Getting a clear picture about H D T V

Monday, February 7th 2005, 2:32 pm
By: News On 6

The day is coming when you'll have to buy a new high definition television, but before you spend $1,000 to $10,000 to watch the News on 6, you might want to know what product is best for you.

6 in the Morning anchor Casey Norton recently went to the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, to clear the HDTV picture.

HDTV is bigger, brighter, and brilliant. And the competition to get in your living room is tight. Bob Scaglione with Sharp Electronics: "We suggest people go down to retail, and look side by side at the products and make sure they really appreciate the picture quality. All panels are not the same."

Samsung boasts the biggest plasma HiDef-TV in the world. At more than 100 inches diagonal, it's still thin enough to hang on a wall. And the colors are pretty enough to take a picture, but when a plasma cell breaks, its back to the store for a whole new set.

If bigger isn't better for you, then try something smaller. There are units which are small and portable. So you can take it to any room in your house and never lose the signal.

Sharp has LCD monitors in a variety of sizes - up to 65 inches. LCD is more expensive than plasma inch for inch, but the light panels can be repaired. And it shows better in a brighter room.

Scaglione: "LCDs have a coating on the panel. It actually absorbs the ambient light in the room. The panels themselves are extremely bright and they have a lot of contrast to them. So if you're not going to watch your TV in a room that's dim, we suggest LCD."

Texas Instruments has thrown a whole new wrinkle into the mix. The same projection technology used in digital movie theaters now comes as small as a pound, with a picture as big and clear as your imagination.

It's called DLP. Pete Van Kessel with Texas Instruments: "It's a technology based on a semi-conductor chip called a digital micro mirror device. It's thousands of tiny mirrors that we move thousands of times a second to create outstanding image quality on the screen."

DLP sets are too wide to hang on a wall, inch for inch they're about the same price as LCD wall mounts, but they claim to be 10 years ahead of the time. So the set shouldn't be outdated by Christmas.

With all new technology tightening the race, the choice for the best video comes down to budget and what looks best in your living room.

Just make sure, you remember the audio. There is a difference between digital TV and Hi-Def TV, so make sure your TV can handle the bigger, better HD-format. Also, only some TV's now come equipped with an HD or digital receiver.

If you want the Hi-Def programming, you'll have to pay for the extra cable or satellite service - for now.