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Plasma & LCD TV Buying Basics (Part 1)

You'll find plenty of debate over plasma and LCD TVs these days, not to mention all the HDTV hoopla.

Research, both on-line and in stores will help, along with a few tips with regard to refining what you really need in a new television. I'm not dissing rear projection, here, but based on research, most folks just aren't into them as much. (Please scroll down for rest of article.)


Plasma or LCD?

There's a real debate going on, here, and folks just love to talk about the LCD or plasma set they own or the one they're about to buy. Each has its pros and cons. When you're buying for the family room, living area or a home theater setup, you'll want to choose according to room size, viewing distance and, of course, the quality of picture. Prices are all over the place, too. While you may get what you pay for, you might also see that a few monetary sacrifices won't make much difference in most home settings.

However, there is one major point to be made between plasma and LCD TVs. And it could be a deal-breaker if you have your heart set on one or the other.

LCD TVs present a clearer picture in brighter rooms. If your decor is a lighter color and you don't have blackout drapes, then this is the best choice.

Plasma TVs have clearer definition in a darkened room. For home theater settings or if you only watch TV after dark, then this is the better choice. Some even recommend that you can place a low light source behind the set to create shadows and enhance the view.

Other considerations and concerns appear to be improving rather quickly. Burn-in on plasma TVs was once an issue that most manufacturers insist is gone. However, if you watch a lot of sports with the static score resting at the top or bottom, you might want to veer into LCD land, until this point is proven otherwise.

Side viewing angles were once a problem for LCDs. To be honest, in walking through stores and checking every unit from the side, I see little issues with that in any of the models. On some of each, the screen appeared to go blank from the side. So, that's a debatable issue for now.

Biggest Isn't Always Better

If you're just starting out on the hunt for the greatest TV, you imagine the biggest and baddest in your viewing space. It's hard to judge just how that 60-incher will look in your own room when viewing it at a store with high ceilings and plenty of aisle space to back up and admire the behemoths. Too large in a small space and you'll be on the front row of the local theater, moving your head back and forth. Too small in a larger spot and you'll probably be returning it for an upgrade pretty soon.

Approximate basics of size/viewing distance are:
30 inches - min. 4 feet up to six feet
42 inches - min. 5 feet up to nine feet
50 inches - min. 6 feet up to 10 feet
60 inches - min. 9 feet up to 13 feet

Go to Page Two:
-Do Pixels Count?
-HDTV at a Price
-Read the Reviews
-Where to Buy
-Go for the Brand

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