How to Choose a Television

by Contributor

The good news is that you're getting a new TV. The bad news is that these days there are so many options. With all these terms like HDTV, LCD, HDMI, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you walk into the electronics store. But stay calm, and keep your eyes on the prize. Here is how to choose a television.

Know how big you want to go.Along with your budget, how big a TV you want is one of the most important factors in deciding which one you want to buy. TVs come in all sizes. They start at pocket-size and end up at giant theatrical-size screens. More realistically speaking though, for a home, you have the size that might belong in a kitchen or bathroom, and the size that you would want in your living room or bedroom.A nice size, good TV is probably around 40 inches. Of course this is all relative to a variety of factors. Most important, you want to make sure that whatever TV you buy can fit in the space where it will rest. So before you go out and buy a TV, or even look at them, you should measure your space (if required) and know how wide/deep/tall your new TV can be.

Have an idea about how much you can spend.TVs have gotten very expensive. If you buy some super thin, high-definition, huge TV with all of the latest technology on it, you could easily be spending $10,000 or more. Then again, there's no reason why a great TV can't cost you well under $1,000. It's really all about your personal needs.Make sure you figure out how much you can spend and then adhere to your strict guideline that you originally set. Trust me, if you want to spend less, there is another TV on display that will fit your budget perfectly, so don't get duped into buying something too big or so clear that it bursts your budget bubble.

Understand the different brands.There seem to be as many brands of television as shoes or shirts. Everywhere you look there's Samsung, Vizio, Aquos, and many more. There's a commercial on for a new TV company almost every day, it seems!But don't fear. The point is that many of these brands and many of their TVs will work perfectly for you. In fact, there probably isn't one right answer.The best thing to do is to watch TV. Look at the different brands and how the picture looks. Some might look better than others to you. Again, there really is no right answer.Any big-name brand that you have seen or heard of before will probably do you just fine. They all give an excellent picture quality and offer various options (like high definition, liquid crystal display). The best thing to do might be to just go to a store and compare the picture side-by-side between multiple brands. Maybe you'll see something you like in one and not the other, and then go with it.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.Honestly, the biggest mistake you can make during your entire TV-buying process is not stopping and asking someone for help. When you go to stores like Best Buy and Circuit City, the people in the TV departments usually know a lot about what they are talking about. At the least, they can tell you which televisions routinely cause problems and are being returned–information which is basically invaluable to you as a consumer. By not asking for help, you are really only setting yourself up for a possible disaster.Even if you know which TV you want, and you are sure of it, why not just ask them their opinion or which one people are buying or what will give the best picture quality? An answer might help you or it might not, but at least you'll feel like you covered all of your bases.

Understand the follow-up required.Just because you buy a high-definition TV does not mean that when you go home and plug it in, you will have high-definition pictures on your screen. There is no doubt that a good TV will give your picture a better quality, but if you really want to use all of the great features included on your brand new TV, there is some follow-up work that needs to be done, too.HD only works on HD channels. That's right, some channels are offered in HD (many of them are) and some are not. In order to get HD-quality programming, you'll have to order HD channels from your cable provider. Your TV equipment will need to be upgraded. Whether you have satellite or a cable box, in order to get HD you will need to get a new one. There is always an HD-upgrade fee involved (usually around $100). So the cable company will likely have to send someone out to set up your new package and equipment for you.


  • check Remember, the bigger the television, the heavier it will be to carry.
  • check If price is an issue, ask a store (like a Best Buy or Circuit City) if they have any damaged or opened TVs that they are selling for less. Damaged means that it might be scratched on the back or something (and subsequently half off). These are usually in excellent condition-and a great sale price, too!


  • close Just because you buy a new TV does not necessarily mean it's all set to watch. You might need to buy some special cables or a new box before you get going and can use all of its features.
  • close These "extra" things you have to buy can get very expensive. So ask your cable provider or someone in the store exactly what sort of other costs will be associated with your TV upgrade.

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