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how to buy a hdtv big screen digital tv

HDTV. How to Buy a Big Screen High Def TV
Plasma versus LCD. Screen Resolution, Viewing Distance, Aspect Ratio, and Contrast Ratio

First let's look at why HDTV, High Def TV gives you a better viewing experience. We consider the high picture resolution of HDTV. Then we dig into the topic of LCD flat panel TV versus Plasma TV. For the home theater experience, you have options like a rear projection big sceen TV or a front projection big screen TV. We clear up questions about Viewing Distance, Aspect ratio, Contrast Ratio and Picture Resolution in big screen, flat screen digital television.

HDTV and big screen digital TV enable broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and sound. It can also offer multiple programming choices and interactive capabilities. All your favorite shows will look better on a big screen digital TV. Choose your big screen TV for the best screen size and picture quality that's within your budget. If you are ready to buy a new big screen TV, now that prices and technology have settled down, we can help.

When You Buy a HDTV, High Definition Digital TV

Of all the digital formats, HDTV offers the ultimate in TV picture quality. HDTV provides high resolution programming in a big screen format. An HDTV picture can provide resolution of up to 1080 lines, with better picture quality and detail. Compare this to yesterday’s analog TV picture with a resolution of up to 480 horizontal lines. HDTV programs include Dolby digital surround sound, similar to the sound used in movie theaters and on DVDs. High Definition TV, HDTV, is just ONE of 18 formats included in the ATSC Digital TV Standard. ATSC stands for Advanced Television Systems Committee. HDTV is digital TV with a built-in High Definition TV Receiver. A high-definition television is able to receive and display all 18 of the ATSC TV signals, including HDTV signals.

LCD Flat Panel Big Screen TV

The LCD flat panel big screen digital TV is the best option for a screen size under 40 inches. It provides the brightest television picture at the best price and is also the most energy-efficient. High-end models can be used for serious video games and as computer monitors. You can hang them on the wall, or put them on a stand. Flat panel LCD displays can have narrow viewing angles and so may not suit everyone for home use. On LCD big screen televisions, fast-moving objects might seem blurry and jumpy, and sometimes you can see the gridlines that separate each pixel. Prices range from $250 to $6,000.

The LCD flat panel digital TV uses an active matrix liquid crystal display, LCD. It has a grid of transistors and capacitors (which are called the thin film transistors) with the ability to hold an electric charge for a short period of time. LCD displays are used in laptop and notebook computers because they are lightweight with very good image quality.

Plasma Flat Panel Big Screen TV

For big rooms, a plasma screen gives you the best price-to-performance digital television value, although LCD’s are catching up quickly. A plasma screen is used for large TV displays above 32 inches. Plasma TVs have a wide viewing angle. They have better color saturation and contrast than DLP TVs. Like flat panel LCDs, plasma big screen television displays are about 3 inches thick and can be hung on a wall like a picture. Plasma TVs can also be used with computer input. Earlier plasma televisions had screen burn-in problems, which have been solved. If you live at a high altitude, some plasmas might overheat because there’s not enough air. Prices vary from $1,000 to $8,000.

The plasma big screen television has a space between two panels of glass with many tiny cells that hold an inert mixture of neon and xenon gases. The gas is turned into a plasma which excites phosphors that emit light. The lifetime of a plasma display is about 60,000 hours or 7 years, running full-time. After 7 years, the picture brightness will have degraded by 50%, although it can still be viewed.

Rear Projection Big Screen Television

There are three types of rear-projection TV. The most popular type is DLP, Digital Light Processing, which uses a reflective micromirror chip. The other types of rear projection are CRT and LCD-based. DLP TVs are about 15” to 17” deep. DLP television screens are bright and have a moderately wide viewing angle of about 100 degrees. DLP big screen televisions are more affordable than plasma, but they are also much bigger and heavier, and the picture fades noticeably when viewed from the side. They come in 40-, 50-, and 61-inch and also are available in 72” and 84” sizes, too.

