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HDTV Buyer's Guide

Introduction

Are you ready to take the HDTV plunge but don't know where to start? Well, prices are dropping swiftly in just about every HDTV category and there are plenty of types and sizes from which to choose. In this article we will take a closer look at the current HDTV universe: basic types of HDTV, pros and cons of each type, what you should expect to pay and some suggestions for each category. We'll also see if there is anything interesting (and affordable) coming down the pike.

LCD Flat Panel

Due to recent and dramatic price drops, LCD displays are rapidly becoming the most popular and prevalent type of HDTV. A few years ago, you could not purchase an LCD over 36" for under $4,000, but now you can find 46" units for well under $2,000! LCD displays are slick-looking (depending on design, of course), thin displays that can either be table or wall-mounted, and are known for their sharp resolution, vibrant colors and low-signal noise. LCD displays also boast very bright output and low-glare screens, making them an excellent choice for well-lit environments.

LCD displays are at their best when displaying video-based material such as live broadcasts and sporting events, with rich color and excellent detail. LCD displays are also much better suited for gaming and computer use than Plasma because of resolution compatibility and brightness uniformity issues. Although each generation of LCD panel is improving, the largest deficiency of LCD displays relative to plasma and even DLP projection is black levels/contrast performance with film-based material, such as movies and most television programs. Most LCD displays output dark gray levels where there is supposed to be black, and the cheaper models give off a pasty gray effect during dark scenes.

Pros: Resolution, brightness, vibrant color, low-signal noise

Suggested Models

Suggested models are recommended based on a combination of personal viewing experience, other user experiences, comparative pricing, and company reputation.

Budget LCD - Samsung LN-S4051D

Budget LCD - Westinghouse LVM-42W2

Premium LCD - Sony KDL-52XBR3

Premium LCD - Sharp LC-52D62U

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