This guide will show you some of the features you can expect to find on a modern television, as well as explain some common terms.
These days, TVs are more than just boxes that show us terrestrial channels – and understanding your television's features will help you get the most out of it.
Modern TVs use either LED, LCD or OLED displays. These are much more energy-efficient than older plasma TVs, and can be quite a bit thinner too.
LED and LCD TVs are the most common and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They're also surprisingly bright and can show a vivid picture even in a sunny room, which makes them great for many situations.
OLED or 'organic LED' TVs show a more colourful display than standard LED or LCD screens, with a wider range of colours and an 'absolute black' that gives a much deeper darkness to the film you're watching or the game you're playing. These types of TV are generally more expensive than the alternatives – but if you're after a rich, colourful experience you can't currently do better than OLED.
All modern TVs are made in widescreen, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This makes your screen shape noticeably rectangular – rather than the roughly square 4:3 aspect ratio seen in older television screens. All TV shows are now broadcast in 16:9 – so if your TV doesn't match this aspect ratio, you'll notice black bars above and below the show you're watching.
An HD Ready TV has a screen resolution of 720p, which is the same resolution as most HDTV programs. This name can be misleading, as 'full' HD has a resolution of 1080p, which is how most Blu-ray movies are displayed. HD Ready TVs are able to display all HD channels, and even full HD Blu-ray films – although you won't get the full effect of 1080p high-definition video.
An HD TV has a screen resolution of at least 1080p. This is classed as 'true' or 'full' HD, and gives a clearer, more defined picture than an 'HD Ready' television is capable of.
Blu-ray players and games consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One all output video in 1080p, so an HD TV is necessary if you want to get the best picture from your console.
If standard Blu-rays and 1080p TVs just don't have a sharp enough picture for you, UltraHD or 'UHD' televisions offer a 4K or even an 8K resolution to enjoy every tiny detail. They are generally a lot more expensive than an HD TV, though, and currently only a few internet streaming services like Netflix provide videos in anything above 1080p resolution.
Smart TVs add internet features to the regular channels and inputs you would expect on a standard TV. This means having instant access to services like YouTube, Netflix and iPlayer, which can be browsed and controlled using your TV remote.
Smart TVs can also play videos from a hard drive connected through USB, making a Smart TV much more versatile when it comes to entertainment. Most Smart TVs also use DLNA or 'Digital Living Network Alliance' technology to find and play video straight from a computer or other supported device on your home network.
For more information on what exactly Smart TVs can do, we've got another guide that explains it all.
Hopefully that's all the help you need to make the most of your TV – but if you do need any more help, you can get in touch with our Team Knowhow Experts here.