TV buying guide

Screen size is a great way to narrow down your options when you’re choosing a TV. But there are a couple of things to think about when it comes to picking the right size:

How to pick the right screen

How much space do I have?

If you’ve only got a little wall space, a whopping great screen just isn’t going to work. And if you’ve got a lot of space… best to make the most of it, right? So you might be asking, ‘what size TV for my room?’

To check how much space you have, you’ll need to get out your measuring tape. Screen size is measured diagonally from the bottom left corner of the TV to the top right corner. Check how much space you have and go from there!

Shop under 42" TVs

Shop 43" - 49"

Shop 50" - 59"

Shop over 60"

How far away am I sitting from my screen?

Viewing distance is another great place to start. The bigger your TV, the further away you can comfortably see it. As a rule of thumb, your viewing distance should be 1.5x the size of your screen.

But resolution is an important factor here too. If you’re planning on getting up close and personal with your TV, you might want to go for a higher resolution. That’ll allow you to sit closer without it looking pixelated (i.e. blocky rather than smooth).

Where in the room is my TV going to be?

Viewing angle

Remember, how good your picture quality is will depend on where you TV is.

For the best possible picture quality, you’ll want to be directly opposite the screen. The further you move it to the side, the more the colours will fade.

Of course, there are some nifty bits of tech that can help you get a wider viewing angle too- like NanoCell and premium QLED TVs.

Lighting

Nobody wants glare interrupting their favourite film! If bright lighting’s an issue in the room you’re choosing, an OLED or QLED TV can help.

Am I replacing an old TV?

As well as the points above, you should think about how your old TV was mounted.

Wall mount size

Do you have a bracket already? If so, you’ll want to check whether your old TV had a VESA wall mount size. These guidelines match flatscreen TVs to the right wall mount by measuring the patterns of holes on the back of your TV.

To work out the VESA dimension: use a tape measure to measure the distance between the horizontal holes and vertical holes in millimetres. These two numbers are your VESA dimension. Or you can usually find them in your old TV’s manual.

If you want your TV to fit in your current bracket, it needs to match your old TV’s VESA dimension.

Recycling and installation

Of course, if you’re getting a new TV you don’t want your old one lying about. We can help with that. Pick a slot and we’ll both deliver and install your new TV on the same day- plus recycle the old one responsibly.

We can install both TVs that are going on a stand and wall mounted TVs. So no worries no matter what type you’re getting. All you need to do is add installation to your basket online or instore.

RECYCLING AND INSTALLATION

What are you using your TV for?

Movies

Want to create that cinema experience at home? There are a bunch of different features that’ll really make those movies come to life. So have your popcorn at the ready!

Screen resolution

Want amazing picture quality? With pop-out-of-the-screen colours and brilliant contrast? Then you’ll need to get yourself a TV with a high screen resolution- like a 4K OLED TV.

In an OLED TV, individual pixels can turn themselves off completely. What does that mean? You get a premium viewing experience with deeper blacks and more vibrant colours. It’ll also give you improved viewing angles.

Shop OLED TVs

Screen size

Want to feel like you’re watching something on the big screen? Then you might need… well, a big screen.

Keep in mind our advice for choosing a screen size above though. A larger screen’s no good if your picture quality suffers as a result.

HDR

HDR will make your TV’s picture as lifelike as it can be. That’s because it gives you greater levels of brightness, a wider colour palette and improved contrast. Your movies or shows look more realistic with true-to-life colours.

Shop HDR

Sound quality

You don’t want to just see your films brilliantly, you want to hear them too.

Want deep bass or surround sound that makes you feel like the action’s all around you? It’s worth getting a soundbar, soundstage or home cinema system.

Shop sound systems

Also, find a TV or sound system with Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos creates seriously immersive sound- a whisper in the corner of the room, footsteps overhead, a helicopter in the distance. Whatever it is, you’ll hear it as if you were there.

Shop Dolby Atmos

Smart TV

Want to have all your favourite movies and series at the touch of button? A Smart TV can help with that. Smart TVs are Wi-Fi enabled, letting you watch catch-up and on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and NowTV. Plus, you’ll be able to watch all your usual Freeview channels.

Check what apps a Smart TV offers before you buy though. Some brands offer a slightly different selection from others! Check the TVs specs online or instore to find out more.

Shop Smart TVs

Tuner

A tuner is what separates a TV from a monitor. That’s because a tuner lets you access Freeview TV or Freesat. You don’t have to wait for your favourite movie to show up on catch-up- you can watch it live!

