Home Entertainment Systems – Selecting a Video Display for your Family

Home electronics has become a fascinating topic on the lips of consumers and technology fanatics across the globe. It seems that a good combination of equipment has become almost a rite of passage for some homeowners and in many circles of friends. While electronics that deal with such important factors as lighting, heating and communicating are all incredible and somewhat of a necessity, the real eye-poppers have always been part of the home entertainment scene. HD technology has created a huge new surge of components and sound systems are constantly being reworked, reimagined, and reinvented. To complement these technological pieces, a good home entertainment system needs to have a clear and functioning video display unit. But with so many available technologies out there to choose from, what is the best of the lot?

The “best” is really in the eye of the beholder, and also in the desired needs of the consumer. Everything from big screen entertainment systems to projector screens can be purchased to enhance a home entertainment system. However, preferences are given to certain devices for various reasons. Some may give sharper pictures, others may be easier to work, and yet others may simply be easier to keep maintained. Choosing the proper mix of all these qualities will help you find the perfect type of video display to make part of your system.

Let’s start by discussing big screen technology. Home theaters are often judged not only by the quality of the equipment that makes them up, but on the size of the screen that is the focal point of the whole home theater. Televisions come in all shapes and sizes these days, but the widescreen television sets are by far the kings of the set. The only problem that big screen televisions have faced is in picture quality. Sometimes the picture would not be as sharp as if it were viewed on a smaller screen, especially from certain angles. With HD technology leading the way now, that problem has been solved. Big screen televisions now almost always give crisp, clear images, but the differences lie in the types of screens.

Plasma television sets are definitely the playboys of the big screen televisions. With their sleek designs and sexy appeal, any home theatre will be looking its best with one of these. However, while style and picture quality are top-notch, there are some technical problems that tend to come up with plasmas. Mainly, these include connectivity, of which there are often limited choices or amounts. So for those who plan to have numerous output cables attached to a television, it may be better to stay away from plasmas, unless an outside electronic box is purchased to wire multiple connections as an intermediary. The other problem with plasma televisions are the price. While a big screen television of the same size, although boxy in appearance, may cost a pretty penny, buying the same size plasma will apply a noticeable increase in the price tag.

Increasingly popular video display equipment is projector screen technology. This brings a real cinema appeal to your home theatre. These can often give the clearest image possible with current technology, but you need to know exactly what will work best with the conditions of your home theater. There are various color screens that could be purchased, white and grey being the primary. White is perfect for a theatre in a windowless room, while grey should be used if there is ambient lighting or sunlight that could affect the image quality on a white screen. Some downsides to the projector screen technology is that many models run loud and hot, which could be distracting and lead towards poor maintenance quality.

Besides the types of video display equipment available, the technology employed by each is also important to look at. Many people like LCD screens, while many more prefer CRM technology. Perhaps the best resolution you can get is 1080 p, which is rare among plasma screens, but readily available in other forms of video display equipment. You simply need to find the conditions that meet you theater best, ask the right questions when you’re about to purchase the product, and of course have in your mind the picture of your ideal home theatre system.

-Ben Anton, 2007