Buying a TV can be really hard sometimes. But we all must do it. Many of us may own as many as 20 TVs in our households. At home we have TVs in practically every room apart from the bathroom, although you can even buy waterproof TVs to put in there!
In this article we are going to have a look at the best ways to buy a TV–which type you should buy, where you should buy from and what accessories or other equipment you might need.
Basics of television's
TV is only now come in flat screen varieties, at least in the stores I have seen. The old-fashioned CRT TVs have gone the way of the dinosaurs and it's no longer consideration in the TV buying process. There are still a couple of areas where you need to make decisions including:
Plasma or LCD
Most flat screen TVs are LCD panels with a CFL or LED backlight. This means that the LCD panel which has the individually coloured pixels doesn't actually produce any light itself so it has to have a backlight in order to produce a picture we can see. LED backlighting is the newer and better technology, and an LCD screen with LED backlight is suitable for bright environments and basically anywhere in the home. Plasma screens consist of only a single panel with the pixels capable of individually fluorescing. That means there is no requirement for a backlight and so the blacks can be much blacker and there is a greater contrast ratio on the screen. A compromise with plasma screens is that they might not be as bright and so may struggle in well-lit rooms with light coming in from Windows or with a lot of overhead internal lights.
Digital cables will either transmit a signal, or not. Digital signals consist of on/off states and so more expensive cables shouldn't give any better quality audiovisual experience than less expensive ones. However I have found that the connectors on cheap HDMI cables seem to break more quickly so think about spending a little more if it is going to be a cable that plugs your TV into something like an iPad, a cell phone or the HDMI on your laptop which is going to be regularly plugged and unplugged.
How to buy a TV
1. Decide on your price
The most important thing when buying anything is to decide on a price before you start looking. There are always more expensive items available with slightly better specs and there will always be salespeople there to help you upsell yourself to the latest and greatest TV. The first thing you must always do is to decide on a price range and then stick to it. You may go into a shop and realize that if you spend an additional thousand dollars or thousand pounds you will get a completely different TV however in reality we all use it to watch the same stuff and that won't be as much of a difference as the sales talk says there is.
2. Do your research beforehand
Carrying out research before you go shopping online or in a brick and mortar store can really help you to get the best deal and the best TV for your needs. You will want to carry out research on areas such as whether you want an LCD screen or a plasma screen, what inputs you might need for existing equipment such as HDM I, RCA or other analog inputs.
3. Go to a store and examine the TV
Once you have an idea of the televisions that you might want to buy, it is a good idea to go and see the TV set to check its sound and picture quality, and also things like its size and colour. You may be to compare TV sets in a special viewing room which is always a very useful thing to do. You may also be able to find out about special deals or promotions that are going on in the store.
4. Do some price comparisons
Once you have seen the TV you may wish to do some price comparisons to ensure you have gotten the best deal. The easiest way of doing this is with an application on your smartphone or by searching websites such as Google shopper. A smart phone can scan the barcode on the box or you can type in the model number as you would when searching a website. When doing price comparisons always make sure the product is actually in stock and that you're searching from a reputable retailer. A common tactic I have come across is that a retailer will put a price much lower than the average price but not actually have any stock in–simply getting you to look at their website. Once you have found the best price, you can buy your TV.
5. Basic TV setup
Lots of TVs will be fine to use straight out of the box. But you may wish to alter some settings including the brightness, contrast and sound modes. If you're plugging your TV into an external sound system then you will need to set it up and using optical cables tends to get the best results in my opinion. The picture can be adjusted so you can either try a different colour mode or do manual adjustments. Some manufacturers are known to set settings that aren't ideal, e.g. Samsung who’s TVs are very bright. Googling your model number/serial code might give you some settings to start off with but generally only make small adjustments until the picture looks right to you.
6. Enjoy your new TV
You should now have your TV set up and ready to go. Over time the TV may gather a layer of dust on it and I think the best with cleaning that is with a new microfiber cloth with a very small amount of water on it (so no water will come out when the cloth is squashed). You may also wish to take note of the guarantee and receipt in case anything goes wrong with your TV–most TVs now come with at least 2 or three-year warranties but they often require proof of purchase and to guarantee card. Some manufacturers actually require you to send off the guarantee card although most are just to keep you up-to-date with their products.
How do you purchase your TVs? Do you always buy from a certain store? Do you have a TV buying expert and your family? Feel free to leave a comment below, and if you need to join InfoBarrel then there is a link at the top of the page.