Choosing the Right TV

Tips to keep in mind when shopping for a TV

When it comes to televisions, consumers have more choices now than ever before. Choosing the right TV is about much more than choosing a model within your budget range; shopping for a TV requires careful research to ensure you're getting full value for your money. You should consider a wide range of factors, including picture quality, screen size, system compatibility, power consumption rates, and the reputation of the manufacturer.

Comparing TVs: A How-To Guide

Today, two types of televisions dominate the market: plasma TVs, and LCD TVs. Plasma TVs use an earlier form of high-definition display technology and tend to be more affordable than their LCD counterparts. However, LCD TVs, especially those with LED-backlit displays, offer superior picture quality.

The first thing you'll want to do when shopping for a TV is establish a budget range. Once you've set an upper price limit, you can then compare the features of the various models you're considering. Look closely at:

  • Picture quality. Factors including resolution, contrast ratio, refresh rates, and horizontal and vertical viewing angles all affect picture quality. Compare these numbers side-by-side, along with the price of each model, to determine which TV gives you the best picture quality for your money.
  • Screen size. Picture quality is especially important to consider alongside screen size. Bigger screens are generally better (and costlier), but there's no sense in getting a TV with a large screen if it offers poor resolution.
  • Compatibility. Do you want to hook your television up with a gaming console or other supplemental entertainment system? Make sure it's compatible before you buy.
  • Power consumption. If you spend a lot of time watching TV, you'll save significantly if you purchase a model with power-saving features.
  • Manufacturer reputation and warranties. Consider the manufacturer's reputation, and also look carefully at the terms and conditions of the warranty. It's best to choose a TV made by a trustworthy manufacturer with a strong track record of customer satisfaction; they tend to provide better warranties, and they also tend to be more accessible if you need to make a claim under your warranty coverage.

Depending on where and how you want to mount the TV, you may also want to consider factors including unit weight and thickness. However, remember that thin and lightweight TVs come at a pricing premium, and that you'll add significantly to your costs if you insist on getting the lightest, thinnest model available.

Got questions about audio, video or Internet cables? Wondering whether high-end cables are worth buying? Learn all about cable types, features and prices here:

Plasma, LCD or LED -- which type of screen will give you the best picture and features for your money? Find out here: