Are the Features on Expensive HDTVs Worth The Money?

Our geek says you can bank on it

These Little Piggies Succumb to Full-HD

Dave Helfrey

Yes indeed. The sticker shock you're experiencing usually does translate to better performance. The priciest TVs are full-HD 1080p (the highest resolution). Less-expensive 720p sets still deliver an outstanding picture, and most high-def TV service is 720p or 1080i, but 1080p is your best bet for watching Blu-ray movies and for smoother up-close viewing. Telltale measurements such as contrast ratio (the range of bright to dark colors — look for at least 3,000:1) and the refresh rate (which reduces motion blur) can also improve demonstrably as the price increases. A 60-hertz refresh rate is common, but 120 hertz provides smoother fast-action rendering for sports.

Of course, the shrewd can always save. Vizio sets can offer solid performance for 10 to 20 percent less than a major-brand TV with comparable features. If you're set on a big brand, though, check out Amazon's Warehouse Deals, which discounts near-flawless open-box items. Or try waiting until the end of the model year, since the changes to new product lineups can be largely cosmetic. Head to sites like BigPictureBigSound.com and HDGuru.com to stay up to date on availability and special deals.

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