The perfect TV for you depends on what you love to watch and how you like to watch it.
This buying guide will help you to understand the different features televisions can have and will answer the important questions that will help you decide on the right model for you.
As well as helping you to pick the best TV, this guide will also help you to complement your new set with a range of accessories. From sound bars and home cinema kits to cables and wall mounts, we’ll make sure you have everything you need to build your ideal entertainment system.
Screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner and only includes the actual visible screen itself, not the surrounding bezel.
Thanks to narrower bezels surrounding TV screens, you can fit more screen in the same space as you used to be able to. A modern 50” TV takes up roughly the same size as a 42” TV did back in 2008, so if it’s been a while since you bought one, consider going up a few sizes.
If you’re not sure where to start, think about where you’ll be watching from. If you can work out how far away you will be, you can use the diagram here as a good rule of thumb for TV screen size.
The figures on the diagram are just suggestions, and the size of your TV is ultimately down to personal preference. If you need more help we have also developed the TV Size Finder app. It has been designed to help you choose the perfect size TV for your room.
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Picture quality is probably the single most important factor when considering your next TV. The key things to consider are:
4K or Ultra High Definition TVs are the latest advancement in TV technology. These TVs have up to four times the number of pixels of a Full HD or 1080p TV, meaning you get an image that is up to four times sharper than a standard Full HD TV.
A Full HD TV has just over 2 million pixels comprising the picture (1920p horizontally x 1080p vertically).
A 4K Ultra HD TV has over 8 million pixels comprising the picture (3840p horizontally x 2160p vertically).
With all these additional pixels making up the picture on your TV screen, the brightness of the colours, the sharpness of the images and the overall clarity of the picture are vastly improved. Most premium 4K TVs will upscale standard content into near 4K quality - look out for TVs with HEVC video compression for upscaling technology. Watching content that was shot using a 4K camera will give the most true 4K picture and allow you to fully benefit from this technology.
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More and more content is now becoming available to view in 4K. Blu-ray players that upscale standard Blu-ray discs to 4K quality are now available, whilst 4K Blu-ray discs are currently set to be available by the end of 2015. Currently, streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix offer the best chance to view in 4K. For example, Netflix now shoot all their own produced shows in 4K, and there are also 4K videos on YouTube. We recommend broadband speeds of over 20 Mbps to view buffer-free, and your TV will need to have a HEVC decoder to read the compressed files.
Most brands also offer a choice of 4K content as part of the TV operating system. Each brand is different so it is worth researching what they offer, or speak to a colleague in store.
View range of Blu-ray players with 4K upscaling >
TV processing rates work in much the same way as your computer processor might. If you watch lots of sports or fast-paced movies, the number of scene changes are frequent and these put a strain on your TV. The higher the TVs processing rate, the easier it handles these quick changes.
Traditionally, processing rates were always measured in hertz (Hz) but you’ll now find different manufacturers measure them in different ways such as PMI or PQI so comparing across brands can be tricky.
Read more on processing rates >
We think picture quality is hugely important when it comes to buying a new TV.
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TV technology has evolved significantly in the past few years, dramatically improving your viewing experience.
The key things to consider are:
Other things to consider are the colour and finish of the bezel and the TV’s base stand.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes whilst OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes. Both refer to the way your screen pixels are lit to create the colours and contrast of the images on your screen. OLED is the latest technology. The pixels create their own light source to make up the picture. This means that they can turn themselves off completely in order to show the deepest blacks. LED screens on the other hand have a backlight which is shone through an LCD panel to produce the individual pictures.
Curved screen TVs have a science behind them, not just a pretty design. Modelled to recreate the way our eyes create peripheral vision, curved screens produce a much more immersive and engaging viewing experience as you use them. To make the most of the curved TVs, the best place to sit is directly in front of it so you can get the full impact of the concave display. This gives you a greater field of view and sense of depth and also vastly improves contrast for an exciting and versatile entertainment solution.
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Decided between curved and flat screen? Shop the ranges here:
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Smart TVs connect to your home internet connection, allowing you to browse applications and additional content that you may not otherwise have access to. In addition, Smart TVs can often connect to other Smart devices such as phones and tablets, enabling you to easily share content from one device to another.
As well as receiving standard channels, a Smart TV allows you to access online content via the internet using applications (apps) built into the TV. All Smart TVs will have a ‘homepage’ where you can find all of the options available to you. You can stream your favourite TV shows, movies and more and watch on your TV at a time that suits you. All you need is access to your broadband network either via WiFi or Ethernet cable.
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Some Smart TVs enable you to connect via WiFi to your smartphone, laptop or tablet allowing you to share your personal content on the big screen. You can also connect devices such as a Smart keyboard or a Smart remote. In many cases your smartphone can become your remote.
