TV Buying Guide

Finding the perfect TV for you and your family depends on what you love to watch and how you like to watch it.

This buying guide will help to explain the main features that you can find in most televisions and will answer the important questions that will help you to pick the right model for you.

As well as helping you to select the ideal TV, this guide will also walk you through all the accessories you’ll need to complement your new set. With everything from Blu-ray home theatre kits and sound bars to TV stands and wall mounts, our range of accessories will help you build the home entertainment system that is perfect for you.

Screen size

Screen size is measured diagonally from one corner to another, giving you the size of the visible screen, not the surrounding bezel.

What size TV screen should I go for?

Go bigger

As TV designs have developed, many models now feature narrower bezels which means TVs can have larger screens without occupying additional space. A modern 50” TV takes up approximately the same space that a 42” TV would have done in 2008, so it might be worth considering a few sizes up if you’re replacing an older model.

How far away will you be from the screen?

If you’re not sure how big you’ll need, think about where you’ll be watching from. If you can work out how far away you will be, you can use the diagram here to help guide you.

This diagram is a good place to start but it is just a suggestion. Ultimately, the size of your TV comes down to personal preference.

If you need any more help, we have also developed the TV Size Finder app which helps you find the perfect size TV for your room.

Download the app here:

If you’ve already decided on the screen size for you, follow the links below to shop the range.

32” – 39” TVs 40” – 45” TVs 46” – 55” TVs 56” TVs and above Shop full range

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Picture quality

Probably the most important factor to consider when shopping for a new TV, picture quality plays a vital role in finding the ideal television. The key things to consider are:

  • Resolution – this is a count of how many pixels make up the TV screen. Generally speaking, the higher the number of pixels, the more detailed the image on screen will be.
  • Processing rate – this is a measure of how quickly the TV can process the images on screen. A higher processing rate means the image that is displayed will be smoother with less lagging, which is better for fast paced action films, sports and gaming.
What is a 4k TV or Ultra HD TV vs. a Full HD or 1080p TV?

Ultra High Definition or 4k TVs are one of the latest advances in TV technology. They have up to four times the resolution of a Full HD or 1080p set which means that the images they produce are incredibly sharp and much more detailed than a standard model.

A Full HD TV has just over 2 million pixels, with 1920 horizontal and 1080 vertical pixels.

A 4K Ultra HD TV has over 8 million pixels, with a picture that is comprised of 3840 horizontal and 2160 vertical pixels.

These additional pixels help to create a much more detailed image, with more texture, sharpness and greater overall clarity to give you a vastly improved viewing experience. Many premium 4k TVs will also upscale standard content into near 4k quality – look out for models with HEVC video compression for upscaling. The best content to get a true 4k image will need to be shot on a 4k camera but you can still enjoy conventionally shot entertainment on these impressive sets.

See the 4k TVs we range from:

Sony Samsung Panasonic LG

Learn more about 4K Ultra HD TV

What can I watch in 4K Ultra HD?

As more 4k TVs are appearing in the market, more and more 4k content is becoming available to enjoy.

Blu-ray players that upscale Blu-ray discs to 4k quality are now available, whilst 4k Blu-ray discs are scheduled to be available by the end of 2015. Some streaming services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix already offer the chance to stream 4k content. All of Netflix’s exclusive shows are filmed in 4k and there are also 4k videos available on YouTube. To get the most out of these services we would recommend broadband speeds in excess of 20 Mbps to watch them without buffering and you will need a TV with a HEVC decoder to read the compressed files.

Most brands also offer a choice of 4k content as part of the TV operating system. Each brand is different so it is worth researching what they offer, or speak to a colleague in store.

View range of Blu-ray players with 4K upscaling

What are processing rates and why do they matter?

Processing rates in televisions are virtually the same as processing rates in a computer; the more times a scene changes on the screen, the greater the strain that is put on the processor to handle them. Having a higher processing rate means that the television is able to cope with high speed action films, sports and next gen consoles without lagging.

Traditionally, processing rates were always measured in hertz (Hz) but you’ll now find different manufacturers measure them in different ways such as PMI or PQI so comparing across brands can be tricky.

Read more on processing rates

We think picture quality is very important when it comes to buying a new TV.

View the TVs that our experts love

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Technology

TV technology has evolved significantly in the past few years, dramatically improving your viewing experience.

The key things to consider are:

  • Screen technology – LED or OLED? Both technologies provide bright, vivid colours when watching. OLED, however, is the latest in TV technology and produces deeper blacks and a smoother image, along with reduced motion blur.
  • Curved screens – Developed to deliver a more immersive viewing experience for everyone watching, regardless of their viewing angle, as well as offering the latest colour and depth enhancing technology.

