Enter an electronics store or peruse the ads in the Sunday newspaper and the variety of new HDTVs and other electronic screens is overwhelming. If you’re in the market for a new video screen, you know exactly how confusing the different choices can be. Below are just a few things to know before you go shopping for that new screen or television set:
HDTV and Smart TVs
Not all video screens are created alike. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the screen, the better the quality; but there are a lot of other things to consider when shopping for a video screen. For instance, is high-definition TV (HDTV) right for you? HDTV sets have about five times as many pixels per inch than standard sets, giving their pictures a higher degree of clarity. Such sets are well-suited for viewing things with a lot of detail, such as sporting events and nature programs.
Smart TVs blur the lines between television sets and computers. These sets allow you to perform some computer and Internet functions as well as search for media among all entertainment choices. Smart TVs also have a save function that allows users to store programming. Such sets are ideal for those who like to share content with social media friends.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Video Screen
Video screens are measured on the diagonal. Commonly found sizes range from 19″ to 70″. Which size should you pick? That can depend on whether you’re looking to create a home theater, or just for everyday entertainment. Here are a few points that may help you make that decision:
- Room size — Although those huge TV screens are impressive on display in the electronics store, you need a large room to be able to comfortably watch such a screen. A 70″ screen is most comfortably viewed from a distance of between 8.5 and 14.5 feet. On the other end of the spectrum, you only need to be approximately 3.5 to 5.5 feet away from a 26″ screen to comfortably view the programming.
- Screen size — As mentioned above, the larger the screen is, the farther back you need to sit from it. HDTV sets allow you to be a little closer than conventional, standard-definition sets. However, if you can see the breakdown of the image (e.g. the little pixel boxes), you’re sitting too close to the set.
- Resolution — The screen resolution and the screen size go hand in hand. Resolution is measured in pixels per square inch, so the same number on a smaller screen might be very clear, yet blocky on a large screen. Keep in mind, also, that HDTV sets offer approximately five times as many pixels per inch than standard-definition sets.
- Room layout and seating — How you have your television room set up is another factor to consider when choosing a video screen. Buying a large, expensive set when your room isn’t arranged to accommodate viewers doesn’t make a lot of sense. Make sure you measure the distance between where you typically sit while watching the screen, and where your new screen will be–this way, you’ll know what ideal screen size to shop for.
- Viewing angle — Modern television screens look best when the image is viewed straight on, with your eyes resting naturally at approximately the middle of the screen. Most television sets will need to be set on a stand or (in the case of a flat screen) mounted on the wall to be at the correct level. Is your room large enough to accommodate the television AND the stand?
- Viewing habits — Lastly, it’s important to take a minute and think about how you use television and/or the video screen you’re planning to buy. If you enjoy watching sports and plan on opting for split-screen capabilities so you can watch two or more games at once, then choosing a set with the best resolution you can afford is important. Conversely, if you use television as background entertainment while you clean, fix dinner or accomplish other tasks, then paying a lot more for the best picture available might not make as much sense.
So, don’t just settle for whatever screen you see first or the one the salesperson recommends. Take a minute to analyze your viewing patterns and preferences and buy the screen that’s best for you and your family.
Online content provided by CEDIA, the leading global authority in the $14 billion home technology industry.