High-definition television (HDTV) has replaced “standard definition” TV in many homes today. But because technologies keep improving, keep in mind that the HDTV you buy today might not measure up next year, or might no longer meet your needs.
Here are five tips for making a smart HDTV buy right now:
How big do you want or need? TVs are available in almost any size from a screen that fits in your palm to one that covers an entire wall. Before you buy, think about where in your house you’ll put the TV, how much space you’ll have to work with, and how much screen size you’ll need given the size of the room and where you will be sitting most often. Measure the space so you’ll know what size to look for when you’re in the store. Most local retailers will advise you to buy as big a screen as will fit in your room and that you can afford. You’d be smart to take that advice so you won’t be back in a year buying a bigger one.
Colors and Resolution
How do you like your colors? Different people prefer varying levels of brightness and contrast in their colors. Some sets produce unnaturally bright colors and some viewers like that. One test of a TV’s picture quality is its “black-level performance.” Generally, those that show the blackest blacks are the best.
Test the remote. Some are more user-friendly than others. Better to find that out before you buy.
Is the sound sufficient for your needs without hooking it up to an external sound system? Or were you planning to do that anyway? Food for thought.
Don’t pay extra for “bells and whistles” that you think you may never use. If you’re satisfied with a basic TV, spend your money on size and picture quality rather than extra features. Even “plain” TVs now have nifty features.