LCD TVs are slim, sexy and ideal for small spaces. David Hague sizes up five of the latest models.

Ahh, it used to be so easy: go to the local electrical store, decide what size television you wanted, plonk down the cash, take it home, set up the rabbit ears and turn ?er on. Then you could enjoy a night of Hey Hey It?s Saturday, the footy match of the day or watch the Poms get thrashed at cricket. Technology seemed so much simpler then.

Today there are so many choices. We can tune in to Pay TV as well as free-to-air ? analogue and digital broadcasts ? and put CRT, front and rear projection TVs, LCD and plasma screens into our homes. If you?re not up to date on the latest technologies, the once simple act of buying a TV can make the mind boggle.

If anything is causing confusion at the moment, it is the debate between LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma. Which to choose and why? What sizes are available? Which technology lasts longer? What are the negatives? And the list goes on.

In this article we?ll focus on LCD TVs, and dispel the myths that you might have heard so you can purchase with confidence. We?ll also explain how LCD TVs work and discuss the pros and cons of the technology.

A question of size

Although LCD TVs are available all the way up to a gargantuan 80 inches (203 cm), the largest ones sold in volume in Australia are 45 inches (114 cm). Most LCD TVs sold, however, are in the 26 to 32 inch range, which makes them ideal for the kitchen, flat, study or other smaller area. These smaller sizes are also ideal if you intend to have your new LCD panel double as a monitor for your PC (or Mac).
If, however, you have plans for that widescreen, super-size me experience, the price will certainly go up, especially for sizes that are also available in plasma TVs. Generally, the rule is that once you go beyond about 42 inches, the most economical option for a flat-panel TV is to choose a plasma.