Entertainment Technology: What to Consider Before Buying HDTV


HDTV - or, High Definition Television - is the new generation of TV, and is capable of displaying analog signals as well as those that are digital in nature. While this offers a viewing experience that's unmatched, it also requires external hardware in order to receive the HDTV signals in addition to the monitor. In other words, plan on spending a lot of money. If money isn't the issue, then HDTV is for you. Before you run out and make a purchase, however, there are some things that you'll need to consider.

Even if your TV is "HDTV-ready," that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be capable of displaying the HDTV signal. It has to be compatible, and you'll need to make sure that it is before you make a purchasing commitment. It will need to be able to display the actual HDTV signal, or it isn't really HDTV at all. Another consideration is whether or not the HDTV receiver is compatible with the monitor that you'll be using. Finally, if you're using cable, the whole configuration will need to be compatible with your cable box. You may need to call your local cable company if you're unsure of whether or not it meets the compatibility requirements.

While monitors are available in a wide range of sizes, the wide screen is the most adaptable to HDTV displays. If you're planning on doing most of your viewing using HDTV, then you're going to have to make sure that the screen can accommodate your wide screen needs. Audio needs tend to be rather specific, as well. In fact, in order to enjoy true HDTV surround sound, it's recommended that you use the Dolby H-3 Surround Sound Audio.

While most TV sets and monitors today offer a number of ports, you're going to need several, so opt for the set that's equipped with the highest number of them. Whether they're front or back ports doesn't really matter, as long as there are several that are available on the set.

Before you invest in an HDTV, there are some things that you'll need to research. Among these are whether or not you'll need to buy a special dish for your satellite service; if special cables are needed in order to make the necessary connections; whether or not the cabling that you currently own is compatible with the units that you'll be using; what type of surge protector is recommended; and whether or not delivery and set-up is included. In the case of particularly large sets, such as the wide-screen models, this is important, since you're dealing with a unit that will weigh hundreds of pounds. The actual set-up can also be quite confusing, as well, so set-up would be a real perk, if you can work that into the purchase commitment.

If the price, bulky components and many considerations that need to be made before making a purchase don't intimidate you, then HDTV is well worth the time, effort and money that you'll need to put into it, from the time you begin the research until the unit is finally set up in your home. Once all is said and done, you'll be treated to a visual experience that's unbeatable, by home viewing standards.

(c) 2005 Simon Canfield - All Rights Reserved

Simon Canfield is a hi-tech enthusiast and freelance author.

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