5 Tips for Choosing the Best HDTV
Whether you have already made the leap to high definition or you are a newcomer to the market, there can be a lot of confusing jargon when searching for the right HDTV. With terms like progressive and interlaced scan rate, refresh rate, and enough acronyms to make you crazy, it can be hard for even the most tech-savvy individual to feel overwhelmed. In reality though, there are some tips for assessing the television, but also your exact needs from a TV. So make sure you consider these factors when making your next HDTV purchase.
Scan rate – You have probably seen a lot of televisions with some number followed by a letter and this makes no sense to you. Usually, these combinations are 720p, 720i, 1080p, and 1080i. The numbers represent resolution and the letter represents the scan rate of the TV. The “P” is for progressive scan and the “I” is for interlaced scan and they deal with how the image is displayed on the TV. Progressive scan is where the entire image is displayed as a whole and interlaced is where the work is split in half by the television. While this process is happening much faster than the naked eye could ever perceive, there are people who say watching interlaced television can damage the eyes over extended use. Progressive scan is becoming an industry standard and tends to produce a crisper viewing experience.
Resolution – The numbers in the previous tip, 720 and 1080, represent the resolution of the TV. Resolution simply means the amount of individual pixels that are presented as part of the image on this TV’s display. While most people assume that more pixels mean a better picture, this is not always the case necessarily. If you are planning on purchasing a TV smaller than about 50 inches, this may not be extremely imperative. The amount of pixels supported by 1080 is not noticeably better than that of a 720 set when displayed at 50 inches or smaller.
Size – The most popular size of HDTV’s is a 46 inch set and this is a perfect size for a wide array of rooms. While television size is usually a personally preference, always keep in mind the size of the room that the television will be occupying. Think about when you are sitting in the first row at the movie theater and it is just uncomfortable to sit that close to a giant screen. That being said, many sports fans and avid video game aficionados enjoy having very large screens upwards of 60 and 70 inches.
Refresh Rate – Refresh rate is one of the most confusing things about HDTV’s for many people. The problem with stressing over the refresh rate is that this is basically pointless. The concept is that a 120 Hz refresh rate will refresh the screen image 120 times a second. People tend to tie this specification to whether a television will hold the picture well during motion. Many sets have features that smooth over motion-blur and this is usually not a concern and tough for the naked eyed to discern the difference. Although, people who watch a lot of sports or play video games often may want to go with a higher refresh rate, at the very least to err on the side of caution. But, if this represents a significant price difference in the sets you are considering, do not spend the extra money.
Manufacturer – This can be a more important consideration than most HDTV purchasers tend to contemplate. Most people tend to have a list in their head of desired specs, as discussed in these tips, and whatever manufacturer is going to offer those attributes at the lowest cost. This can be a problem for a myriad of reasons and the overall quality of the manufacturer should be a top priority. Everything from the aesthetics of the set to the quality of the glass and electronics that create the picture can lead to a substandard viewing experience. Also, low quality televisions can break no matter how nice the picture quality may be. There are a few trusted value brands in the HDTV landscape that make quality products. But, if you have never heard of the television manufacturer it is probably wisest to choose a better brand with slightly less features.
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