Shopping Around For Your New HDTV

By: Victor Epand

HDTVs have become very popular very quickly, and with the switchover from analogue to digital by broadcasters very shortly, the need for a digital television is not one based purely on aesthetics. Certainly there us a great deal to be said as far as design is concerned for having a smart flat panel mounted on the wall in the living room, and it takes up a great deal less space as well. But there is more to simply choosing the size colour of the frame of your new HDTV, and some of the options can be a little confusing to the unwary and those still reeling from the shock of seeing television in colour.

The first thing is that not all HDTVs are built equally. There are different levels of quality, and different ways of formatting the picture. These differences are too technical to be included in this article, but if you are in the market to buy a new HDTV it would be well worth your while purchasing a magazine that can give you reviews and advice on current models, or doing a little more research online.

One of the most obvious choices that you will need to make is whether to go for a traditional looking direct view or tube television, or a flat panel. The advantage of direct view is that they are usually much cheaper. They also offer better contrast of colour with darker shades (in other words black looks blacker) and the viewing angle is much greater. This means that in a living room it will make no difference where you sit, whereas with some flat panel televisions if you sit anywhere other than directly in front of it you tend to get a loss of detail, loss of colour and eventually loss of the picture entirely.

Make sure you are aware of the difference between flat panel and flat screen televisions - because they are not one and the same thing. All too often people tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they are quite different. Flat screen televisions are simply standard televisions with a large tube, but instead of the base of the tube (the screen) being convex (curved), it is completely flat. This gives a sharper and less distorted picture. Flat panel televisions on the other hand are the very narrow type which can be mounted on the wall and take up very little depth at all. The screens are also flat, but unlike the tube sets, there is almost no depth to the television itself.

Another thing to look for is the choice of flat panel HDTVs between LCD and Plasma. The LCD televisions will be very much cheaper, but offer a very narrow viewing angle. Plasma television sets have a wider viewing angle, which suits more homes that have wide living rooms rather than narrow ones. The problem with Plasma televisions though is that they are prone to 'image burn'/. This is where an image, if displayed on the screen constantly for an extended period of time, it can become burned onto the screen so that it is still partially visible at all times. This can cause unwanted ghosting and deterioration of the picture. This is more likely if the screen is used to play video games, as many games have portions of the screen where buttons, options and menus sit that are always visible and can end up being displayed for hours at a time.

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