HDTV: All You Need to Know

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So you’re thinking about getting an HDTV? Congratulations, you’ll be entering a world of high-res images and pictures so sharp, you’ll never see a movie in the cinemas again. If you don’t know much about high-definition technology, you’re bound to end up confused by the terms Plasma, LCD, and OLED, not to mention specs like bezel size, pixel ratios. Finally, there’s the price to consider. Let me clear up some of that confusing and explain the basics of HDTVs.

First of all, HDTV is the acronym for High Definition Television. It can give you a sharp, high-resolution image because it contains more horizontal lines than a regular TV. A normal TV has only 576 lines while an HDTV has at least 720, allowing for more detailed pictures, more vivid colors, and sharper outlines. In order to fully benefit from HD technology, you’re going to want to use your HDTV to watch HD programs and Blu-ray discs, or use a consoles with an HDMI connection, like the Xbox.

To fully benefit from the features of a HD television you ideally want to use it watch HD programmes, some of which area available free on FreeSat (such as BBC HD) and other which require a subscription (via Sky/Virgin etc). You can also use it to play Blu-ray discs on which will give you the full benefit of your purchase, and if you use a console like the XBox you want an HDMI connection to view the full detail.

To choose which type of HDTV you should get, let’s address four very important factors:

Style

If you’re after something slim and compact, an LCD HDTV is what you should get. They’re as big as plasma TVs but slimmer and lighter, which means it will take up less space. OLED screens are just as slim, but the largest OLED available is 11 inches – great for portable viewing, but not for a home theater system.

Picture Quality

OLED TVs can measure signal responses in microseconds and has cells that respond quickly to light. Among the three technologies, it has the fastest response rate. What this means is that a black OLED screen will be darker than your worst nightmare, and a bright screen will look dynamic and realistic. Plasma TVs use ionized cells that produce color, and produces better images than LCD TVs if they’re 50 inches or larger. LCDs on the other hand have the widest varieties of screen sizes and a good resolution of 1080 p, providing uniform picture quality; on the downside, they don’t offer images and color the way a plasma TV or OLED can.

Longevity

In terms of longevity the OLED is the shortest as the power consumed by the cells can only last 30,000 hours. LCD displays and plasma TVs have 60,000 hours. All three screens will eventually wear out with time – they won’t fail completely, but the picture quality will deteriorate as pixels slowly burn out.

Price

Although OLED screens can give you the best color and image quality in the market, they cost at least $1,000. Plasma TVs and LCD screens are equally priced, and their difference depends on the specs, which means that aspect ratio and frame rate will matter more than screen size. So if you really want more bang for your buck, go for an LCD or plasma screen, as they are more affordable, versatile, and long-lasting than OLEDs.

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