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  • Author John Steward
  • Published May 31, 2013

How to pick the right TV

Choosing the right television can be a daunting task. But it needn’t be: follow these tips and you can’t go wrong


Whether you want a set for the bedroom or a full-blown, multiplex-rivalling screen for your home cinema, choosing the right television can be a daunting task. But it needn’t be: follow these tips and you can’t go wrong.


The closer you sit to a TV showing high-definition pictures, the better it will look. Conversely, if you can’t move your furniture around, a bigger TV will have the same effect. Here’s a rough guide to the size you’ll need for any given viewing distance:


1.3m to the TV: 32in
1.6m to the TV: 40-42in
1.8m to the TV: 46-47in
2.1m to the TV: 50in and over


Yes, a 50in set might seem extravagant if you’re only sitting a few feet away – buy it’s surprising how quickly you’ll get used to the size!


LCD, LED or plasma?
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is the most common technology used in TVs, especially at sizes under 40in. A backlight shines through the coloured pixels to send the image into the room – this can either be conventional fluorescent tubes that illuminate the whole screen or, in the case of LED televisions, light-emitting diodes that allow different parts of the screen to be brighter than others. This greatly increases the sense of contrast on offer.


LCD and LED sets tend to be slimmer and lighter than their plasma counterparts but still don’t quite match plasma TVs for black depth.


Plasma TVs don’t need a backlight – each pixel emits its own light instead. In the past, they have had the edge over LCD TVs when it comes to contrast, since when a pixel is turned off, it’s completely dark. Plasma televisions tend to be available only at larger sizes, though, and are heavier than LCD sets – something to consider if you plan to mount your TV on the wall.


3D: passive or active?
Passive TVs use lighter, non-powered glasses with polarized fiters in each lens to split the picture. On regular Full HD TVs this method can only send 1080i images to each eye rather than the full 1080p, but the advantage is cheaper glasses and potentially less eye strain. With Ultra HD TVs and their jaw-dropping resolution, though, you get a complete 1080p signal to each eye…


Active-shutter TVs use two different 1080p images for each eye, each having a slightly different perspective and alternating hundreds of times per second. You wear battery-powered glasses that synchronise with this alternating picture, and your brain puts the two images together to form a 3D picture – exactly like it does with your eyes when you’re looking at things in the real world. The advantage of this system is that you get a Full HD picture for each eye.


Online services are an essential part of any self-respecting TV’s DNA these days. If you like to catch up on TV programmes without having to set a device to record them, having access to services such as BBC iPlayer is invaluable. It makes watching movies a breeze too, thanks to services such as LoveFilm and Netflix, and you can even keep up with the latest goings-on in your social network with apps such as Facebook and Twitter.


Many TVs even have wireless tech built-in, so you won’t have to run cables all over your house if your internet router is in a different room.


John Steward is assistant production editor on What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine


Now you know what it all means, try out LG’s Buyer’s Guide and find which model suits you. Click here

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