I used to have friends come over and watch movies
Good question. First let's take a look at the different HD TV's in the market. There is Plasma, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and LED (Light-Emitting Diode). There isn't that much difference in picture quality, but there are a few basic things you may need to know before your purchase. Plasma televisions, as compared to LCD and LED's, are thicker in depth and heavier in weight. Lower in price, but not as energy efficient.
LCD televisions are lighter in weight compared to Plasma, and costs a bit more. Energy efficiency is moderate.
LED televisions are very lightweight, and more energy efficient than Plasma or LCD. Also, more expensive than the other two.
Most electronic stores have working displays of the different types of televisions that you can view for clarity, brightness, and other characteristics that can help you make your selection. Moreover, you should notify your cable provider that you are upgrading to an HD television, so you can receive the HD signal with a new HD receiver box. If not, you will not see a difference in quality of picture from your new television.
When placing your new television in the room, you may want to consider any outside light sources causing glare on the screen. This should be planned out ahead of time so that you don't have to move the set later. You can cover windows to block any incoming light. There are adjustable TV mounts that have the ability to move or tilt your television in different directions and angles. This is helpful where you may need the light in the same room the TV is in, like the kitchen or the garage. Sometimes, the illumination from the television can cause an annoying glare from glossy surfaces like walls, floors or ceilings. If the glare is too much, you can paint your entertainment room with a flat paint (having no gloss or sheen), and cover the glare spot on your hardwood floor with a nice throw rug.
Most flat screen TV's can be hung by almost anyone. But, what if you have a television that is large and awkward to hang? Or, maybe you want to hang it over the fireplace, or the back patio. Wait a minute... there is no outlet to plug it in; and how do you hide all these wires? Installations like these should be left to licensed professionals who know the codes and safety issues pertaining to such installs. Also, if you haven't installed one before, the Larger Televisions are a challenge, due to the fact that they are heavy and awkward, and a lot more costly in price. To drop and damage it, would be a very expensive mistake. You may want to have a professional install your television so it is done right without any mistakes or do overs. Also, the pro's know how to make wires, outlets and any other unsightly connections inconspicuous. Giving you a clean looking installation, that should impress your 'Weekend movie watching buddies'.