In the evolution of Television over the last 10 years, an age old question has just gotten to be more complicated. Which flatscreen is the right one? This entry is to help you make a more informed decision.
Obviously, cost plays a factor in any purchase, and I would always recommed setting a budget. Just remeber it is not just a TV you are purchasing. If you are trying to upgrade your picture you will need HDMI cables(79-199), a mount (99-599), and someone to hang it(250-500). You may also need a receiver to process the different siganls you want to send to the TV(DVD, Video Games, iPod, Family Video). Bottom line, understand that you may spend more on getting the TV to "look right" than you spend on the TV.
With Flatscreens running between $600(40") and $6000(65") it can be hard to navigate all of the subtleties of each brand, size, and features. So let's start with brand.
There are many different brands to choose from: Sony, Samsung,Sharp, Panasonic, Toshiba, LG, Phillips, and many more. If you are trying to buy a TV, I feel starting with the right brand is crucial. It is like buying a car. If you haven't heard of the company, there is probably a reason why. If you were looking for a compact car, would you go to a Yugo dealership or Honda? Also, there are may companies trying to make TV's these days, trust ones that have been doing it for years! An example of this is Olevia. They hit the marketing hard a couple of years ago and popped up in Sam's Club and Costco's accross the country. Where are they now? Out of business! But I promise you some people saved $100 from the comparable Toshiba, to bad if it breaks there is no one to call.
So now you have chosen your brand, next is size, and size does matter here! How big is the room the TV is going in? How far away will you be sitting while watching the TV? How high up on the wall will it be going? The standard height is 65" to the center of the TV from the floor, but in some cases(over a fireplace) that might be hard. You do not want to strain your eyes and neck to look at the TV. If your room is Narrow, bigger may be pixilated. If you buy a 40" and you are 15 feet from the screen it may be hard to see. I would receommend 40" from no more than 10' away, 46" for 10-15', and 50+ for 16' or more.
I have saves the best for last. Once you have narrowed down the brand and the size, the toughest choice is which model. I will document one brand (Sony) to explain the differences between the Sony at Wal-Mart and the Sony you could buy from Neuwave or Best Buy. Yes, wal mart sells a Sony TV and no it is not less expensive just because it is at Wal-Mart. They sell the lower end models. In this case the S-series. It differs from the one you could buy from Neuwave. We tend to sell the V-series and the W-series the most. Here are the differences. TV's are like computers. If you want a computer that has a fast processor, great programs already installed, and one that will not be obsolete in 2 years you pay extra. It is the same for TV's. The s-series has the Bravia 1 engine, less contrast ratio, less HDMI ports, and no network capabilities. Compare that to the W-series that has the Bravia 3 engine, 4 HDMI ports, internet connectivity to rent movies directly from the TV through Amazon, and 120hz processor. Sure they look similar on the outside, but we know it is what is inside that counts, especially for home electronics.