Shopping for TVs is, in a word, overwhelming. You go to the store, you start looking at sets, features, shapes and sizes. Suddenly you feel like the only thing you're going to leave the store with is questions and a headache. For example:

  • What is the difference between HDTV and analog TV?
  • Do you really need S-video inputs and front RCA jacks?
  • What on earth is a digital comb filter?
  • And most of all, does any of this really matter when you're sitting down to watch a movie or a ball game?

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If you attack these questions piece by piece, it's really not that complicated. This guide will walk you through the basic decisions involved in TV shopping and explain the available features in plain, easy-to-understand language.

Each section will present an aspect of the decision-making process and give you a detailed description of the relevant factors. By making decisions along the way, you can whittle away at the choices until you've narrowed it down to one or two sets. Let's get started.