A television is no longer just another electronic device, it’s an entertainment centre. With numerous features and advanced technologies, TVs have become more than a focal point in the living room. From watching your favourite flicks on cable to showing off your priced photographs right from your computer or USB stick, these days can do much more with TVs. The mindboggling array of LED, LCD, Plasma or OLED TVs available in the market can be confusing for a newbie. So, how do you select the right size, type and model of television that fits your budget? This buying guide will help you through the process of picking the perfect match for your home.
Budget Planning to buy a television for your home? What is the first question that comes to your mind? The answer is the cost. Most buyers will first decide on the amount they can invest in purchasing a television even before heading to stores.
Top LED TV Brands
If you’re someone who’s brand conscious, then check out this list of the most popular television brands before your take your pick. We have researched the various consumer reports to design this TV buying guide to help you buy the best TV.
Types of TV (Based on Technology)
In this new TV buying guide, we have classified television based on the technology used:
- LCD- Liquid Crystal Display.
- LED– Light Emitting Diodes.
- PLASMA– A glass panel TV.
- OLED– Organic Light Emitting Diodes.
- CURVED– A TV with a curved screen.
- Gaming TV– A TV that addresses your gaming needs
LCD means Liquid Crystal Displayer. LCD televisions
have a panel of millions of liquid crystals placed side by side which illuminate and give a high contrast picture. The LCD was initially created for computer screens and later brought into the television category. It is basically lit by cold cathode fluorescent lamp which makes the picture very clear. This is cost effective and gives immense visual pleasure attracting buyers in hordes. Most televisions in the market today are LCD and they come in various screen sizes. Check out the pros and cons of LCD TVs in our buying guide.
- It has consistency in the light that it displays, where the picture has the same level of hue and saturation all through its spread.
- The brightness of the pictures is high.
- The retention capacity of the image is high.
- Its black level response is high
- Time delay when channels are being changed
- Though its image retention capacity is high, sometimes there is a brightness jump as it tends to show black patches here and there during prolonged views
- Limited view range
- Sometimes there maybe image distortion or the geometry of the image might change as you view this from certain corners of a room
LED TV (Edge)
The edge LED is a flat display panel with LED (light emitting diodes) mounted on the edges of the screen, which produce images that seem slender and delicate in appearance. It gives contrast better than LCD. In an LED TV there is a row of LED lights arranged across the borders of the display panel from behind. We have listed the good and the bad features of LED TVs in our buying guide to help you choose the best television.
- It has a greater colour quotient than that of LCD.
- Brightness levels of LED are comparatively higher than that of Plasma
- Affordable when compared to Plasma TVs
LED TV (Direct)
Direct LED TV has three different sheets arranged consecutive to each other. The sheet which is behind features arrays of LED lights, which illuminate to form an image. The sheet in the middle localises the image received from the LED panel and transfers it to the Display Panel. Finally the display panel gives a complete shape to the picture and enables an excellent viewing experience.
- The contrast levels are excellent
- The brightness level of the picture is high
- Energy efficient
- Compared to the other types of TVs, LED TVs are very expensive
OLED is the holy grail of the latest technology. It is basically Organic Light Emitting diode which lets electricity pass through an electroluminescent film. It is very eco-friendly and is less harmful to the eye. Big companies are also in the line to produce this TV and bring its kind into the market.
- Produces high contrast images
- Consumes less power and proves to be power efficient
- Response time is high
- The screen of the OLED needs to be handled carefully, even a drop of water spilled on the screen might cause irreparable damage to the screen
It features a glass panel with millions of tiny cells filled with mixtures of inert gases that get excited when they come in contact with electricity, illuminating pixels along the screen. Experts say that this technology is superior to LCD as it produces high contrast images. It is a cost effective technology. Listed below in this plasma TV buying guide are the pros and cons of this type of television:
- Due to the presence of the glass on the display panel, it produces extraordinary colours
- The perfect flat screen eliminates glare and avoids image distortion (asymmetry of the images during display)
- Its compatibility allows multipurpose use
- The phosphorous technology used in this sometimes makes the images appear slightly burnt.
- It has a very low life span.
- The body of the TV is very heavy and fragile; hence it has to be handled with care.
An inward concave curve unlike the ones of old CRTs marks out the latest revolution in televisions. The curved nature of the screen gives viewers a more immersive and satisfying viewing experience. The major defect in curved technology, however, is when the Curved TV is watched at a 40 degrees angle towards the curve, the image may look distorted.
- Immersive TV viewing experience
- As the screen is curved it would be a problem in an angular view. Only if you sit straight you can have a perfect viewing experience
For a joyous and an extremely entertaining theatre effect in your home, you can go for a 3D television. Especially for Blu-Ray movies and 3D video games, this television fits the bill. However, in addition to a 3D TV you will also need a pair of 3D glasses with batteries. You also need to charge them regularly to ensure proper functionality.
- Theatre-like effect with 3D experience right at home
- Require accessories like 3D glasses and 3D Blu-ray player
- Need equipment that converts standard television content into 3D content
Our buying guide describes smart TVs, their features and benefits to help you choose the right brand and size based on your needs. Smart TV is a convergence of technology, which blends television sets with set top boxes and computers. It includes features like online interactive media, internet TV, on demand streaming media and home networking access. So, on a single wide screen you can watch your favourite programs and movies, browse the internet and download/upload data. It is also an exciting gaming platform for avid gamers. LG, Panasonic and Samsung offer high-end Smart TVs.
