Buying a TV can be a confusing process, with buzzwords such as HD3D, IPTV (internet TV) and LED all fighting for your attention.
Here, we explain the latest terms and technology, and give you the information you need to decide not just which TV will give you the best picture and sound, but also which is best for your home.
After a few false starts, 3D TV is starting to deliver on its potential, with movies such as Avatar and the latest Pixar offerings such as Toy Story 3 showing how good 3D can get. We comment on the quality of the 3D experience in tests, but it is not part of the overall score as people are still watching most TV and movies in 2D. However, some of the best-performing models in the past couple of tests have been 3D-capable, so they’re just as good at showing regular 2D TV as a 3D Blu-ray disc.
Don’t be fooled into thinking bigger is always better when choosing a TV. The important things to consider are the distance you’re sitting from the TV when watching it, and the resolution capabilities of the TV.
Measure the screen’s diagonal size (for example, a 42-inch or 106cm TV has a diagonal measurement of 106cm). Multiply this number by about three and you have a good distance from seat to screen.
You can sit closer when watching a high resolution screen, but remember that a TV has to suit your home and lifestyle, so make sure it doesn’t dominate the room.
Making a sound choice
While picture quality has improved over the past couple of years, the latest craze for thin-panel TVs is affecting sound quality. They might look great, but the trade-off is usually poorer sound.
This will probably not be an issue for people with home theatre sound systems. However, if you want to just turn on the TV to catch the news in the morning, you’ll quickly come to hate the horrible tinny speakers wedged into your super-thin screen. If you don’t have additional speakers for your TV, check our tables to find a model with good sound.