...especially the first one you buy ;). This translates into always buying the largest one that fits both budget and space, especially if there's plenty of movie/sports watching. More important is how good the PQ is on the Sharp. If you are satisfied with the way it looks/overall feature set, it's time to save the $499 on the BB card and move down to your #2. FWIW, $499 isn't a bad starting point for an HDTV. Spending a little more though will give you better selection with better PQ.
#2- Don't settle for the built in speakers on *any* current HDTV since they are poor/meddling at best. Even the non-audiophiles complain about their lackluster sound(!) With the $499 gift card you could easily acquire something that would allow you to properly create an entry level HT experience. The All-in-One units for sale (w/ Blu Ray too, for example) aren't my first choice, but you could certainly start this way for entry level HT. Or, you could choose one component such as an AV receiver, or maybe even AV receiver + BD player (totalling ~$499), then look around for budget 5.1 speakers/sub, such as the ever popular budget priced Energy Take Classic 5.1 (@ Amazon, etc.). IMHO, obtaining the free HDTV provides you with a good catalyst to get the ball rolling
I've somehow managed to not join this century and have an HDTV, but one is coming soon. I have two areas I need some advice on.
1. I bought a package at a furniture store that includes "free" (yes, I know) a 55" Sharp AQUOS Smart TV, or, should I want something else at Best Buy, a $499 gift card to use how I like. I don't have to have a 55" by any means - when I've been looking at TVs separately I've been in the mid 40s in size. I'm wondering if it's better to go the gift card route and get something else. I'm not looking to pay more than what I'm being given.
2. I need to know what essentials I have to have as far as accessories - cables, etc. I'm only bringing a Roku and an old DVD/VCR player into the equation, but in my somewhat limited knowledge of HDTVs, I seem to be reading a lot about poor sound quality. I'm no audiophile, so I wonder if most of these reviews are just being unnecessarily picky. We're not big TV watchers around here - hence the lack of current technology - so while I'd like to optimize what I'm going to get, I don't need the latest and greatest.
I know these are basic questions - I'm at that level when it comes to technology these days...any advice would be appreciated.