When you walk in to your local big box retailer your slammed with all the buzz words of the home theater world. 1080p, HDMI 1.4, 120, 240, 600hz, and the list goes on and on. So do you believe go by what it says on the fact card, or what the young salesmen is telling you is best? Here are some basic things you should know that will make buying your new home theater equipment easier.
1. How many Hertz(Hz) do I need??
The easiest comparison I can make is think of hertz as horsepower, the more you have the faster your car will go. Same is true in your flat panel. The higher your Hz are the faster your picture refreshes, thus reducing motion blur and “ghosting” on the screen. LCD’s and LED’s max out at 240hz. Plasma’s are 600hz. The human eye can’t noticeably tell a difference much above 120hz. I find this to differ between brands, so trust your eye on this one.
2. You have to buy the most expensive HDMI cables on the shelf to get the best picture.
There is alot of opposing opinions on this subject. But here are the facts. Unlike an analog cable(component for example), HDMI transfers a digital signal. This means as long as the display receives enough of the signal it will display a picture. The average system has runs of 10 feet or less, so spending big bucks on HDMI’s will net you no better quality. Runs significantly longer than 10 feet you will need a cable with better shielding to reduce interference, or an HDMI over CAT5e balun can be used. There are much better places to spend your money when piecing together a home theater system that will net you bigger and better gains than a $100+ 6ft long HDMI!
3. You should pay more to hang a 60″ TV as you would for a smaller TV
Total BS. I have hung more TV’s than I can count and the process is exactly the same whether its a 13″ or a 70″! Don’t be fooled in to paying more for this service just because you want to buy a larger TV.
4. A Plasma TV wont last as long and takes alot more electricity to run than an LED/LCD
Again not true. When flat panels first came on the market they all consumed a bunch of power and didn’t last very long. Lets be honest, they didn’t look that great either! All major brands of TV are now energy star rated, and yes a plasma may cost the better part of a one or two dollars a year to run. As for how long it will last, honestly something else will go wrong with it before it “wares out”. Plug your flat panel in to a proper surge protector, that doesn’t mean that 8 outlet power strip we all have hiding somewhere in out house, and that will dramatically improve the life of your TV.
5. 480, 720, 1080, I, P…what do they all mean?
These are all a measurement of lines of resolution. To keep it simple, the higher the better. Now this is where you can save some money on a new TV. High Definition is made up of 720 lines or more of resolution. HD broadcasts are either 720p or 1080i(not a noticeable difference to the naked eye). 1080p is ONLY going to come from a BluRay DVD, or certain pay per view movie and events. So how will this help me save money? Well, if your not going to connect a BluRay, then go with a 720p TV. 92% of peoples TV viewing is from their cable or satellite provider so having a higher resolution TV will not make a difference when watching your favorite TV shows!
Hopefully this will help you when making your next TV purchase! As always please click the “contact us” link if you have any questions on this or anything home theater! Please feel free to comment on this entry. All feedback is welcome and encouraged!