TV buying guide

John Lewis offers a wide range of TVs, from the latest  4K Ultra HD large screens to compact sets for your kitchen or bedroom. We hope this guide will help you identify the perfect model that's right for you. All our televisions are delivered for free and include a 5-year guarantee for your peace of mind. View our range of  televisions.

Size and space

Blu-ray playershome cinema systems and HD broadcasting have now become commonplace within the home, and the demand for larger screen TVs has grown right along with them. TVs can now be as thin as an inch, making it easy to save you precious space in your living area or bedroom.

When selecting the screen size which is right for you, it's important to consider the space in your room and how far away you will sit from your TV. Full HD 1080p sets can be viewed in the finest details at a closer distance than HD ready sets. The optimum viewing distance for a HD Ready 40-inch TV is 2.2m compared to just 1.6m for a Full HD 1080p model. All of our sets will have wide viewing angles that will enable friends and family to enjoy the action wherever they are sitting in the room.

The visible screen size is the standard by which all televisions are measured. The measurement in inches is taken diagonally from one corner of the screen to the other. All of our screens have a widescreen viewing ratio (or aspect ratio) of 16:9. This will allow you to see the whole picture as most broadcasts are now transmitted in widescreen.

Wall mounting

Save even more space in your home by wall mounting your TV. There are a number of options available for you to choose from, helping you find the accessory to meet your viewing needs.

The fixed wall mount is the most basic type of TV wall mount. It allows the TV to be placed as close to the wall as possible, with just enough room behind it to install the cables. You'll need a good-sized wall area to allow the TV to be placed in exactly the right aspect and height for your viewing position.

Similar to the above, the tilting wall mount is fixed against the wall, however it will allows you to tilt the TV around 15 degrees vertically. This is useful when you have to install it higher than you'd ideally want, for example above a fireplace. It allows you the flexibility to adapt your TV angle when you've moved your seating arrangements or even to reduce the glare from a window.

Partial articulating wall mounts allow screens to be installed in the corner of your room. Your TV can be brought away or tucked back flat against the wall, as well as letting you position it towards the left or the right.

If you want a fully articulating mount which will enable you to move the screen to whatever position you want, view our fully articulating wall mounts. They can stay flat against the wall or extended out towards the room, turn fully left or right and titled up or down.


Why wall mount your TV?

Style

Wall mounting creates a contemporary feel and is a great way of managing and optimising room space, especially in smaller rooms.

Safety

You can easily position screens out of the reach of small children and pets, reducing the risk of accidental injury or serious harm caused by tipping TVs.

Security

A securely wall mounted TV is a much harder target for thieves than if it were sat on a TV stand.


If you wish to mount low down at eye level, opt for a Flat to Wall TV Mount. These mounts offer the lowest profiles and take up the least space.

If you need to mount your TV slightly higher on the wall, above eye level, on a chimney breast for instance you'll need to purchase an Adjustable Tilt TV Mount. These sit slightly further from the wall than a flat mount, but offer the ability to tilt the screen forward, allowing you to achieve better viewing angles and avoid screen glare.

Owing to space constraints and the position of TV aerial plugs, the most common place to have a TV in a living room is in the corner. If you want to mount your TV in a corner you'll need a Multi Position TV Mount. These have articulating arms that allow you to pull the screen away from the wall and turn it in any direction. Multi position mounts also work on flat sections of wall, enabling you to adjust the screen position and achieve a perfect view from wherever you're sitting.

OLED, LED and plasma

View our LED TVs
 
View our Plasma TVs
 
View our TV special offers

Our range of TVs will provide you with a truly cinematic experience right in the comfort of your own home. Slim designs mean they're perfect for sitting on stylish TV stands or to be wall mounted with our range of wall brackets.

Smaller screens are also ideal for use as a computer display, providing they have a PC input. We've highlighted some of the key differences between OLED, LED and plasma below.

