Make Room for HDTV

Right now is a great time to buy an HDTV. Why? Because prices have dropped to where many people can actually afford one. Another reason: the explosion of choices brought on by recent advances in technology. From compact flat-panel TVs with 20-inch screens to expansive rear-projection sets with 70-inch or larger displays, there's an HDTV out there custom-made for you. But which one?

The answer depends on what type of room you'll be putting your new set in. Smaller spaces such as a studio apartment, a bedroom, a home office, or an exercise studio cry out for a flat-panel model. But with a larger space - like a family room or basement that's been converted into a home theater - you'll get the most bang for your buck with a rear-projection TV.

With these variables in mind, we took three typical-size living rooms and found the perfect, Sound & Vision-approved high-def TV for each. And since picture is only half the HDTV experience, we added the ideal surround sound speakers to complement them.

But these systems are only a starting point. Once you've settled on a space (and a budget) for your HDTV setup, use our examples as a guideline for choosing your own gear - ideally, by checking out the test reports on this site.