High definition television has come a long way in a short time. Back in 2008, a 1080p HDTV was considered high-end television; now, it is common to find. Not only have the displays improved in HDTV’s but also the features you can get have expanded. Many are networkable and come with built-in software that allows you access to lots of websites and services such as Netflix, Twitter, and YouTube. As you open your pocketbook and begin the journey into buying your next HDTV, here are a few tips to keep you from making a bad purchase.
1. Flat Screen Technology Has Changed in HDTV
Once upon a time, the difference between plasma and LCD sets were very clear. Plasmas were larger with better picture quality; LCD’s were smaller and had better color brightness. However, the differences are fading especially in the more popular 40 to 50-inch sizes. With the advances in LED’s that LCD’s use there are now darker tones and better backlighting to enhance picture quality. When shopping for that new HDTV do not concentrate on the flat screen technology alone.
2. Energy Consumption in HDTV
It has always been understood that LCD HDTV’s have consumed less energy than their plasma counterparts. The new LED-backlit LCD HDTV’s are even more energy efficient. For those who watch a lot of television, the LED-backlit HDTV’s might be a better choice in the long run.
3. Test the HDTV Yourself
HDTV’s setups in a store are set to show best in that environment. This might not be the case when you get your HDTV set home. Test the set at the store to get a better idea between HDTV sets. The ideal setup is to watch several different HDTV’s with the same Blue-ray Disc movie on a player connected by an HDMI cable. Persuade your salesperson to let you hook up the equipment to compare HDTV’s.
4. Check for Wiggle in the HDTV
Look at the picture on the HDTV and check for jiggling when there should be stillness. Look for wiggle lines in buildings or brick walls when the movie pans over a scene. Check for fabric patterns in a curtains and walls to see how clear they look.
5. Look for Clear Movement in the HDTV
In this case, you are looking for shadows when the camera pans a shot. Look for blurry or unclear objects when there is motion in the scene. Plasma’s were dominate in clarity at one time; however, LCD sets have changed that with better refresh rates.
6. Reset to Home Use Mode in the HDTV
In the store, the HDTV is set to store mode. This usually means the HDTV will broadcast in brighter colors to attract customers. However, those bright colors in a darkened home are just annoying. Persuade your salesperson to reset the HDTV to home mode so that you get a better idea of what your HDTV will look like.
7. Verify the Presets on the HDTV
Most HDTV’s have presets that allow the television to be adjusted for games, sports, movies and normal use. Check them out and make sure that the presets have a way of creating a custom setting in case you do not like any of the presets.
8. Check Out the Skin on the HDTV
Skin tones are one of the best ways to compare HDTV contrasts. Adjust the color on any movie clip that has people in it. Make sure that the color is natural and lifelike. Then look at the other colors in the scene to make sure the colors are natural as well.
9. Keep it Real on the HDTV
Computer generated animation looks great on most HDTV sets. If you are testing an HDTV, you need to make sure you use live action movies. Live action is impossible to engineer perfection in as well as animated movies.
10. Listen to the Audio on the HDTV
When you are shopping, HDTV’s are packed closely together and hearing the audio is near impossible. If you are going to hook up your HDTV to an external audio source such as a home theater, then it will not matter. However, if you plan to test the audio on the HDTV, use a Blue-ray Disc movie and test the surround-sound capabilities. The built-in audio on most new HDTV’s has improved with speakers that are more robust.