The world of technology moves fast, and that makes buying new kit a somewhat daunting task. If you're in the market for a new TV, here's what you need to know about the available options, and make the right purchase for your particular needs.
There's something of a 'bigger is better' trend amongst new TV buyers, but with pictures getting better and better, and flat screens allowing viewers to watch from all angles, there's no need to go for a 60-inch behemoth if you don't need to.
To get the right screen size, decide where you want to place your TV, and then work out how far away you will be sitting. The optimum distance from which to watch your set will depend on the definition, but Which? has a handy interactive tool that will tell you exactly what size screen is right for your room.
There are also a variety of wall mounting options for flat screen TV nowadays, so you can choose between a fixed mount, a tilting version, or a partial articulating wall mount, that allows you to install your screen in the corner of a room, potentially saving space.
If you're buying a new TV, it's likely to be HD ready at the very least. 'HD ready' means you can enjoy a screen resolution of 720p, but for better resolution, go for a TV that's HD 1080p. And if budget is no barrier, the new 4K Ultra HD TVs are simply stunning.
What type of TV?
So what type of TV should you buy? For the average living room, an LED screen is probably the best option. They're slimline, lightweight with good contrast, and prove pretty energy efficient. Plasmas, on the other hand, come in huge screen sizes, and get top marks for deep blacks and colour accuracy. Plus they are ideal for sports or movies fans, as the excellent motion tracking means you won't get any lag on fast-moving action.
If, on the other hand, you're after the latest and greatest viewing option, 3D is an understandably exciting option. Though glasses-free 3D TVs do exist, you're likely to pay a high price, so for the moment it makes more sense to don the glasses at home. The amount of 3D viewing available from the likes of Sky, and on Blu-ray, is growing, with sports, movies and entertainment all being brought to life in British living rooms. Most TVs come with the specs, but you may need to subscribe to Sky's 3D service to get the best content.
Hot on the heels of 3D TV is smart TV, which allows you to stream online content, browse the web and access social media, music playlists, and photos on your large screen, provided you have a broadband connection (superfast fibre optic is advisable) and a wireless router.
In store checks
Once you've decided which type of TV suits you best, it's a good idea to visit a store to get a look at the picture in all its glory. Try a variety of angles and images, and check out the sound quality too, particularly if you're not equipped with a full home cinema system. Finally, always do a price comparison online - if you know what you want to buy, you may well find it cheaper on the Internet.
Have you recently bought a new TV? What influenced your choice and are you pleased with the decision you made? Leave your comments below...