TV buying guide

We know that choosing a TV – or even creating a shortlist – can be difficult. With so many brands, sizes and features available, there’s definitely a lot to consider and that’s why we’ve created our buying guides.  

Whether you want to be the envy of all your friends with a home cinema experience to be proud of or looking for a smaller TV to cook along with your favourite chef, we’re sure to have the ideal television for your needs and budget. We’ve broken down the key things to keep in mind when deciding on your new purchase so that you can get bite-sized advice without leaving your sofa.

We all want the biggest screen we can afford but, with screen sizes ranging from 24” to more than 82”, what you really need to consider is what the best screen size is for your space. A massive screen with a lower resolution, operating only in SD (Standard Definition), may be too much for smaller rooms. Virtually all of our screens are now 4k or 8k and, with Ultra High Definition, the actual distance you sit from the screen doesn’t matter as much as it used to.

Even so, the general rule of thumb for getting your screen size right is that you want to position your seating about 1.5 times the screen size away. So, if your seating is between six and seven feet (72-84”) from your TV, then a great screen size for that room is 48-55” (measuring diagonally, from corner to corner).

Screen type refers to the way the image is projected onto the screen. When you think of a TV picture, you may not appreciate just how much the technology has advanced. Long gone are the old cathode-ray tubes, which were replaced by plasma and LCD displays. In turn, LCD screens were replaced by LED screens.

LED TV Screens - Lit by Light Emitting Diodes (LED), they are easier and cheaper to produce than the premium OLED and QLED screens so there’s often a wide range of affordable TVs to choose from. Just because they are cheaper doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on a decent picture; these LED displays still provide a good quality image that helped pave the way for the more premium models you see on our shelves.

OLED Screens - OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode with the technology using organic compounds that glow when a current is applied. This means that there’s no backlighting to light up the image from behind, allowing each individual pixel to create its own light. This also creates a true “black” image on the screen as the black pixel would actually be switched off.

QLED Screens - These combine Quantum Dot technology with the more standard LED screens. Quantum dots are tiny (really tiny; between two and 10 nanometres in diameter), which makes them able to create more heavily-saturated and precisely defined primary colours from blue LEDs than you can get from the relatively broad light spectrum produced by white LEDs.

DLED Screens - These types of TVs are backlit from directly behind the screen as opposed to being lit from the edges (edge-lighting). This is more economical and allows it to dim more precise areas for improved picture quality. You may also see this called ‘full-array local dimming’.

Neo QLED Screens - The latest evolution in QLED technology, Samsung’s Neo QLED displays use smaller ‘mini-LED’ lights in the backlight array. This gives them more versatility in dimming smaller sections of the screen resulting in a more accurate, true-to-life image.

NanoCell Screens - This display panel technology is the latest TV offering from LG. It enhances red and green colours to create more vibrant images while filtering out dull shades.

Generally speaking, the higher the resolution = the more pixels you have = a better picture displayed on your screen. ‘Full HD’ has quickly become the basic standard of viewing at 1080p resolution. Building on this, Ultra HD (UHD) takes image clarity to a whole new level and gives you the choice of either 4K or 8K. Both have the same aspect ratio of 16:9 but 4K UHD has a resolution of 8.3 megapixels, which is four times the number of pixels used in the Full HD format. For reference, 8K UHD produces an incredible 33.2 megapixels and is the rough equivalent of an IMAX film or 16 times the pixel resolution of Full HD.

  • Full HD TVs
  • 4K UHD TVs
  • 8K UHD TVs

The bezel area is the “frame” surrounding the TV screen. Older TVs had a rather thick bezel but today’s TVs have never been smaller or thinner so that your screen size is pretty much all picture. Technology has come so far, in fact, that, when not in use as a TV in the traditional sense, lifestyle TVs can blend in with your home décor (matching your paint colour or wall-covering), appear transparent, or even act as a frame to incredible works of art.

Connecting your TV to your home internet connection has never been easier than with a Smart TV. A new level of entertainment, it enables you to stream movies, TV shows and access a world of online content without the use of another device. This is done either directly through applications like Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD - or through joint services like Freeview Play. Services such as these give access to thousands of films, boxsets and television series at the push of a button, but access may require a subscription.

That isn’t all – Smart TVs can be used to enhance your surroundings such as Samsung’s Frame TV. This uses cutting-edge technology to camouflage the TV to its surroundings using 'Art Mode' or display your favourite artwork to add more sophistication to the room. Smart TVs can also be used to boost images by detecting and analysing elements before upscaling them to the highest resolution possible. A good example of this is the Sony Bravia XR range which is the world’s first TV to include cognitive intelligence in the form of the Cognitive Processor XR.

The easy way to receive free digital TV channels, plus radio and interactive services… and all without the need to pay subscription fees. Examples of these include Freesat, Freeview and YouView.

Just like a computer, tablet or smartphone, your TV has an operating system (OS). The operating system does a number of things as it is the software in smart TVs and set top boxes that allows you to access and control the advanced features as well as other connected devices. TV operating systems allow you to browse, not just terrestrial or cable TV, but also to access on-demand video services. These can also be used to access pictures, videos or music content on connected storage devices.

One of the more popular operating systems, Google TV adds Chromecast services and voice search to your TV. Combining all of your entertainment and streaming in one place, it is easy to navigate with the benefit of being able to control your compatible smart devices around without leaving the sofa.

Meaning ‘High Dynamic Range’, it increases the contrast between the darkest blacks and the brightest whites to make sure that you never miss a detail.

Did you know that many of our products are also available for rental? Enjoy the latest tech with low, monthly payments and regular opportunities to upgrade, find out more about Hughes Rental here.