— -- Everything You Need to Buy an HDTV Guide | Do I Need One? | Which Set's For Me? | Cost and Features | Where to Find HD Programming | All of the Other Stuff | The Ultimate HDTV Checklist | Slideshow: HDTV Sets | Slideshow: Cables and Inputs
It may sound like an obvious question but it's important nonetheless: do you really need an HDTV?
Sure, the picture's brighter and clearer, and if you go for a flat-panel TV with a plasma or LCD display you can mount it on a wall and reclaim a nice chunk of your living room.
These benefits aside, there's nothing compelling anyone to spend $2,000 on a TV set and if you don't think you need one, you probably don't.
You may have heard about how TV signals will be converting over to digital, high definition signals sometime this decade and that you won't be able to watch TV without upgrading, but don't panic!
While Congress has voted in favor of legislation demanding that local broadcasters turn over to a digital TV signal by February 17, 2009, that doesn't include cable or satellite TV providers.
Though most expect subscription TV services to make the change over to digital at some point as well, there's been no indication it'll line up with the February 2009 deadline local broadcasters need to comply with.
When you consider how prices for HDTVs have continued to decline over the last several years, and that by March 1, 2007 all sets sold in the U.S. are required to have DTV tuners, it may be worth waiting another year or two to upgrade if you're happy with your current set.
If you don't care to upgrade at all, you can always purchase a tuner for your old tube TV, though the image won't be anything close to the clarity of a set made for digital reception.
Remember, TV sets haven't really changed since the introduction of color about 50 years ago. This is a major shift and you shouldn't be too concerned that another, newer technology is going to suddenly blow away that $2,000 HDTV set you just bought.
Click on the links below to learn everything you need to about HDTVs and be sure to print out a copy of ABCNEWS.com's Ultimate HDTV Checklist to bring to the store with you.