Buying a TV

TVs are the centre of any home entertainment experience, but trying to decide which TV is best for you can be a challenge. This guide to buying a TV outlines the different types and features to consider.

Televisions 101: How to buy the right TV

Televisions can bring your family together with entertaining shows and movies, and keep you connected and up-to-date with what's happening in the world. How and where you plan to use your television are important factors to consider when you buy a TV. Are you a night owl who watches TV in the dark, or a daytime watcher in brightly lit rooms? Display type, size, refresh rate and resolution are also important features to keep in mind when looking to get the best viewing experience from your television.

Types of TVs



Plasma screens consist of hundreds of thousands of pixel cells, each acting like an individual, tiny florescent bulb. This makes them work extremely well in darker rooms. It also delivers excellent picture quality from any viewing angle — great for large families or inviting over friends to watch a favourite show. Plasma TVs feature reflective glass screens which can cause glare in very bright rooms. They also use more power than LCD and LED models. These TVs tend to come in larger sizes (42 inches and up) and are a great choice for a family room or integrated home entertainment system.


LCD televisions offer a wider choice in screen sizes and are often less expensive (especially compared to LED TVs). LCD TVs use less power than plasma televisions, but more power than LEDs. LCD televisions are a good choice for smaller TVs in bedrooms and dens, and the display responds better in brightly lit rooms.


LED TVs are actually LCD TVs that are backlit with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), rather than the standard cold-cathode fluorescent lights of regular LCD panels. They generally have improved picture quality over standard LCD televisions — an advantage if your viewing habits include sports and nature programs. From a household budget standpoint, LED TVs are the most energy efficient, though the purchase price tends to be higher than LCD and plasma TVs. There are two design options, each with their own unique benefit. Edge-lit models are thinner and lighter in weight, while backlit models deliver better image quality.


An OLED TV (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) uses a new display technology that creates an infinite contrast ratio. This makes for a brighter and better-performing display. OLED TVs are also thinner, more energy efficient and feature better refresh rates than LCD or Plasma.

Smart TVs

Are web-surfing and connecting with friends among your favourite pastimes? Smart TVs let you do it from the comfort of your couch. They feature built-in technology that allows them to connect to the Internet. Access to a variety of manufacturer apps is included, and sharing family photos on the big screen is sure to be a hit. The built-in webcam allows face-to-face chatting in real time via programs like Skype.


If you’ve got kids in your house you may also have fervent fans of 3D action movies. 3D TVs offer both two-dimensional and three-dimensional viewing experiences. Special 3D-viewing glasses are required, and popcorn may fly as the action leaps out from the screen. The glasses are cheap, but 3D TVs do tend to be more expensive.

TV Buying Tips

  • Plasma TVs work well in dark rooms, offer superb picture quality, come in larger sizes and can be more affordable
  • LCD TVs work well in bright rooms, offer excellent picture quality, come in a range of sizes and are a great choice for bedrooms
  • LED TVs work well in bright rooms, offer great picture quality, use less power, and are ideal for gaming and connecting with computers
  • Seating distance should be approximately 1.5 times the diagonal viewing size of a TV, for example 75" or 6.25 ft away from a 50" television
  • 720p resolution is great for smaller TVs, 1080p resolution is better for larger TVs
  • Refresh rates of 120Hz and higher are often recommended for televisions that will be used for gaming, computer use, and for watching sports and other fast moving motion

TV Features

Resolution +

Resolution refers to the number of rows and columns of pixels, which represents the level of detail an image holds. Larger screens usually have a higher resolution, which makes them great for watching action movies, sports and nature programs.

Refresh Rate +

The refresh rate refers to how often the display of pixels per second is changed on a TV, which can be important in reducing motion blur.

Contrast Ratio +

The contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black that can be produced on a TV.

Colour Saturation +

Colour saturation refers to the purity or strength of colour.

HDMI inputs +

High-Definition Media Interface (HDMI) is the current standard for digital connectors. HDMI is faster and smaller than previous connectors, and it connects your TV to other devices and hardware like DVD players and newer computers and laptops.

S-Video inputs +

S-Video inputs are an input technology that works with devices like old DVD players, game consoles, and VCRs. While newer devices do not utilize these inputs, it may be handy to have at least one if you have an older video camera or family VHS tapes you want to watch through the TV.

RGB Inputs +

Red, green, blue inputs are also a type of older-style connector which works with older gamming consoles or DVD players.

VGA Monitor Inputs +

VGA inputs are used to hook up older desktops and computers.

Shop TV Accessories & Related Products

TV Maintenance Tips

  • Never leave a plasma screen television on while it is not in use
  • Don't use ordinary household cleaners to clean a TV
  • Use a dry, soft cloth and very gently wipe the TV display screen
  • Place TVs in a clean, cool, and dry space away from heat and humidity
  • Use a surge protector to keep your TV safe from power surges

Did you know?

LED TVs are much more efficient than the standard fluorescent backlighting used in traditional LCDs. And the new OLED TVs (organic light emitting diodes) are even more energy efficient with further reduced power consumption.
Plasma TVs are no longer susceptible to “burn-in”, where an image can leave a permanent mark on the screen. Advanced image placements (also called Wobbling) systems serve to imperceptibly but constantly move the picture to prevent burn-in.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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