Television technology changes so rapidly that it can be hard to choose which features you need when buying a new set. Fortunately, the Web hosts articles on all latest and greatest developments in TV tech, and of course, sites that are poised to sell it to you. This guide will help you to learn the issues and be a careful shopper.
You say you want some resolution? Would that be high definition? Do you want a built-in DVD player? ... read more »
Now that you have an idea of the features, it’s time to fine-tune the purchase details. Fortunately, the Internet may be the greatest shopping mall ever created, especially when you’re looking for specific features and comparison shopping. This section will lead you to the best online resources and merchants.
- Establish how you will be using your TV. Do you want a home theater system complete with external speakers, a DVD player, and other high-tech paraphernalia? Are you concerned about using the set for video games? Consider the size of the room it will be in, the lighting, and the possibility of wall-mounting the unit. (You’ll want high contrast for a well-lit location.)
- Figure out what you want to use the set for and how much money you’re willing to part with (and don’t forget the cost of peripherals like cabling), then look further down our guide to get a price and a vendor.
To price your purchase …
does an excellent job of naming prices from different vendors, and it allows you to sort by price and overall rating. You can compare specific models against each other and then get a link to the manufacturer or a vendor.
The Consumer Reports Web Site
has top-notch information and some reasonable advice about features, but it saves the most detailed information and model ratings for paid members to the site itself. Still, it’s worth a look.
is a good place to go after you have an idea what you’re looking for. It doesn’t offer a large range of vendors, but it does a great job of summarizing user reviews and assigning each model a “metascore,” with links to the original citations.
has a wider range of vendors and prices than Google Shopping, but a smaller range of reviews and no “metascore.”
For where to buy …
’s Television Guidester has a simple-to-use interactive guide that helps you select models based on feature sets and pricing.
offers a wide selection and excellent customer service, but make sure an item is listed as “In Stock” when purchasing, and be sure to check who the vendor is. Amazon often fronts for other companies, and while they're usually good, like J&R, you need to know who you’re actually buying from and what their support and return policies are.
has a good selection of name brands as well their own decent-quality house brand at a discount price. In-store pick-up and good return policies help a lot.
refers to the High-Definition Multimedia Interface standard that you’re going to use if you want to see what all the HDTV fuss is about. And of course, you'll need a cable to connect your HDMI box to your TV. How much will it cost? If you shop around, you will find prices from $20 to $160 for a 6-foot cable. What’s the difference between the two? Exactly $140—and nothing else. For short runs, an inexpensive cable will provide the same quality as an expensive one, according to a spokesperson at HDMI.
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