TV buying guide

We offer a wide range of TVs from the latest 4K Ultra HD curved screen to the more compact sets for smaller rooms. All our televisions are delivered for free, and include a 5-year guarantee for your peace of mind, and you can also buy accidental damage insurance with our Added Care scheme.

Size

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.

When selecting the screen size that's right for you, consider how far you'll be sitting from the screen. All our screens have a widescreen viewing ratio (or aspect ratio) of 16:9, allowing you to see the whole picture as most broadcasts are now transmitted in widescreen.

 

4K UHD TVs provids a much more intimate viewing experience than the older resolution screen, so the most comfortable viewing distance is similar to the way we view films in the cinema – that’s 1.5 screen heights back.

These distances may not always be practical for your home; if not, look to secure your big screen to a suitable wall mount or television stand between six to eight feet away.

 

 
 

Picture quality

HD logo

Full HD

Full High Definition TVs display up to four times the quality of current analogue and digital broadcasts. Full HD gives you a higher screen resolution, which means that it can give you more detail if you plug in a device which kicks out that kind of picture.

Some TVs will take a standard definition signal from a DVD player or the built-in digital tuner, and give it a HD "makeover" through a process referred to as upscaling. While this does make the picture better, you'll fully appreciate the benefit of HD in conjunction with a compatible source such as a Blu-ray player or games console.

Full HD is currently being broadcast in a 1080p format. This format uses a ‘progressive’ scan which assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, a screen resolution of 1920x1080. And as a result, picture detail looks sharper and more defined than 720p and 1080i, especially during fast motion. 

The difference

The best general indicator of what the difference is between HD Ready and Full HD is the picture quality. The picture resolution is made up of lines of pixels that display the picture - the greater the resolution, the higher the picture detail will be.

4K Ultra HD
Ultra HD, also known as 4K, is a new class of high-definition resolution that offers unprecedented picture clarity and detail. Even close up, images are clearer, sharper and more realistic because they're created with 8.3 million pixels – 4 times the pixels of a Full HD screen – so you can sit closer to the screen or view on a larger TV without the picture looking pixelated.

The majority of big-budget films are now being shot in 4K and some television broadcasting companies, including the BBC, have been experimenting with 4K filming for some time now. Currently streaming is the primary way to receive 4K content in our homes, such as via Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime.

You could even create and watch your own content with a 4K HD camcorder. This means that you can shoot in a 4K resolution and watch your footage in the same quality on an ultra-HD TV, when connected with a HDMI cable.

While we wait for more 4K content to arrive, Ultra HD TVs still offer dramatic improvements in picture quality which which you can enjoy on the 4K screen because of upscaling capabilities.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR picture quality offers a deeper, more lifelike display, which boosts 4K and gives you even greater colour and contrast. Without HDR, films and TV shows normally need to have their colour content diluted for less advanced screens, but with HDR you will see everything as originally intended. 

The UHD Alliance

With TV tech constatnly evolving, leading brands have founded the UHD Alliance to agree the top level of 4K viewing. This union of LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony with the likes of Technicolor, Netflix and Twentieth Century Fox set the standard for HDR and award-compliant TVs with the ‘Ultra HD Premium’ sticker.

To hit this mark, TVs must have

  • 4K resolution (four times the pixels of Full HD)
  • 10-bit colour depth (otherwise known as ‘deep colour’)
  • 90% colour space
  • and a minimum contrast range 

These measures make sure new sets deliver the brilliant colour intensity, inky blacks and bright whites needed to channel content as the makers intended. When you see the ‘Ultra HD Premium’ sticker, you’re guaranteed to get the very best home viewing. 

Ultra HD Premium

Cables
If you want to connect your television to a Blu-ray player or games console then you’ll need a HDMI cable. These all-in-one cables carry sound and video signals in a much neater package than older component type cables. Generally speaking, the more that is spent on quality, the more quality signal is transmitted, so be sure to consider your options before purchasing.

Read our TV accessories buying guide 

Screen type

View our OLED TVs
 
View our LED TVs
 

Curved screens

Curved screens improve side angles by bringing the corners of the screen back towards you so no matter where you're sitting, you’ll have the best possible viewing experience, with 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 screen reflections.

