If you are considering buying a new television in 2012 then you could not have picked a better time.
With The Queen’s Jubilee, the London Olympics 2012 and football’s Euro 2012, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade your screen to a bigger and better one.
Whether you’re interested in finally making the leap to 3D or keen to find out more about what Smart TV can offer to your viewing life, there’s a television for every taste and every price. We have featured some of the newest and best at the end of this piece.
So what should you be looking for and how do you choose which television to buy?
Screen Type and Size
The first thing to consider is where you’ll be watching and therefore what size you need. In a lounge or living room, you’ll want to start at 32 or 37 inches while for a bedroom you may be able to still get away with a cheaper 21 or 23 inch set.
LED will generally provide you with the clearest images and the slimmest panels but many Plasma screens are still best for fast-moving action such as sports due to the higher frame rate they can manage. This allows the picture to respond and update faster.
One key new feature to look for is a Backlit TV. This ensures a brighter image on the television, even in the darkest of lighting environments.
And while this used to not be very environmentally-friendly, new technology has been developed so it consumes less power.
Smart TV is one of 2012′s biggest growth areas. It’s the term used to describe a television that can be hooked up to the internet either through a wired connection or through in-built Wi-Fi or using a wireless dongle that can be plugged into the back or side.
This connects to your internet router giving your TV the ability to stream or download content from a range of providers. These include movies from the likes of LoveFilm and Netflix or catch-up TV on BBC iPlayer and ITV Player. You can also surf social networks such as Facebook and Twitter from the comfort of your sofa and check out the latest news, weather and gossip updates on screen.
However, while more models for 2012 have wireless technology built-in, it is important to remember if buying a Smart TV that the wireless adaptor must be of the same make as the TV, if you need to purchase it separately.
Not all manufacturers will offer the same amount of Smart apps on their TVs, so it is worth investigating which are available now and what ones may be coming in the future. Not all have a web browser either, and if they do it may be very basic. Panasonic and Samsung lead the way in Smart TVs.
Samsung’s latest models even include voice or motion control, allowing you to carry out many functions by telling the TV what to do or waving your hand, rather than pressing a button on the remote.
Frame Rates and Freeview
As with buying any TV, a key factor to check is the Hertz, represented as HZ. This is the frame rate talked about above and the higher the number, the more capable it is of achieving the best quality for fast-moving images.
It is a given now that all TVs are HD but not all are at the 1080p Full HD standard – which you need if you want to enjoy Blu-ray films to their fullest quality. This 1080p technology gives the crispest and most beautiful high-definition pictures, with 1080i and 720p lower standards.
You should also check whether the TV has Freeview HD inside rather than basic Freeview while other televisions will support Freesat HD, giving high definition free channels using an old satellite dish.
With all the extra boxes we place under and around our televisions, it is crucial to remember something as simple as HD connections. The more your new TV has, the more that can be plugged in from a Sky+ HD or Freeview+HD box or Virgin Media TiVo device plus games consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Turn on to 3D?
And then there’s 3D. Always check how many pairs of 3D glasses come with the television you are buying. They can be costly to add so you may need to take this into consideration if you have a big family who will be viewing.
Passive is the cheaper 3D technology with the TV doing all the hard work while Active puts the tech inside the glasses making them larger and more expensive.
One final important issue to know is the Viewing Angle. With more and more people putting their flat screen TVs on the wall, being able to watch it from the widest angle and from the ends of the sofa is crucial.
The bigger the viewing angle, the wider the space around it you can sit in to see what’s on.
The daddy of all televisions, this has a massive price-tag but every single feature you could wish for. Smart apps, Full 1080p HD, Freeview HD and two pairs of 3D glasses are all included within one of the slimmest TV sets you’ll ever find.
It may only have 720p HD but this Plasma has a very fast Hertz rate for sports and gaming plus 3D and Freeview HD. It’s an extremely good package at a decent price.
At less than £300, this might be LCD rather than LED but you still get a lot for the money. It is full 1080p and has Freeview built-in as well as a USB port for showing content from a memory drive or camera.
Freeview HD, 1080p Full HD, 3D and four pairs of Passive glasses, Built-in Wi-Fi with apps including iPlayer and a basic web browser and FOUR HDMI connections plus LED technology. What’s not to like about this!
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