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Issue #025 - What's new
20th August 2006

The Practical HT Guide Update  brings you the latest additions in a series of informative home theater design articles, unbiased system reviews, practical guidelines and free advice. If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a BIG favor and "pay it forward."

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Welcome to the August 2006 issue of
Practical HT Guide Update

In this issue:


Is it worth buying a Refurbished LCD TV Set?

A most common question that often finds itself through the site feedback form, is whether it is worth the risk of buying a refurbished LCD TV set.

It is true that LCD TVs are among the most expensive displays for the screen size even though the latest prices covering the 37" to the 44" screen segment are more in line with those of their plasma counterpart.

At the same time, one cannot ignore the fact that refurbished items often sell at deep discounts. Hence, it is only logical to consider refurbs if what you are after is a cheap LCD TV. But...

  • Are there any risks when buying refurbs?

  • How can you transform these risks into a smart buy?

From the queries we receive, it is obvious that there are many misconceptions surrounding this subject. In particular, many confuse the term 'refurbished electronics' with 'reconditioned'. In the electronics world, these are two distinct designations.

So what exactly classifies as 'refurbished' when it comes to electronic products?

For an answer to all these questions, check our article: A Guide to Buying Refurbished Electronics.


LCD TV Response Time and Image Lag - Is faster always better?

LCD TVs are coming out with faster response times, with some manufactures quoting response figures as low as 8, 6 and even 3msec!

LCD Response Time is surely one of most important specs you should look at when buying an LCD TV. Normally, the faster the better i.e. the smaller the number the better, but...

  • How low is good enough, and how does LCDs compare with plasma TVs?
  • Is it possible to compare LCD TV response times between different manufactures when the different ways of reporting this important spec seems simply designed by some to disguise the hard facts?

The truth is that the end customer is once again being entangled in another number battle between display manufacturers. Last year, it was the contrast ratio 'number game' with plasma displays when some manufactures started quoting contrast ratios as high as 10,000:1. For the uninformed, a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 is supposed to deliver a better picture than one with 4000:1, yet if you were to go through our article on contrast ratio, you would soon realize that this is not the case.

This year, it seems that the hot debate is the response time of LCD panels.

Manufactures know this number game very well. Normally, bigger numbers sell better; in the case of response time, it is the smaller number that is better. A faster LCD TV response time is suppose to render better fast actions during movies, sport events, and gaming, but...

The problem is that in the face of lack of standard specifications, some manufactures are taking customers for a ride by quoting unrealistic high or in this case, low figures, for technical specs resulting from unspecified testing methodologies that aim more at inflating the end figure to cut on competition, than to deliver a better product to the end customer. This is leading to a lot of confusion among manufactures and buyers alike.

If you would like to find your way through this incomprehensible mess, take a look at our article on LCD Response Time.



Are you being faced with the dilemma of choosing between a plasma and an LCD TV set?

Flat-panel TV technology represents one of the biggest television technological achievements ever since the invention of color television in the 50's. Whether it is a plasma television or an LCD TV, a flat-panel television is slim - typically less than 4 inches in depth - and represents an attractive addition to any room.

However, for many, deciding on the flat-panel display technology to opt for is often turning out to be a rather difficult and complicated comparison between two competing technologies. Not only plasma and LCD television sets come in similar slim-style packages, both are also capable of similar picture performance - rendering bright, colorful crystal-clear pictures.

To complicate this plasma vs LCD TV selection process further, price and size - two major considerations up the recent past - are becoming less of an issue as LCD televisions are now coming out bigger and at prices that are really starting to compete with those of similar-size plasma TVs.

Notwithstanding all these similarities, plasma and LCD displays process the image in a completely different manner. More specifically, there is no relation what-so-ever between the technologies driving these displays.

While these differences in technology are in themselves transparent to the viewer, yet, at the same time, one cannot but keep in mind that it is these same differences that give each of these display technologies, its strengths and weaknesses, and that therefore render one more suitable than the other under certain circumstances.

To help you discover where either of these flat-panel display technologies fit best, we have prepared a comparative guide to the subject of plasma vs LCD. It approaches this subject by taking a detailed look at three main areas of concern, namely 'price and size', 'picture' related issues, and 'functional' considerations.

We believe that this approach should help better bring out the main differences between these two technologies, and therefore, make it easier to determine where either of these display technologies fit best.

More information can be found here: Plasma vs LCD TV - A Comparative Guide.

Hope you will enjoy and profit from these additions to our site.


Take care and stay tuned! 



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