Top 7 Tips For Choosing The Best LCD TV For Your Home
These tips will help you to choose the best LCD TV to suit your needs. The factors you should consider are: Brand Name Reputation, Internet Access, Owner Reviews, Resolution, Screen Size, Vendor Reputation, and Warranty.
One issue that I won't belabor is the Plasma vs. LCD TV controversy, as it sometimes approaches the tenor of a religious war. My own opinion is that LCD, for the foreseeable future, is the better choice. Plasma screens use about twice the power of LCD TVs, have about half the longevity, nearly double the weight, and also are usually more expensive. LCD is the way to go.
Herewith I want to share with you my top 7 tips for choosing your next LCD TV. Each of these points is important, and I have listed them in alphabetical order to avoid any inference that one tip is more significant than the next. The weight that you assign to each factor must be your own decision.
1. Brand Name Reputation: the good news is that most well-known brands of LCD TVs have an excellent record of reliability, and are likely to give you many years of trouble-free service. My research indicates that JVC, Sony, and Sylvania are among the least troublesome; whereas Westinghouse and Mitsubishi appear more likely to fail. If you have a good extended warranty (see tip #7) this may not be so crucial to your decision.
2. Internet Access: most brands offer models that can receive content directly from a broadband internet connection, which may be a convenience. For me this was less important, as I prefer the flexibility and greater control afforded by attaching my LCD TV to a PC. If you go that route, make sure your PC can deliver HDTV output, preferably via a DVI port; then all you need is a DVI to HDMI cable for the video connection.
3. Owner Reviews: these can be very informative, and may alert you to features or deficiencies that you won't easily discover elsewhere. Amazon.com is a particularly rich source of such information.
4. Resolution: very simply, nothing less than 1080p should be considered acceptable for true HDTV performance. A related parameter is Refresh Rate, and while 60hz is the most common, 120hz or higher is better.
5. Screen Size: assuming normal visual acuity, your best viewing distance will be between 1.5 and 3 times the diagonal size of your screen. For example, if you normally sit about 8 feet (96 inches) away from the screen, I recommend that your screen size should be between 32 and 64 inches. In this case, 42 to 46 inches would probably be ideal. If possible, visit a few stores and see how the various sizes look to you.
6. Vendor Reputation: you should buy only from a reputable seller, preferably one you've done business with before. I trust Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Office Depot, and you probably have your own list of favorites. If possible, pay with a credit card, as this gives you certain consumer protection rights that other purchasing methods may not afford you.
7. Warranty: 12 months parts & labor is pretty much the standard these days. I strongly recommend that you buy an extended warranty such as offered by SquareTrade.com. Their prices are very reasonable, and their reputation is very good according to my research.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Linden is a professional programmer and web developer, a part-time author, and a confirmed technophile of many years' standing. His in-depth reviews of LCD TVs are available on his website.