Article 20: Televisions

Choosing an HD Television

Hi guys, welcome to the 20th edition of the Modern Nerd. I’m happy to still be bringing you tech tips and tricks to make your integration with that big scary technology monster a little easier. This week, let’s take a closer look at TV’s. There are a ton of new and cool options available to you now, but choosing the right one for your space and applications can be a little tricky. So without further ado…



Plasma – Not Just for Cutting

Plasma televisions were really the big thing a couple of years ago. They are still going strong today, for a couple of very good reasons. They have great picture quality and crispness, and because Plasma screens follow the trend of CRT’s from years past, the entire screen refreshes at the same time. That means that you won’t get any jumping or blurring of your picture, assuming that you are inputting an HD picture or movie. In 1080p, Plasma TV’s are at the top of spectrum for watching TV and movies.

Burn-in is something that people are always skeptical of Plasmas for. It is absolutely true that you can ruin an expensive TV by leaving a static image on it, but this danger has almost entirely been designed out. Hours and hours of a static image are required to cause permanent damage. This means that plasma TV’s are not well suited to use with video game consoles, especially those that have reticles for shooting, a map in the corner, etc. Too many hours can produce a shadow on your TV that won’t go away for a while, and in only the most extreme cases, is permanent.

For that reason of you are looking for a TV that is best suited for television or movie feeds, then Plasma is a great option. Prices have dropped significantly on quality systems within the last 5 years. But for computer or video game options, look elsewhere.

LCD Screens – A Big Computer Monitor

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Diode. They are the standard screen for flat panel computer monitors and for entry-level televisions any more. There is a small difference between LCD and LED screens, and we’ll get into that in a second.

LCD screens are the most robust TV’s, can handle anything you throw at them (not literally please), and have good picture quality for the price. Computer monitors and video game TV’s benefit because of their tendency to display static images, and with resolutions all the way up to 1080p like the big boys, you don’t have to sacrifice too much in the way of sharpness.

LCD vs. LED – I’d rather get a C than an E…

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. They are being used in a lot of places from traffic lights to computer keyboards to replacing conventional lighting. They give off no heat and are very efficient on the electricity bill when it comes to costs.

LED’s line the back of an LCD screen in an LED TV. There are more differences, but that is the simplest way that I can put it. This gives you better power efficiency, more dynamic ranges of color, and a brighter, clearer picture. The electronics in the TV adjust the backlighting and the picture separately, which leads to another improvement in picture. LED TV’s come with a price jump of course, but the improvement in quality of picture is quite noticeable. If you are looking for an all-around great TV that you can also use as a second monitor for your computer or play video games on, LED is the way to go.

3D – The Next Dimension

I did a rather lengthy write-up on 3D a few weeks ago, so if you are interested in the way that the technology works, I’ll refer you there. 3D televisions offer a very unique viewing experience in your own home, and if you are willing to shell out the big bucks on a system, you’ll get your money’s worth. LED TV’s are usually the models that are converted into the 3D systems, as they are able to achieve the 120 frames per second that are required for the separation of image in the 3D glasses. Plasma screens cannot do this.

A Word about Sizing

Contrary to popular belief, bigger is not always better. Choosing the right size for a television plays a huge role in the process. While you can go stupidly large at 90” LED TV’s now, you have to realize that motion sickness can be a problem if you replace your wall with a TV. If you have a very large room, going up to 70-90 inches can be OK, if you are sitting around 8 feet from your TV. But if the room is more moderately sized, consider a TV smaller.


Thanks for reading guys, good luck finding your perfect screens.

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