Common Questions When Buying an HDTV Set
With the Summer Olympics about to start and lots of great things to view on a big screen TV like games, streaming movies, Blu-ray movies and more, here's a set of questions we are commonly asked about buying a new HDTV set.
What's the Right Size TV for Me?We've seen many formulas to help select the right size TV for your room but we always tell buyers to get the largest size screen that fits in your room. For the kitchen a 27 - 32 inch screen is plenty big enough but larger TV is okay too. For a bedroom you might prefer something in the 37 - 42 inch range, for a medium sized living room where you'll be sitting around 6 feet away a 47 inch screen might work well but for most living rooms we say go for something larger in the 55 inch range to create the most immersive viewing experience.
Should I Get a 3DTV?Although 3DTVs haven't taken off as fast as manufacturers would have liked, there are more and more good 3D things to watch like the recent movie Hugo should look great on a 3DTV set. Until autostereoscopic 3DTVs (ones that don't require glasses) become good enough to use (which may take a while longer) you will have to choose between two glasses technology. Active glasses still look a little better in our opinion but Passive glasses which are lighter, cheaper and don't use batteries are getting better all the time. Our advice is to head down to Best Buy where they have both types set up to view and see if you notice a difference between active and passive glasses. If you don't notice a "raster" line on the passive TV (which actually offers half the vertical resolution) then we say go with the passive set. The price premium for 3DTVs is beginning to disappear and pretty soon you won't be able to buy an HDTV without 3D. You'll just have to choose between active or passive glasses.
Should I Wait for an OLED TV?OLED technology is much different than LCD TVs with LED backlighting. LCD TVs shine the LED backlight through the LCD "filter." The "organic" LEDs in OLED TVs actually transmit light similar to the phosphors in old CRT TVs. OLED TVs can be made super thin and offer brilliant colors and deep blacks. Despite the fact that LG and Samsung both announced 55-inch OLED TVs which are expected to sell in the $8,000 price range, capacity will be limited and prices will remain high for some time. Our advice is not to wait for OLED. Analysts predict that 2017 might be the year when OLED TV prices get close to LCD TV prices.
Should I Get the Thinnest TV?Every year at CES we witness the competition to announce the world's thinnest TV. Although thin TVs certainly look stylish, once they're placed against a wall or mounted on a wall, it's hard to notice any difference. One downside of super thin TVs is the fact that it is very challenging to make good quality speakers that are also very thin. Of course, if you're going to add external speakers, which you should definitely consider, this point doesn't matter.
Is This a Good Time to Buy a New HDTV?Lots of 2011 TVs are still on the shelves which are very good HDTVs, meanwhile 2012 models are starting to show up. A new factor this year is an attempt by Sony and Samsung to keep prices level across the entire reseller playing field. They have implemented a program call UPP or "Unilateral Pricing Program," which is intended to pressure online retailers to sell Samsung and Sony TV for the same price you will find them at a retailer like Best Buy. Time will tell if it's effective or not. In any case, HDTVs have become something of a commodity these days and dealers are motivated to sell. You might be able to bargain with your local TV store and get a lower price.
Should I Wait for 4K TVs?Although some skeptics say that you won't notice the difference in image quality delivered by an Ultra HD TV with 4 times the resolution as HDTVs, we've seen 4K TVs and can say with confidence, you can see a difference and it is remarkable. Eventually 4K or 8K TVs will replace HDTVs but it's not going to happen any time soon. An awful lot of things have to fall into place like a new distribution method. It looks like 4K is a good 10 years away. We say don't wait for 4K but eventually you're going to want one.
A Few Givens...
Plasma TVs Are Out Plasma is on its way out. Some viewers still swear by the warmer colors and deeper blacks that Plasma offers but Plasmas are still bulkier and use more energy than LCD TVs. Also, more advances are being made in LCD TVs and in our opinion a good LED backlight LCD looks as good if not better than most Plasma TVs. On the other hand if you're a diehard Plasma TV fan, you'd better get one while they're still around.
Connectivity is InConnected TVs are the norm these days and you don't pay much extra for a connected TV. You can also get connectivity for your TV through other connected devices like Blu-ray players, game consoles or set top boxes. If you have access to the Internet in your home, you want your TV to be connected to it.
You Can Never Have Too Many HDMI PortsOne more piece of advice; get a set with as many HDMI ports as you can afford. There are many devices that use HDMI to connect to your TV like games consoles, set top boxes, AV receivers, soundbars, Blu-ray players and more. You can always get an HDMI switch box but if your TV has 4 or more HDMI ports you should be in good shape.

