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Top considerations for buying that new TV

TV… it's not what it was. As TV merges with IT, buying a flat panel is no longer a simple matter of deciding between LCD and plasma, picking a reliable developer and then finding a good deal. Now there's all these new 'smart' functions, screen formats and the rise of 3D video. Feeling overwhelmed? Relax, we've broken it down to the main considerations.

Some Things To Consider...


Plasma vs LCD


Despite the march of time and technology, Plasma vs. LCD is still a concern. In a nutshell, plasma screens tend to work better in dark, more 'cinematic' environments, whereas LCDs come out clearer in brighter spaces. In terms of energy efficiency, LCD usually outperforms plasma (especially LED LCD TVs). Overall, people generally prefer plasma for something closer to what you'd get at 'the movies' and LCD for overall cost savings.


Is it worth holding out for Ultra HD?


Ultra HD hasn't fully arrived… yet, but it is one thing you need to know about. Basically it offers resolution which is about four times more detailed than the current HD format (at 4196 x 2160 they're starting to call Ultra HD '4K'). Though at the moment there's nothing that is actually encoded in 4K, it's quite likely that the trend towards higher fidelity images means that this could be a reality in the coming years.


Is it Smart?


TVs are definitely getting 'smarter' - which basically means more and more functions. One thing to consider is how 'future proof' your TV is - will it be versatile enough to cope with the demands your other gadgets might put on it, a few years from now?

Here are 'smart' questions you may want to ask about a prospective TV...
Is it networkable? Allowing for streaming online video, or data streaming off of hard drives on your network. With internet access, the amount of video available to you is limitless, and you may never need pay for a channel you aren't watching again.

Does it have a variety of video input and outputs and does it read USB? Might you want to hook it up to a computer at some point, or use it to watch video off of a memory stick?

Does it handle 3D? - WIth 3D Blu-Ray now an (expensive) reality, and more and more films released as 3D, you may consider if watching film in 3D is a future prospect in your household.


Conclusion


The TV you need to buy is the one best suited to your needs. Are you a gamer? A film aficionado? Do you have an entire wall to spare? How much money are you willing to part with? There's no one size fits all solution. So, weigh up the features you want against the price you are willing to pay. Read some reviews. Then consider searching with comparison shopping sites to find yourself the best deal…
Jack Oughton

About the writer

Jack Oughton, AKA Koukouvaya is a freelance writer/copywriter, composer/sound designer and digital artist/photographer from South London who has serious problems writing biographical information about himself in the third person. He has written for the likes of The Guardian, The Independent and FHM, and currently spends all day sculpting alien sounds using wavetable synthesis. He can be found on @koukouvaya

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