5 Things to Do Before Buying an HDTV


HDTV Price and Picture Quality

The price of HDTVs, like all technologies eventually, has come down considerably since their introduction. Yet even now, you'll still see a noticeable price difference when you hit your local electronics store. Why, you may ask? It comes down to picture quality and set reliability. In addition, some brands have a solid reputation as being manufacturers of sharp and vivid displays, but you're going to pay more for brand recognition.

The most recent mainstream breakthrough in high-definition technology is sets that feature a 120-hertz refresh rate, which is twice the rate of a standard interlaced television. The higher refresh rate reduces instances of blurring on LCD TVs (as mentioned earlier).

Movie fans, take note: An interlaced TV with the standard 60-hertz refresh rate refreshes one-half of the screen 30 times per second and the other half 30 times per second, for a total of 60 times. Since movies are filmed at 24 frames per second, and the TV is refreshing 60 times per second, the difference in the frame rate and refresh rate can cause movies shot on film to appear jerky.

To mitigate this problem, TV manufacturers use a technology called 3:2 pull-down, which brings the refresh rate and the frame rate into alignment. TVs that use a 120-hertz refresh rate -- or even the new state-of-the-art 240-hertz refresh rate -- not only refresh more often, but 24 frames per second of film divides evenly into the refresh rate, and the image appears more smooth on your screen without having to use 3:2 pull-down.

If you watch a lot of movies, it's probably worth the extra cash to get a TV with at least a 120-hertz refresh rate.