Going into your home theatre retailer, with money in your pocket and a TV purchase on your mind, is a daunting experience. There they are, all lined up, dozens of TVs of all shapes and sizes and technologies. Should you buy a plasma TV? Or an LCD TV?

Even just within the plasma category there’s a lot more to look at than just size. What resolution should you choose? What connection sockets should you require? Maybe you should opt for a display (that is, one without speakers or a TV tuner). Or perhaps go the whole hog and get a high resolution plasma TV with a built-in high definition digital TV tuner.

Over the next few pages we will guide you through the intricacies of this technology and banish that bewilderment.

But let us first make one thing clear. There is no such thing as the ‘best’ technology. Each of the different options has its place, depending upon your needs.

For example, consider LCD TVs and plasma TVs. Until recently there was a clear division between the two on one important criterion: size. If you wanted something under 40 inches, then you chose LCD. Over 40 inches and plasma was your answer.

But LCD TVs have been growing, and improving, and now there’s an overlap in the 40 to 50 inch category.

Some would say that you should go for plasma because LCD TVs do not deliver blacks as dark as plasma TVs. That’s largely true. But if you’re sitting up close, LCD TVs deliver a smoother picture than plasma, and that could well be more important for you in your room, especially if you rarely switch off the room lights while you’re watching.