Choosing a digital TV (LCD, LED, plasma)

Samsung UN19D4003 19-Inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)The TV world has gone digital, along with most of us, but the current crop of TVs are far more than just digital. TVs provide more features than ever before to enhance the viewing experience and provide convenience. This article provides a brief, and hopefully not too technical, background on some of the things you will want to consider as you prepare to purchase a new TV.

Digital TV features

  • LCD vs. plasma – LCD TVs are available in many more screen sizes than plasma and work better in bright rooms. Plasma TVs are more prone to glare when viewed in a bright room but have wider viewing angles than LCDs. Uniformity of the picture brightness can be an issue with LED TVs. LED backlit LCD TVs are much more energy efficient (about 40 percent) than plasma TVs.

  • LED backlighting – Backlighting is what illuminates the screen. LEDs can be used to replace the older fluorescent lamps used in earlier LCD TVs for deeper blacks and lower power consumption. LED can also provide substantially better picture quality. There are two types of LED backlights: full matrix and edge lit. Full matrix backlights are more expensive than edge lit. Edge-lit LED backlights can’t quite produce the same level of black as full-matrix one though both are superior to older backlights. Edge-lit TVs tend to have some issues with screen brightness uniformity.
  • 120 vs. 240 Hz refresh rate – Image blur can be an issue in some LCD TVs. Pictures can look soft or appear to smear with fast action. All but budget LCD HDTVs are now using faster 120 Hz and 240 Hz refresh rates instead of the traditional 60 Hz to overcome image blur. While faster refresh rates seem like a great idea, experts say motion blur in most modern LCD HDTV televisions is minimal to begin with.
  • Internet support – This feature allows you to watch movies and other entertainment from internet sites like Netflix and YouTube. Some TVs with internet support also include web browsers, so you can get to other Web sites.
  • 3D – Previously, the biggest barrier to 3D adoption have been cost and content. Well, prices have been dropping. Some manufacturers have produced TVs that use a different technology to display 3D images. These TVs replace the active-shutter technology used in previous 3D TVs with a passive technology that’s similar to what’s used in movie theaters. This technology results in less expensive sets and cheap, lightweight glasses.  Content remains an issue, but more and more 3D Blu-ray Discs are being released, and many cable/fiber/satellite providers are offering either full-time 3D channels or 3D content on demand.


Today’s TVs really are superior to yesterday’s TVs and we have more to consider than ever. However, if you take you time to do a bit of research, you can get a great TV that will provide you with years of enjoyment. The following is a list of some of the most highly rated TVs available from


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