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`Tis the Season of HDTV

You're Gonna' Need a Really Big Stocking for These Puppies

By Eli Spalter and Kevin Reylek

From holiday classics to home videos, watching movies together has always been a staple of the holidays. Now - thanks to HDTV technology - the experience can be enjoyed in a whole new way and at a price that won't break the bank.

Choosing a TV can be a daunting task when trying to decipher the differences between the various technologies that are currently available. That's why we compiled this introduction to help you wade through some of the options available today. The pièce de résistance of the home entertainment world is the HDTV, which range from 720 lines of resolution to the much sought after 1080 lines of resolution.

Sony KDL-52W3000

To help guide you through the wondrous land of HDTV we will focus on three different HDTV technologies; LCD, plasma and projection. The first two compete as flat-panel technologies that make it possible to hang the TV on a wall, while projectors provide the big-screen experience without the bulky equipment.

LCD (liquid-crystal display) TVs have flourished over the last few years, with their image quality improving to the point where they are almost neck-and-neck with the quality of a plasma screen. Thanks in part to reduced power consumption, lighter weight, and lower cost, LCD TVs are fast becoming the preferred choice in the TV market.

An LCD TV differs from a plasma display in that it uses a backlight and valve-like crystals that twist behind colored filters to compose a picture, while a plasma TV uses electrically-charged gas cells that cause colored phosphors to glow. As manufacturers have improved their fabrication processes, technical differences between the two technologies have become less of an issue. You can't go wrong with either type, though videophiles still tend to favor plasma because of its darker blacks, slightly wider viewing angle, and slightly faster response time, which is important for fast-action sequences.

Samsung LN-T1953H

LCDs come in a vast range of sizes to best fit your needs. The 19- inch Samsung LN-T1953H HDTV is a practical choice for the kitchen; while the 52-inch Sony KDL-52W3000 could easily become the centerpiece of your dream home theater system.

Panasonic TH-42PX77U

Plasma displays tend to be available in larger sizes – i.e. the 63-inch Samsung FPT6374 - so they tend to be most popular in the home theater department. However, if you are looking for a plasma display for the bedroom, the 42-inch Panasonic TH-42PX77U might prove to be a more practical choice.

If you want the largest picture possible, you should consider a projector. Projectors allow you to display images on a wall or retractable screen, so anyone can have the movie theater experience without the big screen TV.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 displays images in full 1080p HD quality. The HDMI input allows you to use a single cable to send uncompressed video from a high-definition player, such as a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player, to the projector, for one of the better movie experiences available today. Proprietary technologies in the projector bring out the full color, black levels, brightness, and clarity you'd expect from a great home theater.

Optoma Technology Movie Time DV11

If you're more interested in ease-of-use than high-definition imagery, the Movie Time DV11 from Optoma Technology is a sleek, all-in-one solution. Sporting a built-in DVD player and 5-watt speakers, it's a snap to set up your home theater without having to connect any additional equipment. The projector offers a native 16:9 aspect ratio to give you a widescreen experience.

Like our flat-screen TV offerings, B&H has a large selection of front and rear projectors at a variety of price points. So, what are you waiting for? The electronic hearth has never been as big, bright, and affordable to gather around as it will be this holiday season.

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