Buying guide: TVs

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

What is CRT? CRT stands for Cathode Ray Tube. It was the technology commonly used in televisions until flat panel TVs became popular. Televisions based on CRT have a limited number of horizontal lines and hence cannot do High Definition. The way the technology works is that a small device at the back of the television shoots a beam of electrons (microscopic particles) at the glass at the front of the TV. This glass is coated in a material that lights up when the beam touches while another layer on top of that creates colour. The beam is moved backward and forward extremely fast using magnets, creating pictures on the screen.

What is a flat panel? Flat panel refers to any thin television technology. Flat panels are generally thin enough to be mounted unobtrusively on a wall. The two types of flat panel televisions are LCD and plasma.

What is LED? LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and is a type of technology that appears in high-end LCD televisions. It creates much better contrast, blacks and colours than older technologies. At the moment there are only a handful of units on the market employing this technology and they are not cheap, but the results are worth it. Given time we should see more and more become available.

Does lighting in the room affect the type of TV I should buy? You should only be concerned if you have a room that has a lot of windows or ambient light that cannot be blocked. Regular or fluorescent lighting won't affect how most televisions look, and generally it can be turned off. Since plasma televisions generally have a glossy finish on the screen, light can be reflected, making the image hard to see. An LCD television would be your best choice in this situation.

What is the difference between Digital TV (DTV) and regular (analogue) TV? Analogue television is lower in quality than digital TV. Digital TV is ghost-free in widescreen and offers features that analogue does not. Analogue television signals can be degraded severely by the simplest of things. Did you know that if you have a lot of trees in your area they can cause ghosting in your analogue TV picture quality? Digital TV doesn't have this problem. If you are in an area that supports digital TV, it will always be high quality.

What is the difference between Digital TV and HDTV? HDTV is a type of digital television. Even though many people tend to call it simply digital TV, the other type is actually called Standard Definition TV (SDTV). The difference between SDTV and HDTV is all about resolution. The resolution a show was created in will determine how good it will look when broadcast. If a TV program is shot in Standard Definition and then played on a High Definition channel, the TV network converts it to HD. However, since it was shot in SD, this rarely looks as good as something shot in HD. If it was originally created in HD, it will look stunning when viewed. Many of the morning variety programs across the networks are created in HD at a resolution of 1080i, the highest quality that most flat panel TVs support. Unfortunately, at this time not all programs are supported in HD and very few of them are actually made with HD in mind.

What do I need to get to be able to watch HDTV? To watch HDTV broadcasts you will need a set-top box or integrated HD tuner that supports HDTV signals.

Will my current TV still work when digital and HDTV take over? This will depend on how old your TV is. If it has "video in" ports then you will not have to upgrade once digital TV takes over. Most set-top boxes can be hooked up to any Composite video connector (yellow cable).

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?