To take full advantage of the great number of HDTV stations you can get with
your satellite system, you will want a television with a breathtaking picture
and mind blowing sound. When shopping for a television today, you have many more
options than just a few years ago. From several hundred dollars, to a price
similar to that of a new Corvette, you can choose the television to fit your
budget and lifestyle.
If you want to watch satellite programming you will need a tv that is at least
HDTV ready. Your satellite service provider will supply you with an HDTV tuner.
Even if you will not be watching much HDTV programming, there is still a huge
benefit to watching a digital television. All HDTV and HDTV ready tv's contain
upconversion circuitry that cleans up the picture with even non HDTV signals.
If you watch a lot of movies or dvd's, you might want to purchase a widescreen
television. A widescreen tv has a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, as opposed to the
traditional television screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. You can enjoy watching
movies on a screen shaped like a movie theater screen, and view non digital
programming in a side cropped view, or stretch the picture to varying degrees to
fill the screen. All HDTV programming uses the 16:9 aspect ratio.
The least expensive option is the good old fashioned CRT (cathode ray tube)
television. It has been around since 1927, and it is the least expensive option.
It is built around a single picture tube, and provides excellent contrast and
overall picture quality. A higher end picture tube television will actually give
a smoother appearance of motion than a flat-panel tv. The primary drawbacks of
tube tv's are their immense weight (compared to newer technology), and the
considerable depth of the sets themselves, both severely limiting your
installation choices. Also, the largest tube television available is 36", so if
you need a larger picture, you might want to step up to flat-panel television.
LCD and Plasma screens are the two options available in flat-panel televisions.
Both are incredibly thin and lightweight, and can be wall mounted if you choose
to do so. An LCD (liquid crystal display) contains thousands of crystals
sandwiched between two glass or plastic plates, which are acted upon by
electrical current, creating images on the screen. A plasma screen consists of
thousands of pixel cells filled with gases that excite phosphors, producing
light, and thereby your picture.
The weight of an LCD and a plasma tv are comparable, with the LCD models being
slightly lighter in the 40" range. As the screen size approaches 60", the weight
of the LCD overtakes that of the plasma screen. The display panel tends to last
longer with the LCD than with the plasma models. LCD televisions are not
vulnerable to burn-in, also known as image shadowing or ghosting, like plasma
screens. Burn-in is essentially burned, or worn out pixels in a plasma screen
that have been damaged over a period of time and retain color information from
static images like network logos, etc... Plasma tv's tend to have more accurate
color reproduction than LCD models, and are currently less expensive than a
comparable LCD. While the largest LCD tv at this writing is 65", that is likely
to change quickly as the technology evolves with the latest innovations in the
computer monitor industry. The largest plasma screen television currently
produced is the Panasonic TH-103PZ600U103", which boasts a massive 103" screen,
and is expected to carry a whopping retail price of about $70,000 when is hits
US markets in late 2006.
Remember the old, bulky rear-projection televisions that were almost a yard deep
and weighed nearly as much as a VW Bug? Todays digital big screen tv's take up
much less space, and a 60" television can weigh under 100 lbs. Digital big
screens are capable of brightness that is unmatched by the older CRT
televisions, and do not suffer burn-in like the plasma tv's. These digital
big-screens also contains a consumer replaceable lamp that restores picture
quality to its original brilliance. Prices for these sets are very reasonable,
usually one half to two thirds the price of a similar sized plasma or LCD
television. One disadvantage of the big screen tv's is still size; even with
technological advancements, these models take more room for installation than
the flat screen televisions, and are not practical for wall mounting. The ideal
viewing angle is only achieved straight on, and in a seated position.
For a true movie theater experience at home, a front projection tv may be a good
choice. This is a two piece system consisting of a projector and a screen. They
offer picture sizes up to 300", and do not include any type of tv tuner, instead
displaying signals from a satellite receiver or cable box. The best viewing
experience with a front projection setup requires a fairly dark environment, and
is definitely not for everyone. However, for cinema lovers, there is no better
way to bring your favorite film to life. Pricing for good projectors starts at
just under $1000, and screen prices vary according to size, with most models
falling somewhere between $300 and $1500.
Whether you watch mainly sporting events, movies, or dvd's, a modern television
can give new life to your favorite programming. As technology advances at an
astonishing pace, prices for larger and more sophisticated television sets
continue to come down. If you do some shopping online and find that you can't
quite afford the tv that you want, save money for five to six months; no matter
how much or how little you are able to save, chances are you will be able to
afford the set you want as prices come down. Just don't blow the money you have
saved - you might need to build a new room to house the larger set you will be
buying in two years.