OLED strengths

  • Brighter colours
  • Higher contrast
  • Realistic blacks
  • Faster refresh rates

LED strengths

  • Energy efficient
  • Thinner models
  • Light weight
  • Displays darker blacks

Plasma strengths

  • Larger screen availability
  • Produces high contrast ratios and render deeper blacks
  • Colour accuracy and saturation
  • Good for motion tracking (little or no lag in fast-paced action)

Curved screens

curved screens

Most of the benefits of curved displays come from being in the ‘sweet spot’: the right balance between distance and position. Here you can enjoy an almost wrap-around effect as the screen fills more of your vision. You’ll also have each part of the screen an equal distance from the eye which helps to create the impression that the screen is larger than it is. As a bonus, the concave design helps to cut down on annoying screen reflections.

Curved screens improve side angles by bringing the corners of the screen back towards you so no matter where you are sitting, you’ll see the best possible viewing experience.

The high definition revolution

The introduction of high definition (HD) television was hailed as the biggest thing to happen in TV broadcasting since the change from black and white to colour. You'll notice a huge difference with high definition TVs as they display up to 4 times the quality of current analogue and digital broadcasts. The level of detail is astonishing with clearer, sharper and more vibrant images.

HD logo

How it works

The best general indicator of TV picture quality is screen resolution. The resolution is made up of lines of pixels that display the picture. The greater the resolution the higher the picture detail will be. The resolution of a standard definition broadcasts is 576i (576 lines of 720 pixels each). HDTV is broadcast in 3 different formats: 1080i , 720p and, most recently, 1080p.

  • 1080i uses an 'interlaced' system which breaks the image into 2 fields and displays 'odd' and 'even' fields alternatively.
  • 720p uses a 'progressive' system which displays each frame of the image as a whole.

4K Ultra HD and Full HD 1080p

4K Ultra HD has overtaken 1080p as the purest form of high definition that a television can display. With a 4K Ultra HD image, the information that makes up an image is four times more detailed than Full HD. This leads to a smoother, more film-like image, which will satisfy sports and movie lovers alike.

What you need

In order to enjoy the benefits of HDTV you'll first need an OLED, Plasma, or LED TV that is labelled 'HD ready' , 'HD 1080p' or 4K Ultra HD. A TV may be labelled 'HD ready' if it meets the following criteria:

  • It must have a minimum resolution of 720 lines in wide aspect ratio.
  • It must support both 720p and 1080i formats
  • It must have a HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) or DVI (Digital Video Interface) input that supports HDCP (copy protection)
  • It must be compatible with analogue HD sources (e.g. camcorders)

Upscaling

Some televisions will take a standard definition signal from a DVD player or the built-in digital tuner, and give it a HD "makeover". While this does make the picture better, the benefit of HD is appreciated fully when used in conjunction with a compatible source such as a Blu-ray player.

HDMI cables

To get the best from your HD television you’ll need to use an HDMI cable when connecting it to receivers, Blu-ray players and games consoles. These all-in-one cables carry sound and video signals in a much neater package than older component type cables.

    There are several different classifications of cable depending on what type on signal they can handle:
  • Standard HDMI (1080i, 720p)
  • Standard HDMI with Ethernet (as above but with support for networking)
  • High Speed HDMI (1080p, 4K, 3D)
  • High Speed HDMI with Ethernet (as above but with support for networking)

Freeview, Freeview HD, freesat and Sky

Freeview HD

Freeview HD will enable you to watch all your regular standard definition Freeview channels as well as the following dedicated hi def channels: BBC HD, BBC One HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD, S4C Clirun (in Wales where Channel 4 HD doesn't broadcast) and STV HD (in Scotland where ITV HD doesn't broadcast). There's no subscription and no satellite dish.

 

freesat

freesat lets you experience the brilliance of subscription-free high definition TV and much, much more. Discover what's on offer and how to get it – you'll soon be putting your feet up and enjoying a wealth of entertainment.

Find out how to get up and running

 

Free time

Free time brings new features to freesat, including: a Roll Back Guide that lets viewers ‘turn back time’to watch programmes that have already been on, a Showcase section providing handpicked programme recommendations and enhanced On Demand and recordings.  The freesat mobile companion app offers the ability to plan, record and manage programmes to watch and directly control the TV.


Sky HD

Sky offer the widest range of HD programmes in the UK. The Sky HD box includes Sky+ functionality that allows you to record 2 channels at the same time and lets you pause and rewind live TV. You can order Sky HD in our department stores now.

