The ultimate HDTV buyer’s guide

The ultimate HDTV buyer's guide

Buying a high-definition television (HDTV) can be complicated. Avoid regret by doing your research before shopping and finding the right size, type and special features.

The ultimate HDTV buyer's guide
The ultimate HDTV buyer’s guide

Basic terminology

As with most electronics, it’s important to understand some basic terminology in order to make an informed decision. Below are a few tips to consult before hitting the market.


Liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions are the most affordable type of HDTV.

  • They can offer excellent refresh rates and a variety of screen sizes.
  • Unfortunately, LCDs also have limited viewing angles, which may make it difficult for your family to enjoy a show together.
  • LCD TVs also perform better in well-lit rooms.

Plasma TVs

  • Plasma televisions have a 600-Hz frame rate and vibrant picture quality.
  • Most plasma televisions are 165 centimetres (65 inches) or smaller. Plasma televisions also provide the largest array of viewing angles, which makes them more useful if you like to watch television with friends.


Light-emitting diode (LED) televisions offer a thinner profile and greater energy efficiency than plasma and LCD televisions. However, they can be more costly than plasma and LCD TVs.


Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) televisions have the best black level currently available because the individual pixels can be turned off when they’re not being used. They also have a superior contrast level. However, OLED TVs are very expensive and difficult to locate in various sizes.

Sizing your HDTV

The size of your HDTV is limited by the size of your room, type of television and the screen resolution.

  • Each HDTV has its own recommended viewing distance, so be sure to verify the exact specifications before purchasing.
  • For example, for a 165-centimetre (65 inches) plasma-screen HDTV with a 720-pixel display, the optimal viewing distance is 4 metres. However, that same television with a 1080-pixel display has an optimal viewing distance of only 2.6 metres.

Comparing refresh rates

Refresh rates tell you how many times the image that your television displays can change in a single second.

  • A high refresh rate leads to a crisp image without any blurs, even during fast-paced gaming or action sequences.
  • LED and LCD TVs have refresh rates. Plasma TVs have a subfield drive. Modern plasma TVs deliver the same crisp image as high-refresh-rate LED and LCD displays.

Other HDTV features

Smart TVs

Smart TVs allow you to stream digital content. A Smart TV can also let you surf the web, watch videos and complete other basic computing tasks.


A 3D HDTV will allow you to enjoy all of your favourite 3D movies without visiting the cinema. Just like the cinema, you’ll need to wear 3D glasses when using this feature.

Individual models

This HDTV buyer’s guide lists the largest applicable considerations when purchasing a television, but you’ll still need to investigate individual models to get the right set for your home.

  • Start by deciding on your display type and the extra features you’ll need. From there you can further narrow your choices by size, brand and refresh rate.

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