Flat Panel Televisions

Flat screen TVs can display crystal clear images of your favorite movies and television shows

Flat Panel - Flat Panel Televisions

With recent advances in flat screen television technology, prices are decreasing while the number of features and options are increasing. They also offer placement versatility as you can mount, display on a stand or position them on a mantel and lean against the wall.

This buying guide highlights the technology behind flat panel TVs, size and placement options and definition characteristics.

LCD vs. Plasma

Flat panels offer many benefits, including getting rid of glare and a wider viewing angle.

  • LCD and plasma TVs can broadcast in high definition, but not every flat panel TV has the capacity for HD broadcasts.
  • LCD stands for liquid-crystal display where light passes through pixels that each have red, green and blue components used to create a myriad of colors and textures.
  • Plasma utilizes gases such as neon and xenon that, when charged with electricity, generate ultraviolet light. The light is filtered through different-colored phosphors to create millions of different colors.


TV Type Benefits Points to Consider

LCD

  • Can often double as a computer
    monitor
  • Use less energy
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Very slim
  • May be more economical
  • Available in smaller sizes, usually up to 40 inches
  • Viewing angle may be more limited
  • Can be somewhat expensive, though often less than plasma units
  • Ideal for smaller rooms

Plasma

  • Provide a wider viewing angle
  • Very slim
  • Offer extremely vibrant colors
  • Provide excellent contrast
  • More efficient at showing fast-moving videos
  • Available in larger sizes, usually starting around
    36 inches
  • Use more energy
  • Sometimes susceptible to image burn
  • Can be somewhat expensive
  • Ideal for home theaters

Size and Placement

Flat panel TVs can range in size from 10 inches up to 100 inches.

  • The size you choose should be based on how large the room is where you are installing the TV, as the larger the screen, the farther away you need to sit for comfortable viewing.
  • Some screens may be viewed from angles as extreme as 160-170 degrees.
  • Some can be mounted to the ceiling for greater placement versatility.
  • Avoid mounting plasma TVs over the fireplace as the heat may adversely affect it.

Definition Specifications

Flat panel TVs need to be at least 720 pixels high to show enhanced definition programming.

  • Look for TVs with HDMI input for the highest quality picture.
  • USB connections allow you to connect digital and video cameras, DVD players, VCRs and video game consoles.
  • High contrast ratios, such as 1000:1, provide better separation of light and dark colors for a sharper picture.
  • Make sure the brightness level is appropriate for the size of the room.
  • Tuners should have signal input via satellite, cable or over-the-airwaves.