Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whether or Not To Buy A Built-In HD Tuner

When buying a new HD television, it's impossible to get around the question, "Should I buy one with a built-in HD tuner or save a couple of bucks and get one that's just HD-ready?" It's a simple enough question, but before answering you might figure out how you plan to use the television.

Questions to consider:
Do you want to pay between $300-800 for an external HDTV tuner or rent one for the rest of the TV's life?
Do you plan on subscribing to your cable or satellite company's HD package?
Is receiving over-the-air HD signals important to you if you don't subscribe to a cable or satellite company's HD package?

As an owner of a HDTV without a built-in tuner, I am a converted believer in buying televisions with built-in tuners (if you can afford it) because they offer the most flexibility. I can't receive HD programming unless I purchase or rent an external receiver, which is a downside because most companies make you subscribe to their HD package when ordering a HD receiver. But, I don't want to pay an additional $10-a-month for a HD package. I only want to connect an off-air HD antenna to my television and watch over-the-air signals.

Of course, I could fix my problem by purchasing a third-party company's HD receiver for several hundred dollars, but it almost seems like I'll be spending more than if I bought a TV with a built-in tuner. This is a scenario I never considered when I bought the television. While it's not the end of the world, it is worth mentioning.

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