5 Things to Do Before Buying an HDTV


Consider How You'll Use Your HDTV

Knowing how you'll watch your TV will help you judge what to look for when you get to the store.
Knowing how you'll watch your TV will help you judge what to look for when you get to the store.
© iStockphoto/sjlocke

Before you even consider buying an HDTV, you might want to ask yourself several qualifying questions. First, what type of programming will you watch on your new HDTV? Sounds pretty straightforward, right? While all high-definition programming looks clearer than shows shot in standard definition, some TVs may render the picture differently than others, depending on the type of technology your TV uses.

If you watch a lot of sporting events or other shows that feature a lot of fast-moving action, you should seriously consider a plasma HDTV. Plasma sets are known for rendering action better than other technologies, especially LCD sets. HDTV manufacturers are improving LCD refresh rates, which helps reduce the blurring that occurs when rendering action shots. However, if you're going to have lots of people over for the big game to show off your new HDTV, it's probably better to invest in the plasma.

Another thing to consider is the resolution of the TV you're going to buy. While many people will tell you that you should always buy a set with 1,080 horizontal lines of pixels, that may not be necessary. In fact, depending on the size of the room and how close you're going to sit to the TV, you may be happy with a set that displays 720-line resolution.

If you're a movie lover, chances are you either rent DVDs frequently or have an extensive collection on hand. You may even have invested in a Blu-ray player, which has an even higher resolution than DVDs. But if you purchase a TV with a 720-line resolution, you won't be able to get the most out of your Blu-ray player, simply because it can't display the full resolution. In this case, a 1,080-line resolution TV is your best bet.