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Help, I Need a New HDTV! (Part 2 of 5)

Feeling overwhelmed in selecting a new TV? With all the choices these days, you may feel like, "Where do I start?!"

In part 2 of our 5 part article, we the discuss the options in TV technologies


Plasma. Plasma technology contains millions of "pixels" that contain a rare natural gas. This gas when excited by a small electrical charge produces colors and light to display the picture on the screen. Plasma is great for home theaters because it reproduces high motion video exceptionally well. On the other hand, if you have members of your family who like video games, I would rule Plasma TV's out-mainly due to something called "burn-in".

Downfalls. The biggest downfall of Plasma TV's is their half-life. As the TV ages it will naturally loose some brilliance and color depth. The good news-even with an average use of 4 hrs a day your plasma would still yield a half life of ten years. Not too shabby.

Burn-in is another downfall. Burn in is result of an image being displayed too often or for too long. Common ones are network logos, computer icons, video games, etc. The pixels involved get damaged and develop a "memory". This information actually becomes "burned in" to the screen. The good news-with care, you can drastically reduce the chances of burn in.

Benefits. Plasmas are among the thinnest TVs on the market up to 4" in depth. They are very suitable for Wall mounting or spaces for depth of the TV is a critical factor. Plasmas are produced in sizes ranging from 37" to over 70". Prices range from $1,400 to $17,000.

LCD. This technology is emerging from the computer world. Most small flat screen computer monitors are LCD. LCD does well in smaller sizes (50" or less), and produces still images and deep blacks rather nicely. In my opinion, they produce some of the best still images of any TV in the market. LCD TV's uses transistors to supply voltage to liquid-crystal-filled cells sandwiched between two sheets of glass. These voltages make the crystals untwist in varying degrees to filter light into varying shades of color.

Benefits. LCD are also very thin TVs with the thickest depth at approximately six inches. Pricing ranges from $600 to $5000. In addition, for the energy conscious individual, LCD's consume the least amount of electricity to operate.

DLP. DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology utilizes a small "Digital Micromirrors Device" (DMD) to tilt more than 1.3 million micromirrors. The mirrors tilt to reflect light to create the picture. A color wheel produces the varying shades of colors that reflect on the micromirrors.

Downfalls. If you are looking for a thin TV, or to mount on the wall? this is not the option for you. DLP TVs have depths as deep as 18".

Benefits. DLP TV's show the intention of having the longest life. The only part that will fail or affect image quality is the bulb life. Rated at 80,000 hours and being replaceable, average viewing of 4 hrs a day, make this a great TV for the next 50 years!

* Next in Part 3 of this article: What is HDTV?

?2005 Architechtronics, Inc. All rights reserved.

To stay on the cutting-edge of home automation, theater, and technology join "The EDGE" today-it's free! http://www.architechtronics.com/edge.html

Brett Griffin lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. Brett has 12 years of experience in the technology industry and strives to seamlessly blend high performance technologies into one easy to use system. As co-founder of Architechtronics, Brett uses his creativity and experience to help builders, dealers, and homeowners meet their technology desires in their home.

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