HDTV & You – Myths Busted – Secrets Revealed Part III

A tip sheet that can be used whether you are procuring HDTVs for your facility or your home

There are not many things people today can agree on more than a nice flat panel TV. Everyone loves the way they look as much as looking at them. The good news is how they have dropped in cost. However, you have to be careful of what is and what is not included with the lower cost. If you can’t use it the way you want, it’s not a bargain. If you buy more TV than you need, it’s not smart.

Today’s Internet-connected HDTVs can integrate streaming video from YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Vudu, and Hulu Plus; audio from Pandora, Google TV and NPR; and photos from Picasa and Flickr. They also deliver weather, traffic, maps, fantasy football, Facebook, Twitter, and even rudimentary games that are designed to be played with one thumb and your TV’s remote.

But do you want all that stuff built-in? Most of those features are already in your PC! External boxes–including DVRs, Blu-Ray DVDs, and game consoles–all offer similar if not improved functionality. They cost a lot less than a TV to replace or upgrade when something new comes along.

So which HDTV features do you really need?

Must Have
HDMI- From your PC to a Blue-Ray DVD to your cell phone and PDA, soon everything will have the HDMI port because it connects video and audio in one cable. VGA or DVI inputs – Chances are that this is what is on your desktop or laptop. Anti-Glare Screen Matte – If you have windows or lights in the viewing area you will want matte. Composite or S-video inputs – If you still own a VCR, camcorder or older DVD players.

Nice to Have
LED backlighting – Saves power and allows for thinner designs, but it is still pricey. Ethernet Ports – Opens a whole new world of connections to networks and Internet. USB Ports – Connect everything from your camera to your phone for big screen viewing.

Don’t Need to Have (yet)
3D HDTV – Not ready for prime time. 3D is great, but the manufacturers are using different standards and the content is very limited. Plus (you read it here first), there will soon be 3D that does not require special, clumsy glasses. OLED – Is the best quality and thinnest screen. But it’s too early and expensive to own today. “Super” HD Tuners – If you have Cable, Direct TV or FIOS you will never use a tuner anyway.

The BIG difference between Commercial and Consumer HDTV Televisions
Before you procure TVs in the PX or local Wal-Mart for use in your facility, stop and think! Consumer TVs used in a workplace are only covered by warranty for 90 days, no exceptions. TV manufacturers build units for commercial use. They are not sold in consumer stores but by certified dealers who offer professional support. For almost the same price, they offer three-year warranties as well as higher-grade materials and public display features.

DO not hesitate to contact MediaNow with any questions. We are a GSA Scheduled SDVO SB that can help you choose your new digital TV, regardless of how you get your signal. We have been delivering for the procurement professional for over a decade and we will be here tomorrow to make sure everything works the way it’s intended.