Some of you lined up at 4am to get your hands on a new big screen tv. You saw the words “boxing day doorcrasher” and you poured yourself a thermos of coffee and lawn chair and went to the nearest store. You’re probably already enjoying your big tv and has watched a few sporting events during the past few days. However if you’ve shown some restraint you have a few options to consider. Let’s be honest, not all big tvs are made equal, and many of you have a tv that A: won’t meet your needs or B: will exceed your needs. Picking a tv should not be left to big words in a boxing day flyer, nor should be a result of an impulse buy. Let’s break down some key figures.
Size. If you currently have a 32″ tube tv you’ll want a bigger LCD or plasma tv. That whole “widescreen” effect actually makes your viewing area smaller when watching regular 4:3 tv (which is going to be most of the time). You need to keep in mind that not all tv stations are broadcasting in wide screen format. If you’re happy with your 32″ tube tv then go shopping for a 37″ flat panel tv as the upgrade.
Contrast, brightness, resolution. As a rule of thumb, the bigger number is better. If you’re stuck between 2 tvs, pick the one that has the bigger numbers.
Refresh rate. This only applies to LCD tvs. Most of the tvs on sale will have a 60hz refresh rate. This is pretty standard. If you can get a tv at that price point with a 120hz refresh rate, that’s a deal. Higher refresh rate is better. Again if you’re stuck deciding between 2 tvs pick the one that has a lower response time (ie. 5ms is better than 6ms).
Connections. Make sure it has at least 2 HDMI inputs. Everything else just depends on what video/audio equipment you own and the connections they use. S-video, component, RCA. Having a built in tv tuner (or even digital) is just a bonus feature if the tv has it.
Display capabilities 480/720/1080?? 720p is the standard which pretty much every single tv is going to have. Pretty much everything of what you will watch from a HD cable feed will be of this quality. Even watching regular DVDs (non blu-ray) is fine with 720p. 1080 is a must if you have a blu-ray dvd player. AND if you buy tvs once every 10 years. It comes down to a value thing. It’s definitely worth it to spend an extra $100 to get the 1080p. However, if you like to buy stuff and hope to fill up every room in your house with a flat panel tv and need an excuse … well I’ll leave that up to you.
Also, in general, placing a tv higher will fool your senses into thinking you have a bigger tv. If you can wall mount it or even get a tall stand go for it. Don’t go higher than sitting eye level or standing eye level. (ie. try putting your tv on the floor and watching tv, then put it up on a stand and watch, it really does make a difference).
Enjoy your tv!