If you’re looking to build a high-end home theater set-up then this
article is not for you. However, if you’re family man or someone on a
budget, and don’t care too much about the details, then read on.
I’m in the market for a new TV thanks to Uncle Sam. Ever since my [awesome] wife gave me permission to splurge on a new HDTV, I’ve been knee deep researching things like 720p, 1080i, 1080p, LCD, plasma, HDMI, contrast ratio and many more terms that can make your head swim.
If you’ve done any research into the HDTV world, you have no doubt
noticed that finding a good, informative site is like looking for a
needle in a haystack. So many sites just regurgitate the same
information that can be found on the OEM’s websites. In my research,
I’ve some across some great sites and some practical advice that will
help you when trying to make an educated HDTV purchase.
LCD Versus Plasma
This is one of the biggest challenges I faced when I first started
looking at HDTVs. Not because of picture quality, but because of glare.
I’m placing my TV in a pretty bright room – there are quite a few big
windows within 10′ of the TV. My hang up came from the fact that during
the day, my current TV has a lot of glare but at night there’s
I went to my local Circuit City
and started talking to a guy about my hang up between plasma and LCD.
He asked me what kind of TV I currently had and how much glare I
noticed. He then gave me some great advice that I haven’t read anywhere
on the Internets:
Although plasmas are known for more glare (since they have a glass
front, not plastic) they are much better a reducing glare than older
CRT TV’s. If your current TV has little glare, you’re safe with a
plasma TV. Otherwise, go with an LCD.
I thought that was some great advice that I had not considered in
the past. I was too caught up on picture quality and price. So, take a
look at your TV and get and idea about the glare factor. I’ve decided
to go with an LCD. Once I started to look for glare, I noticed there
was too much for a plasma TV.
What Size Do I Get?
Size hasn’t been a big issue for me. There are two reasons why:
1.) Budget – My tax stimulus check is only so much
and it’s all I have to spend. I’m lucky that my wife is letting me buy
a TV and I’m not going to press the issue.
2.) Placement – The TV will be placed in a niche over the fireplace. It’s 50″ wide and I can’t exceed that critical dimension.
The same guy @ Circuit City had some wise words when it comes to picking out the size of TV. He said:
The number one complaint that people have after they
have bought a TV is they regret not getting one big enough. It’s not
the picture quality or lack of features, they always wish they had
bought a bigger TV.
Every situation is different but you should stick to your budget and
get the biggest TV you can afford. You’ll be better off in the long run
and you’ll be able to enjoy a larger TV more.
720 or 1080?
Choosing between a TV that supports 720(p) or 1080(i or p)
resolution is a personal one. The TV manufactures do a good job in
making you think that 1080p is a million times better than 720p.
Carlton Bale put together an awesome TV size to resolution chart that might help you choose between 720 or 1080 resolution.
The chart was put together back in 2006. There was a much larger
price gap between 720p and 1080p TV than there is today. Unless you’re
really trying to pinch some pennies, you should be able to find a 1080p
TV in your price range.
Where Can I Find More Information?
There are many sites out there that have a wealth of information.
The sites listed here are ones that I have found to be full of
information and pretty easy to follow. Be prepared to get your geek on:
- Engadget HD
- HDTV On Wikipedia
- CNET: HDTV resolution explained
- CNET: Ultimate HDTV buying guide
- Where is HD?
- AVS Forums (Geek alert!)
- AV Forums (another Geek alert!)
I really hope this helps all of you out there that are trying to
make an informed, practical decision when it comes to HDTV’s. Whether
you’re spending $500 or $5000 on a TV, it’s always a good idea to make
the right decision so you can get the most out of your new TV.
Image by Bryan Lary, SXC