STUFF.TV CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE – 5 things to consider before you buy an HDTV

LCD or Plasma?The classic choice when picking out an HDTV, it's easy to get completely confused between LCD and Plasma. Plasma uses inert gases and an

The classic choice when picking out an HDTV, it's easy to get completely confused between LCD and Plasma. Plasma uses inert gases and an electrical charge in each pixel to produce colour and light. LCD uses backlighting. Plasmas are pricier, but better if you want a hefty screen. LCDs are perfect for smaller HDTVs.

Size matters

There's no point in shelling out on a 55in TV if you're going to stick it in your box room. If your house is small or you're after a second telly, then make sure you go for something that fits the room. Otherwise you'll be sitting too close to Dot Cotton's face of a Sunday afternoon.

Full HD, 1080i or 720p?

Full HD, or 1080p, will give you cracking pictures, but does come at a cost. Plus, watching the Freeview through a Full HD TV will really show up the low quality of the picture. 1080i is just shy of the Full HD standard, using interlaced images rather than progressive ones  (hence the i and p). 720p might not be full–on HD, but you won't pay as much for the privilege of eyeball–stroking pics.

Is it up to speed?

Motion is as important as colour according to Sony. And that's why the focus is switching to 200HZ TVs, making judder a thing of the past with a faster frame rate. Sony and Samsung both showed off their 'world's first' models at IFA this year, with release dates expected early next year. Expect to see more coming out of CES.

Which brand is best?

A tough one this, but there's such a wide range out there, that you need to narrow it down. A lot of it comes down to price. If money's no object, then Pioneer, Sony and Panasonic offer some killer options. Hanspree's cheaper models however, offer HD on the cheap without making major compromises.

For more on HDTV, check out our Plasma TV Top Ten and LCD TV Top Ten.