Buying an HDTV

KBTX-TV HD's Buying Guide

HDTV's first came on the scene in 1998 and since then, different off-shoots of HD have hit the market. So much so, it can be confusing.

Gene Joyce is the president of Audio Video in Bryan. He says now's the time to start looking and sinking any more money into your standard TV isn't a good idea.

"Now whether you're buying your ultimate High Definition TV as this point or not is a decision you'll have to make."

Joyce says there are some things to know before you shop.

"For many people HD is synonymous with plasma in their mind. So we have to find out if that's what they're thinking first or not and if that's what they want to do with it, do they want to hang it on a wall or are they needing it to be in some space that's very shallow. Past that point, we definitely try to find the highest quality product that they can justify with their budget."

There's a lot out there to choose from. First, there's EDTV - which stands for enhanced-definition TV. This is not HDTV. It most often applies to some cheaper plasma's.

Then there's HDTV. High-definition televisions can display standard TV and HD TV signals. They're what all televisions will be in the future.

There are four types of HDTV's. Direct view, flat panel, rear projection, and front projection. Within those four styles, there are different types, the most popular being flat panel. The two major players in the flat-panel game are plasma and LCD.

Plasma sets are thin, have good home theater image quality, but are expensive. Flat panel LCD is the most popular HDTV technology in the 40 inch size and smaller. There are a lot of choices, and prices are falling.

Joyce says what's most important when buying an HDTV, is who makes it.

"The technology is not quite as important a the manufacturer because all the manufacturers have the capability of the technology, they just don't choose to use as good of parts as others."

The ones that have been here a long time - Sony, Mitsubishi, Pioneer as far as the plasma. Those are fantastic manufacturers with a long track record."

The bottom line, Joyce says, is know what you want, and know what you're getting. Go to a reputable dealer and don't buy the first time out. Shop and learn.

"It can be confusing and that's why you're always better off if you're talking to somebody that has knowledge about the market, both the equipment, as well as how it interfaces with Bryan-College Station's area."

It's a daunting task and we've only given you some of the tools you'll need as you start shopping. For other information, log on to and read our HDTV buying guide. For News 3, I'm Mike Albin.