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LCD TVs buying guide

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LCD TVs Guide - An Introduction

Whether you are buying an LCD TV for your home or a portable model for travel, choosing the right for your home is an important decision. The make and model will determine how readable the TV screen is, whether you experience any eyestrain during extended viewing, and how clear the pictures are. You will need to consider your room size, budget, and type of viewing. Watching the news while cooking dinner will obviously require a different TV than if you plan to watch films, especially those with large special effects.

LCD, or liquid-crystal display, TVs use LCD technology to create images. They are thinner and weight less than CRT, or cathode ray tube, televisions that have similar display sizes, and they also come in larger screen sizes. This makes them more practical than CRTs for many uses, and as the prices have come down, sales of LCD TVs have surpassed CRT models. Their major competitors in the large-screen market are plasma and rear-projection models, but LCD TVs are quickly overtaking these as well.

One advantage of LCD TVs are that their flat panels make it possible to mount the screen on the wall, reducing the need for a TV stand or entertainment center. This gives you more flexibility, especially for a smaller room. They also require less electrical power, making them a more environmentally friendly choice. LCD TVs use pixels that are filled with liquid crystals placed in front of a back light. LCD technology dates back to 1888, but it is only in the last few years that LCD TVs have gained prominence in the market.

If you are shopping for an LCD TV, Price Inspector can help get you the cheapest prices on the TV you want to buy. There are several decisions you will need to make about your TV purchase, including size, features, and brand, and our buying guide will walk you through those decisions. Once you select your TV, we have compared prices across the UK to make sure you get the best deals on LCD TVs.

Sizes and Colours of LCD TVs

One of the first decisions you will need to make is how large of a viewing screen you want. There are portable models with 3, 7, 9, or 10 inch screens. These are good for watching your favourite shows on the road, as they are lightweight and portable.

For home viewing, however, you will probably want a larger screen size. If you have a small room, or for certain locations like the kitchen, you might consider a 15, 17, or 20 inch model. These fit into small spaces easily, but due to the small screen size, you will need to be in a close viewing range.

If you have a medium size room, a limited budget, or watch TV only occasionally, you might be happy with a 22, 23, 26, or 27 inch screen. For a large room or if you watch a lot of films at home, you will want a larger screen. These cost more, but they give you a better viewing experience if you have the space and the budget. Popular sizes include 37, 40, 42, 46, 47, and 52 inches.

Once you know what size of screen you want, another consideration is the colour. Today, you can buy an LCD TV in an array of colours, perfect for any room. While black may be the most common, other popular colour choices include blue, gold, green, grey, pink, red, silver, and white.

Popular Brands of LCD TVs

There are many brands of LCD TVs to choose from. Generally speaking, you will get a better experience if you buy a TV from one of the leaders in the market. Some of the top brands for LCD TVs include:

* Mitsubishi
* Panasonic
* Philips
* Pioneer
* Samsung
* Sanyo
* Sharp
* Sony

However, there are many other popular brands to choose from, and you may find one of these better suits your budget and your needs:

* Acer
* Acoustic Solutions
* Alba
* Alphason
* Avtex
* Beko
* Blackberry
* Daewoo
* Digifusion
* Disney
* Electrolux
* Fujitsu Siemens
* Goodmans
* Grundig
* Hannspree
* Hirsh
* Hitachi
* Humax
* Hyundai
* LG
* Linsar
* Lloytron
* Loewe
* Logik
* Matsui
* Mikomi
* Mirai
* Optoma
* Polaroid
* Reflexion
* Swiss Tec
* Teac
* Technika
* Techwood
* Toshiba
* V7
* ViewSonic
* Wharfedale

Tips to consider before buying LCD TVs

  • When considering the viewing size, televisions are measured in inches diagonally across the corners. However, it is important to understand that the screen measurement does not mean the viewing area is as large. If you are replacing an old CRT TV and want the same viewing area, you will need a screen that is 6 per cent larger than the measurement of your old TV. This is due to the rectangular shape common to LCD TVs, compared with the square shape of CRT screens.
  • Next, you need to visit a local shop to view the TV in person. This is the only way to judge the screen’s colour, sharpness, and image quality. You can still buy online to get your best deal, but you need to see the TV in action first.
  • There are a couple of key ratings to consider, including:

    • Black Level: This is the measure of how much light the screen emits when showing black or dark colours. It measure the depth of colour or “true black.” The ability to display deeper colours will produce a more accurate, pleasing picture.

    • Brightness: This is how much light the screen produces. In general, a brighter TV is considered better, and this depends on the brightness of the backlight lamps. Keep in mind, however, that LCD TVs will be brighter and have better colour during their first few years. The panel and lamps will slowly decay over time, slowly shifting toward more red or blue eventually. Overall, you should expect a total lifespan of 70,000 viewing hours.

  • Consider whether you want additional features on your TV. A DVD player LCD TV includes a built-in DVD player, which frees up more space and eliminates the extra cable. Likewise, a Blu-Ray player is included on other LCD TVs. It can also produce better pictures, as the images do not have to travel through a cable. If the DVD or Blu-Ray player breaks down or you want to upgrade in the future, you can still connect an external device for viewing DVDs or Blu-Ray disks.
  • Another important decision is how you will receive your television signals. Some LCD TVs have an Integrated Satellite Receiver for receiving signals from your Parabolic Dish. These make it easy and convenient, eliminating the need for a converter box. Similarly, some LCD TVs are capable of receiving Internet TV signals. This lets you watch your favourite shows or video clips from the Internet without having to use your small computer monitor.
  • With the advances of HD, or high definition, television and films, many people want an HDTV or HD ready LCD TV. These will provide substantially higher screen resolutions than a standard definition, or SD TV, giving you a clearer picture. The main difference between full HD and HD ready is whether it includes a built-in digital tuner. A full HD TV has the tuner built-in, while the HD Ready models require an external tuner. Full HD TVs will have better HD capabilities, but either will surpass an SD TV.

Jargon Explained

There are many different terms you may encounter when shopping for an LCD TV, and it is important to understand what they mean.

PixelsPixels are the small dots that form the picture. Having more pixels means you will have finer details in the display. Finer details will give you a sharper image and more accurate pictures.
ResolutionThis is a combination of the aspect ratio and screen size, and also each manufacturer has different screen resolutions. While this is important, it’s not as important as the contrast ratio.
Contrast ratioThis is how bright and how dark of colours the TV is capable of displaying. Many experts view this as the most important consideration for picture quality.
Colour saturationThis is the intensity of the colours. Too much colour, and the images look unrealistic or garish. Too little, and the picture looks drab and washed out. This is adjustable on many TVs.
Viewing angleAll TVs can be appropriately viewed from straight ahead. But if you are viewing from an angle, however, you need to make sure the viewing angle is appropriate. Most manufacturers offer viewing angles between 160 and 170 degrees, which means the display will remain consistent anywhere within this range.
Viewing distance

Considering the distance, you can sit as close to the screen as 1.5 times the TV’s diagonal screen measurement. However, if you sit farther away, you will lose some of the intensity. Recommended distances for different screen sizes are:

- 26 inches: Between 1 and 2 metres
- 30 inches: 1.15 to 2.3 metres
- 34 inches: 1.3 to 2.5 metres
- 42 inches: 1.6 to 3.2 metres
- 47 inches: 1.8 to 3.6 metres
- 50 inches: 1.9 to 3.8 metres
- 55 inches: 2.1 to 3.9 metres

Buying Guide to LCD TVs
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