(National) March 7, 2005 - In stores high definition TVs are eye-catching. The picture quality is often far better than anything available from a standard-definition television.
At its best high definition has almost photo-like detail and clarity, but skinny plasma HDTV s are expensive. One 63-inch set costs $24,999. Consumer Reports' Gerard Catapano says you don't have to pay anywhere near that much to get a very good high-definition TV.
A conventional, 32-inch "HD ready" set costs $1000. No matter what kind of TV you're considering, Catapano says HD-ready is the least expensive way to get high definition, "You'll need a receiver. You can rent one from your cable company, or you can buy one for a few hundred dollars from your satellite company."
Catapano says another high-definition decision is whether to get a standard, square-shaped screen or one with a wide screen, called a 16-by-9, "With a 16-by-9 aspect ratio HDTV your HD programming will completely fill the screen. With the traditional 4-by-4 set HD programming will have bars on the top and bottom."
There are many different kinds of HD-ready TVs. Besides plasma Consumer Reports has tested rear-projection sets with huge screens and trim LCD sets, but they're all pricey.
If you want the very best picture, testers say a top-rated conventional set with high-definition capability is the way to go. Among conventional HD-ready TVs Consumer Reports recommends two from Sony's Hi Scan line: the 32-inch square screen, which costs $1000, or the 30-inch wide-screen, which also goes for $1000.
by Judi Gatson
posted 6:00pm by BrettWitt