The good news when looking for a new TV is that there is a very large selection to choose from. And that is also the bad news that the selection is huge, so how do you choose? Do you know what you are looking for or do you just find the best deal and hope it is a good decision? After all, TV technology has come a long way so there are a lot of good sets out there. Let me provide some guidance through this morass of TV technology and try to make what seems like a complicated decision a lot simpler. It isn’t as hard as it may seem to narrow down your best options.

Size Matters

Everyone has a limited budget, but the best bang for your entertainment dollar is screen size. Go big or go home, or should I say go big and go home and enjoy! The biggest regret that most people have is not going big enough with their screen. The bigger the screen the more immersive an experience you will have, and the more you will enjoy everything you do with your TV, whether it is watching movies, regular TV programming, playing games, or looking at photos and home videos.

The best place to start is figure out where you are putting the TV and measure how big a set you can put on that wall or in that space, and get the biggest screen you can – within your budget of course. For more info on TV size have a look at my previous post on , but overall bigger is better.

 

Picture Quality

Focus most of your time on picture size and picture quality as these are the two most important elements to get right. Picture quality is more difficult to determine because TV specs don’t really tell the story. The problem with specs is that the manufacturers measure them differently, and they use liberal license to elaborate on the facts. Marketing is all about making things sound better than they really are, so you can’t trust the specs and you can’t use them to compare sets very easily.

Picture quality also has an element of personal taste as different people will like different picture visuals. I suggest figuring out if you prefer the look of an LED or Plasma picture. Go to your nearest Best Buy and you will be able to compare all the technologies and you should get a feel for which you like best. For a little more in-depth comparison of Plasma and LED, have a look at that helps provide good info on the differences.

There is no right or wrong answer, but if you find you prefer LED to plasma and many do, to get the best picture focus on TV’s with the better LED technologies – particularly IPS screen technology, and backlit with local dimming. These technologies will provide more contrast, deeper blacks, and a much richer picture. IPS screens have the added bonus of a wider viewing angle without any of the colour or picture washing out.

Now if you have a bigger budget you will get the best picture with a 4K Ultra or OLED set. Both are excellent options, and again I would advise looking at both and determine which is more appealing to your taste. These will all be higher-end sets that cost more but will deliver a fantastic picture.

 


Features

I am not saying that features aren’t really important, but at least 80 to 90% of the work is done when you figure out the right size and picture quality. Features are easy although most of the manufacturers want to woo you with their gizmos and try to make it more difficult.  The big features to think about are 3D and Smart. 3D you cannot add on later, so think whether it is important to you. If you do decide on a 3D TV, then try to select those that do 2D to 3D conversion, which will provide you so much more 3D content to watch.

More and more TV’s are now Smart TV’s because of the increased popularity of media streaming, but if you don’t get this feature will show you how to add it later. You may already have streaming devices so spend your money on a bigger and better picture rather than Smart features. If you are a gamer you will want to have a faster refresh rate, 120Hz or more, for those fast action games.

One thing to watch for, although most new TV’s come well equipped this way, is the connections.  You will want multiple HDMI ports (at least 4), a USB port, optical audio port, and possibly a PC VGA port.  Ideally some of the ports are close to the side of the TV for easier access.

 

Overall Guidance

I would like to tell your exactly what TV you should buy but personal taste is a factor, and what I like might not be best for you. Simplify the process – start with size and picture quality (choose the best screen technology for your tastes), and then decide on a few key features. This simple process will allow you filter out the myriad of choices into a much more manageable number.

Tom Brauser
I love to try new technologies and I have a practical approach to techie stuff - it has to be easy to use and make my life better. I have my house fully wired, with a surround sound system in my family room for music and TV viewing, but also drive music throughout the house as well as outdoors. I Internet stream content on all my devices at home, which provides a huge variety of entertainment to enjoy.