Which TV Is Right For Me?
By Tym Yee | Tuesday | 06/08/2013
There are literally hundreds of TVs out on the Australian market that canvas all types of size, technology, designed and price range. There's something not just for every living room, but also for every type of person.
Whether you like to watch nature commentaries with panoramic views of the savannah, the latest 3D block busters with surround sound or if you like to explore the world around us through smart TV, there are a slew of options for you to choose from. We have compiled the top six things you need to think about before purchasing your next LCD, LED, UHD, OLED or Plasma TV.
One of the first things you need to sort out is how a big a TV you'll need. It's important to get a TV that suits the room it'll end up in, as cramming a large TV into a tiny room will not only look a bit silly, but will also make the room seem smaller - and cramped.
A good rule of thumb is to calculate the viewing distance you'll be sitting at, and working it out from there. If you're going to be around 1.5m or further from your TV, we recommend opting for a large 42in or 50in set. Anything less than a metre and you should be looking at a much smaller TV.
3D or Not 3D?
If you're out for a TV of 42" or above, and are buying from the big names, the question of whether to "go 3D" is starting to become a non-issue. The majority of sets feature it as standard, with only ultra-budget TVs and some low-mid range plasmas in current ranges leaving it out.
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However, if 3D is a concern, you do have to choose between active or passive technologies.Active 3D uses powered shutter glasses, while passive 3D uses non-powered polarising glasses - a bit like the ones you get at the cinema. Active 3D generally offers a better 3D experience.
While we're still on the subject of the practicalities of buying a TV, if you want to wall-hang a set, make sure you don't get
one that weighs a ton. Even very large LCD tellys are fairly light, but Plasmas universally weigh a good deal more.
Try and wall-hang a 50in plasma TV on a plasterboard wall and the whole lot could well come down. A strong brick wall should be able to handle just about anything though, when matched with a good VESA wall stand.
LCD or Plasma? What About LED?
There are a great many differences between LCD and Plasma technologies other than weight. Plasma is considered by many to be a dying technology, but will almost always provide a better watch in a darkened room than an LCD TV of the same level. LCD TVs are great at supplying high brightness, which comes in particularly handy in dealing with the dimming effects of 3D, but rarely match the contrast and black levels of a plasma. LCD does "striking", while Plasma is much better at rendering natural, cinema-like images.
LED is a term that's often bandied about in TV retail stores, but it actually just refers to the backlight type used in the TV. If you see an "LED TV", it'll invariably be an LCD TV with an LED backlight. There are two types of LED backlighting - Edge Lit LED and Full LED.
The Future: OLED and UHDTV
OLED TVs use technology that's seen presently in premium
phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. Instead of using a universal backlight,
each pixel has its own light source. This lets areas of black stay completely
black, for nigh-on infinite contrast. The down side? OLED TVs are not going to
come cheap any time soon.
UHDTV, sometimes referred to as '4K', is not a display type
in the same sense, but a new resolution standard - a progression on from 720p
and 1080p (aka Full HD). This offers double the number of pixels in each
dimension, resulting in a pixel count four times that of 1080p. '8K'
technologies are also in development, but 4K TVs are what we are beginning to
see on the high street.
Is Smart TV
Now that image quality and size are dealt with, you need to
think about secondary features. And one of the most important is Smart TV.
Each of the major manufacturers - Samsung, Panasonic, LG,
Philips, Toshiba, Sony - has its own Smart TV portal. These give you access to
great apps with the best of the lot coming from Panasonic, Sony and Samsung.
However, to use them you'll need to get connected -
obviously. If your router is nearby where your TV will live, it's no problem as
an Ethernet port will be on the back of the set. If not you'll need to use
Wi-Fi but it normally doesn't come built into TVs. You can usually get a Wi-Fi
USB dongle from the makers.
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