Discovering 3D

3D TVs bring entertainment to life before your eyes. By wearing specially designed 3D glasses, images are given added depth, making you feel as though you're in the middle of the action. Glasses-free 3D TVs have also started to appear, meaning that you can dispense with specs altogether, sit back and enjoy immersive 3D viewing in total comfort. 3D programming is available from Sky, presenting sports, movies and entertainment in all their glory. You can also enjoy all your favourite movies on a compatible 3D Blu-ray player.

3D TVs will allow you to watch both 3D and 2D video content as they use the same electronic video processing systems to display the images. You'll even be able to turn off the 3D effect in order to watch your programmes and films in 2D.

There are three types of 3D: Active, Passive and Glasses-Free (or 'auto-stereoscopic'). The former typically offers the greater 3D experience and uses glasses which have small LCD screens. They're typically heavier than passive glasses and will require charging after prolonged use. They're also more expensive than passive glasses, which are more lightweight and thus more comfortable for extended 3D viewing.

How does it work?

Active 3D works by sending two separate images of the same scene simultaneously, one intended for your right eye and one for your left. These full-size images occupy the entire screen and appear intermixed with one another, appearing blurred for viewers not wearing 3D glasses. When you don the glasses, you'll perceive these two images as a single 3D image, a process known as 'fusing' and the illusion of depth is created.

Passive 3D glasses block different kinds of light from each eye, creating the illusion of depth. For those who have experienced 3D films at your local cinema, this is passive 3D.

Glasses-free 3D requires the TV to project differing images to each eye which then merge to create a 3D effect. This is similar the techniques used by the other two methods, but a special lens in the TV panel takes care of the glasses' job of fusing the images together.

What do I need?

To watch 3D in your home you'll require a 3D ready TV, a 3D source such as Sky 3D or a 3D compatible Blu-ray player3D glasses for your TV set and a compatible HDMI cable to transfer the 3D signal to your TV.

Sound quality

With the advent of high definition TV and Blu-ray and the resulting improvement in picture, sound has become increasingly important to complete a satisfying viewing experience. Most TVs feature simple stereo sound or a system that produces a 'virtual' surround sound effect.

Adding a separate home cinema system or sound bar will allow you to recreate the cinematic experience in your living room. They often contain a powerful subwoofer positioned behind the set and further satellite speakers to be positioned around the room for a richer, more detailed sound. Visit our Home Cinema Systems

SMART TV and media streaming

SMART TVs bring you the best of the web straight to your television screen by seamlessly streaming online content through your broadband connection. With no need for a PC, you can access a world of online video entertainment direct from the comfort of your sofa, via your TV screen and trusty remote control.

If you don't own a SMART TV already, you'll need a network media player, a wireless router and broadband connection. Once the network media player is plugged into your TV, friends and family can enjoy your favourite memories, tracks or movies from the comfort of the living room sofa, not hunched around a computer.

Media streaming is set to become even easier with the advent 
of DLNA compatible products. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatibility is the ability to access your photos, music and movies from your PC across your home network from a compatible device. For instance, you could play your friends the latest MP3 track you've just downloaded, even though your computer is upstairs in the spare bedroom.

Ways to use media streaming

  • Watch movies: stream favourite DVDs or downloaded movies from your PC to your big-screen TV in the living room.
  • Watch a family slideshow: access your entire digital photo library and view all your pictures on TV.
  • Listen to entire music playlists: free up the music on your PC and listen to it in the living room via the TV's sound system.
  • Watch videos from YouTube or catch up with the latest on demand services from BBC iPlayer and 4oD, all on your large screen.
  • Choose from a huge number of internet radio stations: access them via remote control from the comfort of your armchair.

TV installation services

Setting up and installing a new TV can be a time-consuming process and sometimes a bit of a headache, even for those with technical know-how.

So, if you simply don't have the time or inclination to set it all up, one of our technology consultants can help. We've an extensive menu of at home support services to get you up and running with the minimum of fuss. Services cannot be booked online – please visit or call your nearest shop to make a booking.

