The good news for those looking at a new telly is that you get a lot more for less these days, writes
You can now get a decent TV for under €400
The good news for those looking at a new telly is that you get a lot more for less these days, writes Adrian Weckler. A decent, slim, 'full high definition' television now costs under €400, even for a 40-inch set.
As you'll soon see, though, almost all of the sets being pushed now have higher '4K' or 'HDR' technical capabilities, even though very few channels actually broadcast shows in 4K resolution. A basic guide to this is that 4K is only really needed if your TV is 50 inches or larger, while HDR (which means better separation of colours and deeper blacks) benefits you no matter what size it is.
Whatever you do, don't base a buying decision on either 3D technology or 'curved' screens. Both of these have been flops.
It makes sense to get a TV that has some smart functionality built in. By far the most important smart feature is an ability to stream smart apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube. A TV with this ability might save you having to buy an external set-top box such as an Apple TV.
Ignore sales pitches that say you can do Facebook or Google searches, both of which are rarely used on tellies.
What size should you get? Most main home TVs sold now are around 50 inches in size. If you think this seems a little big, bear in mind that the 'bezels' (the frame bits around the screen itself) are now very small. So a 50-inch telly typically takes up around the same space as a 40-inch model from a few years ago. Bear in mind, too, that they're lighter than the sets of yesteryear, meaning that they're easier to mount on a wall. This also has the effect of making them seem less enormous, as they're a foot or two further away from you.
So which models might you look at? A well-priced all-round telly is LG's 49-inch set (model 6740), which costs €549 from Harvey Norman. It comes with smart apps, 4K and HDR.
If you're looking for something a little cheaper, Samsung's 43-inch (model 7020) set is also very good value at €399 (from Currys), with 4K, HDR and smart apps.
Should you opt for Sky, Virgin or Saorview, or something else?
Sky and Virgin, which dominate TV subscriptions in Ireland, both price their packages very similarly - there's little difference in value for the channels you get. However, Sky generally has a faster, better interface when it comes to switching between channels. Virgin generally provides better broadband, which is why you might opt for that TV service (as part of a bundle). Saorview is free, but is limited to handful of local Irish channels.
There are others out there, particularly Eir and Vodafone, which both now offer full TV packages. These are similarly priced to Sky and Virgin.
Finally, there is the option of using an Android box for IPTV. However, no matter how local TV agents try to pitch it ("thousands of TV channels for free"), using one of these is generally regarded as an infringement of copyright under law. It is not a coincidence that they are sometimes called 'dodgy boxes'.