An Ounce of HDTV Protection

When people are putting together their budget for a new HDTV, they include the TV, naturally. As I point out in my book, they should also include the price of cables. If you’re using an analog connection — such as composite, S-video, or component connections — you will want to buy good quality cables from the outset as the quality really can make a noticeable difference. For digital connections — DVI or HDMI — on the other hand, I recommend that you buy bargain cables. For the majority of installations, these should work just as well as the $100 cables. If you have a problematic installation, or need an unusually long cable run, then pay for premium quality. Otherwise, try the cheaper cables first.

You’ll also need a place to put the TV, so plan for a piece of furniture (or all the hardware and possibly a professional installer if you want to hang the screen on your wall).

There’s one more element that few people consider, unless they’re a computer enthusiast. Your new HDTV is essentially a computer, dedicated to doing a relatively small number of tasks. And it is only sensible to give it the same protection that you’d give your desktop computer. (Since it may cost many times as much as your computer, maybe it deserves the protection even more.) At the very least, get a surge protector to prevent damage to the electronics from a power surge such as from a lightning strike or other problem. Even better, get an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) designed for computers or other electronics. They aren’t expensive — especially compared with the cost of the HDTV — and they will keep the set running during a power outage, giving you time to turn it off properly. If you get one with sufficient capacity, you can also protect your DVR, DVD player, home theater sound system, and other expensive electronics. The bottom line is that the UPS can be about the cheapest and most effective insurance policy that you can buy.