- Availability of multiple applications like television, computer and gaming console
- You do not need extra connections for set top boxes and other devices as there is Bluetooth connectivity
- Wireless connectivity
- As there are multiple applications running at the same time there is a chance of corruption of the applications due to virus. Hence a good anti-virus is suggested
- Quite expensive, and price ranges from Rs. 34, 000 to Rs. 3, 00,000
4D or the UHD (Ultra HD) is the most talked about television technology today. Its resolution is almost 4000 pixels and it delivers perfect picture. The high end features it holds are almost equal to that of a Smart TV. Its UHD dimming technology optimally processes black and white so bright colours are produced.
- Superb viewing experience with high picture resolution and deep clarity.
- Perfect for movie watching, sports and gaming experiences.
- Newly introduced in the market. Not many know what its disadvantages could be.
- Very expensive, starting from Rs 1,00,000
Gaming TV 4If you want to go for a TV that can address all your entertainment needs, especially gaming, then look for a feature called ‘Game Mode’. This feature gives high refresh rate to the TV unit while you are playing games. There will not be any lag and the fast moving pictures are shown with high clarity. Gaming TV features a graphic displaying card that prevents lag while playing games.
Comparison of Different Types of TVs
How to Choose TV based on Purpose:
Features for TVs for gaming:
If you want to go for TVs that are can address all the needs of your entertainment, especially gaming, look for TVs that feature a ‘Game Mode’. This feature gives high refresh rate to the TV unit while you are playing games. There will not be any lag and the fast moving pictures are shown with high clarity.
Features for TVs for Sports:
If you are a sports lover, then you should go for wide screen TVs that have a high refresh rate. A wide screen gives an experience of viewing the TV from any angle without image distortion and less jerky or hazy images. Features like Judder Reduction will let you watch your favourite sport without missing any action.
Features for TVs for Poorly Lit Rooms:
If you have to keep your television in a room that is not well lit, look out for a feature that adjusts the brightness of the television according to the lighting of the room. This feature can help you to watch bright images in spite of the poorly lit environs.
Size of the Television
This buying guide describes TV sizes, and how to choose the best size of television depending on your requirements, budget and room area. There are almost 26 different sizes of TV in the market, from 16 inches to 80 inches and more. The size of the TV is basically measured diagonally in inches excluding the border panel. So when you say `32’ inches, it means the screen of the television measures 32 inches diagonally. As different sizes of televisions require varied distances for best viewing, selecting the TV size depends on the size of the room you are planning to keep the television in. The latest flat screen TVs occupy less space therefore even a bigger sized TV can be viewed from the same distance.
Is Bigger TV, better TV?
Yes! Bigger TV is always better if you can maintain the viewing distance with the angle you place the TV on. For example, you can keep a big TV in your small bedroom if the angle at which you place it equals the mandatory 4 feet distance of viewing required.
How to Calculate
Distance= D Screen size= D* 0.535 For example if the viewing distance is 40 inches then it would be 40* 0.535= 21.5 Therefore, a 21 inch TV is ideal for the room. Likewise you can calculate according to your viewing distance.
Size And Viewing Distance Table
A hi-definition TV usually has a resolution that varies from 720p to 1080p. Most LCDs, LEDs and Plasma TVs today offer equally good picture resolution, though Plasma and LEDs have an edge. It is tough to judge a picture’s resolution before buying the TV as picture resolution also depends on source quality, room lighting and picture settings. There are few things that you should keep note of:
- Screen uniformity– With Plasma having a uniform display system with its ability to produce deep black shade which translates into high contrast image, it is a winner in this department.
- Colour Saturation– Images with colour accuracy are influenced by perfect black colour contrast level.
- Reducing reflections– Room lighting is directly proportional to reduction of reflections. A proper lighting of the room where the TV is placed reduces glare. A glossy screen maintains good black levels which in turn contribute to no reflection.
Old CRT models had an inbuilt audio speaker. But the flat panel TVs now have also have audio input and output sockets for setting up an audio or surround sound system. Digital visual interface and high bandwidth digital content protection gives a high end audio quality. Also availability of different sockets for satellite boxes, Blu-ray disc players, game systems, HD Network Media and streamers give a unique audio carrying capacity to each of the applications.
Connectivity & Accessories
Most televisions today allow you to connect as many external inputs and get an output without loss in any quality. Different USB ports for connecting gaming consoles, external audio inputs, and DLNA and audio outputs are available in most televisions. Cables like HDMI and DVI are necessary to avoid generation loss (quality) when content is converted from standard to HD.
The remote control eases your interface with the television. Many remote controls also have backlit features for usage when the room is dark. There are also special buttons like picture-in-picture, commercial skip timers, channel block, child lock, and access to internet via Ethernet or LAN cable.
Smart TVs also have features like Wi-Fi and LAN connectivity. A router can be connected to the TV and then Wi-Fi can be used in multiple devices as well as the TV. You can enjoy browsing internet, watching your favourite videos and listening to music on the big screen.
Service & Maintenance
Make a note of the authorized brand dealers in your locality while you purchase a television. As most manufacturers offer a warranty that will cover the basic repair services, you don’t have to worry till the television is covered by the warranty period. Once the warranty period lapses, you can take up an AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) with the manufacturer to cover servicing and maintenance. It is not only a safe choice, but also an affordable option.
While watching fast action sequences or HD video, you may experience jerky images when the camera panning is fast. Some TVs offer additional Judder Reduction Feature to prevent hazy and jerky pictures. Motion Blur:
In fast moving pictures there is a chance of Motion Blur where the picture appears to blur and you will miss the action, especially if you are a sports lover. Some TVs that have in-built features to avoid motion blur. Game Lag:
It is a lag that occurs due to the slow processing inside the television unit while displaying action sequences of games. Presence of a graphic displaying card can help reduce lag while playing games.
- Look for installation details in the manual that would be provided along with the TV
- Make sure you get to know all the details by consulting a company technician
- It is easy to hire a technician and get the TV installed
- When the technician is done with the installation process make sure you clarify all your doubts