Decades ago color technology changed TV forever, and this generation HDTV TVs are set to be the next major advancement, offering greatly increased resolution and detail. Along with this comes numerous other technologies, options and terms to take in so here is an overview of seven things to keep in mind before you buy:
1. What’s the Difference?
High-definition(HD) is capable of displaying a greater quality picture than older standard-definition(SD) sets due to the increased amount of pixels available. Compared to SD, HDTV tvs will have 3 to 6 times as many pixels. Comparing analog sets of old to HD sets one will see a very tangible increase in picture detail and clarity, as long as you are also properly setup with the right hardware and services to take advantage of it. Additionally technologies like plasma, LCD, and DLP have come a long way in offering deeper, richer colors than technologies of old.
2. What Size is Best?
After deciding your budget, size consideration is the next logical step. To preserve optimal viewing, all you need to know is the viewing distance between the sitting area and the display, and use these formulas:
* Minimum screen size = viewing distance / 3
* Maximum screen size = viewing distance / 1.5
3. New Standards for HDTV TVs and 720p vs 1080p
Nearly all new TVs sold are in fact HD, in either the 720p, or 1080p format, which is the current holy grail for HD. The vast majority have also adopted the wide-screen format, so no more having to watch a DVD with letterbox “black bars” effect, or a cropped for tv version.
From 720p to 1080p the pixel count doubles, and while it’s not as big of a jump as going from SD to HD, the difference starts to become observable once you start going over 42 inches. So if you’re looking at a 50″ or 60″, 1080p should be a key consideration, especially if you will be sitting closer than the listed viewing distance for size as per the chart above.
4. LCD vs Plasma vs DLP
The main types of HDTV tvs being sold today are LCD and plasma, followed by DLP. LCD is the most popular and widely available, and comes in all sizes as compared to plasmas and DLPs which don’t start till 40+ inches. Here are some relative pros and cons between the three:
5. DVD Requirements
DVDAny DVD player will work with an HDTV if you’re watching a standard DVD, but HD/blu-ray players and those with “upconverting” will better match the SD picture to the HD resolution. Blu-ray won out as the successor to the standard DVD format, so the “HD DVD” format is no longer produced.
Either way, HD isn’t backwards compatible with standard players. Blu-ray players start around $100 and go upwards into the several hundreds, depending on what additional features(wifi, usb, etc), connectivity formats, speed(power-on, load times, etc) and additional types of media they support.
6. TV Requirements
Channels are broadcasted in either 480p, 720p, or 1080i. Only satellite offers full HD channels at 1080p. HD programming is an extra fee per month, which can start out as low as $5 or more depending on what bundles you opt for(sports, education, etc), plus you’ll need a HD capable cable box or satellite receiver, which is provided for another small monthly fee.
But did you know you watch local digital(including HD) broadcasts for free and legally with an antenna? You’ll need to check what signals are available in your area, and get a digital tuner if one isn’t already built into the HDTV. The picture can actually be better, and you may even be able to get channels your provider otherwise doesn’t carry with your service.
HDMI HDTV TVs 7 Things Before You BuyLastly, HDMI cables are widely recognized as the superior option for transmitting video and audio. They also have the added bonus of combining several cables into one, removing clutter.
For short distances of 6ft(2 meters) any brand will work just fine, and only set you back a handful of dollars online. So be mindful of what they charge in stores, and especially stay away from the massive ripoffs that are Monster HDMI cables.
I hope you’re learned something of value from this post that will help you to better make an informed decision when it comes to your next TV purchase. There is a lot to cover and this really only scratches the surface. That being said..