HDTV - The next generation of TV, or the next 8 track cartridge format. That's the important question for anyone looking to invest in a new HDTV television. There have been so many different video, tape and sound system formats that the consumer could be forgiven for cynicism and exercising more than a touch of caution.
The HDTV format has been put together by an industry wide group of US researchers and manufacturers, rather than any one manufacturer. It should not be subject to the inter-manufacturer squabbling that killed the 8-track cartridge or Beta format video recording.
HDTV offers a spectacular combination of color intensity and Dolby Digital surround sound that has impressed most reviewers. Giving cinema-like sound and picture quality.
Gas Plasma HDTV screens offer a higher degree of contrast than the competing LCD flat screen TVs. This means the TV has a visible and bright picture, even in a brightly lit room, no more closing the drapes to watch a football game in the afternoon. The Plasma screen also has a much wider viewing angle, so the whole family can watch from around the room. LCD screens have improved in this regard, but are still limited. The colors on an LCD screen change once you are not directly in front or within 10 degrees of a centre line.
If your new television screen is intended for use as a video game screen as well, then the choice is more difficult. This is because gas plasma screens do suffer from "Burn in". Burn in is where an image that has been displayed for an extended period of time leaves an after-image on the screen even after it is removed. This can be a problem with video gamers because game on-screen control panels tend to be static and would cause "Burn in."