So you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve remortgaged your home, persuaded yourself you need one, and convinced your wife/husband/girlfriend/flatmate that you can’t live another second without the Hi-Def beauty found in the latest range of LED TVs. To help you navigate through the complicated world of contrast ratios and refresh rates, we’ve put together this quick guide to help you choose the LED TV which is right for you.
Unless you’ve been living on the moon for the past few months, chances are you’ve seen Samsung’s marketing campaign proclaiming brighter colours and deeper blacks. They want you to be concerned with the three Cs – contrast, colour and clarity. Whilst these are important when choosing a TV – no doubt the Samsung LED TVs have them all – we reckon you should be more interested in the three Ps – price, presentation and personality.
Unless you’re an early adopter (nothing to do with Madonna), it’s probably neither wise nor possible to pay through the nose for a brand new TV. You’ve got food to buy and possibly children to support. In the time of a recession, splashing out on lavish luxuries is akin to sending out an open invitation to all your local bailiffs. However from what we’ve seen, since early 2009 prices have been steadily falling.
At the time of writing, you can pick up a 32” LED TV for just £720 – so it needn’t cost the earth if you know where and when to buy. Prices are likely to fall further in the run-up to Christmas, so it may be worth controlling your urges for a little while. Money can be saved on costly delivery (up to £45 at some stores) by choosing a retailer that allows you to buy or reserve online and pick-up in your local store. And don’t be fooled by bundle offers, which tempt you in with the promise of a free Blu-Ray player or HDMI cable – in many cases the prices of these TVs are ramped up above the norm, so it’d work out cheaper to go elsewhere and buy the items cheaper from separate retailers.
Tell most of the population that your TV has a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, and they’ll look at you with a blank face. Is that good, bad, or simply indifferent? Whilst you can get wound up in all the figures and statistics, the only way to really experience the picture quality is to see one for real. Before buying blindly online, it’d probably be worth popping into your local audio-visual store to have a demonstration. After all, you’re going to have to live with this investment for at least a good couple of years (unless you’re the proud owner of a money tree). Take the time to do your research, so you can be confident you’re getting the most for your money.
Not only is on-screen presentation important, but also the design of the TV itself, if you’re aesthetically minded. Unless you’re sitting at home all day watching Jeremy Kyle, a lot of the time the TV will be turned off, so it needs to look good turned off as well as when it’s on. Larger TVs can become a main focal point in the room you put it in, so it’s worth paying a little more for a stylish TV to match your impeccable interior design. And try not to put on the blinkers and aim for the largest TV money can buy – there’s no point having a 55” LED TV if you live in a caravan, and the only place you can attach it is to the outside. A quick search on Google will bring up a table which shows the optimum TV size for your chosen room. If you think these extra features will benefit and enrich your life, go for it and choose one of the higher end models.
The personality of your TV needs to match your own personality. If you’re a bit of a geek who gets excited by huge contrast ratios and ridiculously fast refresh rates, it’s worth shelling out for a top-end LED TV to show off to your (limited number of) friends. Alternatively if you’re an MP, we recommend you get an LED TV from the lower end of the spectrum, to help stem some of your constituency’s hatred when it appears on your expenses bill at the end of the year.
Good luck with your buying choice, we’re sure that you’ll make the right decision for you, and that it’ll be a worthwhile investment. Now all you need to do is wait for the TV channels to produce something decent to watch on it.