Television Sillouhette

TV Buyers Guide

Consider... Cost vs. brand...

If you're considering buying a generic brand - solely because they are cheaper than brand TVs, you need to consider what you're not getting...

  • Picture quality - If it has Freeview satellite inbuilt, it's picture quality is usually sub-par.
  • Freeview inbuilt - All new TVs have UHF aerial tuners, but not all TVs have satellite tuners inbuilt.
  • Sound Quality - They usually produce a 'tinny' sound
  • They lack input/output sources: HDMI, AV, optical, etc...
None of these things are overly important if the TV is going into a bedroom, but we think they're not really ideal for your lounge - or worse, in paid accommodation such as Air B&B, Expedia, etc... You may save a few bucks, but we reckon you'll soon regret buying a generic brand. We say stick with the brand models.

Does the TV have Freeview satellite inbuilt?

If you receive your signal via a satellite dish, and you want to loose your Freeview box, this is a must! We often hear from our customers that the retailer they bought the TV from told them it has Freeview inbuilt. While this is true, it's not entirely true. New TVs may have Freeview|HD (UHF aerial) inbuilt - but not necessarily Freeview satellite inbuilt. Not all TVs are created equal. Please, be specific in your questioning with retailers. To date, there are currently only three branded manufacturers who offer Freeview satellite inbuilt... They are: Panasonic, Samsung and LG. The Konka brand also offers inbuilt satellite, but we wouldn't recommend buying one - unless it's destined for a bedroom, for reasons already covered in a previous point. All other brands, including Sony and Veon are strictly Freeview|HD (UHF aerial) capable only, and offer no inbuilt satellite tuner. These TVs will still require a Freeview box when used with a satellite dish.

Do I really need to upgrade to a Smart TV?

A recent Consumer Magazine article addressed this question with a resounding... No. Most TV manufacturers build with smart capability in mind, however many of the apps fail to update on a regular basis past a certain point in the TVs lifetime. Our recommendation, along with Consumer Magazine, is if you're happy with your present TV, simply buy either a Chromecast device or a box we can provide you with, and connect it. You'll then have all the features of a Smart TV, but without the price tag. Best of all, all your installed apps will be updated on a regular basis, and if your favourite app isn't preloaded you can just install it from the Play Store. Nice!

How do I measure the size of the TV screen?

Screen sizes are measured from the corner of the screen to the diagonal opposite corner.

Why does Freeview satellite look so bad on my 40+" TV?

Freeview satellite is basically an infill service, which means it's really only designed for those who live out of range of the TV towers. It's pretty much a no-frills service that's designed to give a basic service only. Unfortunately, this service is restricted to producing standard definition (SD) pictures, due to older compression techniques used on the satellite. This means that while pictures might look OK when watched on smaller screens, when you "blow up" the screen size the pixels get bigger, resulting in images aren't all that sharp, may look a bit washed out and "blocky". However, if you were to receive your signal via a UHF aerial, where many channels broadcast in High Definition (HD), you would receive a far more superior picture, resulting in vivid, sharp pictures, with rich tones. There maybe a solution we can offer you if you have this problem. Just give us a holla and we can have a chat.

Ask to see the TV playing a standard definition (SD) picture

This is really important. When you visit any TV retailer, they'll have the best possible picture on display. It's so you see the television at it's absolute best. This is a good thing, if you subscribe to Sky, OnDemand services, watch BluRays, or watch Freeview via a UHF aerial, all of which produce HD (or higher) picture quality. However, if you rely on Freeview satellite, you may well be disappointed in the picture quality when you get the TV home, unpacked and hooked up. It's more important to see an SD picture if you are considering a TV with a screen larger than 40 inches, regardless of whether the TV has Freeview satellite inbuilt or not. Screens less than 40" tend to not show the imperfections of a standard definition picture so much as larger screens. If you are satisfied with the SD picture quailty on the shop display TV, you're settled. If not, either consider a smaller screen, or contact us to discuss what reception remedies maybe available in your location which may benefit a larger screen.

"It's just plug 'n play"

A word of caution if you hear this from a retail staff member... Plug & play would be true if you only operated external devices (Freeview box/DVD/Playstation, etc...). It definately isn't true if you want to take advantage of watching built-in Freeview or Internet television. Freeview via satellite is most definately not Plug & Play. Most TVs, when plugged into a UHF aerial will offer an auto tune (or scan) option at start up. When clicked, the internal TV tuner scans the UHF band for available channels and saves them. Job done. However, satellite has a few technical parameters that need to be entered even before the TV will recogise the signal is there. Unless you have an at least redumentary understanding of these parameters, you may spend many a frustrating hour trying to tune in the satellite channels. Sadly, not every home is the same, so there is no current default setting that actually works 100% of the time. This is one reason why TV retailers are hesitant to tune the TV before it leaves the store. Foutunately, once the parameters are set by your friendly installer, your TV should give you many years of viewing enjoyment, even if you switch it off at the wall for short periods of time. Ofcourse, if you buy a smart TV that's connected to the Internet, you'll also have to agree to the manfacturers terms of use and also configure your WiFi or ethernet connection between your modem and TV, before you can start watching. So, broadly speaking, no new TV these days comes to you fully pre-configured to your requirements, out of the box. There will generally be some configuration to do before you can start watching your new TV.

We know it can be a bit daunting buying a new TV,

but here's a few tips we hope you'll find helpful...


Got a question not covered here?

Just give us a call or flick us an email. We love to help!