Getting TV Technology Value
Technology Play Offs
When considering a new television, don’t automatically accept
that the latest technology is the best for the way you want to use
A Panasonic 42'' Plasma EDTV TH-42PD60U costing less then $1800
from Best Buy was rated by Consumer Reports higher than a lot of
budget and mid-range Plasma HDTV's. This was due the the better
picture quality [brightness and sharpness] of the ED compared to
HD of any other TV around that price point.
How You Use Your Television
Consider how you use your television, and what you will be connecting
Check your connectivity. ED or HD through a standard 75 Ohm Coax
will not look as good as through an HDMI Cable.
And if you still have a set of ''rabbit ear'' antenna you can
access most local over the air HD signals, such as NBC, FOX, ABC
and CBS affiliates. You may be surprised that the picture quality
is often better than from your Cable company, and it's free.
If you want to record multiple shows at the same time you can use
multiple VCRs and multiple DVD recorders. Using this configuration,
you avoid the expense of Tivo or set-top-boxes. You can even have
up to 4 tuners into an MCE PC, which allows you to digitally record
4 shows at once.
Source Of Your Media
If the shows are on basic cable, the VCR/DVD-R tuners manage this
If you only watch SD television and DVD’s, then an ED set
instead of a HD set is not a bad choice. In many areas, local HD
broadcast offerings are very limited so don’t warrant the
higher price tag. 85% of the HD offering do not make full use of
HD. ED will support most of that for a while yet.
It is going to take until 2009 to get HD TV as the minimal offering,
and by that time there will be a much greater choice, and at much
Best Screen Size For The Viewing Location
Screen size enters into the mix here also. Some ED sets have a
significantly better SD picture for the same physical size HD display.
Check out the Panasonic 42" Plasma EDTV Model: TH-42PD60U
VCR and DVR in 2009
VCR [converter boxes for over-the-air (OTA) signals]
will have analog outputs. Use them the same as using your VCR with
a cable box. Connect the signal cable out of the converter and into
the VCR. Manually put the box on the correct channel to record.
DVR - if you use cable, ask your provider to
send you a new box if something stops working.
TIVO - recording OTA will be a problem. It’s
a problem even now. You may need to buy a new box with a converter
Interim Options - 42'' Plasma monitor has a very
high resolution and cab be used as an on the wall display until
the analog : digital battle settles down. Just hook the display
monitor to your DVD / VHS Tape player. You won’t get the full
resolution benefits with this set-up; but when the next generation
cable boxes [and feeds from cable service] become available, the
monitor would be ready to go HD.
Don’t ditch your old sets, they make good ancillary displays
or computer screens.
Set Up & Hook Ups
Before bunking your new set for bad quality, check your set up,
your other media devices and connection cables. Playing an old VCR
tape on a single head VCR player will look incredibly crappy on
new technology screens, whereas the lower quality old screens may
not show up the poor quality. Don’t be tempted to claim the
picture quality is not as good as your old television, as many are
apt to do.
However, comparing like technologies must include attempts at
adjustments. For some it saves the day, others, just can’t
keep pace as the next customer found with a Vizio 42" plasma.
Regardless of adjustments they made to the picture on the Vizio,
they could not get an acceptable picture. It was better than the
Maxent, but colors were dim unless the tv was in full blaze mode,
the picture was very soft. Almost reminiscent of an old out of focus
More In This Series:
Home Entertainment Resources