How to buy a TV: everything you need to know to get a set that's right for you

Don't buy a TV without reading this first

Almost every TV these days can be added to your broadband network to enable the use of online features or, in some cases, access media files stored on other storage devices – mobile phones, tablets, NAS drives etc. This sounds great on paper, but in reality the quality and usefulness of such ‘smart’ features can vary greatly.

Generally speaking, if you have a number of personal smart devices in your home, TVs that can access content on other devices in your home – including via Bluetooth as well as Wi-fi – are worth looking out for.

Where online features are concerned, don’t be seduced by app quantity. The vast majority of TV apps are borderline pointless, and just clutter up the smart interface. App quality is much more important. In fact, for many households the only online features that really matter are online streaming/catchup services. Especially Amazon Prime, Netflix, and catch-up services for your region’s broadcasters, such as BBC iPlayer in the UK.

Finally, the simplicity of a smart TV interface plays a key role in how much you might use it. Currently LG’s webOS and Panasonic’s Home Screen 2.0 systems handle their content most effectively. 

For a full breakdown of how the various manufacturer's smart TV interfaces stack up check out our best smart TV platform guide