LCD Televisions Buying Guide
There are two kinds of flat-screen television: LCD and plasma. Although superficially they seem similar, they work very differently and have different advantages and disadvantages. If you think a slim, flat-screened, HD screen is in your near future, read on for some important buying advice about LCD televisions.
Advantages of LCD TVs
- Higher native resolution than plasma TVs. This means better support for HDTV.
- No risk of burn-in. Although plasma TV manufacturers have reduced the likelihood of burn-in, it can still happen. The technology of LCD TVs make burn-in impossible.
- Small flat screens. If you want a smaller screen to use in the kitchen, an LCD TV is your best bet. Plasma TVs are 32" and up.
- Double as computer monitor. Small LCD TVs can also hook up to your computer for saving space and money.
- Speakers included. Unlike many plasma TVs, lots of LCD TVs come with incorporated speakers for easy plug-n-play setup.
Disadvantages of LCD TVs
- Price, price, price. LCDs are more expensive than plasmas and rear projection televisions for the screens of the same size. Prices have already come down somewhat and are still falling, but at present you get more screen for the money with a plasma or rear projection.
- Dark colours aren't as dark. While some of the highest quality LCD screens display black well, many have a hard time getting as dark as they should. For movie watching, plasma may be a better bet.
- Viewing angle issues. When watching an LCD television, people seated far to the left or right might not see the image properly. These problems are corrected in the newest LCD screens, which have a wider viewing angle, but it is not yet equal to plasmas.
- Most people assume that LCD means high definition and widescreen, but that isn't always the case. There are a number of smaller LCD TVs available in 4:3 aspect ratio ("normal" television) and in standard definition.
- Today's LCD models go for anywhere from £300 for a 13" 4:3 standard definition model to a few thousand quid for large, HD-ready ones. There are now LCD televisions ranging up to 65" and soon an 82" will hit the market.
- These models are best in small sizes for the kitchen, bedroom or small TV room. If you want a really big screen, you should look into a plasma TV . Both can be wall-mounted.
How To Buy
- For larger TVs, go for an HD (High Definition) model; make sure that you can get HDTV signals, as they typically perform better when compatible. You may need to purchase an additional HD tuner .
- Smaller models are especially great as secondary televisions in the kitchen or bedroom.
- Only go as large as your space can handle. The table below should help you decide.
- For larger sizes, you may be better off with a plasma television, as they are cheaper for larger sizes.
- If a television is widescreen format (16:9), you can sit closer than with a standard aspect television of the same diagonal length. Most LCD televisions above 26" or so are widescreen.
Distance from Television
|15-21" (4:3) or 17-26" (16:9)||6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m)|
|28-36" (16:9)||8-10 feet (2.4-3.0 m)|
|36-42 (16:9)||10-12 feet (3.0-3.7 m)|
|42-50 (16:9)||12-14 feet (3.7-4.3 m)|
|50" and up (16:9)||14 feet (4.3 m) and up.|
- Consider where you are going to put the TV. For living rooms you will probably want a table stand or wall mount, and for the bedroom you may prefer a tilting wall mount or a ceiling mount.
- Keep in mind that viewing angles may be a factor. Although the newest and highest quality LCD TVs have greatly reduced this problem, no LCD screen is viewable through 180 degrees (though some come close).