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LCD TV Shopping Guide

With dozens of television brands and models on the market, shopping for an affordable quality LCD TV can be a daunting task. This easy to read, step-by-step guide is designed to help you eliminate frustrating purchasing decisions by explaining how LCDs stack up against other types of TVs. Whether you're deciding between Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sharp or Philips, Dealio will help you narrow your search so you can find the best LCD TV that fits within your budget and suits your particular needs.

Why a LCD?

LCDs offer the crispest, color-rich picture of any type of flat panel television on the market. Not only are LCDs easier to watch, but also are more compact than bulkier rear projection models. Simply put, you can put them just about anywhere. LCDs also offer excellent color quality in all types of light (even very bright light conditions), and offer a smoother picture absent of glaring. If you're looking to use your television for computer applications, LCDs won't burn-in static images like flat panel plasma models can, and they also display more colors and operate at a higher resolution than other types of televisions.

LCD TV Features

(1) View angle

View angle is the area in front of the screen that allows you to view a picture without distortion. Most LCD TVs have a view angle between 160 and 170 degrees. Preferably, you'll want to choose a television closest to a 170-degree view angle, which will make it possible to see a perfect image at virtually any angle around your TV.

(2) Black level

Black level is the ability for your LCD to produce the color black. This may sound trivial, but the reality is that some LCDs display the contrast better than others. The only way to test a LCD for the black level is to watch a demo unit and see which model provides the best contrast in a dark scene. Pay close attention to the black level at different view angles, as it can drastically influence how rich the color black appears on the screen. If the color black appears more "washed out" as you increase the view angle, you may want to avoid purchasing that model.

(3) Burn-in

While other flat panel TVs are prone to burn-in (particularly plasmas), LCD TVs do not. Burn-in occurs when the picture is kept paused for a long period of time. The consequence of this is an unsightly "ghost" effect, which can compromise the quality of the picture for the life of your television. Fortunately, this problem is virtually non-existent with LCD televisions.

(4) Speakers

Some LCD TVs may not come with wing speakers. Make sure you look for LCD TVs with speakers, or take into account the added expense of purchasing new ones, as it will almost certainly add to the cost.

(5) Durability

LCDs are the longest lasting flat panel televisions on the market and much more durable than plasmas. On average, LCD TVs last about 100,000 hours, but it's important to check the manufacturer's claim to determine how many hours the television you select can be operated.

(6) Glare

Glare occurs when light in a room reflects off the television screen back to you. The resulting effect is a faded picture. Although glaring is common in many rear projection TVs due to their curved screen, a flat screen LCD model can virtually eliminate this kind of problem.

(7) Price

In general, LCDs are the most expensive television on the market. Although the prices have been dropping and are expected to match those of less expensive plasmas, your best bet is to use the Dealio Toolbar to make LCD TV price comparisons so you find the lowest price LCD TV that meets you standards of quality.