Money Advice

Flat Screen TV Buying Guide – Specs & Comparisons

Buying a brand new tv just isn’t a choice to be made frivolously. There are so many makes and fashions that even probably the most cautious, selective purchaser can have a tough time deciding which options are mandatory, and which of them are merely frivolous.

Fortunately, many options may be categorized and quantified to assist decide which mannequin is best for you. Then, when you’ve narrowed down your checklist of potential purchases, you may go to a neighborhood massive field retailer and analysis the one function that’s tougher to quantify: image high quality. TV image high quality is a really subjective measurement, and may solely be assessed within the eye of the beholder.

However, there are numerous different components that may be thought of nicely prematurely of ever stepping foot in a retailer.

Size Does Matter

Television screens at this time vary in dimension from 5 inches to greater than 100 inches diagonally, and the scale you select  relies upon largely on the scale of the room and your relative proximity to the TV display.

For bedrooms, I usually suggest a display that’s at the least 32 inches, whereas dwelling rooms or different viewing rooms usually fare higher with a 40-inch display or bigger. This is particularly vital if you’re upgrading from an older tube TV. One of the largest complaints many TV patrons have after making a purchase order is that they merely didn’t get a big sufficient TV.

Screen Size vs. Room Size

So, simply how massive is just too massive? The answer lies in your funds constraints, your tastes, and the scale of the space the place you wish to place the brand new TV. Generally talking, it’s advisable to buy the biggest display you may comfortably afford, as this helps to forestall purchaser’s regret later. However, if you’re attempting to suit the brand new TV into an present leisure middle, it is advisable to be sure it is going to match comfortably. The new set ought to permit for one inch of space to encompass it on all sides.

The best strategy to gauge whether or not your meant TV buy will match comfortably in your room is to chop out a bit of cardboard to the scale of your potential TV and set it in place. This supplies a way of the presence the TV can have in your room.

Also be sure you account for the quantity of space you have got between you and your TV. The rule of thumb is that you must sit no nearer than one-and-a-half inches out of your TV for each one inch of diagonal display space. This places you at an ideal viewing distance. Of course, you may select to take a seat farther away, however the expertise shall be much less immersive. For instance, your sofa needs to be located 75 inches away from the TV set in case your display dimension measures 50 inches from the highest right-hand nook to the decrease left-hand nook.

Screen Size Versus Room Size

Plasma vs. LCD vs. LED

Once you determine on the specified display dimension, it is advisable to select a show kind. Flat display TVs are available a few completely different platforms: plasma, LCD, and LED. Most are LCD-based as a result of they’re cheaper to make; the truth is, something smaller than 42 inches is LCD (that’s all that’s out there), which narrows your selections significantly in the event you determine on that dimension.

Understand that an LED TV is simply an LCD TV with fancy backlighting. However, this backlighting prices much more than a typical LCD TV. Many technology buffs imagine that the technology hardly ever justifies the elevated value.

Here’s how the three stack up towards one another by way of efficiency:


  •  Size: 19 inches to 65 inches
  • Makes: Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Vizio, and extra
  • Best for: General use in brighter rooms the place potential flaws received’t be as seen as they’d be in darkish rooms.
  • Pros: Light power utilization in comparison with plasma fashions. Matte screens work nicely in vivid rooms.
  • Cons: Dark-room efficiency is often worse than plasma. These fashions additionally present minimal viewing angles and uniformity.


  • Size: 32 inches and bigger
  • Makes: Sony, Vizio, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, and extra
  • Best for: Big spenders who need skinny panels.
  • Pros: Better power financial savings than LCD. Many LED fashions supply tremendous skinny panels, and a few fashions have improved image high quality.
  • Cons: Expensive – generally prohibitively so. Also, most LED TVs supply little image high quality profit over LCD.


  • Size: 42 inches and bigger
  • Makes: Panasonic, Samsung, LG
  • Best for: General use, besides in bright-room viewing. Aficionados who put a premium on dark-room image high quality might admire a plasma TV.
  • Pros: Superior black-level efficiency, uniformity, and viewing angles.
  • Cons: High energy consumption. Also, the glass display can mirror mild in vivid rooms.

Plasma Versus Led Versus Lcd

Specifications That Don’t Really Matter

HDTVs supply shoppers quite a bit to consider by way of specs and capabilities. However, many of those may be neglected. Why? Because the human eye can’t inform the distinction in lots of circumstances. Manufacturers typically checklist a litany of specs designed to persuade you that their TV is healthier than their opponents’.

Here are a couple of of issues you must not contemplate when deciding which TV to buy:

  • Refresh Rate (60Hz, 120Hz, 240Hz, 480Hz, 600Hz): The refresh rate refers back to the variety of instances a picture is refreshed on the display. The essential motive that it is a extremely touted function is as a result of LCD TVs have lengthy had a popularity for having a blurry show throughout high-action scenes. But what producers don’t let you know is that the human eye can’t understand the blur at even the bottom refresh rate (60Hz).
  • Resolution (720p, 1080p): I’m certain you’ve heard the commercials touting the significance of getting an HDTV that may produce photos in true excessive def (1080p). The drawback is that though most TVs of at this time are 1080p, you may’t inform any vital distinction between this decision and the inexpensive 720p fashions – until you have got a super-sized display.
  • Viewing Angle: The excellent TV stays vivid and colourful when considered from any angle. But the reality is, with LCD TVs, this by no means occurs, regardless of the producer’s claims on the contrary. The rule of thumb right here is that in case you have viewing angles that stray too removed from lifeless middle, then you’ll most probably be happier with a plasma TV.

