30" - 39" TVs
Consumer Tips for mid-sized TVs 30" - 39"
The 30" - 39" picture sizes can be considered entry level for true home theater. This size range makes the perfect monitor for your home theater if you have a smaller rec room or living room. If you're kicked back only 6 or 7 feet from the display, a 31" is going to look plenty large. Going with a set any larger than this, especially one with an overly bright LCD or other digital display, could cause eyestrain when sitting so close for long periods.
At this size and price range you're getting into the true home theater displays, so you should definitely consider HD and you might want to consider one of the newer fixed-pixel display technologies like LCD or plasma. In fact, most TVs you'll find over 32" are going to be HD because their cost has come down so significantly there is little incentive for consumers to go with a standard display type.
A CRT-based HD monitor at 32" can go for as little as $500 or less. It was only a few short years ago NTSC (analogue display) at 32" would easily cost a little more. The real savings in money go to the CRT-based TVs these days, and this size range is where it's particularly evident. You'll save money on an HD monitor that uses a CRT and the image quality difference between CRT and LCD or Plasma on TVs in this size is up for debate. You'll really have to compare for yourself and see what the difference is to you. Go to any TV shop and look at a 32" in CRT and compare it to a similarly sized flat-panel LCD. There really shouldn't be much difference in image quality if they're comparably adjusted for the images they're presenting. The direct-view CRT from a good quality set should present a flawless image, especially in HD. Where the fixed-pixel displays start to really improve on what CRT can do for you is when comparing projection TV in the 40" category. But in the 32" range you should consider saving yourself some money by looking at CRT.
The biggest reason for going with plasma or LCD in this size range is that they're perfectly flat. The images are bright with a liquid clarity in high definition when looking at either LCD or plasma. Nothing beats the cool factor of having a flat panel sitting on a modest shelf in your home and the weight loss compared to CRT with a similarly sized viewing area is significant. If you've ever tried to lift a 32" picture tube TV, you know what back-breaking labor it is moving the TV or even making slight adjustments in its position. No such problems exist in a flat-panel TV of this size range. The price jump is significant compared to CRT, as you'll pay about twice for LCD and much more for plasma. But that's a huge savings from what it used to be. A plasma monitor around 32" used to cost as much as a car and have now been lightened to a somewhat reasonable $2K. But this is still the area for LCD; again, little is to be gained from plasma at this size when LCD presents just as beautiful an image for half the cost. You can expect to pay around $1K or even less for a flat-panel LCD TV at this size range. Plasma doesn't start coming into its own by offering something unique until the 40 sizes.