Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Buying a flat-panel TV for Christmas - Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008

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Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008

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Buying a flat-panel TV for Christmas

QMy wife and I have a 20-inch television bought in 1990. We are going to buy ourselves a flat-panel TV this Christmas. I've shopped a number of stores, and talked extensively with clerks. Some didn't seem to know their product. Would you buy a plasma or LCD television? How about a projection set?

AWhen it comes to plasma or LCD, the answer is definitely yes! You would probably be happy with either. Both are more stylish than projection sets. There used to be a fourth high-definition category, CRTs (cathode ray tubes). I haven't seen one of those monsters in stores in quite awhile.

However, stores still have standard definition TVs similar to yours. But they are digital, rather than analogue. High definition TVs' prices are approaching those of standard. So I certainly would not recommend a standard definition TV.

Your question sounds like projection was an afterthought. I think that's the way the market feels, too. Best Buy has 11 projection sets on its Web site. Compare that to 168 LCDs and 40 plasmas.

Projection sets tend to be bulkier than LCDs and plasmas. That is probably the problem. People love flat panels because they are relatively thin.

Before we get into TV types, let's discuss resolutions. High definition resolutions are 720p, 1080i and 1080p. These denote the number of pixel rows. p stands for progressive. As the screen is refreshed electronically, the rows are done in series (1,2,3,4,etc.). i stands for interlaced. Its rows are refreshed in two passes (1,3,5,7, etc., then 2,4,6,8, etc.).  I found few 1080i sets online; 1080p seems to have stolen the show.

If you can, watch the same show on 720p and 1080p sets. You may be unable to see a difference. For what it's worth, 1080p should be better, theoretically.

So, how about those plasmas and LCDs? Click here for more info.

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Video of the Day: Christmas has the best decorations. But as always, someone has to take it a step further. And the results are awesome.

Cool Site of the Day: eBay is a great way to sell stuff online. But it isn't best for beginners. Ease into online auctions with today's site.

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Free Download of the Day: The Start menu is a great tool. But for many people, it could be improved. This program does just that.

Tip on the site: Plenty of programs can edit photos. But completely removing the background is another matter. But don't worry! I can help.

Kim :)

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