Considering buying a HDTV? Here are some specs you should take note of.
There are many confusing numbers and terms that come up when purchasing an HDTV, and lots of options to overwhelm potential customers. How is anyone supposed to wade through the jargon and pick a good set? In this guide are some of the most vital questions to ask before buying an HDTV.
Important Sidenote: ALL HDTV’s have a great picture compared to the old TV’s with lower resolutions. BUT that doesn’t mean the picture will be sharp when watching TV directly in front of it. The distance is very important, that is especially true if you intend to buy a large TV. The closer you will get the more little imperfections you will notice, but at the correct distance you will be able to fully enjoy your TV. Just compare it with a modern cinema, you never want to sit in the front rows.
Your Needs Come First
Aside from technical specifications, it is important to make sure that the television is the right one for the situation. Measuring the available space should be the first step to deciding which TV is right. Ideally, the set should fit easily in the room, and the viewing distance should be approximately four or five times the width of the TV. Also, making sure that the television has enough ports and ports of the right sort for all of the other devices you may wish to use, such as blu-ray players and gaming consoles will save a lot of time. No one likes to mess with cords when they want to play a game.
LCD, LED or Plasma?
Sidenote: Plasma TV’s should not be considered if you plan to keep the TV running more than 4 hours per day. In most cases I would recommend a LED TV because they have a longer lifespan. After 5 years the screen will look MUCH better on an LED TV than on a Plasma!
Standard LCD screens use florescent lighting to illuminate the picture on the screen, whereas LED screens use LED lights and the picture on a plasma screen is self illuminating (using special gases). Florescent-lit LCD screens have less control over the lighting, plasma screens have more and LED screens have the most. However, these are priced accordingly, with florescent LCD screens costing the least and LED lit screens costing the most. LED screens boast darker shadows, since sections of the LED grid can turn off completely. For optimal picture quality LED is the best choice, but may be out of your price range.
Resolution and Frame Rate
These two specifications are the biggest determiners of overall picture quality. Most HDTVs have a 1080p resolution, with 2160p resolution on the horizon. Depending on your eyesight, the size of your television and other factors, resolutions above 720p may not make that much of a difference to you, but it varies person to person. Frame rate controls how many frames per second the television creates. The more frames there are, the smoother the motion. However, higher numbers may not always be better, as the differences are sometimes imperceptible to human vision.
3D or Not?
3D television is expensive and some viewers experience headaches and motion sickness, while others can’t even see the effect. If that’s not a problem, there is still the issue of active VS passive 3D to consider. Active 3D glasses are expensive, require batteries and cannot work with any other model of television other than the one they were intended for. Passive 3d glasses are cheaper, don’t require batteries and work with any passive 3D system. There are some picture quality issues with passive 3D, but compared to the annoyance of active 3D, most consider passive to be the best choice.
In the end, regardless of numbers, it is best to rely on personal judgment above all else. The quality of HDTVs are rapidly approaching a point where any improvements to picture quality cannot be discerned by a casual viewer. Don’t let specs and terminology decide what to buy, but rather what looks good to you.
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