How to Buy a Flat Panel TV
Sharps Tony Favia gives us a few quick tips on comparing and buying an LCD display.
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When shopping for an LCD TV, don’t just look at pretty scenes, advises Sharp’s Tony Favia. Look at dark scenes to see how deep the black is. Shown: Sharp’s 52-inch LC-52D64U Aquos LCD TV.
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April 30, 2008 by EH Staff

Tony Favia, Sharp’s senior product manager for the 16:9 LCD TV entertainment products division, put together a list of shopping questions and answers to help you navigate in the world of LCD displays.

1. The design of the flat-panel television. There are many design options available—taking into account size, shape and color—to match with different room decors.

2. Picture quality, in regard to the type of programs or video content you will be connecting and watching on the television.

3. A top-name brand that you are familiar and comfortable with that can supply aftermarket service and customer support if needed.

4. Inputs included on the TV. Consider what devices you will connect to it, like a high-def DVD player, gaming console and other audio/video units.

5. The size and weight of the TV. If you want to wall-mount the television, look for a thin, lightweight display. 

Q. How do you weigh a more expensive display against a less expensive one of the same size (even within the same company)? 
A. Design and picture quality relate greatly to the price. Usually, you can easily assess the better-quality TVs by the elegance of their design and how sharp and bright their picture quality is.

Q. How do refresh rate and speed relate to an LCD?
A. The faster the response time, the faster the pixels in the LCD display respond to fast-moving video content. This means that on TVs with slower refresh rates, you are more likely to see trails or blurring images with fast-motion content such as sports or action movies. Similarly, TVs with 120-Hz panels can reduce blurring by driving the image at twice the speed of 60-Hz panels. The combination of 120-Hz capability and very fast response time can give you confidence that your LCD TV can handle almost any variety of video content.

Q. How does someone judge the black levels, and why are they important? 
A. It’s important to view the television with very dark content, such as a night sky. That is where you can really tell how deep and natural the black is. Black levels are a key measure of contrast ratio, which is one of the most critical features of a TV’s picture quality. In general, the higher the contrast ratio, the deeper the blacks will be, providing a superior picture.

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