LCD TV buying guide

Expert advice on buying an LCD TV


What differentiates one LCD TV from another?:

All LCD televisions have similarities, but there are additional features, specifications and tweaks that set them apart from each other. The general rule of thumb is the more expensive the LCD television, the more advanced features and specifications it should possess. Let’s look at some of these features

An LCD television’s contrast ratio refers to its ability to show opposing shades of black and white. A television with a higher contrast ratio will be able to show more detail in dark black and bright white areas. Newer televisions feature dynamic contrast ratio technology, using components within the panel to analyse the image and dynamically change the backlight brightness to deliver deeper black and brighter white images. While this technology struggled to change brightness quickly in older televisions, the dynamic contrast mode on newer models is often unobtrusive and well implemented.

A technology becoming more and more pervasive in the LCD television market is the frame-doubling 100Hz mode; it is now a common feature on mid- and high-end LCD televisions. This feature ‘smooths’ the transition between individual frames of video, creating a more fluid and visually pleasing image. A 100Hz mode is advantageous when watching fast motion video such as sports or action movies. The next iteration of this technology is a 200Hz mode which again doubles frame rates and offers even smoother video; this is not a common feature on LCD TVs at present.

While most LCD televisions use fluorescent CCFL backlighting, a new technology is emerging that uses a sheet of individual LED lights to light up the display panel. This allows for more consistent lighting of the screen and the LED lights have the ability to be individually switched off, creating a much better contrast ratio and deeper colours — an evolution of dynamic contrast technology. Unfortunately this technology is still new and panels with LED backlighting are comparatively rare and expensive.

There are other features that some television manufacturers offer, but these rarely impact upon picture quality. Wireless networking connectivity and media streaming are becoming more prevalent in the market, but it is up to you to decide whether you will use these features enough to justify the increased TV price.

New functionality such as ‘3D’ video rendering — creating a 3D image on the television’s screen — and wireless Full HD video — to allow video to be transferred without cables from player to television — are slowly being introduced onto the market but it is unlikely that these technologies will become mainstream features any time soon.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?