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Rear Projection TV Shopping Guide

In the market for a new TV? While most online shoppers first notion is to purchase a fancy flat screen LCD or plasma model, the tried and tested rear projection television should not be overlooked.

But with dozens of television brands and models on the market, shopping for the best rear projection TV at the lowest price can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Dealio is here to help you provide you with all the information you need to know about rear projection TVs before you make

Why Rear Projection?

Recent improvements in technology have raised the performance of rear projection models while reducing their overall size and weight. Unfortunately, the flat screen TV trend has taken hold of many shoppers, who in turn have completely ignored the rear projection option.

However, this dramatic decrease in the demand for rear projection models has reduced their prices, and in some cases the savings is over half that of more compact flat screen models. So, how do you decide which particular rear projection model is the best for your wants and needs?

CRT, LCD, and DLP Explained

CRT

For over 50 years, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) has been the primary means to deliver television pictures. As the bulkiest and heaviest rear projection unit when compared to LCDs or DLPs, CRTs are also prone to burn-in, declining brightness, and hot spotting, which significantly compromises the integrity of your picture. The upside, however, is that CRT televisions are the least expensive and still provide the best bang for the buck.

Cost: Depending on the screen size, the lowest price rear projection TV in this category cost an average of $1000, while the best rear projection TV can cost an upwards of $7,000.

LCD

A popular alternative to CRT technology is LCD, or Liquid Crystal Display. The technology employed through LCDs makes them much more compact, and they weigh considerably less than CRT models. Unlike rear projection CRTs, LCDs are not prone to burn-in, declining brightness, and hot spotting, which can significantly compromise the integrity of your picture. The only downside to LCD, however, is that some models have difficulty producing the colors grey and black. Aside from this small issue, an LCD model is perhaps the leading choice in rear projection technology.

Cost: Depending on the size of the screen, the lowest price rear projection LCD TV averages around $2,500, while the best rear projection TV can cost an upwards of $5,000.

DLP

Another popular alternative to CRT technology is DLP, or Digital Light Processing. Although the technology employed through DLPs is different than LCDs, their qualities are nearly identical. DLPs are more compact, weigh less, and are not prone to burn-in, declining brightness or hot spotting. Unlike LCDs, most people will not have any problem viewing the colors grey or black with DLP units.

Cost: Depending on the size of the screen, the lowest price rear projection TV in the DLP category can cost around $3,200, whereas top of the line DLPs can cost an upwards of $5,000.

Rear Projection TV Features

(1) Black level

Black level is the ability for your rear projection TV to produce the color grey or black. This may sound trivial, but the reality is that some rear projection models display contrast better than others. The only way to test a TV for the black level is to watch a demo unit, preferably with your own DVD that contains a dark scene, and see which model provides the best contrast. In general, CRT and DLP sets display the best contrast, while LCD sets have a harder time producing the color grey and black.

(2) Burn-in

Burn-in occurs when the picture is kept consistent (e.g. you pause a movie on the screen) for a long period of time. The consequence of this is an unsightly "ghost" effect, which can compromise the quality of the picture and the lifespan of your television. While CRT models are prone to this problem, LCD and DLP type models usually do not have such issues.

(3) Declining Brightness

Declining brightness is an unfortunate side effect with even the best rear projection televisions on the market. This problem is most common in CRT sets, but virtually non-existent in LCD and DLP television sets.

(4) Hot Spotting

Hot spotting, a condition where the center of the screen is brighter than the surrounding picture, is another unfortunate side effect with rear projection TVs. However, this problem is most common in CRT sets, but virtually non-existent in LCD and DLP television sets.

(5) Glare

Glare occurs when light in a room reflects off the television screen back to you. The resulting effect is a faded picture. This problem is inherent in even the best rear projection models due to their curved screen. Our best advice is to browse different models and see which TVs have the least amount of glare.