15th Oct 2012
The budget has been presented and new pricing is out. Luckily, we haven't seen any significant price change in the television segment. Moreover, the summer vacations are here, so if you have kids in your house, it's probably a good time to buy that large screen TV. Different shops are offering discounted prices, and of those products available with special offers, there is the boob tube (aka television). This article is divided into different sections dealing with various parameters, in an effort to help you arrive at the right set for you.
Low-End: Up To Rs 15,000
CRT Or Flat Panel? - Traditional CRT TVs are still available, but their popularity is waning fast. The only reason they still sell well is because they're offered at very low prices. The advantage of CRTs has been the better colour depth they offer, as compared to flat panel displays. Unfortunately, these are the only reasons to buy a CRT. With most companies stopping production, it does not make sense to buy a such a TV today.
Flat panel displays on the other hand occupy lesser space, are not bulky, don't heat up like a CRT, consume less power, can display High Definition (HD) content, and come in widescreen aspect ratio which is poised to replace the 4:3 aspect ratio in the near future. Flat panels are not without cons either — they create a fuzzy image when the video source resolution is different from the panel's native resolution. However, technological advancements have been able to overcome most such issues, leaving you with no other choice but to go for a flat panel TV.
Onida 29 Oxygen 350
MRP: Rs 13,000
Street Price (As On 11-May-2012): Rs 13,000 (Naaptol.com)
This is a considerably compact CRT TV with a good image quality, good looks, and a fair price.
The USPs of this TV set are its excellent image quality, 22" Full HD display, and a good price tag.
MRP: Rs 17,000
Street Price (As On 11-May-2012): Rs 14,500 (Infibeam.com)
Sporting stylish looks with a transparent glass bezel, this product has a 1080p-capable 24" screen. With excellent image quality and good connectivity, its low price tag makes it an attractive purchase.
Mid-Range: Up To Rs 40,000
Pixel Dimensions - Also known as display resolution, it refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels present in the display. There are generally two options available: HD Ready with pixel dimensions of 1366x768, and Full HD with pixel dimensions of 1920x1080. While the former is less expensive, the latter is to be preferred because the more densely packed pixels give a crisper picture. Also, a larger HD Ready display appears noticeably inferior to a Full HD display of the same size, while you may find it hard to notice the difference in quality when the display size is smaller than 32".
USB Movie Playback - USB movie playback is an added bonus with any TV. You can find out about the different video and audio formats supported by the TV via the USB port. In addition to making sure that it supports playback of HD video formats directly from the USB, it must also be able to read NTFS file system, without which you cannot hope to place files larger than 4 GB on the drive, thus taking away the option to play back high quality HD movies. Most of this information can be found on the product page of the TV, while you can find the detailed information by reading online reviews, or by simply downloading the TV manual from its website.
Power Consumption - Plasma TVs tend to consume the most power, while LED-backlit LCD TVs consume the least. However, newer plasma TVs with Neo PDP panels consume noticeably less power than those manufactured a year ago, often approaching the power consumption of an LCD. Moreover, the power consumption of plasma; it consumes less power when the screen displays a dark scene and more when the picture is bright. In case of LCD TVs and LED-backlit LCD TVs, the power consumption remains constant no matter what's displayed on the screen. To be on the safer side, it's better to go for an LCD TV or LED-backlit LCD TV.
This TV sports an attractive styling, in addition to having an LED-backlit panel that consumes less power. It has most of the features you'd want, such as Full HD display, movie playback via USB for multiple formats, multiple connectivity options, and even internet, all at an unmatched price.
With an IPS Alpha panel and wide viewing angles, this Full HD TV is definitely something you should be looking at. It may not have an LED backlight, but it shines when it comes to playing movies. Other notable features include DLNA, internet connectivity, and USB media playback.
High-End: Up To Rs 80,000
LCD, LED-Backlit, Or Plasma? - Flat panel TVs are available in LCD, LED-backlit LCD, plasma, and Rear-projection TV, although I'll leave out the last one due to the lack of popularity and availability. An LED-backlit LCD TV consumes less power than LCDs and plasmas, and is usually brighter than an LCD. However, both LED-backlit and LCD TVs use the same panel types and therefore have the same picture quality. The only difference is the light source, which is an array of LED bulbs in the former and CCFLs in the latter.
