Until about 20 years ago, buying a television was a straightforward process, and the main consideration was the price and size of the unit. In the last several decades, the technology behind the modern television has evolved significantly. Shopping for a new TV is now a complex process, and there are many things to consider when comparing the various options.
Different types of technology power modern televisions. Each has pros and cons.
Most people are familiar with LCD technology because it is widely used in computer screens. The liquid crystal display televisions are some of the most widely sold models in today’s market, pairing reasonably reliable performance with an affordable price tag. LCD models are some of the thinnest televisions available. They are compatible with computers, making it easy to connect a PC or laptop to your home theatre system. Most viewers find the picture offered by LCD televisions to be sharp enough for most uses, though blacks do not display as nicely as on the older cathode ray tube TV. LCD televisions also come with some limitations when it comes to screen size. Larger LCD TVs generally use rear projection technology, making most LCD TVs with screen sizes over 40 inches on the expensive side.
When a homeowner is looking for the best that money can buy, plasma display panel televisions are usually the top choice. Plasma screen TVs have a slim profile. Because the design uses thousands of fluorescent light bulbs to generate a high-resolution image, viewers report stunning picture quality. Still, the old-fashioned direct view TV offered sharper blacks. Plasma TVs are expensive but are coming down in price as they become widely available. Despite the superior picture quality, the fluorescent bulbs can generate a ghost image known as “burn-in” when the same graphic appears in the same place for extended periods. Some newer models shift the image slightly during standard use to minimize this problem. In addition, the plasma liquid is these televisions does not last forever; manufacturers estimate that these units should last around 20 years.
Regardless of the preferred type of television, some features stand out for serious shoppers. Televisions with added features come with a higher price tag, but many viewers find the improved experience worth the increased investment. Look for:
LED lighting – Usually sold with LCD televisions, this lighting source improves picture quality while also making the television more energy efficient.
Picture-in-picture – Allows viewers to monitor two different channels at the same time.
3D Viewing Capabilities – When paired with 3D glasses, viewers can recreate the interactive experience that used to be available only in theatres. This feature is particularly worthwhile with larger screen televisions.
Entertainment Packages – While modern TVs are freestanding units, a higher quality viewing experience is possible by combining the television with complementary entertainment packages. Basic systems include speakers, a receiver and a Blu-ray player.
To choose the right television, it’s important to match your budget with the basic performance you require. By understanding how technology works, you can be sure that your new purchase will give you many years of quality viewing.