Photos by Tony Cordoza
In the not too distant future, most TVs will be flat. Svelte, inches-thin LCD and plasma displays just make more sense than bulky tubes, especially in kitchens, bedrooms, and other smaller spaces. Even big-screen projection TVs are slimming down as tubes give way to newer technologies. The luxury of placing a flat panel on the wall, under a cabinet, or even set into a wall frees up counter, dresser, and nightstand space for the things that actually belong there.
Flat TVs also give you more flexibility in spaces like living rooms and dens that typically call for bigger screens. They're so space-efficient that when you're done watching a DVD, you won't have to feel like you're living in a movie theater, and in more sophisticated installations the TV can disappear entirely. If you've ever regretted your living room's transformation into an equipment-filled home theater, an unobtrusive flat-panel TV can help you reclaim some of that room for living.
The dividing line between LCD and plasma is determined by size. Plasma TVs start at 32 inches and get larger from there, whereas all but a few LCD sets range from 12 to 30 inches diagonal (see the product listings on page 86). Plasma displays are almost all widescreen, with a cinematic 16:9 aspect ratio, while LCDs split the difference between 16:9 and standard 4:3 screens - larger displays usually go wide. Now let's take a look around the house and see where flat TVs - and the appropriate speakers - fit in.
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