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What You Need To Know Before Buying An HDTV

Updated on September 30, 2007

What is High Definition television?

High Definition Television is a signal that offers a much higher resolution and a wider aspect ratio than traditional regular broadcast signals. For years, the electronics industry has told us that all our televisions will need to switch to HDTV viewing just so we can have normal television.

Therefore, everyone will need to make an upgrade as the age of High Definition Television dawns, and there are several questions that need to be answered before an HDTV is purchased.

In order to watch HDTV, the television has to have a built-in high definition tuner that can display HD broadcasts. That, or have a separate HD receiver box. You will definitely need HD-ready cables, because standard and cable transmit an analog signal. It is also recommended that you get a 5.1-channel digital surround audio system to real hear the difference.

You also need to upgrade your cable or satellite service to include HD programming. However, it is possible to watch local stations with a built-in ATSC tuner and HD antenna.

An over-the-air antenna to access HD is all that is needed to tune to a regular channel to watch HD. As for the cable and satellite subscribers, HD channel numbers are usually different than regular standard channels.

What type of television will you need?

There are many types of televisions to choose from, and before I talk about some of the better models out there, I need to talk about the types available.

The Direct View CRT can deliver a good HDTV picture, but they have the loss of edge definition. They also have a limited screen size, as the largest 16 x 9 diagonal CRT screen size at 34 inches. That is, to this writing. It is also reported that the Direct View CRT is the best television value you can buy for our money.

CRT Projection is slowly going out of style. They include no HDTV tuner, and generally inexpensive non-HDTV quality tubes, optics, and electronics.

Plasma has a crisp image and gets quite good. It may be an expensive price, but it is quite clear. Problems with plasma have included white compression or blurry highlights, black areas that show up as dark gray, and switching artifacts, image noise very noticeable in low lights.

Direct View LCD produces some fantastic images at lower screen sizes, such as 42” and below. However, anything above that size will be probably be better to go with Plamsa.

Digital Light Processor (DLP Projection) this technology is filled with a lot of tiny spinning mirrors in a color filter, and it produces and excellent HDTV image. The image can be quite bright, and can manage black levels well.

LCD Projection produces an excellent large screen image, it is more expensive and dimmer than DLP.

You should look over your space, and decide how large an HDTV you want before you purchase. You should also read the next article in this series that discusses the price range HDTVs.


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    • profile image

      FTA HD Receiver 7 years ago

      Great article! Clearly explains the issue without the unnecessary technical mumbo-jumbo.

    • profile image

      LN52A650 9 years ago

      Good informative article, so many people ask why they don't get high quality picture after they buy a LCD HDTV, this article is the answer.



    • cldnails profile image

      cldnails 10 years ago from Evansville

      Great information and down to earth explanation of HD Mark.