© 2008 Jeffrey Jacobowitz


What You Need.


Multi-Channel Sound.

What to Buy.

Where to Buy.

Hook It Up.

HDTV Displays

Are bigger, wider, and some are as flat as a picture frame


There are five basic types of HDTV Displays or HDTV’s.  They are the CRT (obsolete), Rear Projection (soon to be obsolete), Front Projection (most theater like experience), LCD (best compromise), and Plasma (the ultimate picture, at least from Pioneer).

The differences between LCD and Plasma TV’s stem from how the pixels are lit.  LCD pixels alter from clear to opaque to block the white light behind it (called the back-light).   Plasma pixels produce their own light much like the pixels of traditional picture tubes.


Plasma screens have better black and gray gradients in dimly lit rooms since each pixel can be completely turned off, while the LCD pixel can never achieve 100% opaqueness.  LCD’s with LED back-lights and local dimming have closed the gap.


LCD’s are easier to see in sunny rooms because they have a thicker anti-reflective coating covering the screen.  The thicker coating reduces reflections from surrounding lights, but also reduces transmitted picture light.  Manufacturers compensate for this by using a brighter back-light.  A bright back-light has its drawbacks.  It illuminates the imperfections and defects that are present, to various degrees, in all LCD’s.  These defects include banding, clouds, light leakage, and dead pixels.  


Plasma HDTV’s have their drawbacks too.  Plasma TV’s are susceptible to image retention if the screen is turned up too bright or a fixed imaged is displayed for too long.  If the image retention is severe, it becomes permanent.  This is referred to as “burn-in”.  Since maximum screen brightness is limited, it decreases the thickness of the anti-reflective coating that can be used, thus reducing its effectiveness.  Like a picture tube, a Plasma TV slowly drops its picture brightness over time.  Expect a life ~ 30k hrs.



Front Projection TV uses a separate video projector and viewing screen.  It is recommended this type of system be installed by a professional.  


Front Projection TV rooms need to be very dark, even during the day, for a good picture.


The large vibrant picture enhances the movie watching experience like no other TV can.


Don’t forget the sound, TV projectors have poor speakers if any at all.



Multi-Channel Sound...

Multi-Channel Sound.

I recommend you buy a 1080P HDTV for screen sizes 42” and larger.  To achieve a 1080P picture the HDTV needs to have 1920 x 1080 pixels.  


Typically buy the largest screen you can afford up to 80% of your viewing distance.  


Ignore the charts that tell you a 720P TV will work.  They assume you never look at the TV except when sitting back in your seat.