There are a great many factors to consider when buying an HD TV. And for every factor, there is an acronym. If your local electrical shop has the kind of salesman that happily throws their techy talk at you, at 1000bpm while telling you what you want, but not why you want it; you, like I, may have occasionally been left stranded on the sea of televisual knowledge.
Among these acronyms is LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diode. That's tech-talk for “a bulb that will basically never burn out.” LEDs can in fact be found on almost any electronic device, but lately they have been used in HDTVs to light their screens.
Until recently, HDTV illumination has come from either an LCD lamp (which has a limited lifespan as it will ‘burn out') or a plasma array, which has an even more limited lifespan. The advantage, then, of LED HDTVs is that testers are still clocking their lifespans and the expectation is for them to outstrip their counterparts. In fact they seem to run, virtually, for as long as their users need them to run.
But, there is of course a catch, and as ever it is the cost – customers will be looking to pay around a few hundred pounds more (depending on size of course) for an LED-lit display. But if it means extending a TV's lifespan from 20,000 hours to something far, far longer, it may well be worth it in the long run.
Some manufacturers have actually developed a less expensive hybrid, “edge-lit” LED TV, designed to extend the lifespan of the unit, even after the lamp has begun to die. While this system is neither fish nor fowl, it is an option to consider for those of you who like to balance nicely in the middle!
Another term being thrown around lately is 3D HDTV, a system which uses a special type of screen combined with a pair of 3D glasses to simulate three dimensional space. This is the inevitable gadget adaptation to the recent explosion of 3D movies in theaters (just in time for DVD releases of course!).
However, critics are skeptical about the prospects of 3D TV. To begin with the issue of cost raises its head again – a 3D TV is significantly more expensive than a conventional HD display. Why? Well not only does the display itself cost more to manufacture, it requires a pair of 3D glasses for every viewer. These glasses can be expensive, and are battery powered. Secondly, many film experts believe 3D is on the way out, just as it has come in. Though it has made significant impact in the industry, it is widely considered among purists to be a passing fad (just like the original 3D Cinema fad back in the day). Finally, 3D TVs do not have a widely supported media base. A 3D TV will be great for 3D movies, but neither cable nor broadcast show any signs of entering the 3D market any time soon.
Though it is more expensive, the LED LCD HDTV (phew – I'll stick with LED TV or LCD TVs for short!) is the most versatile and longest lasting HDTV on the market. They are available from most manufacturers, including Sanyo, Sony, Samsung, and Vizio, to name a few.