Photos by Tony Cordoza To break an awkward silence at a business dinner a while back, somebody went around the table with the question, "What's the one thing you'd want if you were stranded on a desert island?" When my turn came, I replied, "A plasma TV." Everybody was incredulous, but I had my reasons.
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.
The granddaddy of fixed-pixel technologies, LCDs first appeared in pocket calculators in the early 1970s. LCD technology is amazingly versatile, able to power front projectors, rear-projection TVs, and flat-panel displays.
Photos by Tony Cordoza A newcomer to HDTV has to face so many new abbreviations and technical terms that he could end up feeling like a freshman at MIT. Competing for your hard-earned buck are technologies like LCD, DLP, plasma, LCoS, and CRT - all of which can be found in sets that feature 1080i, 720p, and 480p scanning, ATSC tuners, and DVI with HDCP.
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.
Unless indicated otherwise, all tests were performed via the HDMI input from an upconverting DVD player set to 720p output.
Color temperature (Warm color temperature, Personal mode before/after calibration): Low window (20 IRE): 6,407/6,657 K High window (80 IRE): 6,814/6,529 K Brightness (100-IRE window before/after calibration): 186/45 ftL