There are so many choices available on the current marketplace that choosing a new TV can be rather a daunting exercise. It’s important to weigh up your budget, your individual preferences and the technology as well as different brands that are currently available before buying a TV, to ensure you make the right buy.
LCD HDTV and Plasma HDTV are the most popular technologies on the market these days, not to mention 3D and smart TVs which are also gaining ground (the latter will allow you to stream movies and images from the Internet as you would do using a computer).
The following guide will explore the main considerations to keep in mind when shopping around for a TV, to help you decide which one will best suit your needs.
If display size is important to you, you will now be spoilt for choice – from 42 inches right up to 150 inches. Plasma TVs are still leading the way with regard to an affordable price tag for size, however increasingly TVs are becoming more affordable as manufacturers compete with each other.
Even though you might want a TV that rivals a cinema experience, do keep in mind the size of the room where your TV will be located. The rule of thumb is to measure how far from the screen you will be sitting (in inches), then multiply that by 0.535 and round out to the nearest screen size.
It must also be said that size isn’t everything – often, a smaller yet higher quality screen display will be more impressive than a larger yet cheaper TV.
Most TV’s that are 46” and larger have full HD (high definition) resolution as standard, which produces a sharper, clearer image for your money. Statistically, plasma models seem to have the edge over LCD TVs in the pricing battle, especially in the larger size range, however this may change in the near future.
Plasma and LCD TVs have a similar lifespan, however for the larger size HDTVs of over 50 inches, plasma models tend to be the more superior product for the price.
The majority of new TVs these days come complete with HD (which means they display high definition broadcasts at a minimum resolution). The EICTA (European Information and Communications Industry Association) have set certain criteria to promote HD as standard – this includes a TV having at least one HDMI port, component video inputs and a resolution of a minimum of 1,024 x 768 pixels.
Full HD will increase your TVs vertical resolution to 1,080 lines (this amounts to extremely impressive images) and is also needed to obtain the true potential of Blue-ray as well as the HD satellite or cable broadcasts.
With the global energy challenges, skyrocketing utility bills and the ever increasing need to reduce our carbon footprint , power consumption is an increasing concern when purchasing a new TV. LCD TVs use florescent backlighting for their imagery and generally use up to half the power consumption compared to plasma TVs since the latter requires more electricity for every pixel displayed. LCD screens are used for computer monitors for this reason.
If you’re a photo buff, look for a TV that has a memory card slot or USB socket, as this will allow you to plug your camcorder or smartphone pics into your TV to view them larger than life.
A general rule for image quality is that LCD TVs are normally sharper, brighter and more densely saturated for their price. Plasma display tends to be richer, more natural and has better black levels however. If in doubt, it’s best to pop down to a High Street store to see for yourself which screen display impresses you most within your budget.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when looking at screen quality:
· Colour – check the brightness and quality and look how seamless the images at the edges of the screen are. Also take note of natural skin tones in images, especially in darker scenes.
· Contrast – pure white images should not have any green, pink or blue tones, and blacks should not be washed out or grey.
· Look at moving objects for any blurring, jerking or dotty resolutions.
Finally, do bear in mind that a TVs factory picture settings will not always be ideal to your particular eyes, so it’s a good idea to play around with the adjustments while trialling different models in-store.
Whether you opt for a LCD, LED (this is in fact the same as an LCD except it differs in how the backlighting is situated), Plasma, 3D or smart TV, it’s important to find the right fit for your individual preferences and budget. Because there are so many options available, as mentioned above it’s wise to give different models a physical test run at your local High Street retailer. Another highly useful way to get you head around the different choices on offer is to go online and read TV reviews by fellow consumers, as they will be sure to point out the good and bad points of the model they have bought.
About the Author: Michael Dehomme is a TV repair shop owner.