How to Buy a TV by Peter Eisenbrown (excerpted from Winter 2011 issue of 50 Forward Magazine)
As TV pictures get clearer, buying a TV gets more confusing. But fear not. If you want to buy a flat-panel HDTV for this holiday or Super Bowl season, here’s an easy guide to getting the right set.
First, answer these questions:1. How far are do you sit from the TV? 2. Can you control the light in the TV room?
Now, you are ready to make decisions:
Divide the distance between where you sit and the TV by two. That number in inches is the smallest TV you should buy. For instance, if you sit 8 feet (96 inches) from the TV, your screen should be at least 48 inches.
So how big can you go? Peter Eisenbrown of TechWorksEasy in Saluda recommends going as big as the room can hold. “High definition allows you to sit close to a big screen,” explains Eisenbrown. “At 8 feet away, 48 inches is the smallest TV to consider, and you go as large as 58 inches. Nobody is ever sorry they went bigger.”
Keep in mind is that screen sizes are measured diagonally. So the difference between a 42-inch TV and a 50-inch is not 8 inches; it is a considerable 314 square inches of viewing space. This is because the height as well as the width are increased to get the longer diagonal.
Be sure the TV has at least two (preferably 3) HDMI inputs. HDMI inputs are for plugging in your TV extras like Blu-Ray players, Cable or Satellite boxes, streaming devices (Apple TV, Roku, Firestick) and game consoles like Xbox and Sony Playstation. “Some sets have as many as four,” says Eisenbrown. “The more, the better.”
Bells & Whistles
Internet connectivity allows you to stream movies and access other applications. However, Eisenbrown says, “Don’t base your decision on whether the set itself has Internet connectivity. You can connect your TV to the Internet via a Streaming Device or Blu-ray player.”
Speakers built into flat panel TVs are not the best. To get sound deserving of your HD picture, consider a receiver and speaker system. (Surround Receivers have HDMI inputs and outputs.) Or, even easier, purchase a soundbar. Soundbars plug right into HDMI or digital audio outputs.
Extended warranties make good sense with HDTVs. However, Eisenbrown says, “Don’t automatically buy the store’s extended warranty. They are often overpriced.” Eisenbrown recommends researching any extended warranty deals the store offers and comparison shopping at sites such as www.squaretrade.com.
Where to buy
TechWorksEasy will work with you on the best way to purchase your new TV.
Once you’ve decided on cable, satellite or streaming (that’s another discussion), get the service installed before the new TV arrives. “Let the cable or satellite company use an old TV for set up,” says Eisenbrown.
TechWorksEasy will properly mount your TV, ensure you are receiving HD service (a more common problem than you would think according to Eisenbrown), can adjust your picture and sound, and show you how to use the remote.