Basic Features That Do Matter

Now that you realize what you may safely ignore on the spec sheet, check out what actually issues:

  • Inputs: The inputs are the connection factors the place you connect your peripheral tools. The most vital factor to recollect right here is to get a TV with as many HDMI ports as potential. This lets you simply join your online game system, video participant, and house audio system. If you have got older peripherals with different varieties of connections, guarantee that the TV you select has these connections out there as nicely.
  • Screen Finish: If bright-room viewing goes to be a mainstay of your viewing expertise, you want your TV to have a matte end. This cuts down on ambient mild glare and reflections. However, this can be an issue for you if you’re in search of a couple of different options, because the higher-end LCDs and plasmas have a tendency to come back with shiny screens solely.
  • Remote Control: Unless you propose to make use of a common distant to chop down on distant litter, pay particular consideration to the included clicker. Some fashions have remotes that help you program peripheral tools controls into its interface, and bigger TVs ought to embody a backlit mannequin.
  • Picture Controls: Everyone likes to see the image a little bit otherwise. Some like a darker image, whereas others prefer it brighter. Bringing the colours in line may additionally be a problem if you’re lacking image controls. Look for TVs with loads of image presets, in addition to the power for customers to tweak these presets to optimize the image.
  • Ease of Use and Support: User-friendly TVs are the one strategy to go, particularly on the planet of multi-feature fashions. Look for easy-to-use menu techniques that help you intuitively set the TV to carry out the best way you need. I personally love onscreen manuals that embody product assist sections together with cellphone numbers, troubleshooting steps, and setup guides.

User Friendly Tv

Determining Which Extras You Need

In addition to fundamental options, many TVs include a plethora of extras that add to the general price of the unit. But how are you aware if you’ll use what you pay for? Each shopper has a brief checklist of these options they contemplate to be price the price, and it’s as much as you to make your personal determinations.

However, here’s a checklist of the preferred extras and what they might give you by way of your viewing expertise:

  • 3D: At-home 3D content material is a comparatively new technology – most producers hit the market with this in 2010. Only higher-end producers are providing TVs which have at-home 3D functionality, and so they cost fairly a premium. Of course, shopping for the TV is barely half of the equation – you could additionally buy particular glasses and 3D content material to benefit from the technology. Most shoppers aren’t prepared for the extra monetary burden of this technology simply but, however for many who are in search of the most recent and best, that is it.
  • Internet Connectivity: Mid-range to higher-end TVs now supply built-in Internet functionality, which eliminates the necessity to join your TV by way of wired connection to stream audio and video content material from websites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime. Some even have built-in browsers, which permit you surf the Internet and work together with buddies on Facebook on the massive display. Before you indulge on this explicit function, nonetheless, perceive that you’ll have to buy extra tools, corresponding to a wi-fi dongle or Ethernet cable to attach. And if you have already got a more recent gaming system related, you may entry the identical options with out the additional price.
  • LED Backlight: LCD-based TVs that make the most of LED technology are considerably dearer than people who depend on the usual  fluorescent (CCFL) backlights. Unless this technology can be accompanied by way of native dimming, there actually isn’t any benefit to spending the extra money on the LED technology. Of course, LED TVs may be manufactured with razor-thin panels, so if the look is a must have, then LED backlighting is for you.

Necessary Accessories

While the number of add-ons for flat display TVs is overwhelming, there are a couple of that you just shouldn’t do with out. However, this doesn’t imply you must pay a fortune for them:

  • Buy Cheap HDMI Cables. Don’t let a salesman discuss you into buying costly HDMI cables – a budget ones are simply nearly as good because the costly ones.
  • Get a Surge Protector. No shopper ought to gamble with their new funding by plugging it instantly into the wall. Get a surge protector – it received’t offer you a greater image, however not having one might positively put a dent in your viewing expertise.
  • Consider Room Treatments. Watching TV in a brightly lit room ends in a washed-out image and an disagreeable viewing expertise. You don’t have to build a house movie show room, however I firmly suggest that buyers equip a viewing room with room darkening curtains to dam out among the daylight. This prevents picture fade on the display, in addition to reflection and glare.

Retail or Online

There is little doubt that you may get a very whole lot by shopping for your new TV on-line, however I extremely counsel that you just do your analysis earlier than you decide to a purchase order. First, just remember to have completely “test-driven” the fashions in your brief checklist by visiting your native retail shopper electronics outlet. This ensures that you’re pleased with the image high quality, the menu constructions, and the accessibility of the connection ports.

Next, be sure you solely purchase your TV from a good shopper electronics retailer that has been round for awhile and has a confirmed observe report of delivering strong customer support.

Lastly, examine the web retailer’s coverage relating to refunds, as conditions might come up that might require you to return the unit. Will the web retailer take the TV again? Are there sure circumstances that should be met with the intention to return it? Is there an RMA course of it is advisable to observe with the intention to ship it again? Is there a restocking payment? Do it’s a must to pay to ship it again? All of those questions needs to be answered in print earlier than you hit the “confirm” button; in any other case, you run the danger of your new tv set costing you rather more than you had anticipated.

Retail Online Purchase

Final Word

You might also ponder whether you can purchase the prolonged guarantee. Flat display TVs price fairly a little bit of money, and also you certainly wish to defend your funding. However, I strongly suggest that you just keep away from the prolonged guarantee and purchase a surge protector as a substitute. This is as a result of prolonged warranties are designed to cover catastrophic failures, which may occur, however are much less more likely to happen than an influence surge. Plus, in the event you make your buy utilizing a bank card, many suppliers robotically double the producer’s guarantee freed from cost. Check together with your bank card issuer for particulars.

Are you within the market to purchase a brand new TV quickly? What different suggestions do you suggest when buying a flat display TV?

Back to top button