At one time, the cost of purchasing an LCD was prohibitive, and most folks who wanted a home theater experience chose either a plasma or a projection television. However, the prices of LCD TVs have been dropping, making them more affordable for folks who want a flat screen television in their home.
If you’re in the market for an LCD TV, it pays to do a little research before committing to a purchase. Like every other TV, there are multiple brands, sizes and options that can make a difference in your viewing experience. Here are a few tips for buying an LCD TV:
Know what size you want: Before you even think about purchasing an LCD TV, you should have a general idea of the size you need. In general, this should be based on the distance you sit from your TV – and your budget. (Smaller TVs cost less.) Guidelines differ, but for a ballpark figure follow these suggestions:
•For screens 30-37 inches, you should sit about four to nine feet from the TV.
•For screens 42-50 inches, you should sit about five to twelve feet from the TV.
At this point, LCDs that are larger than 45 inches tend to be expensive, and some are still suffering from issues with picture quality.
Stick with a good resolution: If you’re looking for a great quality picture, you’ll need a high resolution on your LCD TV. Look for one that’s 1024×768, 1366×768 or 1080p. These are typically available on most high-definition TVs, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it.
View it from all sides: When you’re in the store, step off to the side and see how the picture appears. Known as “viewing angle,” some LCD TVs have a better picture from the side than others. In most cases, the picture will start to appear dimmer as you move off to the side of the screen. Some, however, start to dim sooner than others. If you have a large room or often have guests watching TV with you, you want to look for the LCD TV that provides the largest viewing angle.
Watch a movie on it: Ask the store manager to play an action movie on the LCD TV so you can view the action. Some LCD TVs have problems with quick motion, leaving a blur or “trail” on the screen. If the manager won’t play a movie, at least ask him/her to switch the channel to an action show.
Other things you may want to consider as you shop for an LCD TV are the overall size of the television, the location of the speakers and input jacks, and any bells and whistles like a memory card slot.
Remember to purchase your LCD TV from a reputable retail company that offers a return policy. If in doubt, pay with a credit card so you’ll be protected if the purchase is defective.