1 Size: Consider the size of your room
While you may argue that bigger is better, you’ll also need to consider how much space you have in your home when deciding which TV to buy. Luckily, technology advances mean that screen sizes are now much bigger, whereas televisions themselves can be just an inch thin – saving considerable space. TV measurements are taken diagonally across the screen and your viewing distance should play a big part in the size of TV you buy:
- Over 3 metres: 56 inches and over
- Between 2.5 and 3 metres: 46 to 55 inches
- Between 2 and 2.5 metres: 40 to 45 inches
- Between 1.5 and 2 metres: 32 to 39 inches
- Less than 1.5 metres: up to 32 inches
Once you’ve decided on how big your TV is going to be and whether you’re going to plump for LED, LCD or Plasma – now is the time to simply examine individual sets for their look and feel. You’re bound to have your own tastes and preferences, but make sure to examine the TV from all sitting angles and fiddle around with the remote control to ensure it is intuitive.
2 Resolution: UHD, Full HD or HD Ready
UHD (2160p) Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs are the latest and greatest in TV technology. An UHD TV gives you the ultimate entertainment experience on big screen TV. Also referred to as 4K TVs, UHD TVs have four times the picture quality of a Full High Definition TV (3840 x 2160 pixels versus 1920 x 1080 pixels) so you can enjoy stunningly clear images with incredible detail. Such a high resolution screen means you get the full colour range experience close up, and UHD TVs update the screen more frequently to smooth out motion so you can watch sport and fast-paced action scenes with crisp clarity. Many UHD TVs upscale the image resolution to 4K UHD so all your TV shows, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and internet videos appear in stunning clarity, lifelike colours and sparkling contrast.
Full HD (1080p) A Full High Definition (FHD) TV can have a resolution that’s up to five times sharper than a standard TV. With a FHD TV you can watch TV shows and videos produced in FHD and Blu-ray discs for a clear, sharp, immersive viewing experience on a large-sized TV screen.
HD Ready (720p) A High Definition (HD) TV has a picture quality that’s twice as sharp as a standard definition TV. If you’re buying a smaller TV this might be a better option. Keep in mind that you can watch HD broadcasts but they may not be in full resolution.
3 TYPE: LCD
LCD Screens are the most commonly available type of screen.
LCD Liquid crystal display (LCD) relies on light from behind the screen shining through a matrix of tiny coloured liquid crystal cells. Usually bigger and bulkier than LED or Plasma screens, they offer a budget alternative to people who are looking for a cost-effective alternative.
OLED With a stunning range of contrast levels and no motion blur, one of the main selling points of OLED TVs are that they offer pencil-thin displays, excellent picture quality and rich, vibrant colours.
Smart TV ‘Smart’ TVs are essentially TVs that offer a number of internet-connected services just like your smartphone. These televisions have features such as media streaming, web browsing, apps games, Skype and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). IPTV is a specific type of internet video standard. IPTV is also commonly known as video streamed via the internet to your TV.
4 KEY TECHNOLOGIES: OLED, UHD, SMART TV AND 3D
OLED With a stunning range of contrast levels and no motion blur, one of the main selling points of OLED TVs is that they offer pencil-thin displays, excellent picture quality and rich, vibrant colours.
UHD UHD offers four time the picture resolution of full HD with exceedingly sharp screen resolution which means finer detail and greater images on the screen.
Smart TV ‘Smart’ TVs are essentially TVs that offer a number of internet-connected services – just like your smartphone. These televisions have features such as media streaming, web browsing, apps, games, Skype and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). IPTV is a specific type of internet video standard and is also commonly known as video streamed via the internet to your TV.
3D 3D TV brings your movies, games and other content to life using innovative technology to maximise viewing pleasure. Currently, glasses are usually needed to make the most of 3D TVs and they are available in two varieties.
Passive 3D: If you are new to the 3D TV world, you may want to get started with passive 3D glasses. A lightweight and streamlined option, they offer a great cinematic adventure at a cost-effective price.
Active 3D: This gives you the full HD experience, with the very best picture quality available. They are more expensive and cumbersome than passive 3D glasses, but this is because they use the latest technology to optimise viewing pleasure.
Glasses-free 3D TV: Manufacturers continue to develop the next step in 3D TV, which many people consider to be glasses-free sets. These work by projecting different images to the eye, creating a 3D image when they merge. This is typically how all 3D TVs work, but a special lens in the TV panel performs the same role as the glasses, meaning they are not required.
5 Connections: HDMI Ports
When buying a television, you will also need to consider the different devices you’ll want to connect to your TV. The most important connection you will probably need is HDMI. Just count the number of devices you’ll want to connect including gaming consoles and Blu-ray player, and make sure your TV has at least that many HDMI ports (or one or two extra if you’ll be expanding). Other connections you will need to consider are USB inputs and SD card slots, which are nice for displaying photos from your digital and video camera too.
6 Efficiency: Energy Consumption
Certain types of TV are more environmentally friendly than others, which can have a significant effect on energy consumption and bills. LED TVs are the most energy-efficient, followed by LCDs and, lastly, Plasma.
7 Installation: Do it yourself or get a professional
Whether you decide to install your TV yourself or have it fitted on your behalf, there are plenty of options open to you in terms of setup.
- Standard: Unpack, assemble and place on a stand and you are ready to go
- Wall mount: Saves space, but only suited to slimmer, lighter TVs
- Cable management: Hide any wiring from devices with cable management systems
- Home theatre: Plug in some quality speakers, a media player and your TV for the full cinematic experience