The most important things to consider when choosing a flat panel TV

You wander into a retail store with a view to purchasing a TV or display for your high definition needs, and are confronted with dozens of TVs. Dozens! What should you look for?


The starting point is size. How big do you want the picture to be?

In fact, there is not a great deal of value in high definition video unless your TV is at least 101 cm (40 inches) in size. The size is measured diagonally, from corner to opposite corner of the widescreen. Better are 117 to 127 cm (46 to 50 inches).

Direct view TVs – those where the picture is created on the TV’s own screen, as opposed to projectors – can go all the way up to around 261 cm (103 inches), although prices are getting pretty high by that point.

Above that size you need a front projector. These can take your picture size to over 381 cm (150 inches) at quite reasonable prices, but are only useful if your TV room can be made very dark.

Screen diagonal

Screen size is measured diagonally and, although Australia uses the metric system, is almost always expressed in inches.

What to look for

The biggest picture that your budget and room allow. But don’t go solely for a large screen if it compromises the other elements creating a good picture.