really comes down to what you want to watch and dollars. I have a Sony 1080i capable set - projection, bought in 2002. It still looks pretty good. I also have a off brand $500 32" LCD that does 720p. Both look good in there own ways. When you have a monitor like the 720p, it will downconvert 1080i signals to 720p. And it looks just fine - however you will only get the resolution of 720.
Now on to your last question. We know NTSC, ATSC and you ask about QAM. Forget NTSC and lets back up to ATSC. (DTV). Digital televison is digital right? Well, yes and no. When it comes down to the RF signal coming down the coax into your house delivered by whatever means - off the air, cable, sat, etc. the signal at this point is ANALOG. ( I see the flaming replies now ). It is ANALOG. Unlike NTSC TV which is a video signal with a modulated chroma signal ( a sinewave a 3.58MHz) Digital TV is a WHOLE BUNCH OF SINE WAVES MODULATED REPRESENTING DIGITAL LEVELS.
QAM - This is quadrature amplitude modulation. QAM is WIDELY used by cable systems for delivery of digital cable. There are various forms of QAM.. 16 QAM, 256 QAM, etc. This means the signal is modulated ( changed ) in the quadrature (phase) and amplitude ( voltage -example ) at the same time.
The way I describe this signal to people to simplify it is a good old "SLINKY". Remember the SLINKY TOY?? The toy that went down steps.
If you hold a slinky out in front of you and pull it apart it looks like a SINE WAVE . This could represent one type of modulation ( commonly known as FM ). Now if you take that slinky and turn it 90 degrees towards you, it now looks like a circle. Now it would be easy to define 4 distinct values on this circle.
North, East, South, West. 4 Data points. Now if you rotate it 45 degrees back you now can see that these 4 data points can hold a lot more than 4 points on a circle - but 4 points on a circle on a sine wave that varies in time. Here is how all the *digital* information is transmitted.
QAM might be one slinky.. 64 QAM might be 4 slinky's down a pipe. Get the picture?
Over the air DTV is 8VSB. There is VSB, 2VSB, 8VSB, etc. VSB is essentially slinky's again - but different a bit..
There is something else called OFDM or COFDM.. - in other words it is a way to modulate an analog carrier to transport digital information.
Again, back to your question. If it says the set will pick up NTSC, ATSC, and QAM - that means it will receive traditional analog TV, DTV and Digital Cable signals ( in the CLEAR SIGNALS NOW - ).
Submitted by vintonalan
First let me say that if your TV supports all those modes including 1080P then you are pretty much set for the future. As a practical matter, these designations tell you how many lines of resolution and how many at a time are displayed. For instance, 720P (what most all major network HD broadcasts are done in) would indicate 720 horizontal lines displayed progressively (all lines updated every 1/60th of a second.) On the other hand, say you are watching something in 1080i; that would mean 1,080 horizontal lines displayed with interlacing. To understand interlacing, basically think of each horizontal line numbered 1 through 1080. With interlacing, the odd numbered lines are updated in the first 1/60th of a second, the evens the next 60th, then the odds again, and so on. So even though you are seeing all the 1,080 lines, you are seeing really just 540 at any given time but it goes so quick you can't tell the difference. A general rule is that progressive scan is better for action like sporting events where every line is updated at the same time. Interlaced viewing of a fast action image such as movie or sport will sometimes lead to ghosting or blurring of the image.
I suppose after reading the previous paragraph it sort of goes without saying that the i or p broadcast is determined by the station. Most major network broadcasts (ESPN, ABC, etc...) are broadcast in 720p. The only reason so far to have 1080p support is for HD or Blu-Ray movies. Those will support 1080p resolution as well as 7.1 surround sound.
As for support for NTSC, ATSC, and QAM, those are all fine.
NTSC is the National Television Standards Committee who regulates the analog TV for mostly the US but also Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and some other countries.
ATSC is the Advanced Television Systems Committee who regulates the digital TV standards and will eventually replace the NTSC as all broadcasts go digital. It is currently adopted by the US, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Honduras, and is being considered by many other countries.
QAM stands for quadrature amplitude modulation, the way a digital signal is encoded and transmitted over your cable. If you have support for this then it is possible in certain areas to get unscrambled digital broadcasts without a set-top box. Mostly that relates to local stations, but sometimes those are scrambled as well if your cable provider deems those as stations that would cost extra. Even if they are scrambled, depending on your cable provider, you can possibly get a CableCARD that would be inserted into your TV and unscramble the channels, thus allowing you to receive all the content without having another box to turn on.
Media connectivity usually refers to the ability of a TV to read and display pictures or other items from a flash USB drive or even memory card such as SD or Memory Stick. In my opinion, media connectivity is only useful if you have pictures you want to show your famliy but don't want them to huddle around the computer screen. I personally just make a slideshow and burn it to DVD with music and transitions, but that's my preference.
Submitted by Fenix6372