Time for a New TV?

Television purchasing decisions used to be simple. Black and white, or color? Shell out the extra bucks for one with a remote? (Yes, there was a time when people had to get up and walk to their TVs to change the channel.)

Nowadays, there's a mind-boggling array of options, costing from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand. HD is the buzzword of the day, those crystal-clear images in widescreen format on your high-definition set.

Most people are opting for a flat-panel display these days, general LCD or plasma. While image quality is in the eye of the beholder, LCD has made a significant advance in newer models: 120Hz refresh rate. That means they're redrawing the image on the screen faster than ever, producing sharper video and smoother motion.

High definition, by the way, is not the same as digital television, or DTV. In February, 2009, WTOC and other broadcasters around the country will stop broadcasting analog programming and go all digital. Older TVs will work with the addition of analog-to-digital converter boxes available at the time, but it might just reason enough to upgrade early.

For more on what we're calling the Big Switch, click here.

If you're ready to take the plunge, the options, these days, are dizzying. We have notes on a few we've seen here, but nothing compares to seeing these beauties in person.