The market is flooded with TVs, LEDs and LCDs and now Smart TVs of varying sizes and shapes too. Instead of making your job easy, it makes it more confusing. Consumer VOICE’s TV Buying Guide will help you decide on the TV that suits your requirements
On the basis of Display
To choose the best TV, one should first know the difference between LED TV and LCD TV.
LCD: Liquid crystal displays are pretty common to find, and may be the cheaper option. They are energy-efficient and usually have good colour.
LED: TVs branded as LED are actually LCD TVs that use LEDs as a backlight for the liquid crystals in the display. If a TV has ‘local dimming’, it will have an advantage when it comes to contrast ratio, which is a plus. On top of that, LED TVs are less power-hungry than standard LCDs and plasma. Check out comparative study done by our team of experts to know the Best 32 inch LED TV and Value for Money brand.
OLED: Organic Light-emitting Diode (OLED) TVs actually are different from LCD TVs. OLED TVs use coloured LED lights to create the image, so they save on power, though not always as much as LED TVs. They do manage to create a high-quality image, and a bright one at that, so they may be best for those planning on watching TV a lot during brighter hours, when glare could otherwise be a problem. They also have high contrast ratios, as black pixels will actually be emitting no light, which creates great cinematic visuals. OLED screens are costly to make, so you’ll have to pay more. They also suffer from some of the viewing-angle problems.
On the basis of Resolution
HD-ready, full HD, or 4K? The higher the resolution, the better the image quality. HD-ready offers 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution, full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and 4K 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. We recommend that if you have the budget, get a 4K TV. If not, then go for a full HD screen. HD-ready TVs are cheaper and while they are good enough for watching SD (standard definition) content, you can notice the marked differences in sharpness and clarity compared to a full HD TV.
On the basis of Size
The common LED TV panel sizes available today are 32, 40, 42, 46/49 and 55 inch. To determine the ideal screen size for best viewing experience, measure the distance between where the TV will be placed and your bed/couch/chair. Perhaps the most important choice you are going to make with a new TV is the size of the screen. You could consider an even bigger set for spacious family rooms, or if you will be sitting very far from the TV. Consider how many people in your family typically watch at once and where you are going to put your new set. Then pick the largest screen size that will fit comfortably into that space—and your budget.
On the basis of Viewing Angle
Despite many improvements, most LCDs still have the shortcoming of limited viewing angles. (OLED TVs have virtually unlimited viewing angles, just like plasma TVs did.) This means the picture looks its best only from a fairly narrow sweet spot right in front of the screen. Check the viewing angle by watching a TV from off to the side, and also from above and below the main part of the image. As you move away from the centre of the screen, the image can dim, lose contrast and colour accuracy, or look blurred. The degree of picture degradation varies from model to model.
On the basis of Smartness (Smart TV)
Smart TVs have been around for a while now and you can easily get one for less than Rs 50,000. Smart TV comes preloaded with an operating system (OS) – Android, Google TV, Tizen, etc. – that functions similar to a smartphone OS. You can connect to the internet to view content, install additional apps and even games. Smart TV delivers a much better overall user experience. However, keep in mind that smart TV is expensive compared to the normal TV. You can get a 42-inch normal TV at the price of a 32-inch smart TV.
Other Features to consider:
Check the number of HDMI Ports
Most people tend to forget checking the number of devices that can be connected to their television. The majority of the devices today use an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port for connecting to the TV for best quality video and audio output. However, they can also be connected via a composite/component port, if required. If you plan to primarily connect high-definition sources, look for a TV with at least four HDMI ports – this will be helpful as you won’t have to change wires when switching devices or go for a TV that offers you maximum number of connectivity ports including USB, HDMI, audio/video and VGA. Generally, TVs come with two HDMI and two USB ports along with a few other ports. For a TV supporting USB drives, ensure that it can play videos from hard-disk drives or pen drives. Nowadays, TVs can also be connected to CCTVs for remote monitoring of overall security.
Check if the TV has optical or SPDIF/coaxial audio out port
Most slim TVs come with dual 10 watt (RMS) speakers that tend to blare on volumes above 70 per cent. If you want a quality audio experience, we recommend you invest in a home theatre or a separate speaker system. Check if the TV has optical or SPDIF/coaxial audio out port – it’s ideal for multi-channel audio output. If the TV with these ports is not in your budget, then you can use the more commonly available 3.5 mm (headphone) audio jack that most TVs come with.
Check if the TV has built-in wi-fi or supports external wi-fi USB dongles
Internet connectivity on a TV has multiple benefits. You can access on-demand multimedia content, keep a tab on your social network, and in some cases even make video calls. If your TV has built-in- wi-fi or supports external wi-fi USB dongles, you will be able to connect your home wi-fi network and stream audio/video content on your TV. Most smart TVs come with DLNA or Miracast support, which allows you to wirelessly stream content from your smartphone/tablet directly to the TV.
Installation/Placement – Wall-mounted or on a Stand
Before purchasing a TV, decide where you want it to be placed – on a stand or mounted on a wall. Most manufacturers today ship TV sets with a stand in the box, while the wall- mount brackets have to be purchased separately. Keep in mind that if you decide to mount the TV on a wall, you will need to find a way to hide the dangling cables. It is recommended that you keep the TV in a location where the other devices – set-top box, game consoles, DVD players – can easily be connected. The LED TV buying guide is a very helpful one which will help you choose the best TV for you!
A word of caution
These days you can find dealers in the retail market stocking assembled TVs. These are without any brand name but are a replica of branded TVs with all of their features, physical looks and smart features. Most assembled TVs are made to look like the popular brands in the market. Be careful about being lured by the cost – these replicas are about 50 per cent cheaper as compared to the branded TVs but come with no/limited warranty and have a limited life span too.
Your TV Has Quite a Short Life
With introduction of LED and LCD TVs, it has been found out from consumers themselves that TVs – especially the display panel – go unserviceable in a much shorter period as compared to earlier CRT-based TVs. A new genuine display panel costs anywhere between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 depending upon the panel size. If possible, avoid going for expensive TV models as these may not last very long. On the other hand, you may opt to take an extended warranty or go for an annual maintenance contract (AMC) if going for an expensive TV.
Be TV Smart
Some tips and best practices:
- Turn the TV off when no one is watching it.
- Buy a model with higher star rating (5 stars).
- LED and LCD TVs are generally more energy-efficient than plasmas.
- Larger screens consume more electricity than smaller screens.
- The brighter the screen, the more energy the TV uses.
- Do not leave TVs in standby mode for a long time.
- Position your TV so that it is not in direct sunlight – this way, you won’t need to have the brightness turned all the way up.
- Do not clean the screen panel with wet cloth or when it is ‘on’.