TVs will always come with extras used as selling points. Below are a few of the more common types and the things you should know about them.
Picture in Picture (PIP) is a popular feature on more expensive sets that allows you to watch a second broadcast in a small window on the screen while you're watching something else. The thing to know about PIP is that you need two separate sources and two separate tuners to make it work. For instance, PIP will not work with a cable or satellite receiver. The reason is that the cable broadcasts are scrambled and sent to that receiver box, and it's the box that sends them to your TV. That box can only unscramble one signal at a time. There are ways around this, but it takes some splitters and tricky wiring. Ask your salesperson how to work with PIP based on your home set-up.
Memory Stick readers are being introduced in some models. This allows you to view slides from a digital camera on your TV.
Surround sound is an attractive add-on for those not willing to spring for a full sound system. Virtual surround sound uses acoustic effects processors to simulate surround sound. Some newer sets are shipped with SS decoders and are loaded with a stereo pair of speakers and a subwoofer.
Combo TVs include DVD players, VCRs, and in some cases both, all in one box. A combo unit is a great solution for someone who doesn't feel like messing with a lot of cables and remotes just to watch a movie. Just about every manufacturer offers combo TVs in many different sizes. These units often cost less than buying the components separately. The only downside is that if one part of the combo breaks, you have to take the entire thing in for repair.
V-chips are a clever device available in many TVs these days. V-chips allow parents to lock out programs based on their rating. You've probably noticed at the beginning of shows an icon that pertains to the shows' content. V-chips read that rating and block out shows that have certain ratings set by the user. Parental control doesn't stop at V-chips. Many manufacturers are making TVs that come loaded with lock-outs that can block certain channels and input sources.
Extended warranties have long been the last-ditch up-sell in retail sales. Most TVs come with a manufacturer's warranty that is more than fine for most people's needs. Unless you have children or pets who are likely to destroy expensive AV equipment, don't bother. If you are considering an extended warranty (they're not all bad), make sure to carefully read the terms to see if the reason you're considering getting it is covered.
Universal remotes take care of the problem of having a million remotes floating around the couch. By programming product codes into a universal remote control, you can control all the devices you use with your TV. Be aware that they work on most devices, but not all of them. The older your VCR or DVD player is, the less likely it is to work with your universal remote. Several manufacturers offer universal remotes with their TVs. If the TV you're looking at doesn't include a universal remote and you're interested in one, you can buy it separately. Once again, just make sure it will work with what you have. This information can usually be found on the package or by asking a salesperson.