Q: I was thinking of getting a 42 inch plasma TV for my family room. During my initial trip to the store they talk more about the add-ons then the TV. One thing they keep talking about these fancy ï¿½power barsï¿½ which regulate the power flow to ensure there is no spikes which (they tell me) is a must have and are much better then the normal surge protecting power bar. I was wondering if such things are really worth it. The minimum price one is $150 which seems a lot for a power bar. Do you use such things on your TV?
A: Yes, it is a real issue… No you don’t need to spend $150 on it. Plasma screens are quite sensitive to power spikes, but there are easier (and cheaper) ways.
Get a good quality UPS, from a brand like APC and you will be fine. Basically, the power supply charges the battery, and the battery powers the TV, so the TV is isolated from the power supply. A UPS will also protect against “brown-outs” where the power doesn’t go off, but the voltage level reduces.
A 350VA APC UPS sells for around $60. Don’t expect it to run for hours during a blackout (or even minutes), but it will protect the TV from surges. If it doesn’t, it’s got a $75,000 Equipment Warranty.