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HDTV Buyer Guide
-  Introduction To Display Types

Before asking the question "who makes the best HDTV?" - there is another important choice you need to make first - which TYPE of display do you want?

 HDTV can be viewed in a number of ways in your home, and it may be that there are some options that you haven't considered.

These different methods of displaying the image have various pros and cons - and it may be that your room will be more suited to one type than another. Alternatively, it may just come down to the budget that you have available.

However, be aware that in recent years the different options we used to have to view high definition television at home has narrowed considerably. Whereas it used to be a straight fight between plasma vs LCD, the last couple of years has seen these two stalwarts of the home TV market gradually fade away. Most mainstream hardware manufacturers no longer build new LCD and plasma televisions.

Home theater room with flat screen TV and speakers


The LED TV is currently the number one option to you if you are looking to buy a new high definition television. An LED TV can come in many shapes and sizes, with various features like smart TV, Ultra High Definition or 3D - but the bottom line is that most TV manufacturers will mainly offer an LED TV as your primary option.

  • 1-3 inches thick
  • Screen size from 22 inches to 88 inches
  • Can be hung on a wall or stood on a flat surface
  • Main LED TV brands are Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic
  • They are being marketed as LED TVs - but actually have LCD screens
  • For more detailed information, go to the: LED TV Guide


The OLED TV is currently being seen as the major new technology that can challenge the dominance of the LED TV. Although OLED technology has been around for many years, it is only recently that manufacturers have been able to build them at a cost which allows them to sell them to the home market.

An OLED TV will currently cost more than an LED equivalent model, although for the extra cost you will get what is generally acknowledged to be the best picture quality currently available.

The progress is slow however, and apart from LG who have led the way when it comes to OLED technology, the other manufacturers are still slow to join the OLED bandwagon.

Panasonic TX-65CZ952 OLED TVPanasonic TX-65CZ952 OLED TV
  • Around 1 inch thick
  • Screen size from 55 inches to 65 inches
  • Can be hung on a wall or stood on a flat surface
  • Main OLED TV brands are LG and Panasonic

Front Projector

A great alternative to a high definition television, is a projector. A projector has many advantages over a traditional television (and some drawbacks), but the main benefit is that if you use a projector you aren't limited by the size of a fixed screen.

A projector can send the image over a much larger area than you will get with a high definition television, and so can provide a really spectacular alternative.

InFocus SP1080 Home Entertainment ProjectorInFocus SP1080 Home Entertainment Projector
  • Projects image on a screen or wall - so screen depth is not relevant
  • Image size from 40 inches to 300 inches - and isn't a fixed size like a flat panel
  • The projector will need to be placed on a suitable flat surface or fixed to a mount/stand (but it is portable)
  • Main brands are Infocus, Optoma, Epson, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sony, and Mitsubishi

Plasma TV

A plasma TV used to be the top dog in terms of pure picture quality. However, with the advance towards Ultra High Definition screen resolutions - something that is impossible to make using plasma TV technology - all the TV manufacturers have announced in recent months that they will no longer be releasing any new plasma TV models.

However, there are still many plasma TVs in use in people's homes, and many users are quite happy with their plasma TVs - while they last!

Samsung 51Samsung 51" F8500 Series 8 Smart 3D Full HD Plasma TV
  • 4-8 inches thick
  • Screen size from 37 inches to 70 inches
  • Can be hung on a wall or stood on a flat surface
  • Main plasma TV brands were Panasonic, Pioneer, Samsung and LG
  • More information: Plasma TV Guide


Like plasma technology, the original old-style LCD TVs have also begun to disappear from the market. However, the reason is slightly different from that of plasma.

There was always much confusion over the difference between LED and LCD TVs. The truth is that a true LCD TV had an LCD screen with a CCFL backlight - while an LED TV also has an LCD screen  - but with an LED backlight.

So an LED TV is really a type of LCD TV. Here however, we are talking about the older-style LCD TV with a CCFL backlight which was always just known as an LCD. This type of TV has also disappeared away quickly to be replaced by LED televisions.

LG 42LK450U Full HD LCD TVLG 42LK450U Full HD LCD TV
  • 2-6 inches thick
  • Screen size from 15 inches to 70 inches
  • Can be hung on a wall or stood on a flat surface
  • Main LCD TV brands are Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, and Sharp
  • More information: LCD TV Guide

HDTV Buyer Guide Summary

As you can see from our HDTV buying guide, there are a few display options if you are interested in looking at all of the possibilities.

Most people will go directly for an LED TV - or maybe an OLED - but you may find a projector is more suited to your needs.

If you choose an LED TV, then there are still many choices to make such as screen size, High Definition or Ultra High Definition,  3D TV, smart TV etc.

Once you have decided which option is best for you to view high definition television, then you can narrow it down to the best model for you.

Go to the specific guides for more information on each type of display.

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