Are you in search of a new HDTV? I have been researching all of the latest technologies for years now, and thought it was about time I wrote an HDTV Buying Guide 2013. I’m sharing it with all of you out there who are struggling to figure out exactly what you’re looking for. One problem many potential buyers face is becoming overwhelmed by everything that’s available on the latest TVs.

Before you being your journey, you really should ask yourself a few questions. Do you need 3D? How much are you willing to spend? How many devices do you have (if any) that you would like to have hooked up to your TV? What are you going to be using your new TV for? Do you watch a lot of sports and other fast-paced movies? Are you going to be playing video games on your TV, or is your new TV just going to be for basic viewing? Having these things in mind before you begin your search will help a lot. Once you realize what you need, you can save a lot of money by only focusing on the things that you consider necessary in a TV.

I’m sure you’ve heard of 1080 and 720 resolutions. What’s the difference? Well, in all honesty, you are only going to notice the difference between the two if you are watching things like sports or other fast-paced programs. 1080 is going to be a bit clearer and more realistic if things are moving quickly, and you won’t notice those little glitches (pixelation) along the way. There are 1080 horizontal lines across your screen, while 720 has — you guessed it — 720 lines going across. 1080 allows for more variations in the overall picture because it has more lines to work with.

Now, there are 1080i, 1080p, 720i and 720p screens. The “p” stands for progressive and the “i” stands for interlaced. Progressive changes every row at the same time, while interlaced changes every other line of pixels at once, switching off. So you can see where progressive would be much better for a clearer picture with fast-paced images. Honestly, many people can’t tell the difference. I would advise watching the difference in an appliance store like Best Buy before selecting. Some say it’s a waste of money, others swear buy it and will only go with nothing less than 1080p. I personally can barely tell the difference and am fine with either one.

One of the things many people don’t understand is that they do not need HD unless they are going to be watching HD material. The picture is not going to be any better if you have an HDTV when you are only watching SD movies and shows. This is where many people end up spending more money than they have to. Don’t be shy about asking questions because you work hard for your money and deserve to get the best out of this technology. If you don’t have an HD set-top box or a BluRay player for example; you really don’t need an HDTV.

Now that you know what you want in your home and what you’re going to be using along with this new HDTV, it is time to think about how many HDMI outputs and similar cables you are going to need. You can easily figure all of this out on the internet. Many sites will show you a 360 degree view of your favorite HDTVs so you can see if they are capable of handling all your devices. There’s nothing worse than getting home, being all excited about your new device, and then realizing that you can’t use it like you thought you could. Having to go behind your TV and mess with the cables because you are switching from using your BluRay to your computer, etc.,  gets old really fast. For a little extra money, you can set up your TV once and never have to deal with the stress of switching cables again.

Did you know that many HDTVs can now display the internet? While this isn’t something for everyone, it’s a great feature and allows you to do more with your TV than ever before. Because of this wonderful advancement in technology, many people no longer need computers and are strictly surfing the web and even working on their TV from the comfort of home. In the long run, having this feature will save you money. Once you watch a YouTube video or watch NetFlix on your TV, you’re never want to go back. You’ll asking yourself how you ever did without this amazing feature. The internet on a big screen is one of the coolest things you are ever going to see. I, as well as many other people around the world, are hooked on this and it just keeps getting better and better as time goes on.

Are you a photographer? If you take a lot of photos, then you’re going to love all the things HDTVs can do with them. You can share photos with your family and friends on the big screen, edit them, and view slideshows. This is an experience that you will not soon forget. You are going to love seeing your memories on such a beautiful screen. It makes it feel like you’re reliving the moment.

Another thing to consider beforehand is settings. What are the settings that you cannot live without? There are so many new features available; some that many people don’t even realize exist. Did you know there are HDTVs that adjust brightness settings for you as the room gets lighter or darker? Pretty amazing, right? It may not be a necessity, but if you have the money to spend, it’s going to save you a lot of adjustment time, and you won’t have to worry about straining your eyes ever again. What a great feeling! TVs are getting smarter and smarter.

Most of the new HDTVs are backed up by Energy Star. I don’t know about you, but I’m big on saving energy and helping the environment. I never thought it would be a possibility when it came to watching TV, but there are many TVs now that not only meet Energy Star’s standards, but exceed them. You’ll save money and feel great while you’re doing it!

Most people will remember to compare warranties, but I still feel it is important to mention it. There are some TVs that come with longer warranty periods than others. It’s up to you and what you’re looking for. I look for the best warranty I can because I’m always fearful that something is going to go wrong with my television. I’ve seen it happen to friends in the past, and it’s not something I want to deal with. The longer the warranty period, the longer you can rest assured that if something were to happen, you would be able to get it fixed. How upset would you be if you got your new HDTV and suddenly had to go out and buy a completely new one? Save your money for the long run and spend the extra cash ― trust me!

Customer Service is also something to consider. I always research the manufacturer and their customer service reputation before making any large purchases. There’s nothing worse than having a good product but no support from the company. This can be very frustrating, especially not with your first HDTV. Do your homework. A few minutes of your time is going to be worth it in the long run.

Similarly, it is very important to research the retailer from which you are looking to purchase. Are they affiliated with the BBB? What is their reputation? Somehow this seems to be something many customers don’t do, and they end up paying for it later. If there are problems, a company that is well-known has a reputation to maintain, and they are most likely to make sure you are happy with the product you have purchased. Satisfaction means you are likely to come back for future needs and you are probably going to tell your friends about them. This is a win-win for everyone involved.

I hope this has given you some insight into what you’re looking for, and if you’re ready for the world of HD. There are so many new things coming out all the time, and I’ve run into some amazing deals. Websites like Amazon are wonderful sources of information. You can read consumers’ reviews and get a good feel for each individual item that you are researching. Reading reviews by people who have bought an HDTV can give you a better idea about the features and ease of use than only reading what the company says about their product features. While it’s nice to read about the settings and functions, it’s best to really take your time and to make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck. HD used to be the “top dog” of technology, but now it’s coming in second to 3D. Everyone is 3D crazy, so the prices of HDTVs are going down as they are trying to compete.

This HDTV Buying Guide 2013 will start you off on the right track. Remember, if you still aren’t sure about something, you have many resources available to you. You can talk to people at various retailers, read online reviews, or even join forums and discuss various HDTVs with other people who are looking for something new. In the end, I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for, because once you have the right HDTV, you are going to fall in love with your favorite movies, shows and games all over again.