Other things to consider are the colour and finish of the bezel and the TV’s base stand.

LED vs. OLED – which is right for me?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes whilst OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes. Both refer to the way your screen pixels are lit to create the colours and contrast of the images on your screen. OLED is the latest technology. The pixels create their own light source to make up the picture. This means that they can turn themselves off completely in order to show the deepest blacks. LED screens, on the other hand, have a backlight which shines through an LCD panel to produce the pictures you see.

OLED TVs

  • Richer and more vivid colours and contrast
  • Lower energy consumption than LED
  • Excellent quality pictures at all viewing angles
  • Screens are generally thinner

LED TVs

  • More choice of TVs as LED is easier to produce
  • Usually cheaper
  • Produces great picture quality

Decided between OLED and LED?

View all OLED TVs View all LED TVs
Why should I think about a curved screen TV?

Curved screen TVs have a science behind them, not just a pretty design, and are shaped to recreate the way our eyes create peripheral vision. Curved screens produce a much more immersive and engaging viewing experience as you use them, creating an image that appears to draw you into the action. To make the most of the curved TVs, the best place to sit is directly in front of it so you can get the full impact of the concave display. This gives you a greater field of view and sense of depth and also vastly improves contrast for an exciting and versatile entertainment solution.

View all curved TVs

Curved screen TV
In a nutshell…
  • Curved screens deliver a more immersive viewing experience
  • Images have more depth and contrast
  • The best experience comes from larger screen sizes (46”+)
  • LED and OLED are both technologies used to light your TV screen pixels, providing rich colours and contrasts. OLED is the latest technology

Decided between curved and flat screen? Shop the ranges here:

View all curved TVs View all flat screen TVs View TVs our experts love

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Smart TV

Smart TVs connect to your home internet connection, allowing you to browse applications and additional content that you may not otherwise have access to. In addition, Smart TVs can often connect to other Smart devices such as phones and tablets, enabling you to easily share content from one device to another.

What is Smart TV and how do I get it?

As well as receiving standard channels, a Smart TV allows you to access online content via the internet using applications (apps) built into the TV. All Smart TVs will have a ‘homepage’ where you can find all of the options available to you. You can stream your favourite TV shows, movies and more and watch on your TV at a time that suits you. All you need is access to your broadband network either via WiFi or Ethernet cable.

View the range our experts love

What can I watch on my Smart TV?

You can watch TV programmes from catch up services such as BBC iPlayer and All 4, as well as movie streaming options from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Different brands have different apps available on their Smart TVs, so check before you buy.

You can also access social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, YouTube for video sharing, plus a whole host of other lifestyle and news apps. Certain TVs also support Skype, which requires a webcam.

Can I connect my TV to other WiFi enabled devices?

Some Smart TVs enable you to connect via WiFi to your smartphone, laptop or tablet allowing you to share your personal content on the big screen. You can also connect devices such as a Smart keyboard or a Smart remote. In many cases your smartphone can become your remote.

Do I still need a Freeview box/ Sky/ Virgin/ NOW TV?

You can stream programmes and films from the Smart apps on the TV but you will not be able to download additional apps, so if you want to record and store programmes for viewing later you will need a Freeview/Sky/Virgin box. NOW TV allows you to watch a selection of Sky programmes or purchase a day pass for selected Sky content such as sports. Having a streaming device, such as NOW TV, gives you the full range of streaming apps.

In a nutshell…
  • Connects to your home internet connection.
  • Gives you free content options, plus access to movies, catch up services and more.
  • The different apps available varies based on the brand you buy.
  • Can connect to compatible devices in your home to share content easily.

Is a Smart TV what you’re looking for?

View the range of Smart TVs

We love having access to the additional on demand and streaming services that Smart TV gives you which is why all the TVs our experts love are Smart.

View the range our experts love

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Sound

The sound you get from your TV should be great, but the reality is that the demand for better picture quality and thinner screens has overtaken the sound quality your TV can produce on its own. Many manufacturers now recommend partnering your TV with a sound bar, home cinema system or soundstage for the ultimate all round experience.

Do I need a sound system for my TV?

All televisions have their own built-in speakers to deliver sound but the comparison between these built-in speakers and custom-designed surround sound speaker systems can be worlds apart. Deep bass, clear treble and room-filling sound to watch your favourite TV and movies are only truly achievable with the support of additional sound devices such as a sound bar, soundstage or home cinema system.

Sound bar, soundstage or home cinema system?

As the name suggests, a sound bar is a long bar shaped speaker that sits beneath your TV on the stand or can be fixed to the wall. We’ve got a large range of wireless sound bars, so you can avoid ugly wires trailing from your TV to the sound bar. Many of them can also be connected to a multi-room speaker system which allows you to wirelessly stream music through your sound bar. A wired or wireless subwoofer enhances the bass and delivers depth of sound.

