With new High Definition technology and Blu-ray about to replace DVD's, it's about time you get rid of that old tube TV you got back in 1990, and upgrade to an HDTV. When going from a big bulky tube TV to a nice slim flat screen HDTV, there are a couple things you need to know to make sure you pick out the best one. Picking out the wrong HDTV can not only be bad for you home, but your wallet too. Here are some 'need to know tips' when buying your first HDTV.
LCD, Plasma or DLP?
That is right! There are 3 different types of HDTV on the market right now. Which one you choose is completely up to you, but picking the wrong one can make you want to run right back to that big box you used to call a TV. So lets go over the pros and cons of each type.
DLP (Digital Light Processing)
If you are looking for the biggest TV possibly then DLP is what you're looking for. DLP's are usually over 50 inches and run all the way up to 73 inches. They don't hurt your pockets either, a 61-inch LED backlit only runs about $1900. It is an unwritten rule that if your looking for a set over 50 inches you go with DLP. They have great blacks, so bad contrast is not a problem. If you pick up an LED-backlit model, they are better on color accuracy and have a longer life span then a light-bulb-based DLP.
Now don't get me wrong, these TVs are not perfect. The biggest thing to think about when buying a DLP is placement. With DLP the viewing angle must be spot on. If you are sitting directly in front of the TV, the picture can't be beat. If you are sitting in your favorite recliner off to the side or your kids are sitting on the floor you won't be able to see anything. So if you buy a DLP you need to think about where it is going to be placed.
Furthermore DLP TVs can be lighter then a plasmas or LCDs, they are bulkier and will not work with wall mounts. So mounting a DLP on your wall is out of the question.
The major reason to think Plasma is that it beats any overpriced LCD in blacks, blur-free motion, and contrast. Plasma can also be found in any size you can find an LCD, usually between 32-50 inches. Plasma HDTV's have quickly become the most popular type of HDTV. Old issues of burn-in and short life span are no longer a problem. Newer plasmas have a life span of about 60,000 hours and have new technology to prevent burn in.
A bad thing about Plasma is that they use a crazy amount of energy. They use about twice the amount of power that an LCD would. They are also a tad bit heavier and a little more expensive then a LCD. When buying a Plasma TV you really have to think about how much your willing to spend for a TV and keep in mind your electric bill.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
If you are looking for a HDTV that is 42 inches or smaller, then LCD is your default choice. They are a lot lighter and thinner then any other HDTV made today. They are also much cheaper and use less power, but remember you get what you pay for. If you have a very brightly lit living room, then LCD is your best bet. They tend to be the brightest. An LED-backlit LCD can give you almost Plasma like picture but are way over priced.
LCD can't deliver on blacks or contrast like a Plasma HDTV can. When you are looking for an LCD be sure to check for response time. 6ms is as low as you would want to go and unfortunately that is what most LCD response times are. You want and try to look for a 4ms; it will be a little pricier but would help with motion blur.
720p vs. 1080p
Here's the thing when it comes to 720p or 1080p. Picking between the two all depends on how big the HDTV is, and how far away you plan on sitting. If you are going to buy an HDTV 40 inches or under, you most likely can't tell the difference. Anything bigger then 40 inches you have to be thinking of how far away you will be viewing your TV. If you picked up a 42' 1080p you should be sitting six feet away for the HDTV, seven feet for a 50' 1080p set. If you plan on having the HDTV further away then that I would think about picking up a 720p HDTV at a cheaper price.
Now that you have you an HDTV picked out; there are a couple more things to take into consideration. HDMI cables are a must! An HDMI cable brings that high definition signal to your TV and can greatly cut down the amount of wires you have tucked away behind your TV.
If you buy your HDTV at a Best Buy or Wal-Mart they are going to offer you a warranty. Don't bother! Plasmas and LCDs have a low risk of breaking. Most of the time, things that do go wrong can be fixed under the manufacture's warranty.
Stand or wall mount?
If you want to take the easy, but more expensive route then grab a nice stand. If you go for the wall mount you'll need to be careful. Weight plays a big part in this. With mounting to a wall, you have to bolt into wall studs. If these studs don't hold it could result in a television tragedy. If the studs do hold then the only concern is finding a place to hide all the wires hanging from the TV. I recommend the stand; it's safer and easer.
Often overlooked is transportation. If you pick up your new HDTV form a department store, remember that the box your TV comes in is much larger then the TV itself. So seek a friend or relative with a truck or van if necessary.
Finally as technologically advanced as these televisions are, no matter what model you choose, the display will only look as nice as what is fed into it. There is a reason that all of the stores you will shop in will have HDTV's running a satellite feed, the picture is just flat better quality than anything a filtered cable feed would provide. Also, if you have just invested in an HDTV, my guess is that you are going to want the most HD programming you can get, Dish Network is the industry leader with over 140-channels and aggressive promotions that will save you some money.
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