What To Know Before Buying An HDTV

December 07, 2006 -- Posted at 4:30 P.M. CST

JONESBORO --  We all know nothing is safe from change and that includes our TV sets.

K8 News reported that in 2009, the government will turn off the analog signals sent to televisions and go digital.

Right now, KAIT transmits three digital channels: a high definition digital signal on 8-1, 24-7 weather and the Tube.

If you access those digital channels, then you have no doubt noticed the brilliant color and vibrant picture on your TV screen.

High definintion TV's or HDTV's are all the rage right now, not only because of the great picture, but when the change from analog to digital takes place, you'll be ready.

Shopper Pat Wolover needs a change.

"We have an old old TV that we have put in our entertainment center, but it's a big ol' console and it doesn't fit in there very well," said Wolover.

Admittedly, she doesn't know a whole lot about these high definition or HDTV's.

"I  just like the look you know, the clarity of the picture," said Wolover.

"The high definition TV is all about clarity and it's all about resolutions.   The standard HDTV has 720 lines of resolution in it, and it can go all the way up to 1080 lines of resolution.   That gives you clarity, great color and contrast," said Jonesboro Circuit City mangaer William Johnson.

That means the higher the number of lines of resolution, the better the picture quality.

In addition to giving a nearly perfect picture, buying an HDTV is actually an investment for the future.

These HDTV's come equipped with the digital technology you'll need when the analog signal is turned off and digital signal is turned on in 2009.

Consumers are being encouraged to take advantage of digital channels already in place--like the three KAIT channels 8-1, 8-2 and 8-3.

Many TV makers realize consumers are ready to make the leap to the digital age with a high definition TV.

"Since the beginning of this year, the prices on flat panel rear projection TV's  has dropped roughly 60-70%," said Johnson.

So when you are ready to purchase that new HDTV make sure you tell your sales associate who and what the TV is for, and believe it or not, there could be an HDTV out there perfect for your lifestyle.

For example,  a liquid crystal display--or lcd high-definition TV uses the same technology used in the screen of laptop computers.

This type of TV suits sports fans, X-Box and Play Station users.

A plasma HDTV might be more suitable for those who enjoy just watching TV or for the movie buff in your family.

Don't be mislead, you can't just buy an HDTV, plug it in and have a crystal clear picture.

"It takes a little bit more including cables and the sources that you are using.  Direct TV now has high definition, and you can also get it through digital cable," said Johnson.

As we mentioned, there are a lot of choices and it can be very overwhelming.

Like Wolover, don't be afraid to ask questions--ensuring you get the biggest bang for your entertainment buck.

"Yeah, this would be a great Christmas present for both of us," laughed Wolover.

There is an ongoing debate in congress about who will be able to recieve digital converter boxes.  Those boxes convert digital signals to the traditional analog signals that are not connected to cable or satellites.  Those boxes will keep the traditional analog TV sets working in 2009 and beyond.

Here are a few other quick facts:

  • Experts say HDTV can last anywhere from 25-30 years
  • HDTV's in the 42" to 46" range can run you anywhere from $1,100 to several thousand dollars
  • KAIT's digital channels are free, over-the-air with an antenna