Frugal Tips for Buying TVs

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

New televisions offer amazing features with the potential of amazingly high prices. For most people, a TV is a fairly significant and infrequent purchase. While technology has created a plethora of options to make television viewing more enjoyable, those features come at a price. How do you decide which options are worth spending your television budget on and which ones are more than you need?

Here’s a brief guide to choosing a television to suit your needs and budget:

Types of Televisions

Your major choices in the television market today consist of LCD and Plasma. Their names refer to the technology they employ to create the images they display. Here are pertinent features of each:

LCD:

  • Weigh less than Plasmas
  • Less susceptibility to burn-in than plasma televisions (which leaves a permanent ghost-like shadow from prolonged display of the image)
  • Lower power usage than Plasma displays
  • Lower price than Plasmas
  • Selection in sizes smaller than 32 inches

Plasma:

  • Superior color display and contrast
  • Wider viewing angles, allowing higher picture quality from viewing positions other than straight on
  • Little motion blur which affects the picture quality of rapidly moving content

Consider the features offered by LCD and Plasma televisions and compare their value to you with regard to price. For instance, if you watch lots of action movies or play fast-paced video games, paying more for a plasma TV may make sense. If you don’t, then the fact that there’s little motion blur may not me a deciding factor in your overall choice.

What size television should you buy?
The size of your television is important only in relation to the distance from which it will be viewed. That’s because as the display size increases, so does a TV’s ideal viewing distance. To experience the best display, match the  ideal size TV with its optimal viewing distance. The ideal viewing distance is roughly two to three times the display size. In other words, unless your room is big enough to accommodate viewers watching from a distance of over 13 feet, there’s no need for a television over 42 inches because the optimal viewing distance for a TV of that size is beyond the parameters of your room. Generally, the smaller a television is, the lower the price, so considering a smaller TV will leave money in your budget to spend on more beneficial features than size.

Terms you should know
When choosing the best television for your budget, it will help to understand a few terms associated with their features, such as:

  • Display size: diagonal length of the screen
  • Resolution: the number of pixels (dots of light that comprise the images displayed). In general a higher resolution yields a clearer, sharper image.
  • Response time: the time it takes the display to respond to input. Displays with slow response times may result in blurring and distortion.
  • Brightness: the amount of light emitted from the display
  • Contrast ratio: the difference between the brightness of the brightest color to the brightness or the darkest color displayed. High contrast ratios create a sharper picture.
  • Viewing angle: the maximum angle at which the display can be viewed at acceptable quality
  • Color reproduction/gamut: the range of colors that the display can accurately represent

As far as finding a quality TV, stick to the major brands, such as Sony, Samsung or Panasonic. Taking these factors into consideration at the showroom will help you purchase a TV that has everything you need for your viewing pleasure without spending on unnecessary features. Understanding what you’re buying and why is the key to making a wise choice.

Bonus Tip:

Did you know that you can save money with Netflix? Even if you don't plan on using the service, you should at least sign up for the Netflix free trial here to get some free movies for a month.

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