Advice Guide

Before you buy a new TV

by Andrew Laughlin Back to advice guides

With 3D, smart TV and 4K all available depending on your budget, our guide helps you cut through the jargon and find the right TV for you.

Just want to see great TVs? Check out our expert and independent TV reviews to find the right one for you.

Buying a new TV

From cheap TVs that will keep the whole family happy to large-screen TVs that give you a cinema experience from the comfort of your sofa, there are hundreds of televisions available. While the level of choice is great, it can make choosing a TV feel overwhelming. Here, we consider the key questions you need to ask yourself when buying a new TV to help make the decision simpler.

And once you’ve decided on the type and size you want to buy, check out our TV reviews - we rigorously test the latest TVs in every category to enable you to choose the best model for you and your household.

Best Buy TVs - discover the models that have excelled in our unique lab tests.

How much will I need to spend?

TV prices can start at just a few hundreds of pounds, but go up to into the tens of thousands for huge screen models. Prices can vary hugely within the same screen size: for example, 32-inch TVs we’ve tested range from around £200 to over £2,000. It’s best to decide your budget before hitting the shops, and then shop around to ensure you get the best possible television for your money.

What type of TV do I need?

Cheap TV

Whether it's your main living room TV or a second set for a kitchen or bedroom, you don't need to spend a fortune to get a great television. You can get a Best Buy TV for under £500 (depending on screen size), and prices come down even further if you're not fussed about advanced features like 3D or smart TV. 

We've got more details available in our How to buy the best cheap TV guide.

Smart TV

An internet-connected smart TV allows you to get great online services, such as catch-up TV, social networking and film streaming, on your television. Smart TVs are becoming more common within manufacturers’ TV ranges, and you won't necessarily have to spend a fortune to buy one, although you can still get non-smart models if you’re not too keen.

For more details on smart TV, please see What is smart TV?

3D TV

3D-ready TVs are now fairly common; with a good proportion of the TVs we test each year able to show films and TV in 3D. The excitement that surrounded 3D TVs a few years ago has now rather died down, but 3D’s still a decent feature to have on your television and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get it.

To get the full lowdown on 3D, check out our What is 3D TV? guide. 

4K picture quality

Most people now have high-definition televisions in their homes, but for anyone wishing to go that one step further, TVs with 4K - or ultra-high-definition (Ultra HD) picture quality - are now available to buy. With four times the detail of HD, these TVs can enhance your TV viewing to new levels. Work is being done to make more content available to watch in 4K Ultra HD, but currently you'll struggle to find much in the higher picture quality. 

For more on 4K, head to our What is 4K TV? guide.  

What size TV should I buy?

This question might cause disagreements in some households, but you can get a great TV in any size - and bigger doesn’t always mean better. The most important thing to think about is the size of the room you'll be putting the TV in.

If space is tight, you don't want to end up with your nose inches away from a massive screen. It will not only look odd, but the picture quality results may be disappointing.

Use our unique interactive online tool to find out what size of TV you should buy.

Many people favour 32 or 42-inch TVs, but we’ve currently got reviews of TVs with screen sizes ranging from 19 to 55 inches, so there’s something to suit everyone's needs.