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My TH50PZ85U Panasonic Plasma....

Is coming up on 5 years now and the picture looks as good as the day I bought it. Here it is on newegg.com http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16889187086 . The only complaint I've got about it is that I could have used 1 more HDMI input and the price could have been about $500 cheaper, I paid about $2200.00, but even for the price and all the newest technology coming out, I wouldn't upgrade it. It was worth the money to me.

Plasma TV

i am considering a new large screen TV I am no expert on the subject, I want something around 60" I dont know the differences in all the operating systems. I would like 3D but my daughter says there is not enough 3D broadcast to make it worth while. What kind offers the best HD video?

where to start?

Hi Musclecar...

Flat panel TV sets are classified by the display technology used to generate a picture: the two leading technologies are plasme, which is self-illuminating, and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), which is not, and is thus broken down by the method used to backlight the LCD panel (either via fluorescent tubes in less expensive sets or light emitting diodes). Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses, which I don't have the space to discuss here.

The "operating system" in a TV is called its user interface, which varies among manufacturers. The remote control is part of that user interface, but bear in mind that if you have a cable box or satellite service, you'll probably use the cable/satellite remote more than your TV remote once you've set up the TV.

What TV is right for you depends on a number of factors, including: viewing distance (how far you will be sitting from the TV; this will determine picture size), room lighting, TV design (remember, you'll be looking at your TV even when it's off, so it can't clash with the decor), viewing habits (what and when you and your family will be watching -- brighter fare such as sports and sitcoms don't require strong blacks the way action films or shows like True Blood do), brand and dealer preference and, obviously, price. If you can't afford a manufacturer's top model, fear not -- the model lines just below it often offer essentially equivalent picture quality but give up some features that you may or may not need anyway.

And speaking of features, it's important to understand that 3D TVs are just standard sets that can display 3D content (which is most often found on special Blu-ray discs) with the use of those glasses. In other words, 3D is really just a feature, the way Internet streaming or better sound is a feature. The good news is that this feature is available on many medium- and almost all high-end sets, so you may end up getting it anyway.

Finally, TV shopping should be fun, so have a good time doing your research, don't let anyone else try to tell you what's best for you, and keep an open mind!


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You don't know what you are talking about, I work in tv sales and 80% of all my tv sales are plasma's. The impression you guys give to people saying that led's and lcd's are better are incorrect. The big thing on lcd and led tv's is the refresh rate or Hertz on those panels. Basic lcd's and led's are only 50Hz. Where plasma's are standard 100hz. What I have even seen is that on an 600hz led there is still a motionflow problem, where with plasma there is not.


plazma tv

Plasma is on the way out, if it were so damn good we would see many more hanging on the wall. I would not own a plasma, they are energy hogs, the way a ton. they produce stray RF. I am an electronic tech and take it from me you dont want one.

plasmas are the best...

plasmas are the best... learn more about that tecnologies and dont say things that you dont know...

good day!


plasma tv

you dont see as many plasmas hanging on walls, because most people are assholes like you!

c'mon now...

I'm a plasma lover too (see the message below referring to the VT50), but let's not descend to that level here -- there are many reasons why someone would prefer one technology over another, and their choice isn't necessarily a reflection of their character.


Yes, only three manufacturers still make plasma TVs, and they do consume more energy than LCDs (although the difference only amounts to a few bucks a year). But the newest generation of plasma sets is about as thin as LED-backlit LCDs, and plasma still delivers the best picture quality -- according to most reviewers and participants in a recent TV shootout in a Westchester County electronics store, the best set on the market today is the Panasonic VT50, which outranked the Elite ProX5FD, Sharp's cost-is-no-object attempt to prove the superiority of LCD technology, despite being 40% cheaper.




It's Between You, Your Eye and Your Wallet

In the end the one you have to please is yourself and your family. Remember what the expert said; 4 HDMI ports are a good amount. Thickness is not important. Do you have a sound system or will you be relying on the HDTV's speakers. This is critical. I wouldn't want to spend a wad on a picture and listen to what sounds like a transistor radio. Balance is key here. Not as many companies still manufacture them but Plasmas' give you a good picture. They are heavier and thicker but they will be around if their sales numbers mean anything. Lighter equals cheaper shipping. Cheaper shipping converts into lower price tags. That is why more companies are going to LED-backlit LCDs. That's also where the technology is going. Plasmas' have reached their development peak as a matter of cost per unit. In the end you have to be happy with your purchase. Get the biggest Bang for your buck! And enjoy it!

Totally agree with this! Do

Totally agree with this! Do some research and then enjoy your purchase!