Panels made with light emitting diode (LED) technology are all set to replace liquid crystal display (LCD) ones in high-definition (HD) television sets.
According to market research firm iSuppli, global shipments of HD TVs back-lit by LEDs with a 40-inch or larger screen size will jump nearly eight times in 2010 to 18.8 million units from 2.5 million units in the previous year.
Of course, LED sets are 40-50 per cent more expensive than existing LCD models. But they do promise brighter images and are markedly thinner in size. They are also more energy efficient.
Though this may not be a dramatic game-changer, the Rs 1,000-1,200 that LEDs manage to shave off power bills annually (as estimated by industry experts) is better than plasma and LCD TVs. And for those who buy TVs once in a decade or more, here's some good news: LED TVs have a better life expectancy than plasma TVs.
One of the best strategies to pick the piece of your choice is to zero in on the model first. After this, you can browse around, trying to find the retailer that offers the 'best price'. Please remember to compare prices online, too.
Here is some help on how to go about hunting for a great bargain on an LED TV:
Entry-level LED TVs
Today, LED TVs are available in 22, 24, 32, 40, 46 and 55-inch screen sizes, starting at Rs 18,000.
At the entry level price, you can get TVs with screen sizes of 22 to 32 inches. To be honest, there's not much to boast about in the entry-level LED TV segment, except the sleekness it will add to the living room - it is slimmer by almost two inches than LCDs. But, remember to check features like brightness, colour and sound.
Mid-level LED TVs
(Rs 55,000-1 lakh)
Leading brands like Samsung have already launched three LED series - 6000, 7000 and 8000 - for the Indian market with 32, 40, 46 and 55-inch screens. Retail prices start from Rs 69,900. In fact, if you buy one of the larger screens, you could end up paying even Rs 3.5 lakh!
The Samsung 6000 series sports a contemporary slim design, thanks to the lighting edge by LEDs. Adding to the image quality is a 120-Hertz (Hz) refresh rate that delivers excellent images for sports programming.
The company has also built an extensive network (internet and Wi-Fi) and media playback versatility into its high-end LED TVs, making it easy to connect multiple devices to the main unit.
Those who do not want to compromise on an LED panel's features but have a limited budget can look at the Sony Bravia EX series. Features like ambient sensor and light sensor technologies, which automatically adjust the colour and back-light based on a room's lighting, are great for users who do not want to be bothered with picture settings. The fastest selling models across Sony Stores are the 32-inch Bravia LED that starts at Rs 35,900 and the 42-inch LED TV priced at Rs 64,900 and upwards.
Top-level LED TVs
(Rs 1 lakh onwards)
If you have a lavish budget of more than Rs 1 lakh, you can get the best results from a 46-inch panel.
Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Sony, Haier and Sharp have a compelling range of LED TVs that make a good fit for those with money to spend. Samsung's LED range, between 40 and 46 inches, is very impressive and boasts 240-Hz refresh rates, super-bright LED lighting and razor-sharp images with an excellent colour-reproduction technology.
A word of caution
There will be acoustic limitations imposed by the super-slim chassis of LED TVs. As a result, internal speakers are bereft of any meaningful effects. For serious audiophiles, an external home theatre system is strongly recommended.