Don’t Fall Into These HDTV Buying Traps


A new HDTV is a big investment and a point of pride. But making that investment can feel daunting, and pride can get in the way of good sense. Too often HDTV buyers spring for a big TV with the latest and greatest specs without really knowing exactly what they’re paying for or if it’s worthwhile. Below, you’ll find some of the most common and costly traps to avoid while you’re shopping for an HDTV.

The Size Trap

A huge TV will make your friends drool with envy, but don’t overdo it. If a TV is too big for a room and you’re forced to sit too close to a colossal screen, the picture won’t look as sharp as it should, and you could end up with a serious headache from the eye strain. The distance between the TV and your eyeballs should be 1.5 to 2.5 times the size of the screen. And don’t forget to account for the space you’ll need in your car for the ride back from the store.

The Showroom Trap

Don’t fall for the sales gimmicks that have no bearing on real-world performance. For example, Sharp has displays set up in some stores to sell their Quattron-series TVs. The display implores users to look through a magnifying glass to examine the extra color (yellow) built into each pixel. It’s definitely there, and it does affect the picture (yellows look more vibrant), but you’d never look at your TV through a magnifying glass in your living room, so why would it matter in the showroom?

The Specs Trap

Manufacturers love big numbers on their spec sheets. In theory, more is better with specs like refresh rate and contrast ratio, but in practice, they don’t always make a difference. The refresh rate, for example, measures how frequently a fresh image is displayed; and the higher the number, the smoother the picture should be. But beyond 120Hz, the human eye has a difficult time discerning a difference.

The most nebulous spec is the dynamic contrast ratio. Each manufacturer uses a different scale to measure the dynamic contrast ratio, so the numbers aren’t helpful when comparing TVs across brands. At best, the ratio can be a rough guide for comparing different models within a brand. But even so, bloated numbers like 5,000,000:1 and 6,000,000:1 are too esoteric to measure the real-world impact. You’ll have to use your own judgment on this one.

The Running-Out-of-Money-For-Extras Trap

The TV is the most important and expensive part of your entertainment center, but you’ll need some cables and components to make it worthwhile. Save a few hundred dollars off the top of your budget for components like a Blu-ray player, game console or a high-def cable or satellite TV subscription. Save a few hundred more if you buy a 3-D TV, because you’ll need a few pairs of shutter glasses and a 3-D Blu-ray player too.

You’ll need some HDMI cables to connect everything, but don’t buy them at the store. Buy online at Monoprice.com or Amazon.com ( AMZN – news – people ), and don’t spend more than $10 per cable. If you absolutely have to buy in-store, avoid “premium” HDMI cables, like the Monster brand. Salespeople often promote these absurdly expensive brands because the margins are so high, but the benefit to picture and sound quality is indiscernible.

Now Relax

The best part of buying a TV is sitting down and watching it after it’s all set up. Take the money you saved and buy some high-def movies to enjoy.

Video Conferencing Myth Busters!


Don’t let the following myths deter you from finding out which video conferencing solution is right for your organization!

Myth #1: I don’t have enough bandwidth for video conferencing.

Multiple bandwidths can be used when placing a video call, depending on your environment.  Polycom video conferencing systems that feature high resolution, exceptional audio, video and content quality are all available at surprisingly low bandwidths, especially when you are communicating via the internet.

Myth #2: Video conferencing is for meetings in the boardroom only – it’s so much more than I need.

Take a look around you every day people are communicating with video technology (high definition broadcast television, YouTube, iPods) and it is transforming the way we live, work, and learn.  Video conferencing is definitely not an exception as it offers live interaction over video and even across a PC, lecture hall, conference room, and almost any other environment you can think of.  Video conferencing systems in today’s market meet any space requirement, application, or budget that you are working with.

Myth #3: My current systems are not able to connect with systems from other vendors.

Although this can be true it all depends on whether other vendors adhere to the established standards.  When it comes to the standard-based video conferencing high definition systems, they can easily interoperate with each other, and even support traditional video conferencing standards-based systems.  To be smart, buyers should shop for solutions that use standards-based technology: H.264 video, AES encryption, content sharing with H.239, etc.

Myth #4: I can’t afford video conferencing.

The quality of video conferencing continues to increase and as it does, the installation and initial purchase cost continues to decrease.  Most organizations have a very easy time justifying the cost of systems when a complete return on investment (ROI) occurs within only 6 to 24 months or when video conferencing equipment pays for itself after only one long training or business trip is replaced.

In today’s economy you can’t afford to miss the benefits that video conferencing offers.  Consider first the cost of traveling, not just getting to and from, but also the opportunity and productivity lost when employees spend time in the air and away from the office, friends, and family.  Video conferencing enables important meeting to take place now, along with effective collaboration, and brings together teams that are dispersed geographically. 

Myth #5: Video conferencing does not allow for me to include suppliers and customers in my video call, I can only utilize it within my own organization.

Video conferencing happening today enables real-time video collaborations across almost any environment; anywhere from your home office to a coffee shop with Wi-Fi to the board room, enabling partners and customers to be included into your video environment affordably, easily, and securely.  With the right Polycom video conferencing solution content sharing is easy – even participants who join using traditional audio can enjoy sharing spreadsheets, presentations, and other important content.

Quit dragging your feet because of these myths!  You don’t have to spend another day missing out on the incredible benefits of video conferencing – contact SpaceCoast AV today.