Planning to hit the mall at 5 a.m. black Friday and score big with a spectacular HDTV deal? There will be some deals but there wont be any browsing time so make the time to evaluate the item before heading out at 4 a.m. First learn what the upcoming deals will be through the paper flyer, retailer Web site or a simple visit to the retailer asking what the deals will be. No matter how we find the deals, the scouting time will probably be short so good investigation is important. The deal will not be that sweet if the item is not good quality or does not meet our needs. The first thing to do is examine the hookup in the store and consider if the hookup at home will be similar. Ask the sales representative to explain how all the sets are connected so you know the clarity on each set is driven by the same input or the same content. If the sets are playing Blu-ray at 1080p resolution know that, unless you have or plan to get a Blu-ray player, a DVD at home will look inferior. How bright is it in the store compared to how bright it is where the set will be placed? Play with the brightness adjustments to see what the range is. A really bright TV in a dark room is hard to watch and the opposite is true as well. Consider the distance and viewing angles. Stand back from the set if possible and view from the angle you would normally view from. Dont forget to evaluate the controls on the set and the remote unit too. Then also consider how the item fits into any existing components you already have in your home entertainment system. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.