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TV BUYING GUIDE

buying guide

TOP TV TIPS

TVs come in a huge range of shapes and sizes with different features affecting picture quality, viewing angles and much more. We offer TVs with screen sizes ranging from a compact 16" to a huge 86", but which TV should you buy? Here is our comprehensive guide to help you choose the perfect TV.

SCREEN SIZE

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Check the dimensions before buying to make sure the TV will fit in your space.

The screen size on a TV is measured in inches diagonally from corner to corner. TVs are now slimmer than ever before thanks to narrow bezels around the screen, meaning the screen fills most of the front of the TV. Consider going for a bigger screen if you are upgrading, as an old 42" TV could take up just as much room as a new 50" TV. As screen sizes grow, so does the distance you should sit from the screen to get the best viewing experience. The viewing distance should ideally be 1.5 times the size of your screen, which means if you’ve got a 55" TV, you should ideally sit just over 2 metres away.

PICTURE QUALITY

Picture quality is a hugely influential factor to consider when buying a new TV, so it is important to understand the terminology to find a TV to suit your requirements. The general rule is the more pixels packed into the screen, the better the picture quality will be.

4K Ultra HD
Full HD
HD Ready

4K Ultra HD

4K Ultra HD

4K UHD has a resolution of 3840 × 2160p and four times the pixels of Full HD, producing a much sharper and clearer picture and giving a more realistic viewing experience. So what can I watch in 4K... I hear you ask. Well, 4K content has become a lot more readily available thanks to the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube, which offer a selection of TV shows and movies in this super-sharp resolution at a little extra cost compared to standard HD. If streaming isn’t your thing, then you can also enjoy an ever growing range of 4K Blu-ray titles and content from Sky, BT and Virgin Media in Ultra HD. Most 4K TVs also upscale Full HD content to near 4K resolution, so you can view your favourite content in amazing quality.

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4K Ultra HD content is best viewed on larger screens so look for a screen size of at least 49".

Full HD

Full HD has a resolution of 1920 x 1080p which provides more detail and clarity than standard definition but less so than 4K Ultra HD. However, don't let that put you off, Full HD still remains an excellent option for many thanks to the vast amount of HD content that's on offer through Sky, Virgin Media and BT Sport. You can even watch a number of channels from the likes of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in HD quality without having to pay a penny via a Freeview HD or Freesat tuner, which makes it a great choice for those on a budget.

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Full HD resolution is a good option if you need a 40" or 43" TV for a kitchen or bedroom.

HD READY

HD Ready 720p TVs have a lower resolution than Full HD but can still handle HD content, so you can enjoy the latest shows, games and sport in excellent quality. While HD Ready works really well on smaller TV screens up to 32", the resolution does start to strain on larger screens, as pixels become more visible.

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Look out for 12V compatible HD Ready TVs which are perfect for caravans and motorhomes.

FEATURES

SMART TVs

Smart TVs

Watching TV no longer means flicking through channels to find something worth watching. As long as you have an internet connection, there is a huge library of on demand video and music content available online. Smart TVs give you direct access to this content through apps and a web browser.

Smart TV platforms differ between manufacturers and each offers different apps and capabilities, so it is important to check the TV has the smart features you expect before buying. If you are looking to personalise your smart experience, TVs with the Android platform allow you to download apps through the Google Play Store, just like on a tablet or smartphone.

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Smart TVs come with built-in WiFi so you can connect wirelessly to your internet connection.

CURVED TVs

Curved TVs

Curved screen TVs add a greater sense of depth to everything you watch and deliver a more immersive and natural experience, similar to that of watching a film at an IMAX theatre. That's because the curved screen works with the shape of your eyes to create the illusion of panoramic viewing, creating a 'wrap-around' effect to fill your peripheral vision and draw you deeper into whatever you're watching. Plus, the screen's gentle curvature also benefits from having an improved viewing angle, offering reduced colour and contrast saturation compared with a flat screen TV, so no matter where you are in the room, you’ll be able to enjoy a great viewing experience.

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For added depth and immersion, we suggest you sit directly opposite the centre of the screen when viewing.

HDR TVs

High Dynamic Range is the latest in picture quality technology and produces the most vibrant, natural and realistic colours ever. It offers a wider range of colour and contrast compared with a standard dynamic range TV, preserving details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture to create a realistic image that is as close to how we see them in real life.

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If you have an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro with HDR compatible games, be sure to pair it with a HDR TV for some next level gaming.

HDR comes in three main formats with each offering benefits.

  • HDR10 – The current industry standard for High Dynamic Range. It’s compatible with all HDR TVs and Ultra HD Blu-ray players and uses 10-bit colour depth to deliver over 1 billion colours on the screen. The format works on platforms like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video.
  • HLG – Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) is a HDR format developed by the BBC for the world of broadcast TV and live streaming. Much like HDR10, you are likely to see it on most HDR-enabled TVs. HLG also uses 10-bit colour depth to deliver over 1 billion colours on the screen.
  • Dolby Vision - Dolby Vision delivers over 64 billion colours on the screen, which means you'll be able to enjoy more vibrant colours and deeper contrast. The premium HDR format can analyse and change colour and contrast scene-by- scene, giving you a picture that is closer to the original intentions of the director. It is supported by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video.

