HDMI vs. optical: Which digital-audio connection to use?

When it comes time to connect your shiny new sound bar or AV receiver, your two main choices are HDMI or optical digital audio.

The simplest advice is to go with HDMI when you can. But if you can't it's not the end of the world.

Here are the pros and cons of each.… Read more

Three ways to make your HDTV sound better

There's an undesirable trend happening. It seems that the thinner HDTVs get, the worse they sound. And no matter how much I tweak the audio options, nothing helps.

Welcome, fellow TV owners, to the BYOS (Bring Your Own Speaker) era. Flat-panel TVs are meant to simply look fabulous, and although there is sound, it's there only to hold you over until you buy some kind of audio system.

In this guide, I'll give you three of the best options for adding audio to your HDTV. There's a "splurge" option, a cheap set-and-forget route, and … Read more

Easily mount your HDTV

When I moved into my new place, I left behind my ancient, embarrassingly small TV. I jumped up to a 47-inch HDTV, which is still modest by today's standards, but big enough where I had good reason to worry about it toppling over -- especially with a kid in the house.

I decided to wall-mount the TV, not just to protect my kid (and the TV) but because a beautifully mounted TV looks amazing. It's like it's just floating there, defying gravity.

After doing some research on wall mounting, three things became clear. First, mounts have become … Read more

Get a 47-inch HDTV for $329 shipped

The bigger your TV, the happier you are. I can't point to any "research" or "facts" to prove that claim, but I feel in my bones it must be true.

Ergo, a big TV for a low price must make you downright ecstatic. And here you go: for a limited time, and while supplies last, Walmart has the Seiki SE47FY19 47-inch HDTV for $329 shipped (plus sales tax). That's a full $100 off the regular price, and one of the best deals I've seen for a TV of that size.

Seiki? Yeah, not … Read more

Ultra HD 4K TV Cheat Sheet

Ultra HD, colloquially known as "4K," is the latest buzzword, and the latest push from TV manufacturers.

While your next TV might not be Ultra HD, the one after probably will be.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about this latest advancement in TV technology.… Read more

A plasma lover's guide to LED LCD

If you're fan of plasma TVs, last year's announcement by Panasonic that the company was no longer going to make them likely came as quite a blow.

So now what? What do you do if you want a new TV but want the picture quality of a plasma?

This guide leads you though all the available options. Some good, some bad, some painful. Welcome to the TV world of 2014.… Read more

Is now a good time to buy a TV?

The TV industry moves in a predictable yearly price cycle.

New TVs, first announced in January at CES, hit the market in February and throughout the spring, for prices close to the manufacturer's suggested retail price -- but not so close that Amazon et al can't still claim "20% off."

As the year progresses those prices typically fall a little, but the steep discounts don't set in until November, the herald of the holiday season. Often the prices fluctuate slightly throughout the holidays, until the traditional buying spree ends.

Then it's time for the … Read more

Where should I put my TV?

No matter what size or type of TV you're considering, ponder placement for a moment. Maybe that spot that's always been home for the TV isn't ideal. Maybe a slight shuffle of furniture will yield better picture quality, or allow for a larger TV.

I can't come to your home to help with ideas (sorry), but I can give you some dos and don'ts when it comes to TV placement, to point you in the right direction (i.e., toward the screen). … Read more

Black frame insertion: Busting blur from Oculus to LCD TVs

Black frame insertion (BFI) is, to put it simply, inserting full-screen black images between the original frames of a source.

Hmm, OK, that didn't really put it simply, and I'm pretty sure I defined a term with the term.

How about this: black frame insertion is a way to reduce motion blur on LED LCD and OLED devices, which is definitely a good thing.

Here's what it does.… Read more