Comparing TV Brands

Know how to compare television name brands and value brands

Whether you're comparing popular name brands or relatively inexpensive value brands, the techniques and principles you'll use are the same. Broadly speaking, you'll want to look closely at the technical specifications, performance features, and warranty protection of each television you're considering, using its price point as your signpost. It's also a good idea to refer to consumer reviews of the various brands and models to see how happy people are with the choices they've made.

Points of Comparison Among TV Brands

Consider the price of each television on your list in tandem with these key features:

  • Screen size. Bigger is better -- and costlier.
  • Power consumption. Energy savings can add up over the years, potentially translating into hundreds of dollars over the life of your television.
  • Resolution. Again, more is better. Nowadays, 720p and 1080p are the minimum standards.
  • Contrast ratio. You want a wide contrast ratio to generate a sharper, clearer picture. The best digital TVs have contrast ratios of 150,000:1 or better.
  • Panel thickness and unit weight. These are especially important considerations if you want to mount the television on your wall.

There are many other technical specs and performance features you can consider, but these five are the primary ones and will give you a good overview of how each model stacks up against its competition.

Next, look carefully at the warranty and customer service protections you get with each of the various TVs you're considering. This is one area in which name brands typically outperform value brands; larger companies generally provide better customer service and more inclusive warranties because they have the resources to do so. Consider not only the length of the warranty, but also what is and is not covered, and whether or not live technical support is available should you encounter problems.

Online reviews are a great place to get started on your research. You should include professional reviews made by technical experts as well as anecdotal reviews submitted by actual TV owners. These resources will help shed additional light on how well each television on your list performs in the real world.