Last Night, an HDTV Saved My Life
A few days later, son Kevin, who owns the same model, paid the house a visit. “He noticed [the setup] was different. He fixed things right away,” says Pat. Since that mix up, the Sheehys haven’t had any big problems and love their setup.
You Say You Want a Resolution…
Probably the most immediately intimidating things about jumping into the HD world are the many acronyms and mysterious numbers associated with HDTV. Learning what it all means can be frustrating, but if you want your journey into high-definition to succeed, some study is required. Yes, study. You can do it.
First, learn the differences among 720p, 1080p and 1080i. These terms refer to different HD-content resolutions. HD content in 1080p displays at the best resolution currently possible, but not much programming is available yet. The 720p and 1080i content is more readily available. The good thing is that the 1080p-capable HDTV sets can display any of the resolution formats, while 720p-capable ones will display high resolutions in 720p format, which is still high-definition. The 720p and 1080i HDTVs are of pretty comparable quality, so with the exception of HD movies and games, going with a 720p-capable HDTV shouldn’t cause too much trouble.
There are three types of HDTVs on the market today: rear-projection, front-projection and flat-panel. Rear-projection HDTVs are the least expensive models around, but are also bulkier than the others. Front-projection HDTV systems are for those looking for a truly massive home-viewing experience. They project images on a screen across a room, just like in a movie theater.
Flat panels are the most popular HDTVs on the market. They’re super thin and moderately priced. It’s important to read up on the different technologies behind these display systems, especially if you’re thinking about a flat-panel set. Flat-panel screens can be either Plasma or LCD. Plasmas are usually brighter and have a wider viewing angle than LCDs, but may be subject to “burn-in.” This happens when an image remains static on the screen for too long. Image quality is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, so check out each kind of set before you buy.
Frank and Ellen Milewski, of Chester County, PA., knew they had to learn the details before they splurged on a set. “The longest part [of the process] was doing the research about HD technology and educating myself about what’s out there,” says Frank. “I didn’t want to [blindly] go to the store and say, ‘I’ll take that one.’”