Did you know you can get a plasma HDTV for $1,800? That's right - TV technology that a few years ago cost more than a Hyundai is now within reach of most middle-class American budgets. Prices for entry-level big-screen HDTVs, including those flat-panel plasmas and LCDs as well as advanced DLP and LCD projectors, are falling at near-terminal velocity and have yet to hit bottom.
Unlike an iPod or a cellphone, an HDTV includes numerous and sometimes very advanced adjustments that can directly improve its performance. Using those controls properly can have more impact on picture quality than any other factor.
Leave it to Apple to encase the latest technology in a wrapper so irresistible that it appeals both to cutting-edge technophiles and to people who care more about how something looks than how it works.
The HDTV market is heating up, especially for microdisplays - rear-projection TVs (RPTVs) that use LCD, DLP, or LCoS chips to produce their high-resolution images. These sets are essentially video front projectors stashed in a box, so it's no surprise that a projector and printer maker like Epson would want to get in the game with something that sets them apart from the competition.
Ever since that Philips commercial where a European-looking couple try hanging their thin TV in every room of a minimalist apartment, finally settling for a spot on the ceiling above the bed, plasma sets have been creating a stir. From airports to movie theaters to corporate boardrooms, these slimmed-down big-screen TVs draw stares from almost everybody.
Photos by Tony Cordoza In the not too distant future, most TVs will be flat. Svelte, inches-thin LCD and plasma displays just make more sense than bulky tubes, especially in kitchens, bedrooms, and other smaller spaces. Even big-screen projection TVs are slimming down as tubes give way to newer technologies.
If you're shopping for an HDTV, you've probably noticed that the news stories and Sunday circulars all seem to focus either on expensive flat-panel plasma and LCD sets or on more affordable LCD or DLP rear-projection TVs.