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The Village Idiot’s Guide To Buying A Television

No man cave or bachelor pad is complete without a killer TV. As much as we love sites like eBay and Craigslist, investing in a new television is not the time to buy sight-unseen. The best set for you is about more than the best price – you’ll need to consider a number of other factors like size, resolution and installation preferences. With so many options available, it’s a daunting process… but luckily for you, we’ve put together a guide to make the road as smooth as possible.

Here Are The Simple Steps To Follow

Popular Sizes

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This is as basic as it gets, guys. Television Buying 101. If you can’t even get this part right, we fear for your ability to do far more than purchase electronics. Do not invest in a TV until you’ve measured the space it’s going in. Bring those measurements, and your tape measure, to the store with you. Make sure to account for the installation process, which will be much easier if you’ve left a bit of leeway on all sides of the set, and any cable or rear panel audio/video connections you’ll be adding once the television is in place. Also make sure the TV fits the size of the room and that there is adequate viewing space between you and it.

Resolution Types

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You don’t want to drop dollars on something with sub-par picture quality. The screen resolution (expressed in lines for CRT TVs or pixels for LCD and plasma TVs) will tell you how detailed a television’s image will be. For HDTVs, 1080p (1920×1080) is the default standard for native display resolution. However, on many TVs with screen sizes 32-inches and smaller, or extremely inexpensive larger screen TVs, the display resolution might be only 720p (usually expressed as 1366×768 pixels). The most important thing is to watch the TV in action. Is the image detailed enough for you? Buy it. Does something seem off? Move on.

Know Your Types Of Televisions

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If the only thing you know is that you want something to secretly watch The Real Housewives of Melbourne on, you’ve got some research to do (and some questions to ask yourself). Three screen types are typically available: LCD, LED and plasma.

LCD: Liquid crystal display relies on light from behind the screen shining through a matrix of tiny coloured liquid crystal cells. LCDs are the most cost-effective, but they are bigger and bulkier than the other options.

LED: Light-emitting diode screens use LCD technology, but instead of shining a back light through liquid crystals, they employ a larger number of smaller LEDs. LED televisions are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their slimmer profile and wide variety of available sizes.

Plasma: Plasma TVs are composed of tiny gas cells, each of which acts as a small fluorescent tube emitting UV light, between two sheets of glass. They offer good definition and deeper colours, and provide high screen speeds that are ideal for watching sports and action films.

Key Technologies That Make A TV These Days

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If you’re the techie type that isn’t satisfied with something ordinary, you can get even more creative with your entertainment system.

3D: Yep, 3D technology is now available in your home, but be aware that you will need glasses in order to view it. They’re available in two varieties: Passive 3D, which look much like sunglasses, and Active 3D, which require batteries and a transmitter. Remember that, in order to view something in 3D, you’ll also need 3D source components and 3D content.

Smart TV: Just like your phone, TV is getting smart. Smart TVs offer a range of Internet-connected services, such as media streaming, web browsing, apps, games and Skype. There is also IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), a specific type of Internet video standard streamed via the Web to your TV.

OLED: OLED TVs offer pencil-thin displays, superior picture quality and rich, vibrant colours. With their stunning range of contrast levels and lack of motion blur, they’re the prime choice for someone who wants an exceptional viewing experience.

What Connections Do You Need?

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No television is an island. For the optimum experience, you’re going to want to connect other tech to your set. Even if you don’t have the latest gear right away, you may want to invest in a TV with enough input/output flexibility to add future components.

Your new TV should have at least one set of audio/video inputs and one set of audio outputs. TVs have built-in speakers, but since modern televisions are so thin, there is very little space to house a high quality speaker system. An external audio system is a necessity for satisfying sound. Most modern televisions have either a set of analogue or digital optical audio outputs, or the HDMI Audio Return Channel feature, or all three. HDMI connections can also be used for DVD and Blu-ray Disc players.

Audio/video inputs can come in handy for hooking up videogame consoles, camcorders and other portable audio/video devices. You may also want to consider USB inputs and SD card slots which can be helpful for displaying content from other digital devices.

A growing number of TVs come equipped with Ethernet connections or built-in Wi-Fi for Internet access.

Efficiency

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This is 2014, and in 2014 we try to be as planet-friendly as possible (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s wallet-friendly, too). All TVs are not created equal; some are more environmentally-friendly than others, which can have a massive impact on both energy consumption and your monthly bills. LED TVs are the most energy-efficient, followed by LCDs and, finally, plasma.

  • Installation: Are you the DIY type or do you plan to hire a professional? You have several setup options:
  • Standard: The simplest televisions are unpacked, assembled and set up on a stand.
  • Wall Mount: Mounting your TV on the wall saves space, but is only suited to slimmer, lighter sets.
  • Cable Management: A cable management system hides any unsightly wiring from your devices for a clean and organized look.
  • Home Theatre: For the full cinematic experience, combine your new television set with a media player and a quality speaker system.

Happy viewing, gentlemen!

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