What Type Of HDTV To Buy?
Plasma. LCD. Rear-Projection. True HD. There are tons of technical and marketing terms used by HDTV manufacturers to try in lure in consumers. As someone who wishes to use an HDTV as a monitor, however, your needs are very specific, which grants you the luxury of ignoring most of these options and focusing on exactly what you must have.
You'll want to focus your search on LCD flat-panel televisions. LCD televisions lack the black levels and vibrant colors that can be found on Plasma televisions, and they're much more expensive then any sort of rear-projection HDTV. However, LCDs tend to have the highest resolutions, which means that they do the best job of showing fine details like text. LCDs also avoid the burn-in issues that are found with Plasma HDTVs and the viewing-angle restrictions that can cause problems on rear-projection televisions.
Among LCDs, you'll want to focus on HDTVs that have a high resolution for their screen size. Putting a high number of pixels into a small space results in a very fine image, while putting a similar number of pixels in a large space would result in a coarser, less precise picture. If you're buying an HDTV that is under 37", then you'll probably want to focus on models that offer a resolution of 1366 x 768. If you're buying an HDTV which is 37" or larger, then you'll want to focus on 1080p. In almost all cases, HDTVs that are larger than 50" do not make very good monitors, as individual pixels will likely be very large, making small text unreadable. HDTVs larger than 50" also run into simple size issues, because while buying a super-sized set may seem appealing, it is not a good idea if you actually sit close to the HDTV, like you might if you were using your HDTV as a monitor.
Finally, you'll want to look for an HDTV that offers features that make it appropriate for use with a computer. The first and most obvious feature that you'll need to look for is the sort of video and audio inputs you're planning to use. If you're going to use HDMI, then you should be set, as virtually all HDTVs offer HDMI connections. However, if you're planning on using DVI, or even an older input like VGA, you will need to check to make sure that the HDTVs you're considering have these connections. You should also form an understanding over the other features that can be had, as each HDTV is different. The most basic HDTVs don't give the user many options for adjusting the display, for example, and this can be disappointing if you don't realize the limitations of the HDTV before you purchase it.