Only the four edges contain LED lights, so these TVs are much sleeker and the most power-efficient. Picture: Supplied
Step into a store to buy a new TV and you’re greeted by an intimidating array of flat screens playing everything from game shows and movies to cricket and football matches. And before you can even recover from this audio-visual jamboree, a shop-floor assistant full of sales talk appears out of nowhere, spewing jargon like active 3D display, full array LED and smart TV. It can all be quite overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you’re equipped with a quick primer. So here goes...
These offer the best colours and widest viewing angles, and in fast-moving pictures, motion blur or “ghosting” is almost nonexistent. However, plasma screens consume three times as much power as LED and LCD TVs.
Also, repairing a plasma can get problematic, since it’s costly and your local service guy might not know how.
Finally, if an image is displayed for a long time on a plasma TV, it can get “burned” into the screen. So even after switching off your set, the corner might show that little logo of your favourite channel.
Full LED/True LED/Full-Array LED
With an entire grid of LED lights illuminating the screen, the colours look richer than other non-plasma TVs – especially the depth of the black areas.
But the viewing angle of these – as is the case with all non-plasma screens – is quite restricted. And yes, they can burn a hole in your wallet.
Only the four edges contain LED lights, so these TVs are much sleeker and the most power-efficient. On the one hand, the colours on this display can be uneven and the pictures aren’t that much better than standard LCD TVs, especially not enough to warrant the additional cash.
These are the cheapest flat-panel TV sets on the market. But of course, it’s at the cost of rich colours, as well as the screens being prone to ghosting – mostly noticeable while watching sports or playing video games.
Size does matter
One of the most important aspects of buying a TV is knowing the optimal size for your home. And there’s a simple formula to calculate the right size for your room: Measure the distance from where the TV is going to be, to where you are going to sit to watch it.
Divide that by two. That’s a good size to go with. So if you sit 1.5m away from your TV, then 30 inches (or 76.2cm) is a good approximate size.
However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Going a few inches either way isn’t going to improve the image dramatically or make it an eye-sore. If a slightly bigger TV fits into your budget, go for it – you won’t be disappointed. But remember, “bigger is better” isn’t the mantra here.
Full-HD and HD
You might want to take advantage of the HD revolution in satellite TV, but should you go for HD or Full-HD? While Full-HD is definitely superior, the question is whether you will need it, or even notice the difference.
For most viewers, HD is perfect if everything they watch revolves around series and sports. And it’s also good enough if you watch movies on a DVD player or by plugging in USB drives.
So what’s Full-HD good for? First, if you are a gamer or plan to buy a PlayStation3 or Xbox 360 in the future, you have to have Full-HD. And if you do download Full-HD movies or buy them on Bluray, then it would be criminal not to have a TV that matches all that digital goodness.
Many brands nowadays are now touting smart TVs. Essentially, these are sets with pre-loaded internet apps and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which let you access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or browse the Web on your big screen.
Most user interfaces require a little getting used to and can be hard to navigate with the regular remote controller – and specialised remotes can cost a pretty penny.
But more importantly, smart TVs aren’t good enough to be your primary PC yet, so make sure you have Wi-Fi set up at home to use your internet connection on the laptop as well as the TV. Be aware, though, that some devices have only an ethernet port, offering no wireless capabilities. And that’ll be a mess of interconnected cables. – TOI