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Radio Shack has apparently all but given up on their HDTV strategy. The retail chain appears to have returned to its focus on consumer electronic gadgets and accessories. However, their Sunday sales circulars still include the occasional ad for an HDTV, such as the one below that appeared in yesterday’s flyer:

This ad appeared in a Radio Shack sales flyer on 2/10/08.

Yes, this is an ad for a 19″ Viewsonic LCD HDTV. Yes, it has one of those weirdo computer monitor resolutions — 1440 by 900 pixels – that does not relate to any HDTV resolution, so you’re guaranteed to be scaling just about any image except for your Windows Desktop on this screen, but that’s not where I see a problem. Do you see it?

It’s the caption “Make Any Night Family Movie Night!” And just look at the happy family on the screen! So what’s the problem? With a 19″ screen, that happy family is going to have to squeeze together like that if they are all going to watch an HDTV movie on this set. To enjoy a 19″ 720p HDTV experience, they’ll have to sit about 30″ from this screen. I believe in family togetherness as much as the next guy, but this is not practical as a “family” display.

A 19″ HDTV is a areasonable choice as a personal desktop display. In fact, this model will probably be ideal for a single person in small living quarters who wants a TV that can double as a computer monitor. But don’t expect this to be a suitable choice for a living room set for the whole family. It’s too small for you to see the extra detail that the HDTV content delivers at that distance.

What is the right size HDTV for your situation? Find out in “Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV”, now available in paperback from Amazon or other fine booksellers.

Posted by Alfred Poor, February 11, 2008 6:00 AM

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About Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is a well-known display industry expert, who writes the daily HDTV Almanac. He wrote for PC Magazine for more than 20 years, and now is focusing on the home entertainment and home networking markets.