If you are looking to buy a new TV you might have a lot of questions. The technology used in TVs is changing all the time. This has created some new questions that people have started asking. I am going to do my best to help answer these.
What type should I buy: LCD, Plasma, or LED?
This question does not have a clear answer because there are many things to take into consideration. The TV that will work best for you will depend on where you are going to put the TV and the environmental factors in your room.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) –TVs work great in rooms with a lot of light. These TVs also come in the greatest range of sizes from little 7” portable models to 65” home theater giants. LCD TVs are also more energy efficient than comparable plasma models.
Plasma – Unlike LCD TVs, plasmas work best in dark or dimly lit rooms. They are also known to produce the darkest and deepest blacks and the most vibrant colors. Plasma TVs are great for sports, action movies and video games due to the high refresh rate.
LED (Light-Emitting Diode) – Sometimes referred to as LED-LCD, LED TVs are LCD TVs that have LED set up as the backlight for the TV. These TVs work well in any lighting and also have blacks and colors that are comparable to plasma TVs. Due to the fact that LEDs are so small many of these TVs are thinner than regular LCD models.
What size TV do I need?
First I would like to address the difference between tube TVs and new HDTVs. Tube TVs use a 4:3 aspect ratio and HDTVs use a 16:9 aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is the number of units of width vs. height, so a 16:9 screen is 16 units wide and 9 units tall. For example, older TV programs that are in “standard format” are in 4:3 ratio. Shows currently being broadcast in “widescreen” format are 16:9.
If you are switching from a tube TV to a new HDTV then you are in for a big and exciting change. If you were to take the same size HDTV as the tube TV you had it will seem much smaller. Since HDTVs are widescreen they are not as tall as a comparable sized tube TV. The general rule is that if you are replacing a tube TV then you can get an HDTV that is about 25% larger, e.g. if you’re replacing a 27” tube TV, a 37” HDTV would be the most comparable.
If you are not sure what size TV you need for your room you can measure the distance from where you will be sitting to where you will have the TV. You can then take this number and divide it by 2 or 3. This is the approximate size of the TV that will be best for viewing in the space allowed.
1080p or 720p?
These numbers refer to the number of vertical lines in the TV display. So a 720p TV has 720 vertical lines of resolution and a 1080p TV has 1,080. When trying to pick which is best for you think of what you will be using the TV for. If you are planning on watching content that is in 1080p like Blu-Ray movies then you might want to purchase a 1080p TV. If you are planning on just watching TV and regular DVDs then a 720p TV might work for you.
This refers to the number of times per second that a TV screen image is rebuilt. So, a TV with 60Hz refresh rate means that the picture will be rebuilt 60 times per second. TVs with a higher refresh rate generally have a smoother picture. This is best for Sports, action movies, and video games.
Connections… So many options…
There are many options when it comes to connecting other devices to your TV. These are some of the most common ones and what they are used for.
•HDMI - Highest-quality all-digital A/V connections currently available. HDMI connections deliver audio and video signals using a single cable for simple home theater setup, and all HDMI connections support HDCP to allow the transmission of copy-protected high-definition content.
•DVI - All-digital connections that carry high-resolution video signals from a source (such as a set-top box or a DVD player) to an HDTV or HD monitor. Some DVI connections support HDCP to allow the transmission of copy-protected high-definition content.
•Component Video - Connections that deliver video signals in 3 separate parts for enhanced color purity, detail and clarity. Component video connections deliver better picture quality than any other type of analog connection (RF, composite video and S-video) and are the only analog connections that support high-definition signals.
•Composite Video - Standard video connections that deliver brightness and color information together. Composite video connections provide better picture quality than RF connections but not as good as S-video, component video, DVI and HDMI connections.
•VGA - Inputs that allow you to connect the TV to your PC for use as a computer monitor.
•Optical Audio – Transmits a digital audio signal through a fiber optic cable.
When purchasing a new TV you have a lot to think about. Make sure that you get the correct size for your room and the proper type for what you will be watching. Get the features that best suit your viewing and gaming needs. Also make sure that the TV you purchase has all of the connectors options that you will need to get your components connected. Do your research and think of your needs and you should get a TV that you will love. If you need more information about HDTVs visit the Best Buy® Home Theater Resource Center or consult the specialists at your local store.