DIY Friday: Getting Started with HDTV


Just because its going to be a beautiful weekend through much of the country doesn’t mean you have to spend the days outdoors — after all, there’s a lot of TV you’d be missing if you did. The fact is, even if you are planning on spending the next weekend as a couch potato, if you don’t have HDTV you’re missing the big picture… literally.

The problem is, for most of us, while we know HDTV could give us a better viewing experience, purchasing a television that operates under the new standard is a rather daunting task. HD-Ready, HD-Card-Ready, HD-TV Receiver reuired? Ugh! What does it all mean?

Fortunately, for you, we’ve dug up a few sources of information, on this week’s DIY Friday, that will help you answer your most pressing questions about choosing and setting up the right HDTV selection for you.

The best place to start is this awesome How-to over at ZD, "Don’t by an HDTV without reading this first" that takes you through the pros and cons of the different types of displays (LCD, Rear Projection, and Plasma) and helps you avoid some of the common mistakes first time HDTV buyers make. An example? How about the Monster Cable rip-off:

"Consumers need to get the concept of "monster cables" out of their minds since they DO NOT apply to the digital world. There is zero difference in quality between the cheapest $12 HDMI to DVI cable versus the $100 gold-plated "monster cable." Monster cables are a holdover from the analog era, where signal leakage results in a degraded image or sound. In the digital world, a data cable either works 100% or it doesn’t work at all, and there is no degraded middle ground. Since nearly all digital cables work (return the rare ones that don’t), there isn’t a shred of difference between the cheap cable or the expensive monster cable. If you can’t find an HDMI to DVI cable for less than $30 in a retail store, you can google "HDMI to DVI cable" and there will be plenty online vendors selling them for $12-$16 plus shipping. Don’t be shocked to find HDMI cables that cost $60 to $150 in a typical retail outlet; just don’t fall for it. The only place monster cables have any use is for the transmission of analog signals, such as the connection between your amplifier and your speakers."

Talk about money saving advice.

Those who are purchasing their new idiot box with their refund from the IRS and looking to write off the purchase as business expense next year might want to check out the HDTV Tutorial at Hardware Secrets (a great little site for electronic hardware geeks like myself) which demystifies the process of hooking your television to your computer.

Finally, if you recognize the irony of purchasing a new television to watch the HD-presentation of Planet Earth on a beautiful day like Sunday and are planning, like me, to get outdoors this weekend, don’t worry, you can have your cake and eat it to: Just buy yourself one of those new HD Tivos and get HD glory whenever you want it.