Secrets to Buying a CRT, LCD or Plasma Television

There are so many different types of televisions on the market today how do you decide which one is right for you? Available today are LCD, plasma television, DLP, CRT, flat panel, rear projection, HDTV, wide screen and more. With so many to choose from it’s important to understand the basics of each type before making an expensive purchase.

Each type of TV has positives and negatives. Before purchasing a possibly expensive piece of furniture for you home it would be wise to learn a little about each technology. This may prevent you from making a big mistake when you are ready to buy. Once you understand which type of television is right for you it’s a lot easier to take the plunge.

If you are more than 10 years old you probably grew up watching television on a CRT type of TV. CRT stands for cathode ray tube. These televisions are still very popular due to a few advantages they still hold over the newer plasma televisions and other newer types.

If you’ve ever watched a plasma or LCD TV from the side you have probably noticed that the picture is darker from that angle. One of the great things about CRT televisions is that they are still bright even when viewed from the side. Sure, the LCD or plasma television has a great quality picture from the front, but if you plan on placing your TV in an area that will be viewed often from the side you should be testing out all of the different models in that regard. It would be very disappointing to see the great plasma picture quality at the dealer and then get it home and have a darker picture from your viewing point of view.

Another positive with regard to CRT displays is their price. They are more inexpensive than the more modern types of televisions while still producing a very clear and bright picture. They also show the color black truer than most newer models and have no danger of burn-in. On some of the newer models it’s possible to have a bright picture burn into the screen and be faintly visible for the life of the TV.

With all of these positives why are the CRT displays diminishing in popularity? There are two main reasons. One, these television sets are usually bigger, bulkier and heavier. And two, if you want a large wide screen TV that is 42 inches, 50 inches, 60 inches or larger you just cannot find a CRT display that big. So if you have a big wide screen TV in mind you won’t be able to go with the older CRT units.

The last deciding factor about CRT televisions concerns whether you should buy a flat screen or curved screen model. The flat screen versions can be viewed from the side better than the curved screens. The curved screens can distort the picture while the flat screens let you see the picture as it was intended to be seen. The difference may not be apparent when viewed alone, but put them side to side and you will certainly see the difference.

The next type of technology we will look at is the flat panel LCD displays. These come in HDTV (high definition television) or wide screen. If you want to see your DVD movies as you saw them in the movie theater you need to purchase a widescreen TV. LCD is a liquid crystal display and is not only used in televisions, but in computer monitors as well.

LCD displays have a flat screen and are relatively thin in width and lightweight. They have an exceptional picture viewing quality and as with the CRT displays will not produce burn-in. These TVs have high resolution that creates a superior picture.

The biggest problem with LCD flat screens is the fact that their viewing angles are lessened when compared with traditional CRT models. If you get too far off to the side the picture becomes extremely dark. They are also incapable of creating true blacks, another disadvantage when compared to older CRT models. Plus, the larger models can become rather expensive. However, if money is not your major concern and you plan on viewing the TV from directly in front you may decide that this is the best choice for you.

Plasma television sets, also known as plasma HDTV displays, have come way down in price over the last two years. Their prices used to exclude people from buying them, but their prices are now comparable to LCD models.

These TVs have become popular because not only can you get it in a very large screen size, perfect for your favorite movie or sporting event, but it has an excellent picture quality that is also viewable from wide angles. This is a plus over the LCD technology. This TV will give you the perfect “movie experience” at home in your own theater room.

Plasma television displays are great when it comes to picture quality and viewing angles, but their prices may still be slightly higher than other types. They also have a small potential for burn-in. But the big negative is their life span. They are basically not repairable when their bulb burns out. Depending on how much you watch TV you could end up with an expensive unit that will only last a few years. Once the bulb has burned out the TV is generally history. This is not the case with an LCD display where the bulb may cost in the neighborhood of $200, but it can be changed.

Rear projection models also have their positives and negatives. Rear projection CRT HDTV’s are cheaper than the larger plasma and LCD displays, plus they have a flat screen and great picture. The negatives are their size and weight and smaller viewing angles. They are too heavy to hang on a wall and are much wider than the more narrow plasma and LCD units. Also, in a well lit room their picture can seem a little less bright than what is considered ideal.

There are other types of rear projection HDTV units too. The most popular are the LCD and DLP models. Both have flat screens with wide viewing angles, are thin and lightweight which means they can be wall mounted, will not produce burn-in and have terrific picture resolution and quality. Also, when the bulb burns out they can be replaced, unlike the plasma television models. However, they can both be a bit on the expensive side.

Now that you know the differences it’s time to go down to your local electronics store and try them out. A little bit of viewing can go a long way in your determination of what’s best and what’s not. One more piece of advice: when looking at the varied assortment of models at you local store you’ll notice that some have bright pictures and some do not. Do not base your opinion solely on that one thing. The store models will not have their brightness controls all set the same and it’s possible that a dim picture on one of their televisions could easily be adjusted into a magnificent picture.

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