Sports

Get that big game atmosphere at home with the right TV. There’s nothing quite like watching a live event, so don’t let a dodgy TV get in the way of the magic. Here are some great features to look out for if you’re a sports fan:

Screen size

A large screen TV with high resolution will give you that stadium feel. And the bigger your TV, the better it is for watching with friends. That’s because a wide viewing angle will make it easier for everyone to get a great view if you have mates around.

A larger TV might also give you better sound quality, as there’s more space for built-in speakers. No worries about missing the roar of the crowd!

If you’re scaling up the size of your TV, you may way want to scale up the resolution too. A bigger TV with a smaller resolution will start to look pixelated. That’s because you’re fitting the same number of pixels into a larger space.

HD ready

An HD (High Definition) ready TV is one with 720 x 1280 pixels. It’ll let you watch the sport you love with a sharp picture. With HD, you can pick up on small details like the texture of the pitch- making you feel like you’re there.

But remember - HD ready TVs don’t have a High Definition tuner built in. That means the content you’re watching from your provider (like Sky or Virgin) needs to be HD.

Full HD 1080

A Full HD TV will have 1080 x 1920 pixels, making the picture even clearer. That’s 4x the quality of current broadcasts!

4K Ultra HD

You guessed it – 4x the quality of a Full HD picture. With 3840 x 2160 pixels, your picture will look more realistic and super sharp – even close up!

Broadcasters haven’t quite caught onto 4K just yet. But loads of streaming services have – Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and UltraFlix to name a few.

4K Ultra HD

8K Ultra HD

This is the best, most eye-popping resolution that money can buy right now. More depth. More clarity. This is a whopping 16x the resolution of Full HD.

And 8K TVs upscale any content to 8K resolution. So, you’ll be able to get a giant screen without worrying about pixilation- result!

8K Ultra HD

TV sports packages

Take some of the headache out of sorting your sports- get a TV fully loaded with a NOW TV pass with all 11 Sky Sports channels. That way, you’re ready and raring to go as soon as the game’s on.

To make sure your internet can keep up with all that sports streaming, why not check out our Multiplay offers? You can save quite a bit by bundling your TV and broadband packages together.

Shop Multiplay

Gaming

Looking for something to truly get your head in the game? A stunning game needs a stunning TV to make it come to life. So what should you look out for when you’re buying a TV for gaming?

Screen resolution

If it’s an immersive experience you’re after, look for a high-resolution TV. Many games now come with 4K graphics- making a 4K ideal for a serious gamer. So, if you have a PS4 Pro, Xbox One S or Xbox One X a 4K TV is a great choice.

The higher your resolution, the more you’ll be able to pick up tiny details. Whether that’s in cinematic cut scenes or gorgeous atmospheric scenery.

HDR

HDR is brilliant for those looking for a hyper-real experience. Colours get as close as they can to real-life, so it’s easier to dive into the world of your game.

Gaming monitor or gaming TV?

It used to be that TVs didn’t pack the same kind of gaming punch as a specialised monitor. But TV tech’s come on leaps and bounds since then.

Now you can get all the things you love about monitors – like low input lag, fast response times and better connectivity – in a gaming TV. These extra features all make sure that when you pull the trigger on your controller, you see it happen in real time on screen. No delay to throw you off course!

But with a gaming TV you also get all the benefits of screen technology that we mentioned above. OLED, 4K, HDR- they’re all within reach on a gaming TV.

Worried about having a massive screen in your bedroom? Don’t be. There are now smaller sizes, including 48” TVs, perfect for gaming.

Pick your screen technology

What is OLED

What does OLED stand for? OLED means Organic Light Emitting Diode. Where older flat-screen TVs use a backlight to shine onto each of the screen’s pixels, the pixels on OLED TVs are controlled individually. So what is an OLED TV really? Richer colours, darker blacks, thinner screens and better energy efficiency.

Every OLED pixel is a light that can display millions of colours. Each pixel can switch off completely, displaying the truest blacks while reducing power consumption. Because OLED colour reproduction is so good, it’s perfect for bringing all kinds of HDR content to life. Our OLED TVs all feature a minimum 4K Ultra HD resolution for total clarity.

Those beautiful lifelike colours and crisp motion are great for fast moving content too- like action movies or sports.

And the thinner design makes them easy to wall mount. Plus, with lower levels of blue light, you can watch for longer without eye strain. Plus, every OLED TV is also a smart TV, so you can access a world of amazing movies, shows, and content. A winner all round!

For more information on OLED

Learn more about OLED - OLED buying guide

Shop OLED

What is QLED

QLED stands for Quantum-dot Light Emitting Diode. Now what does that really mean? The TV’s quantum-dots emit incredibly precise coloured light. That gives you 100% colour volume- a huge range of stunning, true-to-life colour.

