Flat Screen Options: Which TV Should You Buy?
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Published by TOP4 Team
A television set is considered a must in every household. You may remember much older versions of the boob tube from when you were younger — TV sets that had dials and flashed only grainy black and white images, or their colored descendants that took up a huge amount of space on the console table in your living room.
These television sets have a special place of honour in the one room where families often gather together to relax and bond over weekend movie nights, learn about current events through news programmes, or entertain themselves with a wide variety of shows.
An evolution in electronics
These days, however, you'll no longer spot those cumbersome black or silver machines sitting in front of couches everywhere. What you'll find in today's homes instead are sleek, flat TV screens (high-definition TVs or HDTVs) that are either propped on top of a console (taking up significantly less floor space) or mounted on a wall for greater space savings. And these flat screen TVs come in different sizes. So one house can have a regular-sized screen (around 32 inches) while other households feel as if they have their very own cinema, what with 60- to 65-inch TVs finding their way into living rooms.
How will you know which TV is the best buy?
There is such a wide range of flat screen TVs available today from a large number of manufacturers that it can be hard to understand how one differs from the other, much less be able to pick one out right away when you visit an electronics retailer.
But with a little help from the basic information provided below, you can get a better idea of what different TVs have to offer, and which one would be perfect for your individual needs and preferences.
· Types of HDTVs
PDP or plasma display panel TVs used to be the top (and often only choice) for flat-panel models in earlier years as they provided the best contrast and colour performance. However, manufacturers have halted production of these models to focus on other TV technologies, like LED screens.
LCD TV panels come with continuous backlighting by cold cathode fluorescent or CCFL lamps. It is still a standard among cheaper TV models, but is being quickly overtaken by more advanced LED technologies.
Unlike CCFL in LCD TVs, LED TV displays are backlit by an array of light emitting diodes or LEDs. These TVs are lighter and more energy efficient than LCD TVs.
But there are differences, too. Some LED TVs will have a large array of LEDs directly behind the panel as a backlight. This means it has thicker screens but more evenly illuminated panels. Other LED TVs, on the other hand, are edge-lit, meaning the LEDs are found along the edges of the panels; these TVs are light and very thin.
The latest technology for HDTVs is the organic light emitting diode TV or OLED. Here each diode works to produce colour and illuminate the picture. Compared to LED-lit LCD panels, they are much smaller and thinner.
· Price considerations
As a rule of thumb, and regardless of the technology used, the thinness and brightness of an LED TV will generally be proportional to its price range. LEDs are currently the more affordable options chosen by more consumers.
The most expensive among the available options as of 2015, however, is the OLED TV because its diodes are very rare, and therefore costly.
· Resolution differences
The most recommended HDTV resolution at the moment is 1080p (1,920 by 1,080) pixels. But if you must get less than that, make sure not to go lower than 720p.
Some manufacturers are billing 4K or Ultra HD as the latest trend when it comes to HDTV resolution. These TVs can display 8 million active pixels and have a minimum resolution of 3,840 by 2,160. However, 4K TV content is still quite limited, and the TVs are expectedly expensive. So for the vast majority of TV-loving consumers, 1080p is still the best choice around.