There are many important features to look for when shopping for a new HDTV. There are so many features that people can often get overwhelmed and just buy whatever the salesman is pitching. Features like resolution, aspect ratio and size are very important but many people overlook some of the other features like contrast ratio, brightness, viewing angle and connectivity. Instead of trusting the salesman who has every motivation to sell you the most expensive HDTV he or she can, learn more about all of the common features and specifications of HDTV's.
Feature #1 - Contrast Ratio
If you've compared various HDTV brands, you'll see huge variances in the contrast ratio of their HDTV's. Some are as low as 1000:1 and some are as high as 1000000:1. What does it all mean? Contrast ratio is an indication of the brightness and darkness of the HDTV. However, the contrast ratio is a number set by the manufacturers so they can't really be trusted. A 1000000:1 contrast ratio probably isn't 100 times better than a 1000:1 HDTV. The most important thing to do is adjust this feature on the showroom model and see if it suits your needs.
Feature #2 - Brightness
Many people are attracted to flat panel TV's because of their sharp and bright image. If you've seen a really bright HDTV, the odd are that it is a LCD TV. Plasma TV's also have a great picture but their brightness can't match LCD TV. On the other hand, LCD HDTV's can't match the black levels of Plasma. If your TV is in a well lit room, you should go for a LCD flat panel. If your HDTV will be in a basement or theater room, chances are that a plasma is the best option for you.
Feature #3 - Viewing Angle
Viewing angle indicates how many degrees to the side, top or bottom of the TV you can be and still see the image. If you often have 5 or more people watching your TV, some of them are probably so far off to the side that they can barely see the image. If you have large gatherings, make sure to find a HDTV with the largest possible viewing angle.
Feature #4 - Connectivity
Most people don't consider how many inputs their potential HDTV has. However, if you get home and find out you have more DVD players, surround sound systems, gaming systems, etc. than you do inputs, you are going to find yourself plugging and unplugging your boxes all the time. You should also consider rear inputs vs. side inputs. If you do change plugs occasionally, you should look for a HDTV with side inputs.
Taking these lesser known features into consideration will ensure that you completely enjoy your big purchase.
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