Big Screens

Written by Sarah Provost
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Buying a big-screen television set has become a very complicated business. With the proliferation of new technology, you need to educate yourself before you step into a showroom or start shopping online. For starts, do you want LCD, DLP, PDP or CRT? What level of picture quality would you like: HD, ED or SD?

Let's talk about picture quality first. HD means high definition, ED is enhanced definition, and SD is standard definition. When you're looking at a picture on a large screen, you want at least enhanced definition, and high definition would be preferable. There's no point to watching a big, fuzzy picture.

Types of Big Screen TVs

CRT stands for cathode-ray tubes, and CRT TVs are what most of us already have. They are limited in how large the screen can be, since depth has to be proportional. Plasma televisions, or PDPs, can be light and thin enough to hang on a wall, even at sizes of 60 inches or above. LCDs, or liquid crystal displays, are also thin and light, but are generally smaller than plasma screens. They are also subject to some blurring of high-speed images.

DLP refers to digital light projection. Instead of phosphors or liquid crystals, these sets use tiny mirrors to reflect the light. Like plasma and LCD screens, they are light and thin, but have not yet gained the popularity of the other types. Finally, there are rear-projection sets, which are going out of favor quickly because of their bulk and the inferior image they provide. Online stores currently offer CRT HD sets from $1,000, DLP sets from $2,500, LCD sets from $2,650, and plasmas from $3,800. These prices assume the purchase of a separate tuner.

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