Buying guide: TVs

We show you the differences between LCD, plasma and LED televisions

I've heard that plasma TVs can "burn-in" over time. What is "burn-in" exactly, and is it really a concern? Burn-in occurs when a static image is displayed on the screen for an extremely long period of time and doesn't go away when the picture is changed to something else. Burn-in was a common problem when plasmas first hit the market in the 1990s but most good quality plasmas do not have this problem anymore.

I need help to get the best picture. Which connection should I use? HDMI is your best bet for any kind of device as it combines the best quality video and audio in a single cable, but not everything supports it. All the new high-definition games consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have it, and Blu-ray players support it. These devices will typically also come with a component output, which you should use if your television or receiver doesn't support HDMI. Some older devices such as CD and DVD players or standard-definition set-top boxes may not have either of these and if so you should stick with Composite.

Can I connect my PC to the TV? Yes. Many TVs come with either DVI or D-Sub connections on the rear to support PC connections. If you have a graphics card with an HDMI output then you can also use this, or connect via the HDMI port using a DVI to HDMI converter cable.

How do I connect my home theatre system to the TV? Your home theatre system only needs to be connected to your TV using one available connector which runs from the receiver to the back of the TV. Use an HDMI connection if available, or, if one isn't available, a Component connection. Which to use will depend entirely on the home theatre system you have and what connections your TV supports.

How do I clean my plasma and LCD TV? Very carefully! Plasma is fairly easy to clean since it has a glass layer on the front. Use a static free cloth and distilled water in a spray bottle and wipe it clean. Do not use detergents, soaps or any cleaning products as they will be too coarse and can damage the glass or leave streaks. To clean LCD you need to be very careful as there is no glass protecting the panel. Lightly wipe it with a dry, static-free cloth at first to see if you can remove any marks and then use distilled water as a final measure. There are also a few products on the market that you can buy to clean your television.

What is a digital TV set-top box? A digital TV set-top box is used to receive and interpret digital TV signals so they can be displayed on a television without an integrated digital tuner.

What does a set-top box do? If a television doesn't have an integrated digital TV receiver, a set-top box is required. The set-top box receives the digital TV signal and allows it to be displayed on the TV. The EPG and other features are also made available through the set-top box. They can also come with in-built hard drives so you can record digital TV as well. These are generally called Personal Video Recorders (PVR).

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

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