Is there any time when it’s simple to buy a TV?

Although they’ve one of the most frequently used pieces of technology around for a long time, most people don’t buy a new TV terribly often.

However, it always seems to be close to the worst time to buy one no matter when you’re looking for one, doesn’t it? For a long time it was safe enough buying TVs: from the 1970s when colour came out in the UK it was OK to pick up a 405 line set for getting on for 20 years until the 405 line broadcasts were turned off. Even within that period it was fine for quite some time if you bought a 625 line model as they were fine well into the 1990s.

These days it’s a whole different story though. Not only have we moved from the simple 625 line broadcasts in their 4:3 aspect ratio to the more common widescreen version but we’re also getting into the digital transmission era, moving to flatscreen technology and high definition all at the same time.

Aside from the flatscreens being a whole lot lighter than their predecessors, there isn’t really a whole lot going for them right now in that the colour on the old style CRT versions is generally better and you don’t get those annoying little coloured spots that are found on flatscreen versions. Most flatscreens come with digital tuners as standard though which is something of a plus in that the analogue signals are gradually being turned off.

What about HD though? Well, that comes in two versions: the real thing and “HD ready” which means that it’s not really HD at all. Going for true HD seriously bumps up the cost though and since there aren’t really a whole lot of HD broadcasts around at the moment, it seems to make more sense to go for an HD ready TV now with a view to replacing it in four or five years time when the price of true HD will have dropped and the number of HD programmes should have gone up a lot.

Of course, by then chances are the first of the 3D TVs will be starting to drop to relatively sensible prices….

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