HDTV Shopping: The Little Extras That Make A Difference

HDTV Shopping: The Little Extras That Make A Difference

Jeff Heaton
Aug 17, 2011

In part one and two of our series on HDTV buying we took a look at getting started and terminology. In this third and final part of the series we'll take a look at some of the extra features you'll want to look into depending on your lifestyle and budget. The toppings on your already sweet HDTV sundae if you will.

This is mostly a question of what devices you want to use with your HDTV. To use the full HD power you'll need HDMI ports for things like your Blu-ray/DVD player, cable box and video game system. A couple extra HDMI ports can't hurt either, especially if you're the type that likes shiny new devices. If you want to connect your computer and use the TV as a monitor you'll need an input for that. If you're still using a VCR (why?) or older video game system then you'll need an input for that. And some manufacturers are including card readers for cards you might use in your camera so if you're a plug-and-play kind of gal that might be your thing.

Remote Control
Every device comes with one and now you're adding another to the jenga-like stack you have to fish through to get some entertainment. If you're lucky it might be a good one, with inputs for all your devices and a relatively easy setup procedure. It also may have all the beauty and of functionality of a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. So now might be a good time to consider upgrading to a well-designed universal remote.

Internet Connectivity
TVs are now offering built in connections to your online services like Pandora, Netflix, Hulu Plus and Skype. Don't overspend on having this included, however, because products like Roku often give you more options for less money. This requires an ethernet input so make sure you can get a cable to your TV.

These TVs sit at the high end of the high-end and come with a bundle of other things you have to pay for including special glasses and content, not to mention 3D gives some people headaches. If you are interested you'll be an early adopter of the system and probably one-up the Joneses, impress your friends and help move the platform forward. But again, it's still a pretty new technology.

A note on cables and extended warranties
You don't need expensive cables. Really. The salesperson will almost certainly tell you you do, but that's because electronics stores make big profits on marking up cables. And extended warranties aren't much use either. Consumer Reports found that most extended warranties go unused. So unless you're tossing and turning in your sleep worrying about Sammy (what you've nicknamed your new Samsung), don't worry about it. Some retailers like Costco give you the extended warranty for free so if warranty is important to you consider buying from one of these stores.

(Images: Flickr users Robert Scoble and William Hook under Creative Commons.)

Part I | Part 2

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