You can stream programmes and films from the Smart apps on the TV but you will not be able to download additional apps, so if you want to record and store programmes for viewing later you will need a Saorview/Sky/Virgin box.
Is a Smart TV what you’re looking for?
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We love having access to the additional on demand and streaming services that Smart TV gives you which is why all the TVs our experts love are Smart.
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The sound you get from your TV should be great, but the reality is that the demand for better picture quality and thinner screens has overtaken the sound quality your TV can produce on its own. Many manufacturers now recommend partnering your TV with a sound bar, home cinema system or soundstage for the ultimate all round experience.
All televisions have their own built-in speakers to deliver sound but the comparison between these built-in speakers and custom-designed surround sound speaker systems can be worlds apart. Deep bass, clear treble and room-filling sound to watch your favourite TV and movies are only truly achievable with the support of additional sound devices such as a sound bar, soundstage or home cinema system.
As the name suggests, a sound bar is a long bar shaped speaker that sits beneath your TV on the stand or can be fixed to the wall. We’ve got a large range of wireless sound bars, so you can avoid ugly wires trailing from your TV to the sound bar. Many of them can also be connected to a multi-room speaker system which allows you to wirelessly stream music through your sound bar. A wired or wireless subwoofer enhances the bass and delivers depth of sound.
A soundstage system, on the other hand, provides an all-in-one solution and generally includes a built-in subwoofer.
If you want true surround sound, a home cinema system with both front and rear speakers will really put you at the heart of the action on screen, akin to the sound you experience at the movies.
Interested in boosting your TV’s sound?
From essential cables to delivery and installation, once you’ve chosen your new TV, we can help with all the extras.
Our Knowhow team can mount your television to a wall or build your new TV stand. Our installers are experts at the tricky parts of the job, such as embedding cables within brick walls and fitting your sound bar or home cinema system alongside your new TV. Even better, once we have fitted your TV just the way you want it, we’ll even talk you through the features and how to get started so you’re all set when we leave.
For more on our TV services, check out our Knowhow guide.
A properly wall-mounted TV with the cables embedded looks neat and very stylish, whereas a stand gives you greater flexibility to add your other entertainment devices, such as a Blu-ray player. You’ll need to make sure that the wall is suitable if you choose to wall mount – a cavity wall, for example, is unlikely to take the weight of a large screen TV. If you think you may add more devices to partner with your TV later on then remember, once you have wall-mounted and cabled behind walls, you may have to re-do it to add new devices.
HDMI cables are now the standard way to connect your TV to other HD compatible devices, such as a DVD, Blu-ray player or Sky box. Easy to use, both ends of the cable are identical and plug straight into the TV and device.
View the range of HDMI cables >
Mostly superseded by HDMI, SCART leads are still the most universal way to connect older devices to your TV. New TVs will usually have one SCART port.
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Transfer the digital audio signal from your TV or games console to a sound bar or surround sound system and enjoy uncompressed high resolution audio with all of your content.
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This refers to the built-in digital service the TV receives and allows you to watch free TV channels without the need for a separate box or subscription, such as Saorview/Irish digital ready (satellite). Double tuners will provide both. Freeview is available only in the UK.
Most TVs at Currys PC World come with a minimum one year guarantee, but a five year guarantee is included on our range of premium TVs. Just look out for the 5 year guarantee logo.
The guarantee includes:
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Learn more about the 5 year guarantee >
Screen size | Measured diagonally across the screen in inches. Our large screen range starts from 32” up to 85”.
OLED | The latest in TV technology, OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Electricity is passed through these diodes in the screen to produce coloured light. This makes up your picture. Because these diodes produce their own light, each individual one can also be turned off, producing true blacks and smoother images.
LED | LED TVs use an LED backlighting panel to shine light through an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, producing the colour and images you can see. LED TVs produce bright vivid colours.
Resolution | This indicates screen quality and is measured in pixels per square inch. The higher the number of pixels, the better the picture.
4K | 4K TVs, also referred to as UHD or 4K Ultra HD TVs, have up to four times the number of pixels than a Full HD TV. A screen needs 3,840 x 2,160 pixels to be considered 4K and will have over 8 million pixels.
Full HD | Also referred to as 1080p. Screens classed as Full HD have over 2 million pixels, made up of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Curved screen | Curved screens are more immersive and are the latest in screen technology, putting you at the centre of the action.
Tuner type | This refers to the built-in digital service the TV receives and allows you to watch free TV channels without the need for a separate box or subscription, such as Freeview, Freeview HD and Freesat HD (satellite). Double tuners will provide both.
Smart TV | This feature allows you to access digital content such as catch up TV and streaming services from the internet via apps.
Processing rates | This refers to the rate at which the picture refreshes. Higher processing rates make the picture smoother and less blurry, perfect for fast paced sports and action films. Rates range from 60 Hz upwards.
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