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AV Education on MHT

Which TV To Buy In Today’s Market?

Written by Jerry Del Colliano

The most common question I am asked by people who learn that I am the publisher of AVRev.com is, “I am thinking of upgrading my TV, but which one should I get?” Who can blame them for being confused? The world of video changes at an incredible pace. Digital projectors that cost $25,000 three years ago can’t hold a candle to ones that cost $6,000 today. Rear-projection DLP sets can do 1080p resolution and have all the inputs you need for a fourth of the price that a smaller plasma cost just a year or two ago.

The most exciting part of helping my friends and associates with an investment in a new TV is that increasingly it is hard to go wrong. Before I can dole out any advice, I always need to ask some questions (like any good salesman should do) about their use, their rooms and their budgets. I always want people to go the route of a video projector when possible, but those aren’t always the best solution. While you will always get the biggest (and many times the best) picture, video projectors require dark rooms, often complicated installations, calibration and the additional cost of a screen. I do say video projectors are the gateway drug to a more serious home theater addiction. Once you hang even a modest projector, you will be jonesing for better electronics, cooler speakers and a bitchin’ new touch screen remote.

Plasma Versus LCD?
By now, you have likely seen both technologies in action. Personally, I have seen them both look awesome as well as terrible. In today’s market, you are paying a premium for these waif-like TVs, which might just do the trick in your theater. Today’s plasmas can get bigger than most LCDs today, but you still pay dearly for the biggest 60-inch-plus plasmas. From what I am seeing of LCDs, I like them better overall, but most sets are in the 40-inch-plus range. This is pretty wimpy compared to a 63-inch plasma. Both formats struggle to be repaired easily. The idea that a TV will last you forever needs to be wiped from your memory banks. These sets can and should last a good 10 years, but when shopping, you might be shocked to find out that many companies selling flat TVs have very poor warranties. I never recommend an extended warranty, but I will recommend you look to brands that have longer warranties to protect your investment.

People Are Raving About Rear Projection TVs!
And for good reason. With the proliferation of technologies ranging from DLP to D-ILA to SXRD, rear projection sets have gotten not just thin (some are less than 12 inches), but also really good. For anywhere from $1,500 to $5,500, you can get an HDTV that can make a big, bright picture that can really make your day when watching everything from a Sunday football game to an old “Dirty Harry” movie scaled to 1080p.

Small TVs Everywhere?
One of LCD’s best attributes is how small sets can fit in the craziest of places, ranging from under kitchen cabinets to inside elevators at hotels (like at the Parker Meridian in New York) to right in front of your favorite john. The ease with which these sets can be installed might inspire you to consider TVs in places you normally wouldn’t. HD tuners can cost a pretty penny if you aren’t renting them from your cable provider, but not all small sets need to be beaming HDTV. Sometimes having a nice set out by the Jacuzzi or in your garage brings out the best from your theater to the rest of your house.

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