Brightness and contrast are at their best too- giving you rich, detailed images. It’s perfect for HDR and 4K content, really showcasing what the tech can do.

Want to futureproof your viewing experience? There are now 8K QLED TVs on the market- preparing you for the next generation of content. With a mind-boggling 33 million pixels (4x the amount of 4K) you’ll be able to upscale all your content to 8K- even if it’s not filmed that way.

They’re also ideal if you’re putting your TV in a bright room. QLED gives you intense colour no matter the brightness and there’s way less screen reflection and glare.

Shop QLED TVs

What is LED?

You might be wondering what does LED stand for. LEDs are Light Emitting Diodes. These TVs work by using a backlight which is shone through as individual pictures.

An LED TV isn’t quite the premium experience of OLED and QLED. But it does have its advantages – a bright image with good picture quality. And, since this tech’s more commonplace, you’ll have a wider range of options for your budget.

They’re also slim- so easy to fit into your space. Plus, they consume less power which is great if you’re trying to keep the bills down.

Shop LED TVs

What is 4K?

You guessed it – 4x the quality of a Full HD picture. With 3840 x 2160 pixels, your picture will look more realistic and super sharp – even close up!

Broadcasters haven’t quite caught onto 4K just yet. But loads of streaming services have – Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and UltraFlix to name a few.

Some TVs can actually upscale Full HD to 4K too, so you can enjoy that same awesome picture on HD content too.

Shop 4K TVs

What is 8K?

8K gives you the very best picture. No question. It’s the highest screen resolution available with 4x the amount of pixels as 4K. And that makes a huge difference- because the more pixels you have the more depth and detail you have.

Throw in all of the other technologies you would expect in a premium TV, like; HDR, fast-processing, full-array backlight and adaptive picture and you have a TV that gives the best possible viewing experience.

Plus, it will make it easier to actually view your TV in the first place. If you have a smaller space but want a large TV, 8K will still let you get up close without impacting on the picture quality.

And it’s future proof! This is the most cutting edge TV technology there is. So if you’re getting a TV for the long-haul, an 8K will give you the best TV for years to come- even when 4K’s old hat.

You can enjoy it now, even with content that’s not 8K. That’s because 8K TVs come with upscaling- turning any show or film into an incredible colour and depth explosion.

Shop 8K TV

What is HDR?

HDR is High Dynamic Range. It goes hand in hand with picture quality- making an HD, 4K or 8K TV even more breath-taking.

What HDR does is given an even range of brightness than your average picture. That means colours look more vibrant and blacks look even darker. Making every picture pop.

It’s important to remember though that both your TV and the content you’re watching need to support HDR to get the full effect. Most content on the major streaming services will be HDR ready.

But there are some TVs that offer HDR-quality upscaling. This works on non-HDR content to bring it close to the real thing:

  • HDR10: this applies HDR scene-by-scene and is a popular form of HDR with support from Amazon, Netflix and the Blue-ray Disc Association
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+: this applies HDR frame-by-frame for a subtler, more improved image.
  • HLG (Hybrid Logic Gamma): designed specifically with TV broadcasts in mind, this can be found on lots of HDR TVs.

Shop HDR TVs

What is UHD?

UHD is Ultra High Definition. UHD has LED backlighting, allowing for a bright image with good picture quality.

These TVs are also slim and use less power- making them easy to slot into your home without racking up the bills!

What is backlight diming?

Want a clearer, more detailed picture? Backlight dimming will get you there. It dims or completely turns the lights behind the screen at specific times. That means you can see extra details in the dark and ups the contrast for a more vivid picture.

There are a few different types of backlight dimming though. So let’s run through them:

Full-array local dimming

Full array’s the best type of local dimming for LED TVs. And what is local dimming?

Behind a full array screen there are hundreds of tiny lamps. When the TV shows something dark, only the lights behind the dark part of the image dim. That makes the detail shine in contrast to black images. The end result? You get a super clear picture.

Backlit local dimming

Here the TV also has hundreds of lamps, but they dim all together when something dark shows on screen. You still get good contrast, but less compared to full array.

Edge-lit local dimming

With these TVs the lamps are only at the edges of the screen. They dim or light-up when images becomes dark or clear in the same way. But the lamps have to shine extra bright to illuminate the centre of the screen, which can cause distortion.

But there is a plus. Edge-lit local dimming keeps TVs very slim, because they don’t need all those lamps behind the screen.

It's more than a TV. It's Smart too.

What is a Smart TV?

