When searching for TV and video equipment, it is important to understand the terms and technologies behind each piece of equipment. The first step in deciding which LED TV to buy is to understand LED technology. LED TVs are essentially LCD TVs that use LED light strips to illuminate the screen. These light strips can produce much better color, allow for thinner televisions and use a lot less power than other TV technologies. Before you go shopping for the best LED TVs, you'll want to keep the following points in mind.
>> Consider where the TV will be used
When deciding how to choose an LED TV, the room you plan on putting it in will be a deciding factor in the size of TV you need. If you put a large TV in a small room, you may notice the pixel structure on the screen. Typically, the best LED TV to buy for a living room would be a 55" LED TV or larger, as the room is large enough to allow you to sit five feet or more away from the screen. Smaller LED TV sizes are better suited for smaller rooms such as a bedroom, kitchen or even a camper.
The chart below shows the ideal viewing distances for different LED TV sizes. Remember that LED TVs are measured diagonally.
LED TV sizes Ideal viewing distances 37" 3'7" 42" 4'1" 46"-47" 4'6" 50"-52" 5'2" 57" 5'6" 65" 6'5" 73" 7'3"
>> Consider TV placement
When figuring out which LED TV to buy, the second consideration should be placement. The best LED TVs can be hung from a wall or from a ceiling. Alternatively, they can be placed in an entertainment center or on a stand.
• On the wall or ceiling -If you plan on mounting your LED TV on the wall or ceiling you will need to purchase some TV accessories such as a mounting bracket and the necessary hardware. When shopping for top LED TVs to hang, check the thickness of the set. Some LED TV brands can be as slim as 1.2 inches, which is ideal for hanging.
• On a stand -If you are going to be placing your new set on a stand, you don't have to worry about the thickness of the set. There are many types of LED TVs that will fit on a stand. Many stands will have room for other electronics supplies such as DVD players, gaming consoles and speakers. Some stands even have speakers and other supplies built into them.
>> Consider LED TV features
When deciding which LED TV to buy, there are many different LED TV features to take into consideration.
• Screen resolution - This means the amount of pixels a screen contains. Screen resolution is measured using two numbers. The first gives the amount of pixels going across the screen. The second gives the amount of pixels going down the screen. The best LED TVs are listed as 1080p, which means they have a screen resolution of 1920x1080, which is also known as full HD.
• Aspect ratio -When deciding how to buy an LED TV, most people choose a wide-screen model, which has an aspect ratio of 16:9. However, some movies created for theater are made using a different aspect ratio. To compensate for this, some of the best LED TVs have stretch and zoom options allowing you to change the aspect ratio to more closely mimic the aspect ratio of some movies.
• Contrast ratio -This is a measurement of the difference between the darkest black and the brightest white that an LED TV can display. While there is no industry standard for this measurement, when performing LED TV comparisons, purchase one with the highest contrast ratio that you can afford.
• Refresh rate -Otherwise known as response rate, this is the speed that an LED TVs screen refreshes the image. Refresh rate is measured in hertz, and different types of LED TVs can have different refresh rates ranging from 60Hz to 600Hz. In theory, faster is better. However, in reality, top LED TVs of good quality with lower refresh rates will perform just as well as those with higher rates.
• Picture modes -The best LED TVs will have the option of various picture modes. LED TVs process images digitally, which means they are also able to manipulate images using different picture modes to improve quality. Most top LED TVs can change picture modes to customize quality for sporting events, movies, TV shows and video games.
• Full array backlit -In this type of LED TV, numerous clusters of LED lights are placed across the back of the screen to illuminate the image. Most full array sets offer local dimming features where small groups of LED lights can be dimmed or shut off in darker parts of the picture.
• Edge-lit -An edge-lit LED TV has LEDs around the edges of the display. The light they produce is then spread evenly over the screen by a light guide. Edge-lit LED TVs are usually extremely thin and an ideal option if you plan on hanging the TV on a wall.
>> Consider additional features
When figuring out how to choose an LED TV, there are some additional features available that you may be interested in.
• Smart TV -If you want to access the Internet with your LED TV to stream movies, music and television shows from services like Netflix and Hulu, consider purchasing a smart TV. Some of the top LED TV brands include an Ethernet port, or Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can connect to the Internet, stream media and access a number of different social media sites and apps.
• 3D TV -If you spend a lot of time watching 3D movies or playing 3D video games, you may want to consider purchasing one of the many 3D LED TVs that are available. In order to view images in 3D, you will also need 3D glasses. However, the best LED TVs that are 3D compatible usually include some glasses in the box.
>> Consider video sources, inputs and connections
An LED TV should be equipped with enough video connections and inputs for all the components you use now and some extra ones for future expansion. The input most commonly used today is the HDMI port which supports most types of digital audio and video. A small LED TV should have at least 2 HDMI ports, and larger TVs should have 4 or more. If you have older components, also ensure that your new LED TV has enough analog inputs.
>> Consider screen finish
Most LED TVs are available with either a glossy or matte screen finish. A matte screen is ideal if you watch TV in a bright room as it cuts down on reflections.
Once you have considered the many different features and options available with LED TVs and have decided which type of LED TV you would like, you are ready to begin shopping for the perfect LED TV for your specific needs.