DLP big screen television technology is not affected by altitude. DLP TVs have a long life. After 80,000 hours of use, the backlight bulb, a $200 item, may need to be replaced. However, on some units you can change the bulb without a service call. Rear projection screens do not perform as well in daylight or bright lighting. DLPs are usually not designed for computer input. Prices $1,000 - $5,000.

DLP technology utilizes a small Digital Micromirror Device, DMD, to tilt more than 1.3 million micromirrors toward or away from the light source inside the DLP. Each micromirror is smaller than the width of a human hair. This tilting process creates light or dark pixels on the face of the projection screen. The light then filters to a color wheel, which rotates 120 times per second, producing the correct color.

Front Projection Big Screen TV for a Home Theater

If you have plenty of wall space, and want to go for the best, a high-definition front projector big screen television makes moviehouse magic. You’ll see front projectors in sports bars and fitness clubs, sometimes with the projector hanging from the ceiling. Plan on the extra cost for the screen and the speakers, which are both sold separately. Prices vary $1,000 to $35,000.

CRT Cathode Ray Tube Television

If you don't need a screen larger than 34 inches, consider a high-definition TV with a conventional picture tube. The picture quality is superb and the prices will go easy on your pocketbook. It's the best bargain in television.

What Is Big Screen Television Resolution?

In a digital world, resolution is the number of pixels of digital data on the screen. There are three levels of resolution for high-definition televisions. They might have 1,080 lines with interlaced scanning (1080i) or 720 lines with progressive scanning (720p). The newest resolution, 1080p, gives the best viewing and is still very expensive. More lines give a more detailed, color-saturated picture. Progressive scanning creates a picture that moves more smoothly. Cable and broadcast programming will not use1080p for years to come. Unless you’re a hard-core gamer, or flush with money, 720p is fine resolution. If you see the resolution given as 1080p30, it refers to 30 frames per second.

What is the Contrast Ratio for Big Screen Digital Televisions?

Contrast ratio is a measurement of the difference between the darkest black point and the lightest white point on the screen. The higher the contrast ratio, the better looking the picture is in terms of richness, depth, and shadow detail.

Viewing Distance for a Big Screen TV

Viewing distance to the television should be 1.5 times the screen size measured on the diagonal. If you sit closer than that, the image looks bad. Don’t splurge on the 72-inch set unless you can sit 9 feet away.

The Aspect Ratio for Wide Screen Versus Full Screen TV

The big screen TV format has an aspect ratio of 16 by 9 for a TV picture that is wider. Television aspect ratio is a comparison of screen width to screen height. Aspect ratio can refer to the measurement of the screen or it can refer to the number of pixels. Full screen TV picture has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3, which means the screen is 4 inches wide for every 3 inches high. This is based on the older analog CRT TV screen

The switch to digital television systems provided an opportunity to change the standard television picture format from the old ratio of 4:3 to the new aspect ratio of 16:9. This brings TV closer to the aspect ratio of modern widescreen movies.

There’s more to the subject of aspect ratios. The wide screens for computers and laptops have an aspect ratio of 16:10, rather than the 16:9 ratio of television sets. If DVDs seem distorted when they play on your computer, it is because the DVD software is not up to date.

What is HDMI in a Digital Television?

HDMI is a new standard that allows a digital device to communicate with a digital television. The device can be any compatible digital audio or video source, such as a set-top box, a DVD player, a digital video recorder (DVR), a stereo, a PC or a video game console. HDMI is also a feature on HDTV camcorders and high-end digital still cameras. The more HDMI connections on your HDTV, the better.

HDMI sets electrical specifications for the signaling, as well as the pin-out, the cable and the connectors. HDMI enforces Digital Rights Management so it is difficult to make unauthorized copies of the media.

What Is the Digital Television Revolution?

In the past, television in the United States was based on the NTSC standard, National Television System Committee. NTSC runs on 525 lines/frame. Digital television broadcasting replaced the analog technology and NTSC. Analog programming was discontinued on February 17, 2009. On that date all NTSC standard televisions with analog tuners went dark. Analog televisions require a separate digital converter box to receive digital broadcasts.

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