You’re ready to finally get that high-definition television (HDTV) you’ve been flirting with at your Hometown ColorTyme. It’s that 47-inch flat panel HDTV that comes with…1080p full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, ATSC/NTSC/Clear QAM – 1 tuner, XD engine, 178 true wide viewing angle, SRS TruSurroundXT, 3 HDMI, and USB 2.0.
There is no doubt, it can get confusing. It can also become frustrating for somebody who doesn’t know how to differentiate between LCD, Plasma and DLP HDTVs. Forget about all the bells and whistles; it’s the core technology that’s important. So, here’s what you need to know before you make your rent to own television decision.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
LCD technology incorporates liquid crystals that are squeezed in a space between two glass plates. The images shown on the screen are created by varying the amount of electrical charge applied to the crystals.
In general, consumer interest in LCD HDTVs has increased over the past few years. Moreover, LCD is the most widely produced (and appreciated) TV technology in the world. Consumers find LCD TVs to be more versatile. And, now that prices have dropped, it’s also the most sold TV technology.
Resolution – The number of pixels horizontally and vertically create a display’s resolution (typically measured in pixels or dots per inch, such as 1920×1080). The greater the resolution, the more information or images you’ll be able to view. For instance, text is easier to read on an LCD (compared to other technologies) because the resolution is refined.
Flexibility – Most LCDs can also be used as PC monitors (requiring the correct input and computer connection cable). Additionally, many LCDs can be mounted on the wall (an installation not provided by ColorTyme) or placed on a flat surface so the screen can tilt and swivel. This allows the TV to be low-profile and not as bulky in the room.
Viewing angles – One of the main disadvantages of LCD technology is its limited viewing angles. Sometimes the screen will appear washed-out or dim if you look at the display from an extreme angle.
Fragile backlights – Since they’re fairly fragile, and more likely to break, LCD backlights usually come with a limited one-year warranty. The LCD screen is also fragile and sensitive to its environment. In fact, when cleaning the screen, wipe only in one direction (no circles) with water and a soft cloth. Don’t use windex! Over time, using windex can damage the LCD screen.
For more information about owning a LCD HDTV, visit http://www.lcdtvbuyingguide.com.
Plasma screens use a matrix of tiny gas plasma cells charged by precise electrical voltages to create a picture.
Allowing for more flexibility, the plasma display panel is only about 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) thick. However, the total thickness, including electronics, is less than 10 centimeters (4 inches). Similar to LCDs, you can hang a plasma HDTV on the wall or from the ceiling.
Response time – Faster response times make plasmas ideal for fast motion video. They handle quick movements and graphic displays better. Most LCDs have a slower response time and can leave trails on the screen when fast motion video is present.
Viewing angles – Plasma screens have wider viewing angles than most LCD TVs. This means that images do not degrade at high angles. This is ideal for active home theater rooms where many people are watching the same TV.
Burn-in – Although not as prevalent today, many plasma screen HDTVs can suffer from screen burn-in or image retention. However, newer model plasmas include technology that prevents this from happening. High altitudes are also problematic for some plasma screens. Higher elevations cause an air-pressure differential and the pressure of the gases inside the plasma display increases as the outside air pressure decreases. Under such conditions, most plasmas emit a slight buzzing noise. Nowadays, many companies are manufacturing plasma HDTVs that can handle higher altitudes.
Glass screen – Because of the glass screen that holds in the gases, plasma TVs are heavier. Furthermore, damage to the glass screen can be permanent and far more difficult to repair than an LCD TV screen. When transporting a plasma TV, be sure that it’s standing up and not lying down. If the TV is lying on its face or on its back, the plasma inside the screen will move and compromise its image quality.
For more information about owning a plasma HDTV, visit http://www.plasmatvbuyingguide.com.
Digital Light Processing (DLP)
Texas Instruments created DLP technology in 1987. Only available as a front- or rear-projection TV, DLP uses millions of micro-mirrors that reflect light onto the surface of a screen.
DLP has become the preferred TV technology today. More than 30 TV manufacturers and other consumer electronics companies use DLP within their products.
Resolution – Because the DLP technology is so advanced, the screen resolution on a DLP HDTV is crisp, clear and provides a true high-definition display. The DLP technology also prevents the possibility of a screen burn-in and provides a fast response time (most likely a faster response time than most plasma screen TVs).
