What's Up With HD? Part 3

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If you want to watch High Definition Television you'll need a digital TV, so what kind of set should you buy? It really depends on how much money you want to spend.

So what's the difference in digital televisions? Price, size and picture quality. The thinner the set and sharper the picture, the more it's going to cost you. There are four kinds of digital TVs: rear-projection, Liquid Crystal Display (known as Processing [known as DLP]}and plasma.

Rear projection TVs use a set of three lights to project a picture on to a screen. The picture, while still nice, is the lowest quality of digital TV sets. They're the bulkiest TVs in the group. They're also the least expensive, running anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000.

Digital Light Processing TVs use a series of mirrors to project a picture onto the screen. DLP sets produce a brighter picture than rear-projection TVs without the fear of burn-in like plasma TVs. They're thinner than rear-projection sets but take up more space than LCD and Plasma TVs. A DLP set will run you between $2,500 and $7,000.

Liquid Crystal Display sets use thousands of red, green and blue pixels to let light through and create the picture you see. LCDs are flat-panel, meaning they're much thinner than rear-projection. If you have a flat panel computer monitor at the house, chances are it's an LCD screen. An LCD TV will cost you at least $500. Prices go all the way up to $11,000.

"Basically, the LCD and the DLP are just two different technologies that give you the same picture," said Jaime Fager, a sales associate at Best Buy in Panama City.

Plasma sets are the most expensive of all digital TVs. They use thousands of red, green and blue pixels activated by plasma to give you the sharpest picture of any digital television. Plasma are thin like LCDs, but they do have a burn-in factor and have the shortest lifespan of any digital television.

Plasma sets are also pricey, running you between $3,000 and $15,000.

"For the majority of my customers, when they get plasmas they want to hang them on the wall," said Fager.

No matter what you’re in the market for, remember it pays to shop around and do a little research. A little time could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

One other note concerning plasma screens is not all plasma TVs are high definition. Be sure you know what you're buying. Non-high-def plasmas tend to be a lot cheaper than high-def plasmas.