Why go flat screen? Flat screen TVs are not just the trend, they also give you more in terms of viewing space. Although a 20" flat screen TV may have the same measurements as the more traditional 'curved' screen TV usually found on CRTs, the flat screen gives the illusion of extended width and height. If this is your dream gadget for this year, here are a few tips you can use when choosing and buying a flat screen TV:
Sometimes, flat screen is just that – flat screen.
High-end television units such as plasma TVs, HDTVs and LCD TVs all feature a flat screen. However, there are also lower-priced CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs that feature a flat screen but do not have the same features and capabilities as its more expensive cousins. Don't just think that because it's a flat screen, it's automatically a plasma or an LCD.
Thin is a good thing.
They might be banning super-thin models on the catwalk but people definitely welcome thin, flat-panel TVs with open arms. When buying a flat screen TV, look for a unit that is slimmer than the older CRTs. There are brands such as Philips, for example, that sell flat screen TVs that are thinner than usual. They may not be as thin as sleek plasmas and LCDs but they will do well in your living room or anywhere you intend to put them in your home.
Thin flat screen TVs are also easier to move and they don't occupy a lot of space. You'll thank yourself later when it's time to re-locate the unit to a better viewing area or in case you move to a smaller apartment.
Plasma or LCD?
Either one of these flat screen TVs would be a good choice, depending of course on what you want and what you expect. Budget, too, is a factor. Both are thin and offer a smooth face, although LCDs tend to be lighter. The cinematic experience is also enhanced with both, since the aspect ratio of today's units are at 16:9 – meaning, images will appear more rectangular.
To choose from either type of flat screen TV, consider the following:
Size. Plasmas tend to come in monster sizes although LCDs aren't too bad either. If you prefer size, go for plasma.
Resolution and image display. Plasmas show excellent details and sharpness, especially along the edges of the onscreen image. LCDs, on the other hand, allow you to view images unchanged even in bright conditions.
Budget. Prices are currently nearly head-to-head, so it's really up to how much your bank account will allow you to buy.
Go for picture quality.
Ultimately, a TV is made for viewing. You can't really appreciate a TV if it doesn’t count for much in the image display department. Regardless of the technology behind it, a flat screen TV isn't worth your time, effort and money if it can't deliver a decent picture.
Spend some time with your intended purchase and examine its performance. Look for differences in picture delivery, particularly in the areas where blacks contrast with white or bright colors or when a high-speed scene is being shown. How well you can tolerate a flat screen TV's performance in these areas will of course depend on your preference, patience and budget.
However, it pays to consider the kind of money you'll be shelling out for the type of viewing pleasure the TV will give you. If you're the type who looks forward to spending hours and hours on end in front of the TV, then make sure the flat screen TV you choose won't disappoint.
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