The HDTV market is growing steadily and sharply. With a vast number of manufacturers introducing both LCD and Plasma HDTVs, this can be a confusing and bewildering time for potential consumers to take the plunge. Fears of ending up with an obsolescent TV on one's hands can lead many a consumer to paralysis, but as with any significant purchase, an informed consumer is a happy consumer. A couple of brief guidelines will help you make an informed decision as to which HDTV
is right for you.
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1. Location, location, location
Placement of the television will often be a crucial deciding factor when making a purchase like this. You will need to keep in mind not only whether the set will be wall-mounted or placed on a stand (thankfully, most HDTVs currently allow for both options), how the necessary cabling will be routed to and from the television, at what angles you'll be viewing the television on, and most importantly, what TV can deliver you either the broadest range of options, or the perfect fit.
2. The importance of resolution
Hearing a confusing array of numbers and letters like 1080i, 1080p, 720p, etc, can be baffling to even the most astute consumer... It's really quite simple, though: the numbers convey the maximum resolution the TV is capable of displaying. Currently, the top end models display in 1080p - with the 1080 indicating 1080 vertical lines of resolution, and the p indicating a progressive scan, non-interlaced. The "i" stands for interlaced (or non-progressive scan), a term that indicates the TV will display the image in half the frame rate of 1080p, with a noticeable slight flicker in comparison. Given this, you'll need to think about what your HDTV source requires and decide from there. Many satellite and digital cable companies display in 1080i, while Blu Ray and HD DVD players display in 1080p.
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3. Think about the number of inputs
Most HDTVs currently on the market support multiple inputs given the rising amount of peripheral entertainment devices now available. Therefore, it's essential to mull over how many of each kind of input you'll require for your system. RGB Component, HDMI, Cable, VGA, DVI, S-Video are some of the few, more useful input options available today.
4. Display type (LCD, Plasma or DLP) and size
Space-planning is often over-looked by eager buyers, fresh in the market. Keep in mind the dimensions of the area you will place the TV in, and make sure it accommodates those comfortably. If it's a tighter or smaller space, a mammoth screen can actually make the viewing experience less enjoyable by over-powering the viewer. As well, each type of HDTV have their pros and cons. DLP (Digital Light Processing) usually comes with a smaller price tag, but are much larger than their LCD and Plasma counterparts, so consider the amount of space you're working with and whether it's suitable. Plasma was the first thin HDTV technology to come to mass market, and as such, has its own series of down-sides, including the lifespan and a potential of display burn-in. And on the other hand, whereas LCD displays crisply in terms of picture quality, it does have a slightly lower refresh rate than Plasma that some consumers may find off-putting.
5. Comparison shop
Services like Shoprover
offer a quick and efficient way for you, the consumer to compare models, resolution, sizes and manufacturers, along with prices. Do some digging around, see which make and model suit you best given some of the criteria above, and you'll be able to make an informed decision on the set you'd like to buy. Happy hunting!