In the beginning, choosing HDTV was easy. There was only one reason to buy HDTV and that’s because it’s HDTV. One size fits all which was 42".
Now it’s 42" vs 110", LCD vs Plasma vs LED vs CCFL vs 60Hz vs 240Hz vs 3D vs internet or not vs streaming services vs etc….. functions and features is how manufactures want to differentiate themselves since getting HDTV is no longer the reason to get it but the features.
We would like to help you through this muck to find the best. Who knows what will be the latest and greatest but at least you know what you want or need, which is the most important thing; knowledge.
Here are key area to consider when choosing.
Correct Size for Room
There really is no correct size. What’s correct is what you want. There maybe a reason you might want an oversized screen to create a wall like effect or undersize to not cause distraction but simply a monitor a specific content. So it really depends on your needs.
So let’s consider….
Bedroom as a supplemental viewing so best is around 27-42". At this size, its cheap since its supplementary to your primary in den or living room nice bonus screen.
Kitchen is also supplement and there are plenty now around 19-27".
For primary viewing areas like the den or living room here is where size matters. If you’re in a 10×10 living room. Having a 65" display would like sitting in the front row of the movie theatre. Your eyes have a 120 degree of viewing so as long as the screen is 80% of your entire field of vision is perfect.
So basically at 5 feet you should use at least 32" screen and at every 5 more feet double the size of the screen for comfortable viewing. However if you want more cinematic experience reduce the distance by moving in by 1′ so at at 5 feet cinematic expereience move the monitor in towards you by 1′ so it’s at 4′ from you.
Argument of LCD vs Plasma
This fight has been fought and so far as been won by LCD panels simply by sales. There are few key differences between LCD and Plasma which since is now at parity on good points and further away on bad points. Here are the good and bad and how they differ.
|infamous burnin||Cheaper LCD panels have this problem but hard to make happen on TV. But as a computer monitor entirely possible with stagnat desktop that’s on display all day.||Resolved with special pixel moving technology||LCD|
|Brightness||Now with LED backlight technology. This gap has completely closed.||Used to be superior but now with LED backlight in LCD displays no longer a good argument.||LCD|
|Color||Better LCD technology in recent years closed this gap as well. Moot.||Like the backlight issue, color reproduction was superior on plasma but no longer.||LCD|
|Power Consumption||Best in class at on the average of 50watts.||Plasmas are power hogs at 500watts and more. You can clearly see this difference in your electric bill.||LCD|
|Size||No longer an issue as LCD sizes surpassed plasmas at 110 inches and growing.||No longer the biggest and baddest||LCD|
|Cost||LCD cheaper now due to sales||no longer cheaper than LCD||LCD|
|Weight||Lightest usually at 1/5 the weight of plasma.
Typical 42" weight just 20lbs mostly becasue any lighter it would fall over.
|plasmas are very heavy due to the fact it’s a giant glass tube.
Can easily be over 200lbs at 50inches.
|Thickness||LCD always had won this but now it’s almost laptop
|plasmas are usually thick in excess of 3-5".||LCD|
|Availability||LCD is everywhere.||Harder to find.||LCD|
I don’t believe this is no longer an argument.
Technology Explanation in LCD Displays
Here’s a quick explanation of all the key technology you’re reading about in LCD displays and how much of that tech you really need if you need them at all.
|What is this?||Bestest||Better||Ok|
|Provides the light to see the picture but has a great deal of an effect on black levels. Latest technology is LED backlighting. CCFL has about 5year life cost to replace almost equal to new set so not worth to fix. LED’s should last for the life of the TV but replacements could be costly if it fails and unfortunately failures could be local to specific areas of the screen.||LED (Local Dimming is the ultimate in black and white contrast. Basically awesome. There is backlight only where the picture needs it else completely black.)||LED (if it doesn’t explicitly say it’s LED then it’s not LED but the older CCFL.
Black like CCFL is made by trying to block out the backlight.)
|CCFL(older original lighting method. Not as bright and has less black and white contrast)|
|Refresh Rate||For cleaner, clearer less jumpy picture. Excellent for sports or fast moving images. This is how often a picture is drawn on the screen. 60Hz = 60 times in one second. More is better.||240Hz or above||120Hz||60Hz|
|3D||Main difference is active vs passive. Active requires battery powered glasses while passive doesn’t. Active has better a 3D image.||Refresh rate is key here. Higher than 480Hz is the best where you can’t see any flickering.||240Hz shows less of a flicker.||120Hz but you can definitely notice the flicker.|
|Average Cost for 42"||$800||$500||$400|
In Conclusion: Pictures never looked better. More and more shows and stations are broadcasting at not only HD but digitally produced HD with quality camera and processing. However, even if you get the greatest and latest HDTV set. If the content you’re watching isn’t up to par your superman HDTV set won’t be any better than the cheapest set.
One of the best contents to view is Bluray of a movie taken digitally or live sport broadcast or your local PBS stations of locally produced segments. Else don’t expect just because you got the most expensive that everything will look amazing.