If you've made a decision to go HD DVD, congratulations. The picture quality on most HD DVDs, is worth the money. If you've made a decision to go Blu-ray, congratulations as well. Blu-ray discs offer the same picture quality. In some cases, Blu-ray discs offer a higher quality audio track, but in other cases, the HD DVD version of the same movie will offer better audio. So, it's wise to compare. Now, let's briefly discuss your television size and later on (in Part 5), how to approach the HD format altogether as it integrates into your DVD collection.
HD: The Bigger, The Better
My personal recommendations are an HDTV of around 50" in size. A 46" HDTV is still ok (usually 46" sizes are offered more in LCD TVs and 50" sizes are plasma TVs), but if you want to see the HD difference, a 50" television size is recommended. Why? Well, it has to do with perception. On smaller televisions, HD loses its perceived definition. While the same amount of information is present, you won't see it.
|"...if you want to see the HD difference, a 50" television size is recommended..."|
For example, Toshiba has HD DVD-ROMs on some of their higher-end laptops. Watching an HD DVD on a 15" or 17" LCD screen is certainly not going to demonstrate a huge difference between it and a regular DVD being played on that size of a screen. You just aren't going to notice a difference to warrant HD viewing.
We have to remember high definition material is most noticeable on larger television screens. In fact, HD is intended for large television screens because the compression artifacts on regular DVDs (i.e., Standard Definition DVD or SD DVD) are more noticeable as you progress to a higher television size. There is only so much information which can be stored on a DVD, and given movie studios want to pack the DVD with extras and features which can sometimes be as long as the movie itself, it's no wonder movies are taking a tough beating on the SD DVD versions.
So, if you own a 27" or 30" LCD TV, I would recommend you not invest in HD, and instead, invest in watching HD content from your cable provider to determine if HD is in your entertainment future. You may notice a slight difference in quality when viewing HD content on this size of a television, but more than likely you are not seeing the entire benefit of the HD material. If you plan on purchasing a 50" or larger HDTV and do not plan on having your 27" or 30" CRT or LCD TV as your main viewing device, then of course, feel free to find deals on HD discs and collect them accordingly. But the main emphasis here is, be sure you have a television which has a size which will compliment high definition content.
As stated above, from my own experience, a television of 50" is about the sweet spot for viewing HD content. A 46" LCD TV would probably be just fine if you're not going to purchase a plasma television. If you like RPTVs (Rear Projection Televisions), then 50" is also a size they are offered in. So, try and set your sights on something as close to a 50" television size as possible. Can you buy something larger than 50"? Most definitely. And if you're thinking of buying a 1080p HDTV, I would certainly recommend 60" or larger because you will not notice 1080p content from 1080i content either. Currently, we have 42" 1080p televisions offered at premium prices, and I would run in the other direction. There's just no point in buying a smaller television (yes 42" is actually border-line small when we're talking about HD and viewing content) with a 1080p specification.
I could go into detail about which kind of HDTV to purchase (DLP, LDC, Plasma), but for now, I'm just going to recommend going to video stores and comparing the different types of televisions for yourself. You may like LDC Televisions more than Plasma Televisions. You may also find a great deal on a DLP television set. The price and how the television appears to you, are two important factors which you will have to weigh yourself.
It would be nice if we all had about $5,000 to purchase whatever we want, but we don't. Most of us are on a budget, so price and quality are going to be fighting each other in our minds, and in our wallets. I will say I prefer plasma televisions. More specifically, the Panasonic brand. Panasonic and Pioneer are the leaders in plasma technology. Not to say all other plasma manufacturers are bad, but just that Panasonic and Pioneer are preferred, and if you can get a good deal on one, go for it. You won't regret it. Current LCD TVs are just about as good as plasmas, but you do pay a price for them. If you can find a deal on a Panasonic or Pioneer 50" plasma, don't hesitate.