(StatePoint) With the government-mandated transition to digital broadcasting upon us, many are taking advantage of after-holiday sales to purchase HDTVs that display improved images.
However, it sometimes seems you need to be an engineer to choose an HDTV.
“People don’t buy television sets scientifically,” says Gary Merson, editor of HDGuru.com. “The biggest mistake people make when buying an HDTV is they buy too small a screen. You can either sit much closer or get a bigger screen to really appreciate the sharpness.”
“It’s also important to consider that HDTVs can connect with other devices. With a variety of media formats now available, a TV needs to be more than just a TV,” emphasizes Bob Perry, senior vice president, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Whether you want to view photos and home videos, play video games, watch movies or use your TV as a computer monitor, it’s easier than ever to connect an HDTV set with other devices.”
Here are some things to consider from Merson and Perry, to make selecting the right HDTV set easier.
• Almost anything you watch on an HDTV will look good, but to maximize its capabilities you’ll want HD content. If you have cable service, you’ll need a high definition cable box. The same goes for satellite receivers. And if you want to watch broadcast stations in HD, you need a built-in HDTV tuner and an antenna.
• Plasma vs. LCD: “Overall, the best picture quality is plasma, says Merson. “Plasma has a higher contrast ratio. Plasma TVs also have very wide viewing angles that do not lose brightness, blackness level, or contrast as you move off access.”
• You’ll need to choose between 1080p and 720p HDTVs. 1080p provides two million pixels on your screen while 720p delivers one million pixels. Higher pixel count means higher resolution and clearer, more detailed images. This is especially visible on larger screens above 42 inches. Be aware that today the only way to get 1080p resolution on your HDTV is with a Blu-ray player.
• Blu-ray Disc players make a difference. It resembles a DVD, but delivers six times the resolution of DVD and has much higher storage capacity to deliver the best picture and sound. It’s also important to remember that Blu-ray players can also play standard DVDs and CDs
• Connect with an HDMI cable. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and it’s the only cable you need to connect your camcorder, DVD player or Blu-ray player to your HDTV. It’s a single wire that carries both the HD video and audio information to your components. If you use analog cables you need a minimum of five wires to accomplish what HDMI does in one and it carries 100 percent of the image because it’s digital.
• HDTVs can connect to cameras, game players and even the Internet. Web-enabled sets that provide access to YouTube, Google’s Picasa Web Album and Bloomberg are also available.
For more free HD advice, visit www.livinginhd.com.