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By Andrew Eisner

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It's Super Bowl time again and big flat screen TVs are cheaper than ever. Watching the big game in high definition is the next best thing to being there and a lot cheaper too. Now is a great time to go high def but unfortunately, it's not that easy to select the best TV especially when you want the best set for watching fast action sports like football, basketball, and hockey. Even if you're not a football fan you still deserve the best HDTV equipment for fast action programming on a high definition set.

We don't want you to get penalized for committing any HDTV fouls at this year's Super Bowl so we put together this list of pitfalls to avoid when choosing your HDTV gadgets and gear:

1. Offsides
Viewing angle is an important consideration. When the gang comes over for the Super Bowl party you want everyone to get the best picture even from the sidelines. Rear projection TVs can offer some great values for the screen sizes but you're going to sacrifice viewing angle. LCD TVs used to get a bad rap for viewing angle but that along with Plasma burn-in problems is a thing of the past(along with these other HDTV myths). Both Plasma and newer LCD TVs offer wide viewing angles that should meet most demands. You can find the best values in LCD and Plasma TVs here.

2. Illegal Motion
Fast action can be challenging for flat panel TVs. On LCD TVs, "shutters" have to open and close, on Rear Projection DLP-based TVs tiny mirrors have to move back and forth, and on Plasma TVs phosphor needs to be turned on and off. If TVs can't react fast enough the result is a blurred image. Features to look for include fast pixel response time (6ms. or less), 120Hz refresh, and other special motion compensation features like Motionflow from Sony. Plasma TVs have traditionally had the edge when it came to handling fast moving images but the new generation of LCD TVs are gaining fast. Future generations of LCD TVs with LED backlighting that can switch on and off as the picture changes promise to virtually eliminate blurring.

3. Pass Interference
HDTV often requires a higher grade cable than you might have installed in your house or apartment. If your old cable is labeled RG-59 and your picture often breaks up into little blocks or you don't get some channels at all, you may need to upgrade the cable to RG-6 which provides better shielding and can help with the higher frequency channels. If you have upgraded to RG-6 and still have reception problems than you might need to have your cable provider run a new line to your house.

4. Unnecessary Roughness
It shouldn't be that complicated to run all your home entertainment gear. A good investment to make your home theater easier to use is a good universal remote. Logitech's Harmony remotes are the most popular. They aren't cheap but are super easy to program and very friendly to use. If you got $200 to spend on a remote go with the Harmony One. Otherwise you can buy the Harmony 880 for around $120 or you can get the Harmony 550 which will cost you around $70.

5. Delay of Game
It can become a real drag to have to unplug the DVD player before you can play high def Madden NFL 09 on the XB360 or PS3. If your set
doesn't have enough input ports you may end up having to unplug and plug in cables in order to get the game console or DVD player to work. Most new HDTV gear including DVD players, and set top boxes come with HDMI ports. Component ports offer as good a picture for most applications. Look for at least 3 HDMI ports, a component port for starters. A composite port and s-video are usually a given. A VGA port can be handy for hooking up a laptop for watching a slide show or Youtube videos.


If your set in HDMI port deficient you can always pick up an HDMI switch box with a remote control for switching ports

     

6. Roughing the Kicker
It's a well known fact that good audio can make the picture look better. Most high definition broadcasts include 5.1 channel surround sound. Don't splurge on a TV and scrimp on the sound system. For a few hundred dollars more you can get a very good quality speaker set including a subwoofer that will help you experience the roar of the crowd or enjoy the half time extravaganza. Home Theater Systems can include a DVD player and receiver for under $500.

7. Too Many Men on the Field
Don't forget, all you male sports fans out there, that women want to watch HDTV too. Selecting a set with the best features and image quality is important but the Wife Acceptance Factor or WAF (a term coined by LCD TV expert, Bruce Berkoff who also just published a guide to HDTV) can be raised with a good looking set like the Samsung LNA650T or quality installation. Flat panels mounted on the wall can be less disruptive to the living room design while large Rear Projection TVs and Front projection TVs might be better off in the playroom.

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Seven Super Bowl HDTV Mistakes You Can Avoid - WAF

WAF or Wife Acceptance Factor was certainly not invented by some guy writing about LCD TVs. That term has been around for decades, with regard to (two channel stereo) high end audio equipment. It is often used regarding large loudspeaker systems. The modernized non-sexist term is SAF, Spousal Acceptance Factor.

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