One of the problems that surround the HDTV hype is that a lot of new comers to the world of high definition do not know what they are dealing with. Most of the information that is found on the web is geared towards tech savvy people leaving those that are just starting out clueless. Buying and HDTV for the uninitiated may feel as confusing as when they bought their fist computer. Here are some tips with explanations about very important concepts that surround the world of high definition.

Refresh Rates

Refresh rates are very important especially when it comes to televisions with LED and LCD screens. The refresh rate indicates how many times a screen updates itself per second and is usually presented by a number followed with the cycles per second unit. An example would be: 100 Hz. The higher the refresh rate the better in terms of picture quality. A low rate manifest itself in the form of tracers when there is a lot of movement in the picture. A movie scene with a fast moving vehicle is a common trigger for tracers. The vehicle may look like it is followed by images of itself. Another example where tracer may appear is while watching the FIFA world cup. Players look like they are followed by images of themselves when refresh rates are low. While not as dramatic it is still quite annoying. If you want to see for yourself how tracers look like you can try this experiment: look far away and move your hand across your line of sight but don't focus on your hand keep looking away. Tip: Buy a set with the higher refresh rate possible for your budget.

Contrast Ratios

The contrast ratio is a comparative measure between black and white colors in a picture. They are normally presented in a format that looks like 100000:1 or similar. A higher contrast indicates a higher quality picture. Plasma HDTV sets normally have a higher contrast ratio than sets using other types of screens but it doesn't mean that you can't find a set with a good contrast ratio using a different type of screen. Buy a set with a good contrast ratio. This is very important, low contrast translates into a flat looking picture that lacks depth. Screen Size When it comes to screen size it is better to buy a Tv that has a smaller screen but that has better important specs like refresh rates and contrast ratios. While some people prefer to go for a bigger size instead of a high quality picture take into consideration that the magic of HDTV is all about picture quality. A big screen that projects a low quality picture is not a good investment unless you are looking for size and not the quality of the picture itself. It is also worth mentioning that the difference between 720p and 1080p is barely noticeable on small screens especially if the person is not sitting close to the unit. If you are planing to buy a small set you can easily choose a 720p television and save a few bucks.


Stick to known brands that produce high quality HDTV sets and avoid strange brands and one hit wonders that you may find in stores. A lot of these weird brands sell for less for a reason. Some of the best brands are Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and others that you have been seeing your whole life. Another brand that is relatively new compared to others but that has grown into one of the best budget based brands out there is Vizio. They are usually cheaper than other sets but their products are good.

I hope this helps you understand a little more about HDTV sets and what to look for when you browse online or visit your local store.