So you have your hands on a broadband+landline+TV bundle and think it is the perfect time to upgrade your ol’ set (after all why receive high res channels on an oudated TV!)? There are so many criterias when it comes to choosing a TV, but to help you choose here is an overview of the essential ones.
There are no trully bad or good TVs, only TVs which are adapted to your use. Living in a tiny studio? Maybe don’t buy a 5 foot 3D screen; big fan of the latest Blu-rays? A 16 inch probably won’t do.
What are the most important features to look for?
You want to avoid making this mistake: buying the largest screen your budget will allow. The choice of size for your TV depends on two points:
Setback distance: how much do you have ?
On average, you’ll want to divide your setback distance by three to know the ideal size of your screen. If there are 4 meters between your sofa and the screen (lucky you!) you’ll need a screen with a 1.5m diagonal. If you’re a student living in 15 sq meters with a setback distance of 1.5 m: a 50cm screen will do. Of course feel free to break this rule.
What are you going to watch on this TV ?
It’s important, because you can refine the ideal setback distance. If you’re watching HD films, you can come a little closer or get a slightly bigger screen. If you only watch a few films in SD and mainly the new, set a longer distance or get a smaller screen. Simply because you can spot pixels easier on SD than you can on HD.
Technical caracteristics: Brightness and contrast, resolution and scanning frequency
It becomes difficult to choose your TV on these criterias now that there exist so many norms and manufacturers. For example some will give a catchy name to their contrast levels, when a number would allow comparisons with other models. Same for the scanning frequence, where there are a few different numbers to look at. Confusing, isn’t it?
What to remember?
Mid range TVs, with decent images, have a brightness of at least 400 Cd/m². The higher the value, the better the brightness. Try to stick to this number.
For contrast, a good TV approaches 1.000.000:1. The higher the number, the more intense the blacks.
To avoid blurry images where there is action, look at the tile frequence. A basic and common frequence is 50Hz. Our old cathode ray televisions had this frequence; it’s not bad, but could be better. The higher this value, the more fluid your image. If you only watch the news, 50 will be enough. However for blu-rays gos for 100 or 200, or even more in the plasma family.
Resolution wise, you’ll have two numbers usually, 1366×768 for basic TVs, and 1920×1080 for better quality. The first is found on TVs under 26inches, and the second on bigger sizes. The mistake you shouldn’t make is buying a large screen with a 1366×768 res. The quality of the image will suffer. You can also look at ultra HD, a whole other range.
What connectors should there be?
It usually doesn’t really matter, unless you want to plug in peripherals. Do think about it because not all TVs have ports. Apart from that, you find all sorts of connectors: HDMi, USB, VGA, audio and video output…
– Do you need to surf on the internet?
With a “connected” TV, you can easily send or receive emails, go on Facebook or watch trailers for example.
– Do you like 3D ?
Passive or active, 3D is now in our household; ask yourself whether you want it or not when you buy, because it is impossible to add it afterwards. Active 3D is meant to be better, but the result depends on people as our brains “understand” 3D differently.