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RISMEDIA, Oct. 29, 2008-As the nation’s transition to Digital Television in February is fast approaching, millions of consumers are expected to put digital flat screen television sets at the top of their holiday wish lists. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), in 2008, more than 32 million DTVs are expected to sell and 83% of these will be flat panel. For consumers, especially first-time Digital TV buyers, important lessons can be learned to help them make the smartest purchase.

To help consumers avoid pitfalls in buying their first or next Digital TV, here are some tips from the consumer electronics service experts at N.E.W. Customer Service Companies, Inc. (NEW):

1. NEW recommends measuring the space you have available in your home for your new television and bringing those measurements, and a measuring tape, with you to the store. Flat screen TVs will require less depth but perhaps more width and height on your table, wall or shelf space. When determining what size DTV is best for your family, the CEA says “bigger is not always better.” You should determine the appropriate size for your new DTV set based on your viewing distance. The ideal viewing distance is approximately two to three times the diagonal of your TV set. So, before you head to the store, measure the viewing distance available in your room and purchase a set that is either half or a third of that distance.

2. Determine which type of Digital TV meets your preferred picture quality, screen type and budget. HDTVs offer the highest quality picture, but there are also EDTVs and SDTVs available at lower prices. Also, screen types vary between LCD, plasma and cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which are like traditional TVs but digitally updated.

3. You need more than just a great set to maximize your home theater experience. Make sure you have all of the right cords and accessory parts before you leave the store. Bring a list of the other devices you will need to connect, such as a DVD player, speakers and more, so the retailer can help you determine if you need special connector cables. Some cables may not be included in the basic purchase price and others may be extra. Check out the HDTV Accessories Guide to help get everything you need-go to

4. Don’t forget the extended service plan. “Today, consumers are on the forefront of technology and investing their hard-earned money into these products expecting them to last them over the years,” said NEW’s CEO Tony Nader. “The role of the service plan is to not only protect that investment, but to ensure the customer is maximizing their enjoyment with this product from the very first day.”

In fact, many consumer advocate groups have recommended purchasing service plans for large and flat screen televisions. By protecting your investment, you will benefit from the peace of mind and convenience service plans offer. Here’s why: Most consumers who purchase a new television for their home plan to own it for at least five years.

Most television manufacturer warranties are good only for one year for parts and labor, with some limiting labor coverage for just the first three months. Also, these limited warranties generally only cover defects in materials and workmanship-hence the term “limited.”

An extended service plan extends the length of the warranty and provides additional protection beyond the manufacturer, including protection for failures caused by normal wear and tear; heat, dust and humidity; and damage due to power surge. Service plans can also provide coverage for remote controls, and provide a no lemon guarantee. Without coverage, typical repair costs for the most common problems with LCD TVs range from $280 to $1,200.

For larger televisions, in-home service is a great convenience offered by many extended service plans.

Beyond repair and replacement services, many retailers today are providing additional services and benefits as part of their service plans to meet the growing interconnectivity needs of home electronics systems.

Examples include online portals that help customers get guided instructions for at-home equipment set-up and use, troubleshooting support, and live, U.S.-based, 24/7 technical and customer service support by phone.

For more information, visit or call 1-800 WHAT’S NEW (1-800-942-8763).