Shopping for a big ticket item like a new TV can be an overwhelming prospect. Not only do you need to consider your budget, but also the features, size and brand of your new television. For this reason the team of TV technicians here at Universal Home Theatre have put together the top 10 things you should consider to help you choose a TV that’s right for you! While no single feature is more important than the rest, and every customer will have their own priorities, we recommend these factors are assessed to help ensure your viewing experience is the best that it can be with your new TV.
For most people this is undoubtedly a major consideration and will determine the size, brand and features that can choose from. How much you want to spend generally dictates the type and size of TV will be able to purchase. Always have a rough figure of how much you would like to spend as you would not try to buy a Lamborghini with the same budget you have for a Kia! In saying this, if you shop carefully and know your stuff before buying you can save yourself a lot of money and still get a great TV.
Bigger really is better when it comes to TV’s, so when it comes to size we recommend prioritising size over some of the other features. The most common TV size sold is 55” so it is important to shop around to see if there are any differences in price of the same models between different retailers. Even if you’re upgrading from an original analogue TV and the new sizes seem excessive, after enjoying a larger screen for only a couple of weeks, most people are amazed at the difference and wonder how they coped for so long with their smaller screen. Obviously your budget and size of your living room will to some degree dictate the size of your TV, which leads us to the next point of positioning.
The dimensions of your living room will determine which TV you end up choosing. If you’ve only got a smaller area and still want a larger screen, mounting the TV on a wall can be the best option to get the best cinematic experience. For a smaller 32” TV, mounting it on a 4 x 3m wall would make little sense since the TV would look lost and out of place. For smaller screens we recommend using a traditional entertainment cabinet to position the TV. The height of your positioning is another important consideration. For most people a comfortable viewing position is looking slightly down at the screen but if this is not possible especially for a smaller room with a wall mounted screen eye level is the next best thing.
What kind of viewer you are, and how you use your TV, will help you choose a TV to work well for everyday needs. If you’re only a causal evening TV user, a modest sized TV without all the extra features will be sufficient, but for people who like to browse the internet or enjoy gaming, a larger screen with Smart TV capabilities will be better option. If you need a TV as a shopfront display panel or you’re a movie buff, a screen with the best possible picture and sound will enhance the viewing experience and have a greater impact. How you use your TV will also dictate the inputs you need – this leads us to point number 5.
Once you have decided what you will use your TV for you can think about what inputs you will need. If possible the more outlets for the better so you can avoid disconnecting every time you use a different device. Most modern TV’s have HDMI, Composite and Component video inputs which allow use of the TV with a DVD, Foxtel, Blu Ray or Amplifier. USB Ports are more common on TV’s now as they are great for viewing family photos, movies, and can also be used to connect to external hard drives. Be careful with TV’s that don’t have certain outputs since it can mean you can’t purchase accessories like Apple TV or use other external devices with your TV.
There are 3 main types of TV to consider LCD, LED or Plasma.
Plasma TVs contain gas cells which electrically turn into plasma to create the picture. These usually have a glass/gloss finish, giving the picture more depth but can also reflect light in bright rooms. Each cell can switch on/off individually to create faster refresh rates and response times.
LCD TV’s contains liquid crystal and a fluorescent lamp backlight to create the picture. The backlight is always on which produces richer colours and a brighter picture. LCD’s usually have a matte finish which prevents glare in bright rooms but can restrict viewing angles.
LED TV’s use liquid crystal displays with LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) to produce an image on the screen. LED’s are brighter, use much less energy and create clearer pictures with better control of colour and contrast.
Each have their pro’s and con’s and again it depends on where you will place your TV, what you are using it for and how much you are wanting to spend.
7. Smart Features
How smart would you like your TV to be? Gone are the days where TV works just as a TV! Smart TV’s are the newest revolution in the world of televisions and essentially allow your television to double as a secondary computer with internet access. Whether it’s for downloading apps, social networking, surfing the web or streaming music videos, a Smart TV can be the best screen in the house for a family to view content instead of crowding around the PC in the study.
Smart features in new televisions also include capabilities for 3D movie viewing and in built webcam for using Skype. New (and more expensive) models also allow you to instinctively control your TV with hand gestures and voice recognition from the couch without use of a remote. New Samsung smart TV models also use facial recognition making logging into your favourite social media fast and fun… Now that’s impressive!!
How important these individual features are to you will determine which model you choose with which features, but one thing is for sure, smart features are here to stay in the new generation of TVs on the market.
8. Energy Efficiency
While some TV Models have higher cost upfront than others, their energy efficiency rating might be higher too, making a noticeable difference to your energy bill. For people who keep the screen on all day, including in shops, gyms or other commercial settings, an LED TV with a higher energy efficiency would make good sense. If you are using your TV for primarily watching movies and sport in a home theatre room you may choose Plasma which would provide better graphics but not be as energy efficient as the same sized LED or LCD.
Most TV’s usually come with a minimum of 1 year warranty. While spending the money upfront on extending the manufacturer’s warranty might seem pointless, it can save you a lot of money in the future if anything was to go wrong with your TV, including the cost of a replacement. Deciding to pay extra to extend a warranty can make sense if you are investing a lot of money in your new TV, but not as necessary if your TV is priced in the mid or lower range. A model that already comes with an extended warranty included in the price could be a deciding factor for someone buying a new TV.
The top 3 brands of TV’s on the market at the moment are Samsung, Panasonic and Sony (in that order) Universal Home Theatre stocks the complete range of Samsung models to suit your needs. But if there is particular model that will better suit your needs we will give credit where credit is due and recommend some other great television sets.
We hope these factors have helped you consider a television to best suit your needs, but as the home theatre experts in Brisbane, we’re happy to provide advice and information to assist in whatever way we can. Call us today to find out more about the newest in TV technology and the full suite of products we offer here at Universal Home Theatre. Phone (07) 3053 2635