Many people are intimidated by the cumbersome task of selecting the next screen to place in front of their living room sofa; a screen that will make them laugh, make them cry, give them goosebumps, and unite the whole family for special occasions.
A piece of hardware that does all that can't simply be selected carelessly, on the fly, as if it were some cheap date that you'll leave after the night is over.
We're talking about a television here: one of the most revolutionary inventions of the last 100 years! Before getting into the details, it's important that you have your priorities straight and know whether you want to evolve with the rest of society, or if you will remain with the shrinking crowd of museum-worthy-TV owners.
That's to say, will you be going HD? This is the crucial decision, after which it is only a matter of details to find the right screen for you.
To put it lightly, an HD TV is worth it not only because your friends and family will like and respect you more, but because you yourself will be much more satisfied with your TV-viewing time.
The market today gives the buyer four basic variations of the high definition set.
The first of them would be the least recommendable, the Direct View TV.
Also known as a tube TV, this is the same type of TV technology-with the recent addition of HD-compatibility on a very limited number of models-that we've been using for 50 years, so basically forget about them.
Most factories have stopped producing them, and in general the world is waiting for them to graciously slip into extinction.
Next up is the flat panel category.
Here we have the rivalry between the plasma screen and the LCD TVs that can leave many a buyer-in-waiting stumped.
Though it's not important that you understand the differences in technology between the two, it is important to understand what benefits each provides-as well as pitfalls.
Both are excellent choices, fortunately.
With a plasma, you will have a superior viewing angle and a tremendously crisp image, though there are fluke flaws like the risk of burn-ins on the screen (an image that literally won't go away).
The LCD (liquid crystal design) screens provide an excellent alternative, probably with superior native resolution than their plasma cousins, but a bit more motion blur.
LCDs minimize screen glare, so you'll get a good image despite lighting issues in the room.
Both are fine choices, I repeat.
Prices are comparable below the 50" threshold, after which plasmas have the edge.
The biggest benefit of this class: slim and able to fit just about anywhere.
Rear projection TVs are the next kind on the list: with a little more bulk than the previous category, rear projection units are a good buy, but don't seem like the future of the market, as the elegance and convenience of plasmas and LCDs edges them out.
The need to replace internal lamps every now and then means they require more attention, so their prestige is tarnished for me! Moving on.
Front projection units, while not really TVs, do provide HD images.
If you buy one of these puppies you'll be on the way to setting up a cinema in your home.
While rather expensive, these projectors are tiny, can be installed easily on the ceiling, and have great resolution.
Recommended for the more serious customer, and especially for businesses.
So there you have it.
Hopefully you're a little more comfortable now.
Oh, and if you're really serious about your upgrade, then look for the ones that say 1080p...
that's the full enchilada! Whatever you do, get rid of that dinosaur in your living room!