Television

Your guide to the latest TV models

We've all heard the nicknames for televisions – idiot box and boob tube, just to name a few. But the TV is probably one of the most important elements of modern life. It not only entertains us; it keeps us connected to the outside world and informs us of news and events happening around us. No matter what you like to call it, you've probably got a television, and likely more than one. Like it or not, no American home is complete without a TV.

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CRT vs. HD, LCD, and Plasma TVs

Since TVs are so important, choosing one is especially so. A TV is an expensive appliance, so you want yours to last as long as possible. These days, the traditional cathode-ray tube (CRT) TV is on its way out and plasma, high-definition (HD) and liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions are the trend. Which kind you get depends on what sort of price range you're looking at and what sort of entertainment media you'll be watching on your TV.

When you choose a television, you need to think about the screen size, which will largely depend on which room and what purpose the TV is for. A TV in the bedroom shouldn't be huge, but a home theater should obviously have a big screen TV.

Cost is also a major consideration. A CRT TV is your cheapest option, and these TVs come in all different sizes and shapes. You can even get a flat screen TV in a CRT option, although this takes up a lot of space in a bigger model.

Consider a plasma, HD or LCD TV if you're looking for a contemporary, high-tech model that takes up little space.

High definition or HD TVs are just that – they deliver a high-definition picture that's clear and crisp, along with excellent sound. However, unless the TV has a built-in tuner, you'll have to buy an HD tuner in order to view the picture properly.

Plasma TVs are made of cells that light passes through in order to give you the picture. An LCD TV is made of two screens essentially "glued" together to contain the liquid crystals, which block or pass light with the movement of the picture. Technically, an LCD TV will last a few years longer than a plasma TV, but if you're looking for the ultimate in durability, you're best going with a CRT TV, which comes in a variety of new styles and definitions and is much cheaper in price.

Any TV is likely to stand out in an antique or country-style living room, so hiding it in a TV cabinet when it's not in use is a good idea. Otherwise, a sleek flat screen TV that can be mounted on the wall works well for a modern or contemporary living room. If you're building a home theater, consider a widescreen television to enhance your viewing experience.

Choosing the right TV will add to your enjoyment of your favorite shows and movies, so make sure your choice is an informed one.

Read our Editorial Review on Sony Televisions