TV Buying Guide


I get a lot of questions from people who are looking to purchase a new TV. Buying a TV can be a very confusing and frustrating process. Hopefully I can make it a little bit simpler for you.

A lot of your decision-making process will be determined by 2 primary items.

  • Size

  • Budget

You should consider these two items before you even begin. They may both may be flexible but you should have a starting point. Once you decide these, you can move on to the more complicated stuff.

Now it’s time to get started looking at the rest of the specifications of the TV.

  • Display Type – There are 3 types of TV’s. LED, LCD, and Plasma. Each have pros and cons. See below for pros and cons of each
  • Screen Size – The size of the screen is measured diagonally (the bigger doesn’t always mean the better)
  • Native Resolution – This is the screen resolution the TV is capable of displaying the picture as. You will see numbers like 1920 x 1080. Your goal would be to have this number as large as you can find. Anything 1920 x 1080 and above is great.
  • HD Resolution – There are several numbers you may see but the two you will look for would be 720p or 1080p. For displays 32″ or smaller a 720p can be fine. Anything larger than 32″ you would not want to go with anything less than 1080p. If you can, always go with the 1080p.
  • ED Resolution – This is a resolution setting found on Plasma TV’s. Make sure that if there is an ED Resolution indicated that it matches the HD Resolution. A high ED and low HD may mean a lower priced TV but also a lower quality picture. They both should be 1080p.
  • Dynamic Contrast Ratio or Contrast Ratio – Defined as the ratio of the luminance of the brightest color (white) to that of the darkest color (black) that the system is capable of producing. What does this mean for you the buyer? Basically get the highest ratio you can find. 1,000,000:1 or higher is what you should be looking for.
  • MPRT or Refresh Rate – This is one of the more important specs. The higher the Hz the better. A good LCD should be 120Hz or higher (240Hz is desired). A good Plasma will be 600Hz. A good LED display will be 120Hz but 240Hz is better.

A good place to look for product reviews is www.CNET.com. Go to this site and either enter the model number of the TV you are interested into the search or go to the Reviews tab and look at the different televisions the site has already reviewed.

Also check out CNET’s TV Buying Guide for more help. Click Here

Everyone has their own opinion so do your own research and see the product before you buy. Verify the stores return policy before you purchase just in case.

Display Type Pros and Cons

Plasma

Pros Cons
Best true black levels Slight potential for burn-in
Great home theater image quality Reflective screen can cause glare
Wide viewing angle Lower native resolutions
Fastest refresh rate Can be quite heavy

LCD

 

Pros Cons
Higher resolution than comparable-sized Plasmas Relatively expensive for 60″ or larger
No danger of burn-in True black not as good as Plasma
Available in wider range of sizes Relatively narrow viewing angle
Relatively inexpensive Lower quality action & sports if refresh rates are lower

LED

Pros Cons
Plasma-like true black quality Most expensive right now
Very energy-efficient Limited sizes available above 40″
Has most of LCD pros as well Relatively narrower viewing angle
Much thinner Some have indicated sports and action are lower than Plasma
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