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Here's what to look for when choosing your display.
When choosing your TV, consider the display type (LCD or plasma), the display or screen size, and the resolution.
Flat-panel displays are by far the most popular. Usually your choice will come down to LCD or plasma. Both are great, but they're not identical.
LCD displays are:
Plasma displays offer:
You might also consider a front projector if you have a big-enough room (and budget). A front projector:
One disadvantage: the projector plus installation plus screen can be very expensive.
Take your room dimensions into account, then get the biggest set you're comfortable watching. Popular home theater sizes go from 37 inches to more than 60 inches.
We recommend 1080p resolution, generally called "full HD," to get the full benefit of the best entertainment sources.
In computer-monitor language, a 1080p display has a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels. A 720p HD display corresponds to 1280 × 720 pixels.
Almost every display has a variety of connection options. Here are the most common.
HDMI® provides the best and simplest way to connect your TV to your home theater:
The more HDMI connections you have, the better.We recommend at least three for a TV display.
3D is a hot topic in home entertainment. Retail ads don't provide much detail, so here's some background.
Three types of 3D displays are currently available:
Currently, sets using active-shutter glasses generally offer the best performance. The glasses-free approach is in its infancy.
Keep in mind that 3D technologies are evolving rapidly on all fronts. Check out a couple of 3D TVs with Dolby technology: the Toshiba® 55WX800U Cinema Series® 3DTV and the Toshiba 55VX700U Cinema Series TV.
All 3D requires HDMI 1.4 or later. Any equipment labeled "3D-ready" will have it, but if the signal is going through an A/V receiver, the receiver will also need HDMI 1.4.
Look at your room, at where you'll be sitting, where you plan to put the display, and go from there. Our chart gives you a starting point, with minimum and maximum viewing distances for standard TV sizes. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, not absolute rules.
Lots of jargon and claims accompany the available information on HDTV displays. Here are some clear explanations of various features and considerations you will encounter.
This refers to the type of backlight used for LCD TVs. For years, LCD screens used fluorescent (CCFL) backlights. Now LED backlights are gaining popularity.
Compared to CCFLs, LEDs:
Local dimming creates a backlight image in sync with the LCD screen. This allows purer blacks, better detail resolution, and a wider dynamic range—which add up to a better image.
Most displays are set up at the factory to look their best on a wall in a retail store. They're too bright and too blue. The display will often look a lot better in your home if it's calibrated after setup. Sometimes the store will do this for you, either for free or for a relatively small fee.
Otherwise, you have three choices for calibration:
The vast majority of HDTV sets now include an Ethernet connection and portals to popular streaming services. For a home theater, however, you may get better results connecting to the Internet through a different component.
See Streaming, Online, and Broadcast Programs.
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