Watch the video for more information on Samsung curved screens.

OLED strengths

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

 

 

 

 

 

LED strengths

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

  

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 smart box and broadband connection. Once the network media player is plugged into your TV, friends and family can enjoy your favourite memories, tracks or movies not hunched around a computer.

 

Ways to use media streaming

Media streaming is set to become even easier with the advent of DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible products. DLNA compatibility enables you to access your photos, music and movies from your PC across your home network from a compatible device.  

  • 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.

Tuners

Freeview HD

With a Freeview box, you can enjoy 60 digital television channels and 25 radio stations all for free. No subscription or satellite is required.

Some Freeview HD tuners come with Freeview Play, too. Use it for catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, All 4 and ITV Hub; just connect the box to the internet and you’re ready to go.

 

Freesat HD

Freesat is a satellite service which offers quality, subscription-free entertainment via a set top box or a receiver integrated into your TV. Find out how to get freesat up and running.

 

Freetime
Freetime on Panasonic TVs or in a standalone box enables Smart features in freesat tuners.

These include a Roll Back Guide to let you turn back time and watch programmes you’ve missed, a Showcase section with hand-picked show recommendations, and an enhanced On Demand library.

Use the freesat app to control the TV and plan, record and manage your programmes. 

Sky & Virgin HD

Sky offers 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.

Virgin also offers the option to subscribe to Sky Movies and Sky Sports so you can get up to 16 additional premium HD channels.

Youview
Youview offers a 7-day scroll-back TV guide that brings together catch-up content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5. This way, you won’t need apps or other devices to watch shows you missed as everything is integrated into one screen. It's subscription-free and available built in to Sony TVs, or as a set top box.

There’s also a rich library of On Demand shows, films and radio stations. You can even record, pause and rewind live TV, though this feature is only available on a set top box.

Discovering 3D

3D TVs bring entertainment to life. By wearing specially designed 3D glasses, images are given added depth, making you feel as though you're in the middle of the action.

Sky offers 3D programming presenting exciting sports, movies and entertainment. 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 also be able to turn off the 3D effect in order to watch your programmes and films in 2D.

 

Active 3D typically offers the greater 3D experience. It works by sending two separate images of the same scene simultaneously, one intended for your right eye and one for your left. These images are fused together as a single image when you put on your 3D glasses. and uses glasses which have small LCD screens. They're typically heavier and more expensive than passive glasses, and you'll need to charge them after prolonged use.

Passive 3D glasses create the illusion of depth as they block different kinds of light from each eye.  They're the lightweight  type you may be used to using at the cinema.

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 3D TV and 4K UHD, and the resulting improvement in picture quality, sound has become increasingly important for an immersive viewing experience.

Most TVs feature simple stereo sound or a system that produces a 'virtual' surround sound effect. With TVs getting slimmer and built-in speakers getting smaller - choosing the right sound system is more important than ever. Adding a sound bar or sound base will allow you to recreate those memorable cinematic experiences in your own living room.

A sound bar is for positioning in front of the TV or securing to a wall. Depending on the model, the sound bar will either have a wired or a discreet wireless subwoofer, which enhances bass and depth to the sound quality. 

A sound base is for positioning underneath the base of the TV screen, ideal if space is limited or if you prefer a more discreet sound-enhancing option. The sound base has an integrated sub-woofer which enhances the power of the built-in TV sound.

Visit our home cinema systems on more ways on how you can grow your home entertainment. Read our home cinema buying guide

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: Refers to the 4,000 pixels across a screen's horizontal, compared to 1,080 with full HD
  • 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.
  • Refresh rate: the higher the refresh rate, the more details are retained for a smoother movement across the screen with less blurring and staggering.
  • 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.
  • UHD: Ultra-High Definition television delivers four times as much detail as 1080p Full HD - that's eight million pixels compared to two million pixels.
  • Upscaling: taking the standard definition signal from the digital tuner or Blu-ray player and processing the picture to a much clearer and refined detail.
  • 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.