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Which is the best LED TV to Buy? Our UK Survey Results

Which is the best LED TV to buy? That’s the question we set out to answer by setting up a rolling, nationwide users’ survey.

LED TVs CheapestOur philosophy is simple. We think the public are just as likely as the “experts” to identify a winning television model. That is, providing these people have owned, watched and tried to connect up their TV for at least 6 or more weeks. Taking our route we’re revealing the great value TVs.

Our first LED TV survey report is available here at Best Buys Compared:

Which 40 inch LED TV is best?  |  Compare 40 Inch TVs

We’ve now gathered enough data to begin publishing helpful guides to the best LED televisions to buy (that are available in the UK now). We’ve also uncovered other useful gems like: Which are the best TV speakers and which TVs make great PC monitors. Over the coming months we’ll publish these survey reports, too


What is an LED TV?

An LED TV displays a liquid crystal display screen (LCD), back-lit by light emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs take up much less room than the fluorescent strip lamps found in older LCD TVs. They are also much brighter, too.

That’s why an LED TV can be so slim, often 70mm or less. Slimmest of all are side-lit LED televisions. And because they use LED lights the screen can be more vibrant, too.

Which is the Best LED TV?

The best LED televisions have 11 qualities that deliver great viewing; adaptability and future proof your investment. You might not need all of these benefits today. It depends how you use television:

• 1080p Full-HD television
• LED not LCD
• Built-in Freeview HD
• Motion Clarity Index (MCI) of 100+
• Sockets! HDMI 1.4 & USB 2.0 connections
• LAN and/or Wireless LAN socket
• DLNA compliance
• SMART TV capability
• 3D TV viewing
• Clear Voice Tuning
• The right size display for your room

So, Which is the best LED TV to buy? The answer we found through our survey is this: Models that have these qualities that will benefit preferred from of viewing, playing or listening.


1080p Full-HD television

We don’t buy an LED television simply for light weight and easy wall mounting. We obviously buy to watch, so the most important part of a TV spec is the screen resolution.

A full high-definition 1080p screen will deliver pin-sharp images (providing what’s being broadcast is high definition). That’s because it has a lot of pixels (the mosaic that makes up a TV image). The display is 1920 wide x 1080 high or 2,073,600 pixels.

Compare that to an “HD-ready” but NOT full HD 720p resolution that’s 1280 wide by 720 high or 921,600 pixels. In other words you are getting twice the definition with full HD compared to 720p.

LED not LCD

Let’s be clear LED and LCD TVs both use a liquid crystal display (LCD) to present your TV picture. However, an LED TV uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) to backlight the TV picture. An outmoded LCD TV uses fluorescent tubes that aren’t as bright as LEDs and are also more bulky.

So, if you want a svelte TV, one that’s light weight and easy to wall-mount go for an LED TV.

Built-in Freeview HD

There’s standard Freeview and Freeview HD. To future proof your LED TV you want Freeview HD.

You can’t watch HD TV channels with ordinary Freeview.

Motion Clarity Index (MCI) of 100+

Cinema motion pictures used to run at 25-30 frames a second to give us the impression of moving pictures. A television achieves the same thing through its picture refresh rate expressed in Hz. 25-30 frames a second = 50Hz.

Because Hz is a difficult concept, TV manufacturers have come up with the motion clarity index or MCI rating. You’ll see this expressed as 50, 60, 100, or 120 MCI. What you are paying for is doubling the rate at which the image refreshes on the screen.

You might experience this investment as more detail. You may experience less blur in motion like a football match. It might make a better console gaming experience. And a higher MCI might make for better 3D viewing.

Sockets! HDMI 1.4 & USB 2.0 connections

Chances are you will want to connect your TV up to other boxes: DVD players, HD recorders, Console games, your HiFi or your PC.

More than anything else, the answer to the question which is the best LED TV to buy is one word – “sockets”. You’ll want to know that your prospective TV has a range of sockets to enable this:

CI – Common Interface for satellite box
SCART – because you might have some old-fashioned device still in use
HDMI 1.4 for DVD players or HD recorders
USB 2.0 to connect a PC or plug in a USB device, maybe your MP3 player

See also LAN socket here

There are also nice to have like

Digital optical to control the TV with a device like a smart phone
An SD card slot so you can plug in your camera or video SD card

 

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LAN and/or Wireless LAN socket

If you want a SMART TV (one that can connects to the internet) you will need some way to connect the TV to your broadband. You can find out more about SMART TVs here

An Ethernet socket is the most common interface for which you will need an Ethernet cable running from TV to a home-plug network connector or your broadband router or wall socket.

TVs are now coming to market with a Wireless LAN socket – you have to buy a separate dongle that incorporates a wireless card to make this work. A few premium TV manufacturers have gone the whole hog and built-in a wireless card.

DLNA compliance

DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. A TV with this mark suggests that – in theory – a model that can easily accept connections from other digital devices on a plug and play basis.

 

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SMART TV capability

A SMART TV is like a SMART phone, you can watch TV, but you can also go and surf the internet.

We are in the early days of SMART TVs and, like the early smart phones, manufacturers allow limited access to the World Wide Web. Its limited access (usually to specific sites like Facebook or a manufacturer’s “Channel”) because the controlling and input device is the humble remote control.

Actually, you can make any TV a SMART TV with a tiny bit of tech savvy and some common sense.

If you can connect your TV to your broadband and a lap-top PC then you can go surfing, using your TV as a monitor screen. You can then use the laptop keyboard for input.

 

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3D TV

You can watch regular TV on a 3D TV.

To watch in 3D you switch on what’s called the “3D comb” and pop on a pair of 3D polarising glasses.

Today, 3D is a nice to have. In future as more 3D content (and TV broadcasts) come available it will become an everyday TV experience.

Clear Voice Tuning

Clear voice tuning is a handy function for the elderly and hard of hearing.

It allows you to adjust the TV so that voices stand out from background noise.

The right size display for your room

All LED TVs have the same number of pixels (1920 x 1080). That means if you get too close to a 22 inch LED TV the picture will seem less fuzzy than if you are too close to a 60 inch screen.

So, to experience a full-HD TV picture that’s sharp, detailed and in focus you’ll need to sit 1.5 to 2m or more away from the screen.

If you are gaming, typically in a kid’s bedroom, where you are around 1.5 metres from the screen a smaller display will appear sharper.

The moral is a bigger room suits a bigger screen.

A Reliable Best Buy Future-Proof LED Television for You

Wherever you are in the UK Best Buys Compared can help you find the best value family-sized television for your needs.

Best Buys Compared is the practical way to make your money go further.

We interview the people who really know what they are talking about: the owners who’ve forked out for their telly, connected it up and have been watching their LED television for at least 6 weeks or more.

And we also provide a price-checking service so you can get the best for less.

You deserve an adaptable, pin-sharp, full-HD LED TV. That’s a future proof investment. And it’s a television model with the right connection sockets on the back.

We think the Best Buys Compared rolling owner’s surveys will help you quickly answer the question which is the best LED TV to buy? And what accessories might I need…?

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