Buying a television set used to be a relatively simple affair. These days however, there are hundreds to choose from, in a range of designs, types and with various different features, but there are still two basic considerations that influence your decision: your budget and your home.
Prices can vary enormously, from less than £200 for basic models right into the thousands for top of the range 75” screens. You’ll know how much money you can afford to spend, but it is worth comparing what you get for what you spend, to ensure you’re not investing in a false economy? Brand makes may be a little dearer, but you might benefit from greater guarantees in the long-term. Some TV models may have a smaller screen size, but boast more features than sets of the same price, so you’ll need to prioritise which features you consider most important.
In many households, the TV is a main focal point in the room where we spend most of our leisure time. Ideally, it will be big enough for your viewing requirements but not so large that it dominates, or looks out of place. The ideal colour and style will also vary depending on the room, so you’ll need to think about this.
Beyond that there are other, more technical considerations when it comes to choosing televisions. Do you want HD, 3D or a smart TV? What are the differences between LED, LCD and plasma?
To start with, most manufacturers already incorporate HD and 3D-ready technology, even into their mid-range TVs, so you won’t necessarily have to break the bank to access high-definition or 3D images. Smart TVs are models that connect to the Internet, allowing you to access a variety of apps and web browsing features. This generally operates through your home broadband network, so it’s only suitable if you’re already covered on that front.
The three basic types of TV are LCD, LED and plasma. LCD (liquid crystal display) units are still the most common type in the UK. This technology uses built-in lamps behind the screen, which shine through tiny liquid crystal cells to build up the picture. They are generally the cheapest option, but tend to be larger than other types. LED TVs use the same basic technology, but the light is provided by hundreds of LEDs (light emitting diodes), which tend to give better contrast, allowing for thinner screens. This can be especially handy if you plan to mount your TV onto the wall.
Plasma TVs use ultraviolet light and tiny gas cells to light up tiny areas on the screen. They are generally thought to give the best overall picture and better viewing, from sharper angles. Unfortunately, they also take a lot more electricity to run.
The best TV for you will depend on a number of factors. For most people a new TV represents a major purchase, so it’s best to have a good idea about what type and model will best suit your needs before you buy.