A Smart TV connects to the internet using either your home WiFi or Ethernet. Similar to your smartphone, it has an on-board smart platform with a homepage that’s usually customisable. This gives you access to a range of apps, such as catch-up, on-demand, social media, and gaming apps.

Shop all Smart TVs

What can I watch on my Smart TV?

There are a whole load of streaming and catch-up services you can use on your TV. Like…

  • All 4
  • BBC iPlayer
  • ITV Play
  • My5
  • YouTube
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Disney+
  • BritBox
  • NowTV
  • AppleTV
  • And loads more!

Check what’s available

When you’re picking out your TV, make sure you look at the smart features available.

Most will give you catch-up TV but check out the specific apps too- especially if you already have a streaming subscription. Some manufacturers have grant access to services that other don’t- one TV might offer NowTV and another not, for example.

Chat to a colleague instore or check out the product specs on our website to find out more.

Make sure your internet’s up to snuff

Buffering screens, stopping and starting in the middle of the drama – nobody has time for that. Make sure your internet can handle streaming content at its best.

Have a chat to a tech expert instore or through video call with ShopLive to check whether you’ve got the right internet connection.

Shop streaming devices

Can I use a set-top box instead?

Don’t have a Smart TV? There’s another way to get all those extra streaming or catch-up services.

A set-top box is an extra bit of kit that you can hook up to your TV. Many will let you record live TV, so that you can watch it later. And, if it can plug in to the internet or connect to WiFi, you can also use it like a Smart TV.

Shop set-top boxes

What are the benefits of 'voice control'?

Some will also work with voice control. With an assistant like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, you can search for and play content with a basic command. No more trawling through different apps to find what you want to watch!

Most voice control TVs work with a special remote. You press down the button, speak your command into it and voila! You can change the channel, the settings and pump up the volume.

If you want to link your smart home up to your TV that’s possible too. Check which models will work with your smart devices by talking to an expert instore or through ShopLive.

Sound technology

Do I need a sound system for my TV?

Think about whether to get a TV with enhanced sound or whether to invest in a sound system. All TVs have their own built-in speakers, but you might want something with a bit more oomph.

As TVs have got slimmer, there’s less space for front-facing speakers. So if you have a super thin TV, there might be a drop in audio quality. But there are a few ways TV manufacturers can get around this.

Acoustic tuning

A TV with acoustic tuning will give you the best sound no matter where you’re sitting or how you’ve arranged your living room. How does it do it? It actually recognises where you’re watching from- optimising the sound!

Clear voice

Fuzzy dialogue? No thanks. Clear voice tech will make sure you can still pick up what people are saying onscreen, even at low volume. No subtitles needed!

Object tracking sound

These built-in speakers sync up with where the sound is coming from onscreen. That’s right- dynamic sound that moves with the action. You get a three-dimensional experience, making your movies even more lifelike.

Adaptive sound

This one does what it says on the tin: adapting to both your environment (i.e. the room you’re watching it in) and the content itself to give you a great audio experience.

Acoustic surface audio

With this one, the sound actually comes from the screen itself. That’s why it’s also known as “sound from screen” technology. The acoustics come directly from where the action is!

What are Sound bars & soundstages?

If you’re really looking for impressive sound, a soundbar or soundstage is what you need. These accessories will make sure you get that cinema experience at home. Deep bass, clear treble, room-filling sound- this is how you get it.

Soundbar

A soundbar is a long, bar-like speaker that sits beneath your TV. Some will need to be hooked up to the TV’s subwoofer, but others are wireless. A wireless version is great since it cuts down on trailing cables for a tidier look.

These will deliver high quality audio, usually much better than what a TV could give on its own.

All in one

This is a brilliant option for anyone who’s a bit short on space. They’re way more compact, since the subwoofer and speakers are all wrapped up in one elegant package. What do these systems do?

Soundstage

This is a flat speaker. Small and compact, it fits easily underneath a TV without disrupting your space. It’s so discrete you’ll barely notice it’s there! And you still get the same great sound as a soundbar.

Shop home cinema systems and soundbars

What is a Home cinema system?

Want to get a true surround sound experience? Home cinema systems is a seriously supped up version of a soundbar. They usually involve an amplifier and multiple speakers.

How many speakers do I need?

To give you that immersive quality, most will be 5.1 surround sound. That’s five speakers (two behind you, one to the left of the TV, one to the right, and one just underneath it) and one sub-woofer.

You can get smaller set-ups though – like a 2.1 which will have two speakers and one subwoofer.

What’s right for you will depend on how much space you have. If your living room is smaller, you probably won’t need so many speakers. That’s because the sound will fill the room easily anyway! And of course, it’s less clutter.

