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5 Things to Do Before Buying an HDTV

        Tech | HDTV

Compare HDTV Technologies

Perhaps the most confusing part of choosing an HDTV is the type. There are several technologies used to display pictures in HDTV sets, and each has its good and bad points:

Direct-view: Initial direct-view HDTVs looked good, but they were quickly replaced by other technologies. Today's direct-view HDTVs are smaller and more suitable for smaller rooms.

Rear projection LCDs: Rear-projection LCDs have been losing ground to DLPs recently, but can still be found -- often inexpensively. LCD panels and lamps make whites brighter and blacks darker; however, replacement lamps are quite expensive.

DLPs: DLP HDTVs are still popular because of the relatively low cost. The picture quality continues to improve and the rainbow effect has decreased with newer technology. Read How DLP Sets Work for a complete understanding of DLP televisions.

Flat panel LCDs: Recently, LCDs have become the most popular HDTVs purchased. Once manufacturers surpassed the 42-inch mark, sales soared. Read How LCDs Work to learn everything you need about these TVs.

Plasma: How Plasma Displays Work is the best way to fully understand plasma TVs. The main benefits with plasma displays are bright whites and bold blacks. Also, plasma HDTVs are lighter and easier to hang on the wall.

Home theater projectors: DLP and LCD projectors use the same technology as the HDTVs mentioned above, only on a larger screen. As a result, a projector may not be for everyone. You'll also need plenty of room -- really, dedicated space -- with very little (or no) ambient light.