Super Helpful LCD LED TV Buying Guide
Have you ever tried to decide which TV to buy, only to become confused and overwhelmed by all the choices?
Luckily for you, we’ve put together this super-helpful guide to buying a TV. Read on to become an instant television expert...
Find the info you need here:
- What size should I get?
- Should I get LED-LCD or Plasma?
- Should I get HD or Full HD? Should I pay extra for 4K?
- Should I care about specs like Refresh Rate, Response Time, Contrast Ratio or Brightness?
- Is it important to get a Smart TV?
- Should I get a 3D TV?
- What is the difference between Active and Passive 3D TVs?
- How much should I pay?
- Check out the Kogan TV range!
What size should I get?
You will see most TV sizes measured in inches. This represents the diagonal distance from corner to corner as you can see in the diagram above. So a 32” TV will be 81cm from corner to corner.
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to TVs. When deciding on the size of the TV you want, you should consider the room where the TV will go. The last thing you want is to be sitting up close to a huge TV, straining your eyes trying to focus on the whole picture.
The general consensus is that the viewing distance needs to be 2-3 times greater than the size of the TV. So if you’re buying a 32”/81cm TV, you’ll need a large enough room to let you sit approximately 1.6m-2.4m away from it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can save space and increase the viewing distance by mounting your TV on the wall or ceiling.
Should I get LED-LCD or Plasma?
There have been many flat panel TV technologies over the years. LED-LCD and Plasma. LED has won out in the end due to its superior picture quality and remarkably economical power consumption.
At Kogan.com, we recommend LED technology. LED is superior to Plasma and LCD (CCFL) technology for the following reasons:
- LED TVs display brighter, more vibrant colours, to produce a clearer, more lifelike picture.
- LED TVs consume, on average, around half the energy that Plasma TVs do, meaning they are environmentally friendly and you pay less to use them.
- LED TVs are razor thin, allowing them to be placed almost anywhere and creating unparalleled visual appeal.
- LED TVs tend to have a longer lifespan than other screens, which often lose brightness, clarity and screen refresh rate/response time relatively quickly.
All Kogan.com TVs use LED panel technology.
Should I get HD or Full HD? Should I pay extra for 4K?
The resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the display. The higher the number of the pixels, the better the resolution and the sharper the picture.
When you see resolutions listed as “1920 x 1080 pixels” or “1366 x 768 pixels”, the first number represents how many pixels the screen has horizontally and the second number represents how many pixels there are vertically.
The most common are:
- HD: 1366 x 768
- Full HD: 1920 x 1080
- 4K: 3840 x 2160
Obviously, the higher the resolution of the TV, the more expensive it will be. The important thing to consider is what type of content you will play on your TV and what devices you will connect to it.
For instance, a DVD player is such old technology these days that it doesn’t even play content in HD - it will only be 704 x 576. This means that whether you play DVDs on an HD, Full HD or 4K TV, they will look near identical and you won’t see a difference in picture quality. If you only use your TV to watch DVD movies then there’s no point on buying anything better than a HD TV.
The same goes for Free-To-Air TV and Foxtel. These, at best, broadcast an HD picture. This means there will be no difference in picture quality, regardless of whether you watch on an HD, Full HD or 4K TV.
Conversely, Blu-Ray players can display content in Full HD. You’ll see a huge improvement in picture quality if you watch Blu-Ray movies on a Full HD TV as compared to an HD TV.
4K TVs are the latest standard and are a step up from Blu-Rays. As yet, there are few 4K players and very little 4K content - but more is coming out every single day.
When deciding on what TV to get, it’s important to consider the type of content you will be watching on your TV, both now and in the near-future. You should also take price into consideration so that you can make the best decision for your circumstances while ensuring your purchase is as ‘future-proof’ as possible.
Should I care about specs like Refresh Rate, Response Time, Contrast Ratio or Brightness?
While these specs are important, they are not important considerations when buying a TV because all TVs are pretty much the same when it comes to these measurements.
The reason for this is that are specific to the LCD panel in the TV. While there are thousands of TV brands in the world, there are only a few manufacturers of LCD panels, which are the core component inside any TV. No matter which brand of TV you buy, the panel is made by one of the major manufacturers. For instance, we use LG and Samsung LCD panels in some Kogan TVs. A Sony TV is likely to use a panel made by Samsung. A Bang & Olufsen TV is likely to use a panel made by Sharp.
