For me deciding on what to buy is a stressful, nerve-wracking experience with all the consumer choices out there. Sometimes I wish that someone would just pick the item I need for me instead of me pacing and hemming and hawing around the store or on the internet. When it came to finally moving into the 21st century (more like dragged into it by my family) and getting a brand new TV I listened to the infinite wisdom of my partner and the little ones and was forced - I mean came to a mutual agreement - to buy a HDTV.
After much research wandering around big box stores, staring at the internet late at night and pestering increasingly exasperated salesmen I came up with a few tips that should help you pick the right high def television for the enjoyment for you and your loved ones on your well deserved days off.
1) Make sure its an actual HDTV. Many televisions branded as such are not actually what advertised, but actually an lower end Enhanced Definition TV - known as a EDTV. How can you tell the difference? A real HDTV contains a built in ATSC tuner/decoder, thats how.
2) The majority of shows you are going to watch are still going to be in standard definition so you should test out how the picture looks in standard 480i video.
3) Plenty of movies as well were never meant for wide screen 19.9 aspect ratio high definition screens so you can either watch the original 4:3 aspect ratio or stretch it. If you are going to stretch it make sure it can be stretched horizontally or vertically as some dont do both.
4) If you go out shopping to take a look at your future purchase in person keep in mind there are two types of stores that you are going to enter: the big box store and the boutique store. The advantage of the boutique store is that they are set up to recreate a home theater experience so you can get a more accurate read on the quality of the TV, although they can be more expensive. Big box stores prices are generally cheaper than the boutiques but there are a few things you have to keep in mind when trying to judge picture quality at them.
Big box stores use ambient lighting to mask picture differences so try and make the contrasts more natural, adjust the sharpness, adjust the auto picture correction features and change the color temperature setting to 6500k. This should adjust the picture initially for comparison between devices. When you are viewing another good tip is to put in on a sports game with a lot of motion. This will allow you check the motion resolution. There should be no blur.
5) You should be aware of space considerations. Measure and know exactly how much space you can devote to your new TV and when you are shopping stick to it. It is all to easy to fall in love with a certain television while online or at the store and nothing is worse than getting it home and discovering that it doesnt fit in your family room, entertainment room or home theater. Trust me on that, unfortunately Ive been there myself.
OK that should be enough to get you started on finding the perfect HDTV for your castle. Good luck and happy shopping!
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