It's all about the image quality, and the video inputs!
HDTVs have gone down in price dramatically over the last few years, but I doubt you will find a decent one for $200. Expect to pay $300-500 for a name brand LCD TV in the size you want.
Example: Bestbuy results- 20-30" LCDTVs, sorted by price
For the sake of simplicity, you want to make sure you have two things in your LCD TV:
1. Built-in HDTV tuner
. The tv's tuner is what takes the signal coming in over cable and converts it to an image the TV can display. Cable companies are switching next year from the old analog transmission (the type you used for your old TV) entirely to digital transmission. You needed an analog
tuner for the old signal, and the new signal will require an HDTV
tuner. Here's the trick- some TV brands will call the tv "HD-READY"
, which is codespeak for "we didn't include the tuner you need so we can save money, but you can buy an external one from your cable provider and it will work." TVs with internal tuners may be a bit pricier up front, but it saves you from having to pay $$$ later for an external tv tuner, and it means less crap you have to wire together and fiddle with. So, in the product specs look for the line "built-in HDTV tuner."
Don't be fooled by the "HD-ready" nonsense.
2. HDMI input
. This shouldn't be an issue now because all of the TVs I linked you to say they have one. Just look for that line in the product specs. It's just a digital video connection that all of the new DVD players etc. are going to use. The tvs should have other inputs on them as well.
If you don't know what inputs are what, here is a quick rundown (click to enlarge):
Those extended warranties always ticked me off- the TV should come with a 1 year manufacturer's warranty already. If an extended warranty or in-store replacement warranty is only like $20, then I would say go for it... but don't kill your wallet trying to buy product insurance when the manufacturer already gives you a warranty. Just buy a decent brand like Sharp, Samsung, LG, etc and your odds of getting a lemon are lower.