Shining flashlights on expensive TVs in public places

I know this sounds rather pointless, but if you have any idea at all of buying an HDTV sometime, please read! 

If you were in our local big box electronics store yesterday (well, not our local BBES, but the bigger one in the next county where they have the premium stuff) you would have seen Mr. Shark shining his Streamlight pocket flashlight at a series of moderately pricey HDTVs while I squinted at them.

Performance art project? Momentary insanity? Impulsive act of silliness?

Nope.  Serious product evaluation going on here. 

I’m including this here because I’m pretty sure a lot of you out there in the blogosphere are in the same boat as the Sharkipede household, where we are thinking about upgrading our AV entertainment setup in anticipation of the coming digitization.

Yes, we watch TV here, and we enjoy it.

So, anyway, we are shopping for an HDTV. Not a cheap crummy one, though not a top of the line one either, pretty though they are.  (I am not going to pay more for a TV than I paid for my car.  Sorry, but that’s how I feel.)  We are not ready to buy yet, but we are steadily narrowing things down.  We know we want an LCD, and are getting an idea what tech specs yield the kind of picture results we are looking for. 

Mr. Shark is the primary person on this project and will probably make the final choice.  He’s certainly doing most of the research, since reading TV specs on the Internet in teeny tiny print is major MEGO for the Sharkipede.  I mostly go along to look at the sets and complain about how the stores tune, or fail to tune, the color.

But this week Mr. Shark latched onto an idea that had never occured to us before: the issue of screen reflectivity.  Some LCD screens have incredibly shiny surfaces that reflect light sources in the surrounding room in a very distracting way, others have a kind of matte surface that diffuses light sources into vague clouds. 

If you intend to use your HDTV setup as a screening room,  strictly for watching movies in the dark, then this may not matter.  But if you want to watch TV in the usual way, in a lighted room while doing other things,  a highly reflective screen could be extremely distracting.

Hence the flashlight bit.  This turned out to be a real brainwave on Mr. Shark’s part, as we discovered that a set we were strongly considering was horribly reflective, while several other brands had excellent diffusion.

So if you are a regular watcher who integrates TV into everyday living, take a little flashlight with you when you go shopping for a new set.  (An LED penlight that makes a tight, bright white point gives the most dramatic results. ) It’s only good sense to spend your limited “meaningless entertainment” budget wisely. 


Published in: on January 12, 2008 at 10:30 pm  Comments (4)  
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