Plasma TVs on the other hand, have noticeably better contrast and colour depth, and are available in larger sizes. They are a lot less expensive than the other two types. Apart from the higher power consumption, another possible negative about a plasma TV could be the fact that its glass screen reflects a lot of light, making it difficult to use in bright rooms. However, due to its excellent picture quality, videophiles swear by these TV sets.
Screen Size - Before deciding on the screen size, you must measure up the length and breadth of your living room. The TV has to be placed along the shorter wall of your living room, so you have to first make a note of such practical details as below:
- The possible location of the TV, and whether you will use a pedestal stand or a wall mount.
- The length of the living room is important because as a general rule, the viewer has to be 1.5 times away from the TV's diagonal size. However, this has been found to be subjective because you can watch high-definition movies from a closer distance, and some people like the immersive experience it gives.
This 42" LED TV can play Full HD movies smoothly using the BRAVIA Engine 3. Thanks to the Edge LED backlight technology, this TV sports an ultra-slim attractive design, while the IPS panel ensures wide viewing angles.
This smart TV from Sony's X-Reality series can not only play movies at 1080p, it can do a lot more. Featuring Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, this device lets you chat using Skype and watch internet videos, as well as using Facebook and Twitter.
Plasma TVs may consume more power, but they still display richer picture. The Samsung 51E490 is no exception and at this price point, with stereoscopic 3D display capabilities, it is a steal.
Top-End: Above Rs 80,000
To 3D Or Not To 3D? - This is again a subjective topic, with different people perceiving 3D in different ways. Some may find it amazing and immersive, while others may experience headaches and nausea. If you want to consider buying a 3D TV, it is better to see it at a showroom first along with your family members before deciding to buy one. While it has been more or less standardised with the introduction of Blu-ray 3D format and PC 3D options, 3D technology is still very new, as far as televisions are concerned, and some time is necessary to iron out the remaining chinks. However, if you're hell-bent on buying a 3D TV, it's better to choose one with an option to convert 2D to 3D. A TV with a 3D display is generally 1.5 to 2 times as expensive as a TV with a non-3D display, with the same specifications.
Connectivity Options And Extra Features - The basic connectivity options present in a TV are HDMI port, coaxial port for cable TV, and composite ports. If you have more devices to connect to the TV such as a PC, Blu-ray player, gaming console, and so on, you must opt for a TV with more HDMI ports. Extra features such as internet connectivity, support for various apps, and DLNA certification are an additional bonus, though not a decisive factor.
The Samsung UA46D6000 is a 46" 3D LED TV from Series 6, currently available at a never-before price. It has everything you'd ever want in a TV, and the price is reasonable to boot.
MRP: Rs 165,000
Street Price (As On 11-May-2012): Rs 108,600 (GroupByte.com)
For those who've got the dough to blow, a 60" plasma panel with Full HD 3D and smart functions with Wi-Fi and DLNA is what we have here.
If you want to go an extra 6" further and absolutely over the top, here is my recommendation. Although at a substantially higher cost, you get a complete package with excellent performance and features.
If your home can afford a special screening room for movies, buying a projector makes better sense. Choosing a projector involves several factors such as brightness, maximum projection size, resolution, aspect ratio, weight, and even usage pattern. A brightness of 1000 lumens is common, while it is preferable to go for something that is approaching 2000 so that you do not require a completely dark room to view the projected image. Consumer projector resolution can vary from SVGA (800x600) to 2K (2048x1080), while aspect ratio can be 4:3, 16:10, or 16:9. Needless to say, higher pixel sizes are ideal for HD movies, while just about any projector can suffice for presentation tasks. 3D projectors are also available, but have been excluded due to a lack of availability, high cost, and interest. Projection size and throw is also important and must be considered before purchasing any device. It is better to have as many types of input and output ports as possible. LCD and DLP are the commonly available types of projectors, of which, the former offers sharper and brighter output, while the latter is better for movies.
This projector, based on DLP technology, is good for those looking for a home entertainment setup. It features 1080p video capability, a 2000 lumen lamp, high contrast ratio, and 20 Watt SRS WOW HDTM surround sound. 10-bit processing and adjustable colour management makes it a good choice for watching movies. Capable of projecting an 80" image at a distance varying from 2.5 m to 3.7 m, this makes a it a good buy at a fair price.
Summer 2012 Buyer's Guide: TVs And Projectors
A complete guide to help you choose the best displays.
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