Find out more about our TV installation services

Glossary

  • 100Hz: high frequency rate that helps eliminate flicker.
  • 3D: displays compatible media with a third dimension. Available in passive, active or glasses-free versions.
  • 4K Ultra HD: a display standard with four times the detail of Full HD
  • Ambient light sensor: maintains a constant contrast level, even if the lighting in the room changes.
  • Aspect ratio: the ratio of image width to image height.
  • Auto tuning: automatically tunes in the channels that an aerial can receive.
  • Auto label: identifies and labels the pre-set channels.
  • BBE: reduces distortion in the sound signal.
  • Brightness: measures the quantity of light emitted from the television screen. A higher level of brightness produces a bolder and more vibrant picture. An average brightness is 500cd/m2.
  • Component lead: produces a better picture from your DVD player than a standard composite lead.
  • Composite lead: standard connection to a VCR/DVD player (see Component lead and S-Video lead).
  • Contrast ratio: the higher the contrast ratio of a television the deeper and richer the picture will be. This is the measurement of the difference in light intensity between the brightest possible white and the darkest possible black. An average contrast ratio is 500:1.
  • Digital comb filter: separates combined colour and black and white picture information to provide a sharp picture.
  • Dolby Digital 5.1: It boasts 5 separate channels, plus a sixth bass (hence the 5.1). Particularly suitable if you watch a lot of DVDs, you can also enjoy great sound on your Xbox or Playstation.
  • Dolby ProLogic: Most programmes broadcast this way. Featuring a five speaker system - left, right, centre and 2 mono speakers - you'll be able to enjoy the benefit.
  • Dolby ProLogic II: similar to the ProLogic, but with a fuller rear channel range. It also works on 2 modes: 'movie' or 'music', for an enhanced sound experience.
  • Fastext: updated version of Teletext that uses coloured keys on a remote as shortcuts to particular pages.
  • Frame rate: the higher the frame rate the less flicker you'll see on the screen. The rate is measured in Hertz (Hz).
  • freesat: satellite-based subscription-free service with over 150 channels on offer. Viewable through an integrated tuner or separate receiver.
  • Freeview: free digital service offering over 30 channels through an integrated digital television or a separate freeview digital receiver.
  • HDMI: (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) a connector which delivers high definition signals from your satellite receiver, DVD/Blu-ray player, games console or home cinema system directly to your TV.
  • HDTV: high definition television.
  • Memory card/SD slot: lets you plug your memory card, taken from your digital camera or camcorder, straight into your TV, then play back all your files in style.
  • Multi system TV tuner: lets you view the television in some other countries.
  • NICAM stereo: simple, clear stereo sound that comes from twin, built-in speakers. Providing you have the right connections you can always upgrade to a separate sound system.
  • NTSC: compatible with American TV and video recordings.
  • OLED: a fast, vivid and energy efficient TV panel technology
  • PAL (Phase Alternative Line): the television system used in most European Countries.
  • Parental lock/child lock: Lets mums and dads lock out unsuitable content for children.
  • Picture-in-picture/dual screen: on-screen features that allow programmes to be viewed simultaneously (one full screen, the other in a smaller window).
  • Pixels: 'picture elements' are the small graphic units that make up the picture. The greater the number of pixels, the better the resolution.
  • Power output: amount of energy produced by a component.
  • Progressive scan: all horizontal lines of the frame are shown in one go. This delivers a superior picture from a DVD or video player.
  • Resolution: screen resolution is a good general indicator of picture quality. The screen is made up of thousands of pixels, the greater the amount of pixels the better the quality of picture will be.
  • RMS (Root Mean Square): often used to measure the power output of a device. Provides a realistic measure of the output rather than the peak.
  • SCART (Syndicat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs): connector that transfers pictures and sound to the TV.
  • SECAM: television system used in France.
  • Sleep timer: allows the TV to turn itself off after a set amount of time.
  • SRS TruSurround sound: the effect of Dolby Surround Sound using only the two front speakers.
  • Subwoofer: a speaker that reproduces very low frequencies.
  • Virtual Dolby: clever system that distributes the sound around the room from the twin, built-in speakers. This gives an effect similar to surround sound.
  • Visible screen size: diagonal measurement in cm from one corner of the screen to the other.