When you walk into an electronics store for the first time and gaze at the enormous array of brightly lit screens facing you, it can be easy to forget that you need more than just the television set to enjoy high-definition programming. And beyond the necessities is a world of accessories that can enhance your viewing pleasure -- possibly to the point where you'll never want to leave the house again. If your new HDTV is to be the centerpiece of your entertainment center, den or man-cave, you may want to look at a few other products to create the best viewing experience.
While the following list will help you get the most out of your HDTV, there are a few items that didn't make the cut that still merit some attention. Here are a few accessories that you may want to consider that are not on our list:
You may need to purchase special cables to get the most out of your HDTV. Component, HDMI and S-video cables can carry high-definition signals and provide sharper, more colorful images than composite cables. You'll find these cables come in a wide variety of lengths and prices, with premium cables costing hundreds of dollars. Within the home-theater enthusiast community, there's a spirited debate over whether high-end cables provide a noticeably improved experience.
Video game consoles with the ability to provide high-definition graphics are a good choice. Both the Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3 are capable of displaying games in high-definition resolution with the right television set and cables. The Nintendo Wii, while an innovative and popular console, doesn't emphasize graphics the way Microsoft and Sony's consoles do.
To fine-tune your HDTV settings and get the best performance, you may want to invest in a calibration system or DVD. These systems guide you as you set up your television so that your picture quality is at its peak.
If you have a flat-panel television, you may want to consider a wall mount. And because some people find visible cables unpleasant to look at, you may need to research solutions such as flat wire technology.
Now let's get to the accessories that made our list. First is the most basic -- and most important -- consideration you'll need to take into account.