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TV Buying Guide

Nowadays, Television has become a necessity rather than a luxury and buying a TV is one of the most toughest decision that anyone can take. The numerous options of brands and models available in the market has made buying a television a challenge. With advanced technology and constant addition of new features by Television manufacturers to provide better viewing experience, the consumers get confused and are often lured by the offers given by various online and offline retailers."

Before you pick a right TV, you need to understand the basic terminology associated with TV like screen size, screen types, resolution, refresh rate, contrast ratio etc. This TV buying guide will help you identify and evaluate them through simple questions and their answers so that the decision making becomes easier.

What is the right TV size suitable for you ?

There is a tremendous increase in demand of larger screen televisions. While selecting the screen size, you should consider how far you will be sitting from the screen and size of the room. If you are sitting too close to TV, then you will see pixelated images and lot of picture noise whereas if you are too far from TV, then the picture details will merge with each other and adversely affect your viewing experience. Minimum viewing distance is twice your TV size whereas maximum viewing distance is 1.6 times of the minimum viewing distance. For example, for 32 inch TV (81 cm), minimum viewing distance is 162cm (64”) or 5 feet and maximum viewing distance is 8 feet. Most of the television models have 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen design).

Screen Size (inches) Viewing Distance (in feet)
26 4-6
32 5-8
40-42 6-10
50 8-14
55-60 9-15
65-75 Minimum 14 feet
Above 75 Minimum 20 feet

What TV technology is best - LCD, LED, Plasma or OLED ?

The most common screen types of TV are Plasma, LCD, LED and OLED. Earlier the screen options were limited to Plasma and LCD but with latest advanced technologies, LED and OLED TVs have become more popular among the users.

LCD TV :

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) TVs use fluorescent tubes (CCFLs) to light the screen. They are ideal for indoor viewing and feature a relatively low contrast. They are less expensive as compared to other new technologies but are slowly been replaced with ultrathin LED-backlit LCDs models. They are bulkier and provide inferior picture quality as compared to that of LED Tvs.

LED TV :

LED TVs are similar to LCD TVs except that they use coloured LEDs (light emitting diodes) instead of CCFL to backlit the display. This is done in two ways – either by placing LEDs directly behind the screen (Back lit LED) or by placing LEDs along the edges of the panel (which is called Edge lit LED). Both the techniques use consume less energy than Plasma or LCD TVs.

Back Lit LED Edge Lit LED
Lighting Lights from the back Lights from right and left edges
Picture Quality Better Good
Thickness Not so slim Slimmer
Cost Expensive Cheaper

PLASMA TV :

Unlike LCD displays which requires backlight, plasma TV displays use self-emitting small cells called plasmas which contain electrically charged ionized gases and light up on their own. They are superior to LCD panels in terms of contrast ratio, colour quality and offer wider viewing angle but they are only viable in case of bigger screens (50 inches or more). Nowadays, plasma displays are diminishing from the market as they are complex to manufacture as compared to other technologies and do not perform well in brightly lit rooms.

OLED TV :

OLED TVs (Organic Light Emitting Diode) are the latest technology in digital display. The light emitting diodes emit their own light when an electric current is passed through them. They are self-luminated and do not need a bulky backlight making them ultra-slim and more power efficient than LED TVs. They offer much better contrast and wider viewing angle of 180 degrees. The only drawback is that they are exorbitantly priced.

Brief Comparison of all four screen types :

Features LCD LED PLASMA OLED
Brightness Medium High Low Image-based
Contrast Low Low Medium High
Motion Blur Yes Yes No No
Thickness Thickest Thin Thick Ultra-thin
Viewing Angle Narrow Narrow Wide(160°) Widest(180°)
Refresh Rate Low Medium High Highest

What display resolution should I go for ?

Display Resolution is the number of pixels you can view in a dimension. It is referred to as width x height. For example : 1920X1080 pixel resolution. Most of the televisions offer HD Ready or Full HD resolution. TVs having SD resolution have become obselete now. The resolution of Ultra HD is exactly four times higher than that of full HD, hence ensuring much more picture detailing, with content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. If you sit closer to TV, then you should opt for higher resolution Ultra HD TV over a 1080p TV to view every minute detail. 4K TVs are used in digital cinemas as they offer resolution of 4096x2160 and there are currently very few options for watching native 4K content. It is always better to opt for full HD resolution for better picture clarity.

Resolution Type Content Supported Display Resolution
SD 480p N/A
HD Ready or HD 720p 1366x768 pixels
Full HD 1080p 1920 x 1080 pixels
Ultra HD 2160p 3840 x 2160 pixels
4K 2160p 4096 x 2160 pixels

Refresh Rate :

The video you see on TV is the series of many still images in rapid succession. The images occur so fast that they give an illusion of motion. The speed at which the images are displayed on screen per second is referred to as Refresh Rate. It is expressed in Hertz (Hz). Afaster refresh rate ensures speedy motion, ideal for sporting events, action movies and playing video games. Higher refresh rate reduces the time between the display of frames hence leading to improved and blur-free picture quality. Plasma Tvs have refresh rate of 600Hz whereas basic LCD TV has 60Hz refresh rate.

What is a 3D TV?

3D is an add-on feature in mostly high-end television models to provide live experience to the users and make them feel as if they are in the middle of the action. These Tvs display 3D videos and require special 3D glasses for viewing. They come in two different technologies - Active and Passive.

Active 3D :

Active 3D glasses work by quickly alternating the images between both right and left eyes. They offer full size 1080p images at a greater depth but can be very tiresome if used for long hours. They are more expensive and require battery to operate.

Passive 3D :

Passive 3D glasses show different images simultaneously but each eye can view only one of the images. They provide slightly inferior picture quality at 720p but are cheaper and do not require a battery. These are mostly used in movie theaters to watch 3D movies.

What is a Smart TV?

Smart TV feature enables you to connect your internet connection with your TV. You can also connect your Smart TV with your laptop/phone and operate via various advanced technologies like miracast or DLNA. The user can access web, watch online videos, live events, manage social networking profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc and much more on TV. Few Smart TVs are equipped with camera for various functions like Skype calls and message clients.

Shoppers should make a wise purchase by evaluating the TV features and then narrow down the choices depending upon their budget, type of content they wish to watch, room size and their requirement. Most popular brands of TV are SONY, PANASONIC, LG, SAMSUNG, PANASONIC and PHILIPS.