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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 your television.

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 to it.

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 task well.
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 lower costs.


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 built in.

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 tube TV.

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