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Combi TVs buying guide

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Introduction to Combi TVs

Buying a TV Combi or Combi TV lets you combine two electronics components into one convenient package—your TV and your DVD player. It’s basically a TV with a built-in DVD player. By buying an LCD TV with DVD, you will avoid the hassles of connecting the components, and you won’t have as many wires and cables cluttering up your entertainment centre. An LCD TV DVD Combi also gives your system a sleeker look, rather than having a separate, bulky, DVD player and you won’t even have to have a spare shelf.

Combi TVs were originally created in the 80s to provide a space-saving, portable TV and VCR. The original models only offered mono sound, but modern Combi TVs have evolved to offer stereo sound, a range of sizes, and other optional features such as flat screens and receivers. TV DVD Combi products are becoming more and more popular because of their ease of set-up. It also means you don’t have to purchase leads and connectors, which can quickly get expensive if you are shopping at the higher quality ranges.

With the increasing popularity of DVD players, most Combi TVs now feature a DVD player rather than a VCR. There are still a few VCR models available if you have not yet converted to DVDs, but you will have a much larger shopping selection with DVD combis.

Now is a good time to buy a cheap Combi TV, because major brands are competing to offer a wider range of models, which generally decreases the price. Price Inspector has done the research to help you find a cheap Combi TV, shopping lots of UK stores so you won’t have to.

Types of TV DVD Combis

First, think about what type of combi TV will best suit your household’s needs. For example, do you plan to use the combi for portable or occasional use, or do you anticipate that it’s will be your primary TV and DVD player? There are several different types of combis available in the marketplace, such as:

  • LCD TV DVD Combi: With their flat panel designs that can be wall mounted or free standing, LCD or Liquid Crystal Display TVs DVD combis saves more space than CRT combis. Due to the range of available sizes, they can be ideal whether you want a large primary TV or a lightweight, portable model. LCD combis are available with NICAM stereo sound, and LCD TVs provide outstanding picture quality.
  • CRT TV DVD Combi - CRT, or Cathode Ray Tube TV DVD combis are usually portable, easy to use, and affordable, which accounts for their popularity. Drawbacks include that some types of CRT combis only have mono sound, and the picture quality of a CRT TV is usually not as good as LCD.
  • Video player options: As an alternative to VCR or DVD players, some combi TVs are now available with Blu-Ray players. Blu-Ray players will also play DVDs, but DVD players do not play Blu-Ray discs. Some combis will even offer multiple formats, such as both a VCR and DVD in one combination. However, these are being phased out as VCRs are declining in popularity.

Combi TV features

Because the features of TV combis vary, it is important to know what you will really use.

  • HD (high definition) Ready: HD Ready TV DVD combis have an HDMI socket, which provides excellent picture resolution and improved picture quality.
  • Console input: This will allow you to easily connect a gaming console to your TV DVD combi, making it an important feature if your family plans to play video games on this TV.
  • SCART sockets: This allows you to connect other electronics to your TV DVD combi, including Freeview boxes and video recorders.
  • Teletext: Some TV DVD combi models are able to receive Teletext
  • Playback options: DVD players are also able to play other discs, including music CDs, CD-R, and MP3 CDs. If you plan to play different types of discs, make sure the model you are buying will accept the types of discs you want to use.
  • Remote control: Most TV DVD combis will allow you to control both the TV and the DVD player with a remote. Look for one that is functional and easy to use.
  • Sleep timer: Especially designed for TV DVD combis that will be used in the bedroom, sleep timers will automatically turn off your TV at a certain time. This lets you fall asleep while watching TV, either accidentally or on purpose, without having to worry about the TV being on all night.
  • Extended warranty: While extended warranties are not always a good option, if you are purchasing an expensive TV DVD combi, you might want to consider buying the extended warranty. Under certain circumstances, this will help you avoid having to pay for expensive repairs or replacements.

Things to consider when buying a new Combi TV

If saving space is your main priority, a combi TV is your best option. But how do you know which combi TV is best for you?

  • Compare the contrast ratio. This is not always easy because each manufacturer measures it a little differently. However, a general rule is that a higher number is better, such as 1000:1, which means that the black colours will be darker and the white ones will be brighter. It also indicates a bigger range for the in-between colours.
  • The next comparison to consider is the response time, or the amount of time it takes to “draw” a new image on the screen. You can consider about 20ms as a good target, with 8ms being excellent. This number is especially important when you are watching fast-moving objects, such as a sporting event, to make sure there is no picture blurring.
  •  If you are buying a smaller screen combi TV, less than 26 inches, you can save money by buying an HD-ready TV, rather than a true HDTV. With a smaller screen, you won’t get much advantage from the extra cost of a true HDTV, and with an HD-ready TV, you will still get HD programs.
  •  Some LCD TV monitors were originally designed as computer monitors, which generally means they are taller than they are wide. This could lead to a vertical stretching of the picture, so make sure the picture ratio is adjustable. For a wide-screen movie, the correct ratio will be 16:9.

  • Don’t forget the on-screen programme guide. Some guides load very slowly and then do not show you very much information. An ideal guide will load quickly, be easy to use, and show seven days of programming information.

Combi TV Jargon Explained

SCART sockets SCART is a French-developed standard for connection audio-visual equipment with a 21-pin connector. It is also known as EuroAV, Peritel, 21-pin EuroSCART, and EIA Multiport. It is the most common method used to connect AV equipment in Europe. With the introduction of HDMI digital standards, however, SCART is starting to become obsolete.
CRT: Cathode Ray TubeThe CRT is a vacuum tube with an electron gun and a fluorescent screen. With CRT televisions, the front of the tube is repeatedly scanned in n a fixed pattern. Images are produced by controlling electron beams for each primary colour. CRT screens are being phased out by manufacturers as demand declines. This means that fewer high-end CRT televisions are being made, as manufacturers switch production to LCD models.
LCD: Liquid-crystal displayLCD TVs use LCD technology to create images. These TVs are lighter and thinner than CRT televisions, and they usually come in larger display sizes.
Teletext

A TV information service created in the UK in the 1970s. Teletext offers textual information, including news, weather, and television schedules. Subtitles, or closed captioning, can also be transmitted in the teletext.

 

MP3A digital audio encoding system developed by Moving Pictures Experts Group, giving it the name MP3. It allows sound files to be compressed for easy transmission through the Internet, as well as storing on personal audio devices.
Blu-RayAlso known as Blu-Ray Disc or BD, it represents the next generation of optical discs. They provide high-density storage for high-definition video.
Freeview:A service that broadcasts free television channels and radio stations from public service broadcasters

Buying Guide to Combi TVs
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