Price – DLP rear projection TVs are considerably cheaper than LCD or plasma displays and can still offer 1080p, high-definition resolution. Plus, DLPs don’t suffer from many of the downfalls of plasma and LCD TVs – such as color decay and viewing angle problems.
Size, thickness – If the DLP HDTV is rear-projection, it’s generally more bulky and not as low-profile. A front-projection DLP TV – appropriate for large home theater rooms – is more low-profile and boasts a thinner screen. However, many of the DLPs that ColorTyme carries are rear-projection. Front-projection models – on most occasions – can be ordered by customer request.
Lamp (light source) replacement – Many of the lamp bulbs (or general light source) in DLP HDTVs last for about one to three years; this is based on how often it’s powered on/off and the duration of viewing. The replacement costs for a lamp bulb depend on the brand and model.
For more information about owning a DLP HDTV, visit http://www.dlptvreview.com.
So, what do 720p, 1080i and 1080p mean? And how does this affect the kind of HDTV you rent to own?
Essentially, the “i” stands for “interlaced” lines and the “p” stands for “progressively-scanned” lines. The more lines that the TV displays, the more detailed the images will be on the TV. Most TVs in the past could only display 480 lines (commonly known as standard-definition).
HDTVs have a 16:9 aspect ratio (similar to a movie screen display). Therefore, they require a higher resolution display. A TV that displays progressively-scanned lines will have a high quality image because it’s processing images twice as fast (compared to interlaced lines). This means that HDTVs with 1080p provide a superior image display, while 1080i and 720p provide the next best image displays.
Some talking points for your ColorTyme visit:
Most ColorTyme stores offer a myriad of rent to own high-def televisions. However, it can be intimidating – even with the help of a sales associate. Don’t let that deter you from pursuing your rental purchase. Just do some research and arrive with answers; you might impress the pros!
Before visiting your Hometown ColorTyme rent to own franchise store, to rent to own electronics, answer the following questions:
1. How will you use your new HDTV?
• If you’re looking to entertain guests, it’s probably best to own an HDTV with many features and multiple inputs (for a DVD player, video game console, etc.)
• If you have a lot of sports fanatics in your household, you might want to rent a plasma or DLP HDTV (two technologies that provide a faster screen response time)
• Blu-ray movies and video games are extremely popular. An HDTV without a blu-ray DVD player or PS3 video game console is like a bird without feathers.
2. Do you have a TV size in mind?
• Do you have a home theater room? What are the dimensions?
• If you don’t have a home theater room, what room do you plan to use for this TV?
• If you have an entertainment center, what are the dimensions?
3. What HDTV content source do you plan to use?
• Do you plan to purchase high definition TV service via satellite TV (DISH Network, DirecTV, etc.), Fiber-optic TV (Verizon FiOS), or cable TV (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, etc.)?
• If you plan to use over-the-air high-definition service, do you have an HD-capable antenna?
4. Do you have high-speed Internet service?
• Today, many HDTVs use high-speed Internet service to help with software updates and content streaming. This isn’t a requirement, but a nice feature to have – especially for a blu-ray DVD player and/or PS3 game console.
5. How much do want to spend on your weekly rate?
• Provide the sales associate with a price range to assist you with choosing the HDTV that’s right for you.
Important HDTV tips: Check to see if the TV has a built-in HDTV tuner to receive over-the-air broadcast capabilities. Otherwise, an external tuner must be added.
When you plug in your new HDTV, everything won’t magically become high-definition. To watch HDTV you must lease or buy equipment from a cable, satellite, fiber or phone company and sign up for high-definition TV service.
You may be able to receive free, over-the-air HD if you’re close to a station, have an antenna and an HD tuner in your TV or set-top box. It’s important to connect your box to the TV with component-video or HDMI cables. Composite-video and S-video cables don’t carry HD. Of course, not all channels are high-definition ready. Many still exist as standard-definition channels. Dark bars on the sides of a TV screen image usually indicate a standard-definition channel. Your TV service provider can provide you with all the information you’ll need for high-definition service.
Sources: Wikipedia.org, About.com, HowStuffWorks.com