Last Night, an HDTV Saved My Life
By doing research, Frank demystified the numbers and broke down the acronyms. After researching prices and sizes, he determined that a flat-panel TV would best suit his and Ellen’s needs. From there, Frank had to decide whether he wanted an LCD or Plasma model. After he and Ellen checked out both technologies in their local showroom, the couple went with a 50-inch plasma HDTV and are happy with their choice.
Calibration Time, Come On
Everyone wants their HDTV’s picture to be at its best, but not everyone knows exactly how to get it there. That’s where calibration comes in. Although “critical viewers” may want to hire a calibration professional, John Falcone, HDTV expert and senior editor at CNet.com, a web site dedicated to all things consumer electronic, says the majority of HDTV owners might want to spend their money elsewhere.
“Few people are going to pay $250 to have someone work on a TV they paid $600 for,” he says.
Thankfully, there are many do-it-yourself solutions available online that, while not as good as professional calibration, will get the job done for the average viewer. CNET, for one, publishes calibration tips for every HDTV they review.
When Mike Swiszcz, who works for a marketing firm in Boston, MA, decided to calibrate his own HDTV set, he was initially concerned he’d make things worse. “I didn’t trust my own eye at first, but after reading a few tips and changing the display settings, I definitely got the picture looking more like I wanted,” says Mike. He didn’t use any outsider help to fix his image. With a good eye like Mike’s, a casual viewer can use his or her HDTVs basic display options to get a satisfying image.
Moving Beyond HDTV
Once new HDTV owners have calibrated their systems and taken in a few days of HD programming, the door is wide open. And, most will find themselves wanting more and more HD accessories to enhance the viewing experience. Most people add at least one accessory to their HDTV. In fact, every consumer we talked to added at least one thing to his setup: a new audio system. Dick De Jong, editor of HDTVsolutions.com, a web site that features HDTV guides and product reviews, says that’s a very smart place to start. “The speakers integrated into an HDTV are usually woefully underperforming,” De Jong says. “A home theater in a box [containing multiple speakers and an audio tuner] or a standalone audio system, preferably 5.1 [a system with five speakers], is necessary for great sound reproduction.”