Choosing the right TV depends on a number of factors, however the size of your room is arguably the biggest factor. If you get a TV that is too small, you won't enjoy the HD quality on offer, whereas if you have a giant TV in a small room, you may be too close to the TV and be distracted by seeing individual pixels.
Small TVs (up to 94cm)
While many of us lust after a 150cm 3D monster, a small TV is often all we need for the spare bedroom, study, or in a small apartment. This size is ideal for areas where you’re no more than a couple of metres away from the screen.
Important things to consider include viewing angle and sound quality. If the TV is in a room where you’ll be moving around a lot, such as a kitchen, viewing angle is particularly important.
Smaller TVs are less likely to be hooked up to a sound system, so the sound in a small TV is important. Most smaller models are not particularly thin, leaving room for a set of speakers that would never fit into the latest large-screen, super-skinny models.
Screen sizes of about 94cm are ideal for a studio apartment or casual viewers who don’t want the TV to dominate the room. Features such as LED backlighting are sometimes available at this size, but are not yet common.
Medium TVs (102cm-107cm)
More than 2,000,000 TVs were sold in Australia last year, and one out of every three was in the 102-107cm screen range. These are often collectively referred to as 42-inch TVs, and this screen size is large enough to enjoy HD TV and movies without dominating an average-sized room. Manufacturers often see this size as the entry point for introducing features such as LED backlighting, home networking and IPTV as well as USB and removable card support so you can enjoy movies and photos taken on your camcorder or digital camera. Plasma TVs also start to appear at this size, although LCD is by far the most common type available.
To add other devices such as a game console or DVD player, make sure the TV has multiple connections so you aren’t constantly plugging in and unplugging devices.
Large TVs (117cm and over)
If you want to get serious about creating a home cinema experience, this is the size for you. But bear in mind, choosing a larger TV will change the look and feel of your room. Included in the large TV category are the relatively new 117cm and 119cm screens – ideal if you want a large TV but can’t justify losing your lounge room to a 50 inch-plus monster panel.
All the latest technologies such as LED backlighting, 3D Blu-ray support and networking features such as wireless are common for this size.
Large TVs are ideal for a room where you sit at least three metres away from the screen, so they’re good for a fairly substantial living space. While all the TVs tested can be wall mounted, some larger-screen models may be unsuitable for this as they can weigh more than 30kg. Our two-part video explains how to set up a home cinema system.
See all our TV reviews.