Sunday, December 7, 2014


Tis the season for big gifts.

A common purchase at this time of the year is a new television. My brothers and I are in the market for a new one for our parents.  Choices galore. There are many formats, manufactures not to mention tech options. Trying to determine the best choice for our non-techie parents is quite the challange.

It is not a matter of what we can afford or buying the biggest TV we can afford, it is a matter of not handing them something that is complicated to used, leading to frustration. We also have to pick something that fits the space available in the TV room.

They currently have a 36 " TV that fills up the entire corner.  Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so I know the TV is going to  may end up a foot or two further away from thier traditional viewing position, making the picture appear smaller. Apparently Use room size dictates the size of screen you should choose—the ideal viewing distance from the screen should be about twice the screen size.

Than there is the format. Do we go with Plasma, LED,  or LCD?  Plasma TVs create a picture by sending an electrical charge that is applied to a small sheet of tiny plasma cells. LCD TVs are composed of liquid crystal compressed between two glass plates and backed by a fluorescent lamp. When you apply an electrical charge to the crystal, an image is created. LED TVs are similar to LCDs, but instead of using the fluorescent lamp, they use hundreds of very evenly distributed LEDs.
Than these is the issue of  resolution. Do we go with HD ready, full HD, Ultra HD or 4K. I am thinking full HD will suffice and really change the way they watch television but if we are going to make the investment should we look at 4K?

And finally the issue of features and technology. Dad has adapted well to his iPad but the surround sound was a bust. Even those of us with nimble fingers and well-functioning frontal lobes can be stymied by a new device that labels the controls differently from the one we are used to. Making the transition easy for them- and us - means finding something as simple as possible to operate.  A remote control or on-screen options that present lots of buttons and options pose a challenge.  I consider myself somewhat tech savvy but my kids seem to have an intuitive ability to figure these things out. 

The bottom line - picking out a TV for your parents who live a few hundred miles away is no easy tsk these days.

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