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How To Choose a New TV

Types of TVs:
Direct View vs: Flat Panel vs: Rear Projection vs: Front Projection

Front Projection TV - FPTVs are a two piece system; a projector and a screen. Front projection set-ups have a couple key advantages over the other choices; the opportunity for a huge screen and the equipment can be easily hidden away when not in use.

There are some points to consider before choosing a front projection system. While they can be very versatile (they can be portable - even take them outside for a neighborhood movie night), they have some limitations too.

First, you don't have to have a screen; you can project onto a wall, often with satisfactory results. However, most people don't want "satisfactory" they want "excellent" results. For this you will need a screen. Screens run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars. The size, reflectivity, rigidness, retractability and motorized features of a screen all factor into its cost. For a motorized, high quality screen, expect to spend $2,000 - $3,000.

Projectors technologies are dominated by CRT, DLP and LCD. Not all models are HD-ready and most don't have a built-in ATSC tuner. CRT models are mostly used in high-end home theaters and can cost upwards of $10,000. DLP and LCD models are much more popular and can be found for as little as $500. However, for a high resolution, high light output model, expect to pay $1,200 to $3,000.

The farther the projector is from the screen, the bigger the image. However, with the increase in size, you get a decrease in brightness. Also, the flaws in the picture are magnified and the pixels become more obvious, resulting in a less impressive image.

Pluses: Minuses:
  • Smallest size unit
  • Largest possible screen size
  • Wall or ceiling mountable
  • Easily hidden away
  • Can be portable
  • Screen cost can make the entire package more costly than other choices.
  • Rooms with bright light may make viewing less than ideal
  • Large images show more flaws
  • Ideal projector placement may not be ideal for the layout of the room
  • Most units don't include ATSC tuner
  • Long cable connections often required to connect to audio equipment

How To Choose a New TV

What is HDTV? ... EDTV? ... DTV? ... SDTV?

Aspect Ratios Explained: What's the difference between 4:3 and 16:9

How To Choose: LCD, Plasma, DLP, LCoS?

Page 1: CRT TVs

Page 2: Flat Panel TVs

Page 3: Rear Projection TVs

Page 4: Front Projection TVs

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