So you were an early HDTV adopter back in 2006, and now you’re beginning to feel a little bit of—dare we say it—TV envy. With so many seemingly bigger and brighter high-definition televisions on the market, it’s hard not to picture the market’s best shedding its light in your living room. Step back and think sensibly, though: Is it a necessary purchase? When should you get a new HDTV?
Unsurprisingly, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and needs, though it helps to break down your reasoning before you take the plunge. Here are five things you should consider before you get a new HDTV:
Are you unhappy with your current picture quality? – Are you looking to replace your HDTV simply because it’s “old,” and you think whatever’s out there will provide you with better picture quality? CNet writer Geoffrey Morrison has a simple piece of advice for HDTV shoppers: “As a general rule, if you bought a decent TV in the last few years, the new models will only look a little better. More than five years, and it gets harder to say.”
Morrison goes on to state that measuring picture quality between HDTVs with numbers alone can be tricky, as manufacturers’ “contrast ratio” specs tend to be fabrications, and even measurements from one review site to another can vary. Make things easy on yourself: Go into an electronics store and take a look at what’s on display. Does the picture look sharper? Are you looking to update from 720p to 1080p? Then by all means, grab that new set.
Do you want 3D? – Many movie-goers will argue that 3D has worn out its welcome (again), but the “fad” doesn’t seem to want to go away. 3D movies and video games (which are primarily supported through the PlayStation 3 console) can actually be a lot of fun for kids, so it might not be a bad idea to update your family entertainment center.
Do you want built-in internet streaming? – Even if your HDTV is only a couple of years old, it might be lacking the technology necessary to stream movies and other content directly to your set. If you’re looking for a TV with built-in Internet technology and Wi-Fi support, you might consider upgrading—though it’s not very hard to set up media streaming via your computer and/or game consoles.
Do you just want a bigger TV? – All right, just go ahead and admit it. You want that new 80-inch screen hanging on your living room wall. Congratulations: Admission is the first step to solving a problem. Now complete your treatment with some retail therapy. In fact, you can move your smaller set to a bedroom, or bequeath it on a child deserving of a reward.
Wait for holidays/other major sales – HDTVs can be fun impulse buys (at least until the credit card bill comes in), but reining in your compulsion and sitting tight isn’t the worst idea. Major sales come and go, especially since HDTV technology is evolving briskly. Holding off for a mere month can net you hundreds of dollars in savings.
For more HDTV buying advice, visit:
When Should I Upgrade my HDTV? at CNET
You Bought a New HDTV—Now What? at About.com
Should You Buy a New HDTV Now, Or Wait? at Practical Home Theater Guide