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How to buy the right TV for you

How to buy the right TV for you

You've decided it's finally time to replace your current TV. Maybe you want something bigger, with a higher resolution, brighter colors, built-in apps or any number of other features. Or maybe you're looking for a second TV for a bedroom or kids room.

Whatever you're after, when you walk into the store or go online, you're going to see hundreds of TVs in all shapes and sizes with features you didn't even know existed. How do you make sure you're making the best decision? We're going to walk you through the choices you need to make when selecting a new TV.


Screen technology

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of screen technology you want. This is actually fairly easy at the moment because the majority of TVs you see are going to be LCD, also called LED TVs because they use LED backlighting, as we'll discuss later.

The prices on LCD TVs have dropped substantially and you can find 40-inch models for under $300, and possibly even $100 this holiday shopping season. Even a nice 60-inch model is going to be less than $1,000.

As for other technology, plasma TVs aren't being manufactured anymore, although you can still find some around. These are generally going to be lower resolution or have fewer features than LCD models.

Then there are new OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, TVs on the market. The screen itself is made up of self-illuminating pixels, which has the benefit of being more energy efficient than a traditional LCD backlight. Also, because each pixel can turn off and be perfectly black, OLED TVs can have a higher contrast so images appear more vibrant.

However, there is still some question about color fading over time. You're also going to be paying a few thousand more than you will for an LCD of comparable size. A 55-inch OLED is around $3,000 while an LCD is under $1,000. True, $3,000 is quite a bit less than OLEDs used to cost, but it's still a hefty price tag. In most cases, you're going to be sticking with LCD.

Next page: The next big question you need to answer
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