Television is one of those technologies that takes a surprisingly fast quantum leap every so often. When colour sets became affordable, black-and-white didn't seem worth it anymore. And who wanted to get off the sofa to change channels once the remote control was invented? The great leap forward of the past decade came as couch potatoes "went digital" and started buying high-definition TVs almost exclusively. The transition scarcely stops at simple channel surfing - modern TVs have much more in common with your computer than with the set you watched as a child. In fact, you can now perform many of your every day computer tasks on your television. We look at three sets that give you that something extra to justify their price tags.
Why you want it Because size matters and you want the largest screen available in the Gulf. The good This wall-sized behemoth seems even larger in person than when you read its specs on paper (two metres wide, 1.2 metres high) - the equivalent of nine 32" televisions. Being a plasma, the screen is viewable from almost any angle - LCD screens are notorious for not looking right unless you're sitting directly in front of them. The picture quality remains above average despite the boost in size.
The bad You'd better have a huge living room - a screen this large needs to be five or six metres away from your eyes, at least. Plasma TVs are rarely as sharp as their LCD cousins, and you'll need to hire an army of professionals to install this 220kg monster properly. Clearly, this baby needs more energy to run than a hairdryer; you'll see just how much that is when you get your next electricity bill.
Why you want it Because only the latest fads and gadgets cross your hip threshold. The good You've seen it take cinemas by storm - now, you can have that 3D magic right at home. Samsung's most recent model is barely an inch thick, has built-in internet "apps" like an iPad and a smooth, crisp picture that handles traditional TV duties just fine. But everybody who sees this model will want to play with the 3D glasses, which help to produce a surprisingly realistic and deep image that is similar to cinema 3D quality.
The bad For one, you'll have to shell out several thousand more dirhams for that 3D Blu-ray player and glasses. The 3D effect diminishes quickly the further away you sit, so expect to move your sofa closer (and probably squint). Once the furniture's been moved, get ready to wait for the launch of 3D movies, which are not expected until next spring - at the earliest.
Why you want it Because you want a picture good enough to put you in the middle of the action. The good A recent Sony ad campaign featured a rainbow of yarn covering an Egyptian pyramid. It's appropriate because there are not many other television brands that can produce colour better than Sony. Unlike many similarly sized and priced televisions, the Bravia doesn't need to oversaturate the picture, which makes for a more realistic experience. Sony also wins top marks for its reliability and ease of use.
The bad The set's design lacks the showroom flash of some other TVs on display, which could lead some shoppers to think it is a bit boring. Sony actually has released far more advanced televisions into the marketplace, but none of them are cleared for sale in the region. There are many contenders for "best picture" among top-end TVs, including models from Samsung, LG and Panasonic, many of which are cheaper.