SCREEN TYPE

The most popular screen types are OLED, QLED and LED which offer different benefits such as picture quality, wide viewing angles and energy efficiency. So what is the difference between these screen types and which should you choose? Here’s our breakdown of the TV screen types and their features and benefits.

LED TVs

LED TVs are now the industry standard and most affordable option for TV consumers. An LED TV is essentially a LCD TV with LED backlighting. It uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the pixels behind the screen and display images. The LEDs are a lot smaller and consume less energy than the fluorescent tubes found in your old LCD set, which allows for them to have considerably thinner, more energy efficient display panels. On top of that, LED TVs produce more vividly sharp images with high brightness levels, so that blacks appear blacker and colours are more vibrant.

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Look out for LED TVs with an energy efficiency class of A or A+ for reduced running costs.

OLED TVs

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology is the latest in screen technology and creates an incredibly realistic and vibrant picture quality. Each pixel creates its own light which means there is no need for a backlight and no risk of light bleed at the edge of the screen. OLED screens create a deeper contrast and sense of depth by producing real black tones and natural colours. As there is no need for a backlight, OLED TVs have an ultra-thin design.

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Pair an OLED TV with a Dolby Atmos soundbar for the ultimate home cinema experience.

QLED TVs

QLED (quantum-dot light emitting diode) technology is based on LED technology with a layer of quantom dots on the screen which produce improved colour accuracy and volume. Like LED TVs, QLED TVs still require a backlight, meaning they are not nearly as thin as OLED TVs. However, QLED TVs are capable of delivering incredibly bright, vibrant and diverse colours – even more so than an OLED.

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Choose a curved QLED TV for an ultra-immersive home cinema experience.

OUR BEST BUYS

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Broaden your viewing experience by connecting a range of external devices and accessories to your new TV. Make sure the TV has the correct ports and number of ports so you don't have to cable swap or buy a converter.

HDMI

HDMI

Provide a digital connection to devices such as Blu-ray players, games consoles and set-top boxes. For 4K content, make sure the TV has HDMI 2.0 for the best picture quality.

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USB

USB

Watch video content, listen to music and view photos directly from a USB memory stick or hard drive on the big screen. Many TVs also offer a USB recording function, allowing you to record live TV to a connected USB stick to enjoy later.

TV Brackets

TV Brackets

Gone are the days of storing your TV in a huge and bulky cabinet that used to take up a vast amount of room space. These days you can have your TV set up in your room without taking up half as much space than the memories of yesteryear using a TV bracket. It allows you to mount the TV to the wall to help free up vital floor space and create a sleek, modern look in any room.

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Soundbars

Soundbars

With TVs getting slimmer and slimmer, the built-in speakers have had to get smaller and smaller. As a result, the audio quality can sometimes sound tinny, flat and lifeless, making the whole experience seem a little lacklustre. A soundbar is a great way to boost the sound quality of your TV, adding more clarity, depth and bass to everything you watch.

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Media Streamers

Media Streamers

If you find yourself flicking through channels, searching for something to watch, then a media streamer might be the answer. They're designed to enhance the capabilities of your TV and make it even smarter, giving you access to a greater amount of apps and smart functionality. For instance, you'll be able to stream movies, watch box sets, catch up on TV shows, play games and so much more. Different brands offer different apps, so be sure to check before you buy.

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PVRs

PVRs

If you're tired of missing your favourite TV shows then a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) could be just what you need. It's essentially a set-top box with a built-in tuner and hard drive that plugs into the back of your TV, so you can record a programme to watch later. You can even pause and rewind live TV to make a cup of tea or to answer the door. Some PVRs even boast a twin tuner, which means you'll be able to record one channel whilst watching a different channel.

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4K Blu-ray Players

4K Blu-ray Players

If you sway more towards quality over convenience then 4K Blu-ray is the way forward. Netflix and Amazon may offer some 4K content, but as yet nothing comes close to the picture quality of a 4K Blu-ray. It offers the nearest thing to a true cinematic experience that you can enjoy outside of a movie theatre. With hundreds of films now available as 4K Blu-ray discs and the option to play your DVD back catalogue, a 4K Blu-ray player is a must have for any film aficionado.

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TV Stands

TV Stands

Make your new TV the centrepiece of your living room with a TV stand. They come in all shapes and sizes, from your traditional units to more contemporary designs, with many even offering storage to fit your TV accessories and built-in cable management to keep your wires neat and tidy. To help you save on time and money, it’s worth double checking the dimensions of the stand to ensure it supports your TV and fits your space.

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