What should you look for when buying a new TV

With increasingly more complicated TVs coming out every year, there are more and more factors to take into consideration when buying a TV than ever before. Probably the main factors to be considered are the screen size, resolution and the screen type.

When you are looking for a TV you should consider the screen size, as this ultimately shows how far away from the screen you are intending on sitting, and of course what resolution you would prefer. As a general rule of thumb, the optimum viewing distance is between 1.5 times and 2.5 times the length of the screen.

If you are planning on watching a lot of HD TV or Blurays then it may be wise to choose a distance from the lower end of the scale (1.5 times the screen) to ensure that you benefit from the extra detail. On the other hand, if you are probably going to be watching mostly standard definition pictures, then opting for the higher end of the scale (2.5 times the screen) will help to mask the picture’s flaws.

When it comes to screen types there are three main options, plasma, LCD and LED. Plasma screens do offer enormously deep blacks and fluid motion, but also consume far more power than LCD or LED TVs, and their screens reflect ambient light. LCD TVs are not as good quality as high-end plasmas; however they do provide glare free displays and therefore are more effective in bright rooms. LED TVs are able to selectively dim or turn off groups of lights, this allows for deeper blacks. Also, they emit a broader spectrum of white light; this provides a more affluent colour spectrum. In addition to this LED TVs are the most energy efficient of all the types.

The resolution of your TV is dependent on the screen size and viewing distance that you have chosen. You will only notice the finer details of 1080p if you have a big enough screen (46 inches and above) and have a suitably short viewing distance. It is quite surprising how few sources actually offer 1080p, for example watching HD channels via cable or satellite will only provide you with 720p or 1080i, but not 1080p. Only Bluray players or games consoles such as the PS3 will provide this standard of quality. With this in mind it is worth thinking about whether you actually need a full HD TV and this decision comes down to you and you alone.

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