Plasma TV Buying Guide
If you want to buy a plasma TV and you are not comfortable doing so without learning all the important facts first, you have come to the right place. This guide will get you up to speed by explaining all must-know stuff. The plasma TV buying guide is invaluable if you are new to the world of HDTV. It will help you not only have the peace of mind that you bought the right thing but also avoid a lot of the marketing crap out there and probably even save some money along the way or spend them wiser.
Decisions YOU Must Make
Buying a great plasma TV is all about making the right decision. Even if you have a limited budget you can still get a very good plasma TV if you know what you need and you understand your habits. In order to decide wisely you need knowledge. If your decision is not based on knowledge it will be based on impulse. That is something you want to avoid because you can end up buying a plasma TV that somebody else thinks is best for you. When you buy something make sure the decision is yours. So what decisions are you supposed to make?
- What budget are you going to spend?
- Are you going to buy a plasma or an LCD TV is better? What about a projector or a DLP?
- What screen size are you going to buy?
- What resolution the screen will have?
- What are you going to watch on the TV (what kind of content)?
- What connectivity and features you need?
- What brand and model will it be?
- Are you going to buy online or from a brick and mortar store?
- Is it a smart move to buy a TV online without even seeing it first? What if you’re not satisfied with it?
- Where will you find the best price?
- Do I need anything else or just a TV?
I am sure you can come up with others but this is a good list to start with. The first five points are probably the most important. Finding an answer to them helps you narrow down the potential choices. There are many plasma TV models out there and while at first you might be a bit intimidated by their number you should know that only a few of them will pass the initial filtering. For now you should forget you have a budget to work with and focus on what you need.
What Do You Need?
First of all, make sure that a plasma TV is the right choice for you or figure out what type of HDTV suits you best. Plasma, LCD, DLP or maybe a projector? They all have similarities and differences, advantages and disadvantages. There is no such thing as best technology. You can read the Plasma vs LCD TV guide on our site for a good understanding of the two types of displays. If you are considering other type of display use Google.
The screen size, resolution and content questions are like the holy grail of plasma TV buying guides. Get this wrong and you either end up spending more or getting less quality than you expected. You can find out what screen size is best for you from Plasma TV Size & Optimal Viewing Distance guide. Note that the figures in the table on that page are for HD content. So if you plan to watch SD content a lot you might want to buy a smaller TV.
When it comes to resolution most people think in terms of 720p vs 1080p. Which of those two resolutions is best depends largely on what type of content you watch. I also recommend you to read the Plasma TV & HDTV Resolution guide because it will help you understand in detail everything you need to know about HDTV resolution. That’s one guide that will make the difference from having an idea to understanding.
Who Invited Mr. Budget?
Yeah, nobody likes Mr. Budget. When it comes to buying a plasma TV, Mr. Budget is responsable for making us to rethink the whole problem. If you came to the conclusion that the best plasma TV for you should be a 60 inch one, Mr. Budget might have a problem with that. So you might have to eventually go for a smaller one. Again, if you want top notch quality and you’re thinking to buy a Pioneer Elite for example, Mr. Budget must be very generous with you 🙂
Would you like fries with that?
Next thing you have to decide upon is whether or not you want your TV to be part of a home theater system. This is importent because it forces you to pay attention to what connectivity options the plasma TV has. Some plasma TVs don’t even have a built-in tuner so you will need one HDMI connector for that. If you want to buy a Blu Ray player too that’s another HDMI connector you need on your plasma TV. You want to hook it up to your computer to play games? That means you need a DVI or VGA connector. Of course you can use adapters like DVI to HDMI or HDMI to Composite for example. You have to know however that when you use an adapter from a higher quality connector to a lower quality one (like HDMI to Composite) you loose a bit of quality.
Plasma TV Brands
There are many plasma TV brands out there each having models with various prices and quality. The best plasma TV models are made by Pioneer, Panasonic and Samsung. Historically Pioneer has made for quite a while models that ware considered as the best on the market. The quality of the picture and the overall quality vary across the models of each brand. Hitachi, LG, Philips and Toshiba also have good models. Vizio models (actually V inc. is the brand), HP, Dell are considered budget brands.