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Going to buy a television was a pretty simple task for many years -- you chose a screen size and that was it. Today, people seeking to buy televisions face many more choices, starting with how they want their pictures displayed. Here are the choices:
Cathode-ray tube (CRT): These are "regular" (quickly becoming "old-fashioned") TVs, the kind you watched as a kid. They're bulky in the back and have limited resolution, but they still work (and they still will when U.S. television stations switch to digital in 2009). There is good news. More people are replacing these with newer models, so you can get them very cheaply, sometimes even free.
Plasma: One of two types of flat-panel display, plasma TVs are widely perceived to have the highest picture quality.
LCD: The other type of flat-panel display, often less expensive and more durable than plasma, but with a slight loss of picture quality.
Projection: The largest pictures are often obtained by projecting an image from the front or rear of the screen itself. This can create a high-end home theater experience, but requires extra planning for your room and lighting.