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What size television should I buy?

I'm looking to buy a new HD Ready LCD TV, but I'm confused. Which size should I be buying with a viewing distance of approximately 2 metres?

I'm looking to buy a new HD Ready LCD TV, but I'm confused. Which size should I be buying with a viewing distance of approximately 2 metres?

Is there a difference in quality between 32 and 40-inch screens? I haven't looked at 32-inch TVs because I am under the impression they are not as good quality as larger screens.

Marc Henriksen

When buying a flat-screen TV, it's important to remember that these screens range from sizes similar to your traditional CRT set right up to screens that will dominate even the biggest room. So the first thing to consider is the size of your current TV.

If you have a 28-inch TV now then bear in mind that although an LCD of the same size is thinner, the picture will actually be about an inch larger, because of differences in the way CRTs and flat-panel TVs are measured.

Consider how big your room is. The distance you usually sit from the TV will determine what size screen you should buy. If you're about 2m away we'd recommend a TV between 32 and 40 inches, with the optimal size being 37 inches.

You also ask, "Are larger screens better quality than smaller ones?" Not at all. Indeed, sometimes the reverse is true. Larger screens mean that the standard-definition image will need to be stretched over a larger area. This will reduce the overall quality of the picture and make it far easier to spot the problems with standard-definition sources such as Freeview.

The good news is that high-definition video will look stunning at far larger screen sizes, so there is no need to worry about the quality when you are watching high-definition programmes via Sky HD, cable or HD DVD/Blu-ray. If you'll mostly be watching high definition, you'll probably enjoy the picture more on a larger screen.

We've seen some excellent televisions in sizes between 32 and 40 inches. Starting with the smaller screens, we really like the Toshiba 32WLT68. This TV has our respect because it offers some of the best standard-definition image quality we've seen on a television. The high-definition picture is also fantastic and the TV benefits from having three HDMI inputs, which we think all large televisions should have. You can also get this screen in the larger size of 37 inches.

Jumping up a screen size, we think the 37-inch Sharp Aquos LC37XD1E is a stunning television for watching high-definition content. It's also pretty good -- but not the best we've seen -- with standard-definition pictures from Freeview and DVD. The Sharp also has the distinction of being a 1080p television, which is an added bonus.

Increasing the size another step, the 40-inch Sony Bravia KDL-40W2000 earned one of the highest ratings we've ever given a TV. It's a 'Full HD' 1080p screen, so you'll get the very best out of your HD DVD or Blu-ray player. The good news is this television also does a great job with Freeview and other standard-definition material, an especially impressive achievement considering the large screen size.