HDTV (High Definition Television) is a new standard for picture quality that relies on a digital signal and produces high resolution images on TV. An HDTV is the first step to building your high-def home theater system because they have a higher resolution that can display up to six times the detail of a standard television screen. To watch high-def content you need a high-def video source and an HDTV to display it. If you view a high-definition program or disc on a standard definition TV, you will not see the dramatic increase in picture quality and clarity.


We’ve compiled the best advice we give customers when making their HDTV purchase into this article. Take the time to read this before visiting our store to purchase your new HDTV.

Resolution: Choose the highest resolution you can buy. Resolutions start at 480i (SDTV), 480p (EDTV), 720p, 1080i and 1080p. The last three are all HDTV. The resolution number represented the number of scan lines on your screen. The letter I is for interlaced, this means the picture is drawn in two passes, the letter p is for progressive, this means the picture is drawn in one pass. We recommend progressive scanning, and for most people 720p is the best bet. If you can afford a 1080p, get it.

TV Type: HDTVs are available in flat-panels (LCD or Plasma), and in both front and rear projection units. If space is a factor for you then get a flat panel. If price is your main priority, a rear projection TV may get you a larger screen for your money and will usually provide the best picture for your investment. A flat panel can be about 3-6 inches deep, while a rear projection TV will be 13-16 inches. If you want the ultimate home theater experience, and have a good room for it, a front projection system may be the best bet.

Flat Panel Resolution: For TVs 37” and under, go with an LCD TV. For screens over 42”, we recommend Plasmas as they are likely to be the only cost effective option you find. Right at 37, 40 and 42” in size, both LCD and Plasma models are now available. The Plasmas are likely to be less expensive. If you can afford it, we recommend an LCD at this size, as these are lighter, easier to install, and they use less energy to run.

Rear Projection TV Recommendation: If you would like as large a screen as you can buy a rear projection TV is for you. They offer the best performance at the best price and are self contained units. They are available in two competing technologies, DLP or LCD projection.

Contrast Ratio: Higher is better. Get a TV with a contrast ratio of 600 to 1 or better.

Aspect Ratio: You’re looking for a 16:9 for a wider screen. A ratio of 4:3 is the same as your old TV and who wants to purchase something they already have?

Get the image and sound quality you paid for: The image you will see on your new HDTV travels as a signal on cables from your DVD player to your TV, and to your home theater receiver. Low cost cables and unprotected power from the wall can add distortion and other noise to the signal, and your picture will not be as good as your TV can produce, and the sound will not be like it was meant to be heard. If you are investing money in a great TV and home theater system, don’t let your cables and your power source be the weak link. We recommend using high quality cables, and a good AV power protection unit like the ones offered by Ethereal. If your equipment has HDMI connections use HDMI for your cabling.