Confused as to which type of TV to buy


Standard Member

Sorry to be basic but I'm a bit behind in all this digital stuff. I have just ordered a Sky+ box and will probably want to move up to HD in the near future. At the moment I have an old CRT Goodman's (don't laugh ) TV and realise I am desperately in need of an upgrade.

I simply want to watch TV and, at some stage, HD movies. Our viewing distance is around 4 or 5 metres from the couch to TV. I am assuming I will need a 42 inch TV for this.

My question is do I go for Plasma or LCD. What are the differences and advantages/disadvantages of each?

Also, I know there are different specs for HD and some TVs really are HD and some are not. Can someone summarise what is the best standard to go for?

Also any comments on models? I have seen Panasonnics which look nice and I know Sony have a good reputation so these are the two I would start to look at, but not exclusively.

Last my budget is around £750 or less if possible.

Hope this doesn't bore you too much but all help is gratefully received :lease:



Distinguished Member
You may want to consider sitting closer than 4 or 5m. To get the maximum benefit out of a high definition screen at a distance of 5 metres requires a 126" screen. On a 42" screen at that distance, unless you have staggeringly good eyesight, you will not be able to see any difference at all between High Definition and a good quality Standard Definition image. Even at 4 metres the difference between SD and HD will be barely visible.


Standard Member
Thanks Nicholas B I will bear it in mind. I could quite easily move the couch forward when viewing so no problems there. I would probably still keep the size at 42inches and would ask the same questions. Any answers to my other questions would be most welcome



Active Member
"My question is do I go for Plasma or LCD. What are the differences and advantages/disadvantages of each?"

These are very general points:

HD Ready: these are TVs that were developed before manufacturers could produce full HD economically.

Full HD: as it says on the box - since you intend to watch HD at some time this looks like the better bet.

LCDs tend to be brighter, use less power, and are cheaper size for size. Because they are brighter it makes them more suitable for watching in brighter conditions. LCD TVs also tend to have poorer black levels - the light in the back makes blacks somewhat "greyish" (this varies very much from model to model/brand to brand). In the future the use of LED backlights may transform black levels in LCDs.

Plasma screens tend to be less bright, but produce better blacks (again varies from model to model/brand to brand). They produced their best images in dark rooms where they would better LCDs. They also tend to be more expensive. Incidentally, they need to be kept vertical at all times.


For LCDs Sony is probably best, and most expensive. Second line brands include Toshiba and Samsung. As for models, these are changed so frequently you'll have to research that for yourself.

For plasma TVs, Pioneer seems to have been the leader for years. Panasonic is the runner-up.

In all cases prices needs to be taken into account to determine value for money. Prices for individual models can vary enormously. When I bought my set it was being sold by Comet at £1300; I paid a little over £700.

I'd also endorse everything NicolasB wrote about size/seating distance. I have a 40 inch set, and sit about 2 1/2 meters away. A 45/50 inch size would have been much, much better, especially for high definition.

Hope this helps.


Standard Member
Hi Phlog and thanks for the response. I am not too sure whether the plasma or LCD would best fit my needs but will go and check them out in the shops. I will probably watch mostly at night but there again not exclusively. Someone at work has told me that LCDs are better up to 40inches or so but after that Plasma is best. Something to do with people moving on screen looking blurred? Anyway, they could be talking rubbish so I will investigate further

Thanks again



Distinguished Member
I wouldn't worry too much about "full HD" (that is, a 1920x1080 resolution picture) if you're only going to be buying a 42" screen. On a screen that size, at a distance of a little over 8 feet, there is no visible difference between 720p and 1080p resolution (that is, between 1280x720 and 1920x1080) unless you have unusually good eyesight.

Unfortunately there is no way anyone can say with certainty that you should buy plasma, or that you should buy LCD; neither technology is unambiguously superior to the other. (If it were, the other tech would have died out by now). I might say that, on average, plasmas tend to have more accurate colours and better black-level (i.e. blacks are darker) while LCDs tend to be cheaper and suffer less from "screen door effect" (i.e. visible gaps between the pixels); but that, frankly, is not helpful information: you shouldn't be buying a specific model on the basis of how other models based on the same technology perform; you should be buying it on the basis of how that specific model performs compared to other TVs with similar specifications and prices, regardless of their underlying display tech.

If you haven't considered the possibility of a larger-screen rear-projection TV (either LCD- or DLP-based) then I suggest you do. :) I'm not saying you should buy one, I'm just saying you shouldn't rule out that possibility until after you've checked it out.


Traditionally plasmas can be better at black levels, and can handle moving images better, LCDs can be a higher resolution and you get a huge choice. The thing is that people making both formats have been throwing money at the respective technologies for years. It's like the whole screen burn issue with Plasmas. Used to be an issue not really now. Same with LCD and motion blurring. The problem with asking on here is some people are convinced that the difference is night and day.

You could say I want to buy a car? Petrol or diesel? Thing is a petrol car can cover anything from a 2CV to a Ferrari and a diesel can be anything from a tractor to an Audi R8. Rather than look at LCD v Plasma focus on finding a TV with a good picture and ignore the technology behind it.


Standard Member
Some interesting and informative points made here. Thanks for the good advice folks. I will investigate the options at my local Curry's this weekend and not rule anything out or in, until I have had a good look



Standard Member
In looking at some of the Sony models I notice that the Bravia series sometimes have an additional "U" at the end eg KDL-40D3000U.

Can anyone tell me what this means please?




Standard Member
Hi I hope this helps with which Television and HD vs SD

I have been looking at the purchase of a new television to receive High-definition television (HDTV) but the more I go into it the more I realise I should wait as I have a perfectly good picture now and really there is very little HD programs to watch.

