Buying a 32 inch TV can be a daunting task and what you see in the shop in terms of picture quality is sometimes not what you want at home. To make sure you get the best possible TV for your needs you need to take your time and think about what it is you need. The most important aspect of any TV has to be the picture quality. When it comes to LCD TVs it is important that you understand the technology and its plus points and negatives.
LCD TVs are available in a range of screen sizes from as small as 19 inches or less, to more than 55 inches at this present time. The most popular screen size for an LCD screen is 32 inches which fits with most small British living room or bed room environments and viewing distances.
LCD TVs are cheap to make and as such the price of the technology has fallen on the high street meaning that the old CRT types of TVs are now no longer available to buy. The price drops are due to the mass production capabilities of the technology, especially at smaller screen sizes.
32 inch LCD TVs use a backlight behind an LCD panel. This backlight is on at all times and the pixels close to block the light and provide the colour of black on screen. They use the traditional RGB colour system to create white and the primary and secondary colours visible to the human eye.
LCD panels were originally designed for static images such as PC monitors and as such offer lots of light output which suits most viewing rooms that are bright during the day and where lights are used in the evening.
LCD TVs are a proven technology, which offer bright and colourful images in most viewing environments. Most are reliable and offer many years of viewing.
All major manufacturers (Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, LG, Sharp, Panasonic, Etc.) make LCD TVs, mainly at screen sizes under 42 inches.
Traditional 32" LCD TVs use tube lighting called CCFL which takes up some room behind the LCD panel.
Newer 32" LCD Televisions use LED lights for the backlighting and when edge positioned this allows LCD TVs to be very thin.
Almost all LCDs offered for sale in the UK are now Full HD 1920 x 1080 and have Freeview HD tuners as standard.
LCD TVs can suffer from poor motion and produce blurry images with fast moving action on screen. Most now come with motion compensation technology which improves this, but at the cost of natural motion in most cases. The average LCD TV will resolve around 300 lines of resolution with movement on screen, i.e. it loses detail when things move.
Because it uses a backlight (CCFL or LED) black levels in most cases will look dark grey than black. Some LCD TVs have global dimming technology or dynamic contrast controls that try to improve black levels by adjusting the image/backlight brightness to compensate. Full LED backlights with Local dimming can produce blacks well as the lights switch off, but sometimes add in other issues like haloing (where a white block on a black background has light around the edges where the LEDs cannot be switched off).
Backlights can also cause issues with watching an LCD TV from an angle off the centre axis. If you move to the side of the TV either vertically or horizontally the image brightness changes and becomes washed out. This is worth testing when looking at a TV and in relation to where the TV and seating will be in your living room. IPS-Alpha LCD Panels are known for their better off axis viewing, but do not have blacks as good as a VA LCD Panel. You may want to try and see both in action to see the effects.
Viewing in dark surroundings with no lights on is a weak point for LCD TVs due to the backlight. This shows up issues such as banding, or clouding, where the light coming from the TV is not uniform across the screen and looks like blotches. Blacks also suffer in such environments on LCD TVs and if this is how you want to view your TV, you should perhaps look at Plasma instead.
If you are going to use your LCD TV for video gaming it is also worthwhile trying to find out what the lag time of the TV processing is. You can do this by reading reviews where such things are tested, or by taking your games console to TV demos and check for yourself.
If you want advice on which 32 inch LCD TV suits your needs, how much to pay for it, where to buy it from and how to set it up, ask in the LCD TV forum.