Buying guide: TVs

We show you the differences between LCD, plasma and LED televisions

Shopping Checklist: TVs

TV type: Think about how you intend to use your new TV as this will determine what type of TV you need. Decide what is most important to you, and in order of importance, from picture quality and panel size, to overall design or energy efficiency. Ask in-store to compare several models of different TV types to narrow down your selection.

Screen size: You should look for a TV that will fit in the space where you want to put it. If you get one that is too small you will find it may strain your eyes to watch the screen from a distance. Conversely a large screen in a small space may also cause viewing issues.

High-definition TV tuner: For the best digital TV available, you will need a high-definition tuner. Almost all televisions will have a high-definition tuner, but be sure to double check.

Resolution: Make sure you ask what the television's native resolution is. This is the number of dots on the screen. Full HD 1080p is the highest and best resolution available at the moment, but some screens have lower resolutions such as 768p or 720p.

1080p for Blu-ray: If you want to watch Blu-ray movies at their intended resolution you will need to make sure the TV can display at 1080p.

Cables: Ask what cables come with the television. If you don't have the right cables in the box you will have to buy more to connect all your devices. Find out what extra cables you will need and how much they will cost.

Composite ports: The Composite connector has been around since the VHS and is often still present on devices such as DVD players, video cameras and some older games consoles. It has red and white audio plugs and a yellow video plug.

Component ports: Many standard- and high-definition devices like gaming consoles use Component video, so you should check to see the TV has enough for all your devices.

HDMI ports: If you need HDMI ports for your devices or if you think you will need them in the future, you should check to see how many HDMI ports the TV has. HDMI is the most common connection on new home entertainment devices such as Blu-ray players, and is the only connection that offers Full HD 1080p resolution.

Wall mount: Most TVs come with the option to mount them on the wall, but the brackets are sold separately. If you want to mount your panel, make sure you purchase a wall mount bracket of the correct size and rating for the weight of the TV.

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