A soundstage system, on the other hand, provides an all-in-one solution and generally includes a built-in subwoofer.

If you want true surround sound, a home cinema system with both front and rear speakers will really put you at the heart of the action on screen, akin to the sound you experience at the movies.

View all Sound bars View all Soundstages View Home cinema systems
In a nutshell…
  • Your TV’s built-in speakers may not be enough for you if you want really incredible sound.
  • Sound bars are discrete and pack a good punch when partnered with a subwoofer. They look great sitting in front of or beneath large screen TVs. Curved sound bars are also available to match curved TVs.
  • Many sound bars are also compatible with multi-room speaker systems. They will work in conjunction with other speakers around your home, allowing you to stream your music throughout your house.
  • Soundstages are a similar size to a DVD player, and house all the speakers in one system. They look great with smaller screens.
  • Home cinema systems provide the ultimate experience, with front and rear surround sound speakers.

Interested in boosting your TV’s sound?

View all Sound bars View all Soundstages View Home cinema systems

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You might also need

From essential cables to delivery and installation, once you’ve chosen your new TV, we can help with all the extras.

Can you install and set up my new TV?

Our Knowhow team can mount your television to a wall or build your new TV stand. Our installers are experts at the tricky parts of the job, such as embedding cables within brick walls and fitting your sound bar or home cinema system alongside your new TV. Even better, once we have fitted your TV just the way you want it, we’ll even talk you through the features and how to get started so you’re all set when we leave.

For more on our TV services, check out our Knowhow guide.

Should I wall mount my TV or have it on a stand?

A properly wall-mounted TV with the cables embedded looks neat and very stylish, whereas a stand gives you greater flexibility to add your other entertainment devices, such as a Blu-ray player. You’ll need to make sure that the wall is suitable if you choose to wall mount – a cavity wall, for example, is unlikely to take the weight of a large screen TV. If you think you may add more devices to partner with your TV later on then remember, once you have wall-mounted and cabled behind walls, you may have to re-do it to add new devices.

For more on our TV services, check out our Knowhow guide.

What cables will I need for my TV and other devices?

HDMI

HDMI cables are now the standard way to connect your TV to other HD compatible devices, such as a DVD, Blu-ray player or Sky box. Easy to use, both ends of the cable are identical and plug straight into the TV and device.

View the range of HDMI cables

SCART leads

Mostly superseded by HDMI, SCART leads are still the most universal way to connect older devices to your TV. New TVs will usually have one SCART port.

View the range of SCART leads

Optical cables

Transfer the digital audio signal from your TV or games console to a sound bar or surround sound system and enjoy uncompressed high resolution audio with all of your content.

View the range of optical cables

5 year guarantee

Most TVs at Currys PC World come with a minimum one year guarantee, but a five year guarantee is included on our range of premium TVs. Just look out for the 5 year guarantee logo.

The guarantee includes:

  • Protection against mechanical or electrical breakdown
  • We'll fix it or replace it
  • Support from our experts over the phone

View all the TVs with a 5 year guarantee included

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Jargon buster

Screen size | Measured diagonally across the screen in inches. Our large screen range starts from 32” up to 85”.

OLED | The latest in TV technology, OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. Electricity is passed through these diodes in the screen to produce coloured light. This makes up your picture. Because these diodes produce their own light, each individual one can also be turned off, producing true blacks and smoother images.

LED | LED TVs use an LED backlighting panel to shine light through an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, producing the colour and images you can see. LED TVs produce bright vivid colours.

Resolution | This indicates screen quality and is measured in pixels per square inch. The higher the number of pixels, the better the picture.

4K | 4K TVs, also referred to as UHD or 4K Ultra HD TVs, have up to four times the number of pixels than a Full HD TV. A screen needs 3,840 x 2,160 pixels to be considered 4K and will have over 8 million pixels.

Full HD | Also referred to as 1080p. Screens classed as Full HD have over 2 million pixels, made up of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Curved screen | Curved screens are more immersive and are the latest in screen technology, putting you at the centre of the action.

Tuner type | This refers to the built-in digital service the TV receives and allows you to watch free TV channels without the need for a separate box or subscription, such as Freeview, Freeview HD and Freesat HD (satellite). Double tuners will provide both.

Smart TV | This feature allows you to access digital content such as catch up TV and streaming services from the internet via apps.

Processing rates | This refers to the rate at which the picture refreshes. Higher processing rates make the picture smoother and less blurry, perfect for fast paced sports and action films. Rates range from 60 Hz upwards.

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