I have an analogue television, video recorder and dvd recorder. They all give me a very good quality standard definition picture. I can record one program whilst watching a different one. But by Dec 2009 I will need to have converted from the old analogue to either the new freeview digital signal or freesat as the analogue signal will be switched off. Do I convert to freeview digital or freesat, one for the television and one for the dvd recorder. Or do I upgrade to HD?

To stay with standard definition television set. Then it would be just the cost of two freeveiw boxes, £60 at most and I would still have a very good quality standard definition picture.

To convert to high-definition, the cost could be anywhere between £1000-£4000. The picture quality with would be fantastic with high-definition television programs. But the excellent existing picture quality of the standard definition programs must be retained. Television shops are a good place to start with by looking at the picture quality of the televisions with a standard definition signal. In fact the standard definition picture quality on many of the high-definition HD ready television set that I have seen are at the very best only equal to my old television set with many nowhere near as good.

HD ready televisions do not have HD high-definition tuners. They only have SD analogue and standard definition freeview digital tuners. High-definition television (HDTV) may become true HD televisions with built in HD tuners as more HD programs become available and are transmitted.

So to get HD programs on the HD ready television an additional HD box will need to be purchased. Either a Sky box, HD freesat box, and when made a HD freeveiw box. To watch one program and record a different program then a dual HD PVR will be required. Or another box will need to be purchased. One to watch program1 in HD on the television and one to record program 2 on the dvd recorder.

So lets look at what HD programs are available “NOW”.

Sky. To receive the Sky service you need a Sky HD box, satellite dish and SKY subscription. Unfortunately it is a very expensive service which will cost at least £299 for the box and set-up and £642 a year subscription if you want all the HD channels.

High-definition television (HDTV) on Freesat from the BBC/ITV. The only HD program is the limited BBC HD channel. Not BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4 and ITV. More HD channels will come between now and 2012.

High-definition television (HDTV) on Freeview.

Freeview viewers across the UK will be able to watch high definition TV channels possibly as early as next year, media regulator Ofcom and the BBC Trust announced on the 3rd of April 2008. New technology and a reorganisation of the way channels are allocated on digital terrestrial television platform will free up space for four Freeview HDTV services. The first three HD channels will be available as digital switchover takes place in the Granada TV region in the north-west of England and subsequent regions from 2009. All four HD channels should be available across the country by the time digital switchover is due to be completed in 2012.

Do you need a new television now! Or can you wait a year or so to hopefully buy one fully intergatted like it is now with the analogue transmission.



Standard Member
Thanks for the detailed reply, Frank. While I am extremely grateful for it, I am, unfortunately, in the position of having to get a TV pretty soon, the current one being on its last legs. If I have to buy another box down the line I will have to bite the bullet. The main reason I wanted HD was to watch DVDs rather than subscriber content from Sky or content from Freesat.

After some wrangling with a few options, I have decided to go for the Sony KDL-40D3000 which I managed to locate online. This set is big enough for my needs and seems to have received positive reviews. It also has the Motion+100HZ thing which hopefully will deal with my concerns re juddering on action sequences. I have seen the simialr ( but without Motion+) "V" model and the picture looked terrific to me so I'm assuming the one I have now ordered will do the trick.

If I am wrong on any of this or am making a terrible mistake, perhaps people will let me know?

Anyway, thank you to everyone for their kind help :thumbsup:



Standard Member
No I was going to buy a Blu-Ray player. HD wasn't the main thing, and I really wanted a good SD television to replace the old Goodmans. I had put off getting Sky until I got a reasonable screen to watch it on.

Anyway, the situation has changed. I had Sky round today to connect Sky+ but he gave me the bad news that he couldn't connect because of trees round the house. A bummer because our neighbours have it without issue.

Anyway, I'm not in a Freeview area either so it looks like I'm stuffed :thumbsdow

I'm not sure what to do now


PS if you are suggesting that there are better options for watching the old analogue channels could you give me some ideas? Thanks


Distinguished Member
I presume you've looked into the possibility of Cable?

If you want more than the standard 5 off-air channels you could maybe look into BT Vision or Homechoice or Tiscali TV or something like that. There is some HD stuff on cable, I think, but not much. Freesat also has HD stuff on it, but if you can't get Sky then I don't imagine you can get Freesat either.


Well-known Member
Try getting an independant satellite installer round, not blaming them totally but most of the contract installs sky hands out are paid a fixed fee per install (as little as £20 in some cases) so if your install is tricky, (obstructing trees etc etc) they often throw in the towel as they just don't carry anything but the standard mount and bracket and there is no incentive fro them to take the time to sort things.

After 4 months and 4 failed attempts at installing a dish at my old address an independent had it all up and working less than an hour after I called him.

A custom installer will cost you more but I bet they manage to put the dish up no problem, even if it has to go on a pole mount to raise it so it has a good line of sight past the treees.


Standard Member
Well Andy, funny you should say that but I have had an independent round and he has it on a pole and says the signal is very good. I have Sky coming round on Friday to try another install. Fingers crossed!

Funnily enough though, the guy who said he couldn't install it was actually a full time Sky employee. I would have thought he was more incompetent than worried about his pay.

It cost me £50 and I will be talking to Sky about this if it all works out on Friday.

Nicolas, I couldn't get cable or the others you suggested either.

I am hoping it all goes well on Friday.

This means I am still looking for a TV that will be mainly used for SD broadcasts and DVD but with the potential of good Blu-Ray playback.

Can anyone advise. At the moment I am pretty much set on the Sony KDL - 40D3000.

Thanks to all


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