Jeff Colen (President, A Sharper Home, Inc.) gives expert video advice on: What size television should I buy?; Will my new HD television work with my current set-up? and more...
What types of televisions are available?
We have the old style tube T.V., probably the kind you grew up with. Although tube televisions are big and bulky, they have the advantage of having excellent brightness and picture colour but tube televisions really are heavy and don't get larger than 40 inches because physics takes over and it's impossible to make glass for the TV screen that big and that heavy. Then you have the newer televisions that everyone sees, which are the flat panel screens, LCD and plasma T.V's. You also have rear projection T.V.s which basically shine a light from a source from behind the screen and project it from the rear, those are called DLP (digital light projection) T.V.s, and finally you have front projection televisions out there. Front projection televisions are ones that project from a projector onto a flat screen on a wall.
What is the difference between a "plasma TV" and an "LCD TV"?
The biggest differences that you'll have between a plasma and an LCD, from a consumer perspective, is price (plasmas tend to be less expensive), the ability to use it as a computer monitor (LCDs do a better job of that), and the resolution (you will be able to see higher resolution images on an LCD monitor.)
What size television should I buy?
The decision of what size television to buy is driven primarily by three factors. Price is the first that drives size. The distance that you're sitting from the TV will drive the size you buy. Lastly how big the room is itself will drive the decision of what size television to buy. If you have a large TV on a very small wall, even if you're viewing at it from a distance, it looks oversized. It doesn't look right for the room. The overall proportions of the room play a factor in what size TV you want to buy.
What is "HDTV"?
HDTV stands for high definition television. It is a higher resolution picture, that is, used to broadcast movies or regular TV programs. The biggest difference between high definition and standard definition TV is the amount of detail you see in the picture. With high definition TV you get more picture information, so it looks clearer, it looks sharper. You see details you couldn't see before, when you're watching in standard definition.
Will my new HD television work with my current set-up?
One of the biggest misperceptions that clients have out there is that if they go out and they buy a high-definition television, they expect that you see everything as great, awesome, high-definition picture. In order to see that picture, you actually need not just the television, but a high-definition tuner box from your satellite or cable company. You also need a subscription to a high-definition programming station. Without those three things in place, you will not see any better picture. In fact, you'll probably see a worse picture because you will now get standard-definition content on a very large screen, and that tends to not look so good.