Buying the Right Television Receiver for You

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Buying the Right Television Receiver for You
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Buying the Right Television Receiver for You

If there is one thing that remains a permanent fixture in the home, it is the television receiver. Despite the computer continuously pulling people's attention towards itself, blighting the significance of the television, people do not easily fall out of the habit of rushing to bed on a regular night, eagerly awaiting a favourite TV show to come on, or spreading out a couch on a Sunday afternoon to watch sports on the telly. The very same reasons may have brought you here—you still believe that a television receiver is a necessary device despite owning a tabletop, laptop, or tablet computer.

If you are on the lookout for a television receiver, you know that there are different types, and it can be confusing to buy the perfect tube for your specific requirements without clearly understanding their differences. Adding to the confusion is the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting, which may leave you with more questions when shopping for the right TV receiver. A discussion of the different types of television receivers as well as their advantages and disadvantages, and the effects of the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting are necessary for you to have a clear basis when deciding the right television to buy.

Different Types of Television Receivers

For the last fifty years, television receivers have evolved to keep up with the latest technology and accommodate the needs of viewers. Today there are different types of television receivers that sit on people's homes: you have a traditional tube television, a Digital Light Processing TV (DLP), a Liquid Crystal Display TV (LCD), and a plasma TV.

Tube Television

A tube, direct-view, or cathode-ray television is reminiscent of the type of television that baby boomers watched when they were still living with their parents. This type of television receiver is a cathode ray tube, which is a specialised vacuum tube. Moreover, a tube television is always big, bulky, and heavy. It takes almost all the space on the television stand, and once you place it there, it is difficult to angle it in any way because it might topple over. Despite its disadvantages, it is relatively cheap and more importantly, very durable; television receivers of this type can last for decades, and even a malfunctioning tube television sometimes only needs a smack on the back for the pictures to display clearly again.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Many manufacturers today include at least one digital light processing TV in their roster of television receivers. The device processes light through a digital micromirror device, a chip made of more than one million mirrors that are one-fifth the width of a human hair. One common problem among television receivers is the damage to the screen when a very bright image has been displayed for far too long, but a DLP TV is not susceptible to that. In some cases, however, owners of a DLP TV see a rainbow effect on a fast-moving image on the screen after long use. This type of receiver can come in either rear projection or flat panel.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

Manufacturers produce liquid crystal display televisions at an incredible rate, making this type of TV the most common these days. There are so many brands of LCD TVs to choose from, and most of the brands carry thin, lightweight models that can both be a TV and a computer monitor. Connecting an LCD TV to a computer while its monitor is turned on, however, produces fuzzy picture quality on both screens. So it is really one or the other for that matter.

LCD television receivers, just like DLP TVs, are not prone to burn-in or damage due to prolonged display of very bright images, but they are susceptible to a ghosting effect, which is the term for when the image on the screen creates a replica of itself in an offset position superimposed on top of the main image. Aside from that, some LCD television receivers tend to pixelate, so it is always wise to test this type of television for a ghosting effect and pixelating by watching a DVD with fast-moving images.

Plasma

Hearing the word plasma creates an image of sophisticated television set that displays better picture than an LCD TV—and it is exactly how plasma TV is marketed. The flat-panel-only television receiver is created to rival LCD technology. Compared to an LCD television receiver, a plasma has deeper blacks, which creates a better contrast between illuminated and non-illuminated images on the screen, wider viewing angles, and blurs less when images are in motion.

The first models of plasma screens are more prone to burn-in and tend to decline in brightness due to phosphors that lose luminosity over time. Newer models, on the other hand, deliver remarkable image picture and have phosphors that last up to 100,000 viewing hours, which is more what an LCD TV can provide. A plasma TV has a reasonable price tag when compared to its competitor whilst having the additional benefits of plasma in mind. A plasma tube weighs more than an LCD tube, but additional support for a plasma TV is available online to make it possible to mount the device. This type of TV is still new, but it is predicted that it can last up to 10 to 20 years.

Pros and Cons of Television Receivers

The table below summarises the advantages and disadvantages of each television receiver type. This quick reference removes the guesswork from buying a television receiver.

Type of Television Receiver

Pros

Cons

Tube television

Relatively cheap; very durable (can last for decades)

Bulky and heavy; has an outdated design

Digital Light Processing (DLP) TV

Not prone to burn-in; comes in either rear projection or flat panel

Screen tends to create rainbow effect

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) TV

Not prone to burn-in; popular choice

Screen tends to create ghosting effect and screen door effect (pixelating)

Plasma TV

Deeper blacks to show contrast; wider viewing angles; less blurring when image is in motion; competitively priced in comparison to LCDs

Heavier than LCD TVs; older model is prone to burn-in; expensive compared to other types

Basically, a television tube is the cheapest, while a plasma TV is the most expensive among the different types of television receivers. DLP, LCD, and newer models of plasma television receivers are all not prone to burn-in.

The Switch to Digital Broadcasting

Digital broadcasting, which is heralded as the new age of TV broadcasting, started in 2005 and was completed in 2012. Although having better picture is the main premise of going digital, it also provides other benefits.

Benefits of the Switch

One such benefit concerns the bandwidth. The switch to digital allows TV stations to broadcast two to four digital channels, filling only the bandwidth of a single analogue channel. In effect, a TV station digitally broadcasting a main channel still has a certain amount of bandwidth for broadcasting subchannels. TV broadcasting is no longer limited to streaming of images and sounds because of the digital switchover. It is now possible for a TV station to stream any type of data, from news articles to video games.

Implications of the Switch

Digital broadcasting, however wonderful, creates a minor setback for home users with analogue television sets. But just like every problem that comes with the latest technology has a solution, this problem has one too—and it comes in a small box called a digital box that allows analogue TV sets to display digital broadcasts.

The government mandates the digital transition, and even though no one can do anything to switch back to analogue broadcasting, it does not mean an analogue TV set needs replacement. But if you want your viewing experience—as well as the overall look of the living room—to improve, a digital television receiver, ready to display the many benefits of digital broadcasting, is worth the price.

Buying a Television Receiver on eBay

There are so many television receivers to choose from on eBay. You can find the latest high-end varieties of television sets and traditional varieties as well. When searching, simply type the keywords "television receiver" in the search bar to be presented with different brands and models. To make it easier to zero in on what you intend to buy, just add in specific keywords, such as "LCD", "DLP", or "plasma", depending on what you want.

Make sure to buy from sellers who accept a return if the TV is not what is described in the product description page. This way, you can test the display and other components of the television receiver you get, and have an option to return it if you are not satisfied. Remember to check the seller's page for user ratings and positive feedback before making a purchase. When dealing online, it is always better to err on the side of caution. And if anything is unclear to you about a chosen television receiver, you can easily contact the seller through eBay to ask questions.

Conclusion

A television receiver is still an important broadcast device in the home. Computers and the internet may have changed the game, but television receivers continue to improve to keep up with the latest technology. When buying a television receiver, you need to consider both your budget and preference. You might settle with the traditional television tube if you value inexpensive price above all, but if maximising the viewing experience is your goal, you can go for the pricier alternative like a plasma TV. If you want to get a value in style and picture quality and a bit of value in price you can go for an LCD TV, which is a popular choice among many home users.

There is no telling what the next stage is for the television technology, but it seems the digital age is going to stay for a while due to its many benefits—with more channels and better picture quality being a few of them. A television receiver, or simply a TV, is a terrific invention that manages to evolve through the years to fight for its status of being the top medium for information and entertainment. And you can easily find the right one for you on eBay by using its search features to look through the extensive listings.

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