Home-Theater-stone-wallThere was a time where a TV screen was a TV screen. One standard size fits all; it was a simple cathode ray tube that illuminated the fluorescent screen by shooting electrons at it. Black and white made people happy because there was no colour. Then came the computer followed by the Digital Age and everything changed.

Today, the idea of having a cathode ray tube TV screen is in line with having an 8-track player – why? In one sense, even though there are some key decisions to be made when deciding on modern models of televisions for your home entertainment system, you are basically looking at a big flat screen. There are some newer curved models but I am not seeing any reason to spend the extra money at this point.

If you go back and read my earlier blog on Home Entertainment Setup 101, you will see that understanding your room is very helpful in making the best home entertainment system decisions. It is obvious that you don’t want a screen so big you are right on top of it. On the other hand, is it really a home entertainment system with a 20-inch screen? Be careful when you go shopping because the size in a retail store can be deceiving. Measure twice, buy once.

Screen resolution is a huge issue because of your picture is grainy or pixelated your viewing experience is ruined. You have several basic choices: 1080p resolution, full HD quality, and the latest 4K resolution, which is by far the best, you can get (but prepare to pay more). How to decide? The choice is based mainly on what you can afford. Everyone wants the best quality picture. One factor you may consider in your purchase is how often you expect to use the television. Light to moderate use makes it difficult to justify spending top dollar for something you do not use very often. A final factor to consider is the size of the screen, as the larger screens will require a higher resolution to avoid what appears to be a blurry or pixelated image.

Finally, here is a bit of technical information but is becoming a big issue with flat screen purchases – refresh rate. In laymen’s terms, the refresh rate is how often an image is displayed on the screen. What you see on the screen is simply a series of still images that are displayed rapidly, making it appear there is motion. So, the higher the refresh rate, the more natural the motion appears. If you are a serious gamer and connect your PlayStation or Xbox to your television, you will see the difference immediately between the different refresh rates. A rule of thumb is the refresh rate is the number of images that are displayed on the screen in one second. The current highest refresh rate is 240Hz.

For the purposes of viewing, these are the main considerations. Different TV’s offer different features, such as Internet connectivity and built-in DVD players. The more features you add, the more expensive the TV will be. So from a broad perspective, make the size of the screen and quality of the picture priorities. The other features likely can be externally connected.