How do I connect it?

The simple answer? With cables. But not all of us want tripping hazards hanging around the living room.

If that’s the case, you might want to go for a wireless set-up. These connect to your TV using either Bluetooth and WiFi. Neat, tidy and out of the way!

Shop home cinema systems

What is Dolby Atmos and how can this enhance my viewing experience?

Dolby Atmos is the same sound tech that’s used in cinemas. So you know it delivers!

With Dolby Atmos, the sound envelopes you. Hear the cheering of a crowd all around you, the snap of a twig behind you- whatever scene your TV is showing, it’ll feel like you’re there.

Shop Dolby Atmos

Connectivity?

Before you buy a TV or any audio accessories, it’s always worth a check that they’ll be compatible with anything you already have or are planning on buying.

Head instore to speak to a colleague about it. Or, if you’d rather stay at home, web chat with an instore expert on ShopLive or check out the product specs on currys.co.uk

Must haves for setting up your TV

Can you install and set up my new TV?

Don’t stress, our experts are on hand to install your TV so you don’t have to. We’ll setup your new TV, connect your equipment, and give you a demo. You’ll find a range of installation options during the checkout, including building your TV stand and connecting a home cinema system or sound bar.

TV brackets & stands

There are lots of options for getting your TV up and ready to go. The two main ways to mount your TV are with wall brackets or with a TV stand. Let’s take a look at them both.

Wall brackets

Perfect for anyone who wants a clutter-free entertainment space, wall brackets secure your TV to the wall. Since your TV’s up off the wall, it gives you more floor space to play with. And there are a few different types:

Fixed: these keep your TV in one place, with no movement.

Tilting: you can tilt these brackets up and down. Brilliant if you want to adjust for glare at different times of day.

Full motion: these give you a whole range of movement. Only want to pull out the TV when the game is on? No problem. You can move the bracket to face any direction as well as tilt it up and down.

Wall brackets

TV stands

If you don’t want you TV fixed to the wall, you can always get yourself a TV stand. We have lots to choose from, whatever the size and weight of your TV.

Plus, TV stands are more adaptable than ever- with some specifically designed to fit into corners and tight spaces. It’s easy to find the right one for your home.

Nervous about how it’ll affect your living room’s look? Don’t be. Some are beautifully designed and double up as storage too. So you can neatly tuck away all your TV accessories like set-top boxes, spare cables and games consoles.

Do make sure you take the size of your soundbar as well as your TV into account though. This’ll stop the bar running over the edges of your stand!

Shop wall brackets

Shop TV stands

Cables

Want the best results from your new TV? Then you need the right accessories! Cables are the link between you a whole load of content, whether that’s your console, streaming device, soundbar or laptop.

We’ve got plenty of AV (Audio Visual) cables that can hook you up- no matter what you’re using your TV for.

Invisible cables

Trailing cables on show? No thanks. An invisible cable will solve the problem. It’s a hard-to-see cable that runs down the wall and along the skirting board without drawing attention. That way you don’t need to drill holes in the wall to hide the cable!

Shop Cables

Aerials

An aerial is what will connect you to broadcast television- like the BBC or Channel 4.

There are more options for aerials than ever before. A rooftop aerial is still the best for reception, but you can now also get an indoor aerial if you don’t fancy a trip to the roof.

When you’re picking out an aerial, make sure you find out the distance between your home and the nearest transmitter. And have a look at the direction of the transmitter too. It’ll be a big help when finding the best one for you!

Shop Aerials

Gaming consoles

You’ve got the TV, so why not upgrade you console? We’ve got a whole load of different gaming options, like PlayStations, Xboxes and Nintendo Switches.

And 2020’s a bumper year for new console releases too. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X promising an even better experience for gamers, it’ll help if you have a TV that can make the most of them!

With a higher resolution TV, playtime’s never looked better. So get the right kit for your Ultra HD, 4K or 2K TV.

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Streaming devices

If you’re not ready to upgrade to a Smart TV yet, a streaming device can really help bridge the gap.

Streaming devices will usually come in the form of a dongle or a box. You plug it into your TV and it’ll give you access to a whole load of different streaming services.

Depending on the brand, some will have different ways to pay too. Some you might buy outright and others will ask for a subscription fee.

Some of the most well-known from big tech brands are:

  • NowTV Smart Box
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Apple
  • Chromecast
  • Roku media streamer

Like with Smart TVs, some streaming devices may offer apps and functions that others don’t. So do your research beforehand, either with a colleague instore or online. They’ll help you find exactly the right streaming device to get all the content you just can’t do without.

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