As a result of this, all TVs have very similar specifications. Some brands try to confuse you by using marketing jargon, but that shouldn’t sway your decision making.
To satisfy your curiosity, here’s a quick definition of the most often-used specs:
- Refresh Rate: Television and movies create the appearance of motion by showing a series of pictures very quickly. Refresh rate refers to the number of frames displayed per second or the speed at which the TV can refresh the picture.
- Response Time: Response time is the amount of time (in milliseconds) it takes for the individual pixels on the display to change from active to inactive and back again. The lower, or faster, the response time the better.
- Contrast Ratio: This is the ratio of the luminance of the brightest colour to the luminance of the darkest colour on the display. The higher the ratio, the better. For instance, 1000:1 is better than 500:1.
- Brightness: This is the amount of light emitted by the display. Brighter TVs are usually considered better, as they can be easily seen on a sunny day or in a very light room. This is measured in cd/m².
Is it important to get a Smart TV?
Smart TVs allow you to connect to the internet, where you can access content such as YouTube and download a variety of widgets. These widgets show you extra information on the screen, such as current weather or tweets about the TV show you’re watching.
Smart TVs aren’t quite as easy to use as an iPhone yet but they’re getting better every day. Some people find them very handy and others find them annoying. It all depends on your preferences and how you use your TV.
One thing that’s for certain is that Smart TVs will soon be the norm. The technology is improving every day and it will soon be commonplace to use your TV for much more than just watching shows.
The good news is that there are now also Smart TV dongles which are simple devices like a USB stick that you can plug into any TV turn it into a Smart TV. This makes it cheaper and easier to upgrade your TV to the latest Smart TV technology.
In the end, it comes down to how much extra you will have to pay for a Smart TV and how likely you think you will be to use the internet functionality on your TV.
Should I get a 3D TV?
Some people love 3D TVs and some people hate them. It all comes down to whether or not you think you will enjoy watching 3D content at home while wearing special glasses. 3D TV technology has been around for a while now - there is still limited content but it’s growing very quickly.
It might be worth finding a friend who has a 3D TV and chat to them about how often they watch content in 3D. Also, ask them if you can watch something on their TV to see how much you like it.
The decision then comes down to how much you like 3D TV and how much you are willing to pay for it. The good news is that 3D TVs used to cost about $400 more than non-3D equivalents but at Kogan.com we’ve shattered the price points in the market by reducing this gap to under $100 in most cases.
What is the difference between Active and Passive 3D TVs?
There are two different types of 3D technology for televisions: Active Shutter and Passive Polarisation.
In order to see 3D “depth” on a TV screen, each eye must be given a slightly different image. These two technologies achieve this in two different ways.
Uses battery-operated shutter glasses that rapidly open and close the lenses, alternating so that the left lense is closed while the right is open and vice versa.
- Each eye gets the full 1080p resolution of the source content, making the picture quality better
- The image may appear dimmer on a plasma TV or front projector
- Glasses are heavier
- Glasses require batteries and charging
- Glasses are much more expensive
- Uses polarised glasses, the same as the ones you would get at the cinema. The TV has a special filter that polarises each line of pixels so that only the left or right eye can see it. These lines alternate for left and right eye visibility across the image.
- Brighter image
- Glasses are lighter
- Glasses are cheaper to buy - so cheap they’re almost disposable
- Each eye only sees half (1920 x 540) the pixels, so the image won’t appear as sharp
- If you sit too close to the screen, you may see black lines on the image
How much should I pay?
TVs aren’t the greatest financial investment because new technology is being developed all the time and they are always getting better and cheaper.
Some people enter the purchase decision with the goal of not splurging on their TV - aiming instead to find the option that presents the best value for money at that point in time. This is a smart way to go, because as the technology keeps getting better and TVs keep getting cheaper it will make sense to update your TV more regularly.
We believe that we have the best TV prices and deals in the world at Kogan.com - but don’t take our word for it! Our advice to customers is always to shop around, do some Googling and remember that we’re always here if you have any questions.