How to Choose the Right TV for You
You’ve made the decision to buy a new TV. While it may not seem that way, it can be a much more difficult purchase than you originally thought. Gone are the days of the giant box TVs; now, there are many different types and sizes of televisions out there, and you can choose any of them!
There are a few things to consider before jumping in and buying your new TV, mainly the size and the type. This guide will give you a few pointers on choosing the right set for you. Sales professionals may have ulterior motives, and can confuse you, so it is helpful to know a little before heading into a store.
Know What Size You Need
The first thing you need to do, before anything else, is decide what size TV you want. This can dictate what type you get, along with availability. There is an easy formula to remember, which makes picking the size easier:
Size = viewing distance in inches ÷ 2
Measure the distance between your couch (or chair, or bed, or whatever) and where the screen would be, then divide that by two. Let’s say there’s six feet, or 72 inches. Divided by two, that’s 36 inches. It’s that easy! Now, you may want something much bigger or smaller personally, but that is a good place to start.
Pick Your Type
There are several different kinds of flat screens you can get, and this can be very confusing. The differences are subtle, but they can help you make up your mind. You can choose between plasma, LCD, or LED.
Plasma is the classic flat screen that we all know about: they’re bright, colorful, and big. In fact, plasma TVs come in bigger sizes and are cheaper than any other flat screen. The contrast on a plasma screen is higher, especially in black and white. That means that those movies that are shot with everything thrown in shadow will now be crystal clear, and you can see what’s going on!
However, plasmas also use more power than other types, and may flicker. These are also more prone to burn-in images, where if an image remains on the screen too long, it will imprint on it permanently.
Liquid-crystal display televisions, or LCDs, are reliable and the most widely made and sold type of TV. LCDs blend colors to create a pixel, and have excellent displays. They use less energy than plasmas and have no burn-in image risk. They are thinner and lighter, making them easier to transport and mount. LCDs tend to have better image quality, and keep improving.
LCDs, though, have a risk of a ghost image, because the pixels can’t keep up with the change rate.
LED is not a TV on its own, but backlights an LCD set. These TVs use the least amount of energy, offer better contrast and brightness and greater color range. To top it off, these sets have a quicker response to image changes and more accurate image rendering, making these ideal screens for gamers. These are more expensive, but are the newest technology out there.
The downsides are a possibility of flickering due to backlight dimming, but this can be easily tested by waving your hand in front of a lit screen: if the movement is defined, the TV pulses at a lower frequency. The movement should be blurry, for less strain on the eyes.
Use these tips to pick the best TV for you. Make sure that you pick the flat screen that fits your budget, your uses, and your home. By doing so, you’ll get the most out of your new set.
Sara Stricker is part of a team of dedicated writers who contribute hundreds of quality articles to blogs and sites. An owner of two flat screens, she highly advocates bigger is better. Follow her @StrickerSara for more articles.