TV Buying Guide 2014 For LCD, LED, HDTV, Smart TV

TV Buying GuideGone are the days when buying TV was simple: Decide whether you want a Blank & White or color TV. And then there were only few brands to buy TV, rich people go for Sony or Philips and middle classes chooses BPL, Salora Or UPTECH. We never had to find any TV Buying Guide.

But with advent technology, buying TV is a big puzzle with so many option, flat screen or LCD, LED or OLED, NO HD or HD Ready or Full HD and additional ports to choose with.  And average life of a TV is 7-8 years, so be sure to buy TV which can fulfill your requirement for at least ten years.

TV Buying Guide 2014

Before we start on buying TV, here is a disclaimer: These are generalization and you have to keep your personal likes and budget in mind while buying TV. Also, we are not dwelling into audio outputs as generally with flat screen and wall mounted TVs, the in-built audio speakers are always spaced out. We suggest you choose atleast surround sound with HDTV and buy separate audio speakers/ home theatre to compensate. (we will come with how to buy home theatre guide shortly)

Here is our ready reckoner TV buying guide you can keep with you when you buy TV.

   SIZE Selection:

The first thing to be decided while buying TV is size. As a hindi saying goes ‘bada he to behtar he’, bigger is better. But wait friends, a bigger TV in smaller room will give poor viewing angles. So the thumb rule is ‘your distance from TV in inches/1.6’ so if you are going to seat 6 foot from TV (i.e. standard 10/ 12 feet room), your TV should be 72/1.6 = 45. So your TV should be 42 – 46” size.

   LCD or LED/ OLED or Plasma :

Very few manufacturers are manufacturing Plasma as it is really costly. The biggest advantage of Plasma is their great viewing angles and low energy consumption (electricity bills), but at present they are highly costly and brightness is less. However, LCD/ LED provide better brightness and it can be viewed with windows open or in brightly lit rooms. True LED TVs, which are again costly but energy efficient, are Back Lit or Edge Lit. Back lit is more expensive but with better picture quality and slimmer TV. Also, it must be kept in mind that most of the LCDs are now essentially LED powered as the crystals are brighten by LEDs only.  However, the LCDs have less life than LEDs.

Our verdict: Choose LCDs if you are buying on a budget as it gives you similar experience in day-to-day life.

   Resolution & Refresh rate:

In today’s time while buying TV, two basic option one come across is HD Ready and Full HD. HD Ready is a TV (720p/ 1366X768 pixels) without HD Tuner.  In other words, it’s a car without engine. So you will need a HD tuner/ HD Output device to view HD on these TVs. On the contrary Full HD (1080p / 1920X 1080 px)can display HD from any format. So when a  full HD movie is run on HD ready TV, the TV will reduce the output to 720p resolution. Also there is 4K ultra HD (3840x2160px) TV, but in India at present, very little content to watch it and its way to costly for that. Another aspect is while buying TV is refresh rate. Its rate at which images are refreshed or screened in a second. Standard refresh rate is 60 Hz and most of the TVs come with at least 120 HZ. Of late 240 and 480 HZ TVs are also available. But our verdict is for general use 120 HZ will suffice.

Our verdict: the HD tuner are lot cheaper than full HD TV as of now and a normal viewer may not be able to distinguish between 720 p and 1080p, so for smaller TV of 42 inch or less go for HD ready, but for bigger TV choose Full HD, if your budget allows . You can ignore refresh rate for normal viewing.

   MOTION BLUR DUE TO REFRESH RATE

tv buying guide for led lcd smart tv motion rate

   Connectivity:

tv buying guide for led lcd smart tv

gone are the days when TV’s only other use was connecting VCR/VCDs. But now, we connect from computer to digital camera to pen drive and video games. Most of the TVs comes with HDMI port. It is absolutely must to connect your laptop, game console or camera. So friends, Do not buy TV, if they don’t have a single HDMI port. More HDMI is of course more than welcome.  Also, most of the TVs now offer USB ports, but read a fine print: Do they support all formats? Does it support connection with Hard Drive/ Disk ? Remember, a USB slot doesn’t guarantee it can run video files.  Generally, most TVs support only AVI files where as DivX HD will support most types of files.

   Smart TV:

The latest entrant in the TV market are smart TV and very few brands are making it. It comes with built-in wi-fi hot spot and Ethernet ports (to connect your bsnl or any landline broadband connection.). It also has a browser (to surf the net), youtube, facebook and other popular applications pre installed.  Presently, the broadband connectivity is not that deep in India, but if you can afford and have a long term horizon you can buy TV i.e. smart TV.

   Passive or active 3D:

Our verdict: go for passive 3D as most of the content (channel) are capable of that and viewing glasses are cheaper so you can buy it in bulk and view with your friends/ guest.

   Remote:

Very rightly basic thing is how many features your remote gives you. It should have ease of use and cluster of menus. Some new remotes allow you to control peripheral accessories like home theatre, set top boxes, CD players etc. Always choose which have biggest options.

Most default picture and sound option: no need to say, sports, movies, songs require different picture and audio output, buying TV with varied options in these two segments will save a lot of efforts in tuning a perfect output.

Finally, few quick tips to remember in the show room and you can say your Handy TV Buying Guide:-

  1. First and foremost, keep the two TVs side by side and feel the difference.
  2. View TVs from all angles of show room to see if there is any distortion. The colour of hair is the finest guide to check the color sharpness.
  3. Refresh rate/ motion blur. Watch sports channel (specially fast games like football/ car race) or straight brick lines of building/ railings in long shot to see if there is any motion blur.
  4. Carry a pen drive/ hard drive/ blue ray disc (if you buying TV with full HD) containing all types of files you may play. And ask the salesmen to play each of them to ensure that you don’t cry after coming home.

I hope this TV buying guide comes handy in buying TV. Happy viewing.

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