I4U: With the digital transition coming in early 2009 and some markets changing to digital broadcasts before that the market for LCD and Plasma TVs is booming. The economic stimulus checks soon to be showing up for most Americans will also see lots of new HDTVs coming to homes around the country. Today we are going to talk about a few of the things you need to consider when you are buying a LCD or plasma TV.
LCD or Plasma
There are certainly more things that most consumers will want to consider when shopping for a new flat screen TV. Two of the most basic decisions you will need to make is what size a TV you want and if you want to go with plasma or LCD technology. The decision on size will determine to some extent whether you can choose from LCD, Plasma or both technologies for the size you want.
Typically you won’t see plasma TVs under 42-inches in size. That means if you are shopping under 42-inches odds are all you will have to choose from is LCD TVs. That’s not a bad thing, it just means different technology.
Plasma panels have some pros and cons when compared to LCD TVs. The first is that plasma panels tend to not last as long as an LCD panel will. Though honestly, by time a plasma panel looses a noticeable amount of its brightness you will be ready to upgrade anyhow.
Plasma HDTVs tend to be brighter than LCDs and often have better contrast ratios. The contrast ratio is a particularly important specification of any LCD or Plasma TV. The higher the contrast ratio of a TV the better picture quality you will be able to get. It is important to note that there is no industry standard for manufacturers to use when measuring contrast ratio so the numbers are often considered arbitrary.
720p or 1080p
One of the biggest selling points for HDTVs is the resolution of the TV. The resolution is often stated in several ways so you may see things like full HD, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1920 x 1080, or 1280 x 720. Most lower cost HDTVs will be 720p. I am not familiar with any network, cable, or satellite that broadcasts in full HD (1080p). That means that if you are only planning to hook your set up to cable or satellite for HD viewing you will only get a 720p signal. Many boxes will upscale to 1080i and every 720p set should be able to handle the 1080i resolution.