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Cheap HD TVs Big thin HD Ready & Full HD tellies with Freeview

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As technology marches on, full HD tellies have become as cheap as inferior HD-ready models were a year ago - so now's a good time to consider one.

This is a rundown of the cheapest deals on big, flat, full HD TVs. We've also included one cheaper, lower resolution HD-ready model for those who don't need/want full HD.

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HD-ready or full HD? Without getting too technical, HD-ready TVs (lower res HD) make the image you see on screen out of 720 lines of picture, while full HD TVs use 1080 lines. This means full HD TVs offer a denser and more detailed image. For more info, read Martin's HD Ready blog.

However, finding the best TV is not just about resolution — see the HD glossary below if you're baffled by the terminology.

And remember, when buying big ticket items, always make sure you've done a full budget to ensure it won't break the bank — see Martin's Money Mantras below.

Cheap LCD TVs

The most common HD TVs are LCD models. They come in a much larger range of sizes, and tend to use less energy than plasma TVs. They're also usually better priced.

They are illuminated by a powerful backlight, which shines through a series of red, blue and green liquid crystal display (LCD) filters. The crystals move to allow light through pixel-sized points to create a picture.

There's no real difference in image quality between LCD and plasma screens these days. Here are some of the cheapest we've found:

Technika 32-270 32" Full HD LCD TV£178 in-store, at Tesco

If you're looking for full HD, you can pick up a set for as little as £178 in-store at Tesco* (order online for collection in-store).

The Technika 32-270 32-inch full HD 1080p LCD TV has a built-in Freeview tuner, along with two HDMI ports, 1 Scart socket and 1 USB port. These let you connect your HD devices, so you can view movies and pictures straight onto your TV and listen to your music in stereo sound.

The set comes with an integrated stand, or can be wall mounted. Reviews are positive, and suggest it is easy to set up while the picture is sharp and clear.

Specification

Screen size: 32" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD, 1920x1080
Inputs: 1 Scart, 2 HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, VGA, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Sharp HD-ready (lower res HD) 32" LCD TV£175 online, £190 in-store at Richer Sounds

UPDATE Wed 9 Jan 2013: The model is currently showing as out of stock online. We're trying to find out from Richer Sounds whether more will become available and will update you here when we have more info.

If you're after a more well-known brand but don't want to break the bank, this 32" Sharp model is £174.95 online at Richer Sounds (delivery's free) or you can buy in-store, but the price is slightly higher at £189.95. Although only £3 cheaper than the Technika model, this one is HD-ready rather than full HD, meaning the picture won't quite be as sharp.

The SHARPLC32SH130 32-inch LCD HD-ready TV has two HDMI ports, so you can hook up two high-definition devices, such as a game console, Blu-ray player, or HD tuner. There are Scart and Component sockets for older devices, such as VCRs. Note though, as it is HD-ready and not full HD, you will not get the full HD experience from devices such as a Blu-ray player.

It's received mainly positive reviews, although a few people have remarked that the sound quality isn't great.

For more info about the difference between HD-ready and full HD, read Martin's HD Ready blog.

Specification

Screen size: 32" widescreen
HD level/resolution: HD Ready, 1366x768
Inputs: 1 Scart, 2 HDMI, Component
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Bush 32" Full HD 3D LCD TV + free Blu-ray player£230 in-store at Argos - very limited stock

This is a stellar deal if you can find it. For £229.99 at Argos*, you can get a 32-inch full HD 3D LCD TV with a free Blu-ray player worth £89.99, plus 8 pairs of 3D glasses.

The catch, however, is that stock is extremely low. The TV has already sold out for home delivery and is also out of stock in most stores. Similar TVs on their own go for around £260 elsewhere so it’s well worth checking but don’t make a special trip.

The TV has a built-in Freeview tuner, along with two HDMI ports, 1 Scart socket and 1 USB port. These let you connect your HD devices, as well as view movies and pictures straight onto your TV, and listen to your music in stereo sound.

Specification

Screen size: 32" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD, 1920x1080
Inputs: 1 Scart, 2 HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, VGA, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Toshiba 32BV702B 32" Full HD LCD TV£219 online at Amazon

If you'd prefer a big brand TV, the LCD Toshiba 32BV702B has a 32" full HD screen and is £219 at Amazon*. Delivery's free when you select its 'super saver' option.

It has two HDMI ports, a Scart socket, a USB port for viewing photos and listening to music from a USB drive. Plus there's a VGA PC input, meaning streaming from your PC/laptop requires just one cable (use the MSE tool to find the right cable).

There's also a built-in Freeview tuner, so there's no need for a separate set-top box. Reviews are all very positive, and suggest the picture is sharp and clear, and the TV is easy to set up.

Specification

Screen size: 32" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD, 1920x1080
Inputs: 1 Scart, 2 HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, VGA, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Sharp 40" Full HD LCD TV£230 in-store at Richer Sounds

If you're looking for a slightly bigger screen with built-in Freeview, this Sharp LCD TV from electronics retailer Richer Sounds is only £229.99 in-store.

It has a 40-inch screen, two HDMI ports, a Scart socket, as well as a USB port for recording and playback of videos, music and photos.

Picture quality is reported to be excellent. Some people have posted negative feedback on the sound quality, although the TV has scored an average of 8.3/10 in that department and 8.9/10 overall on review website Reevoo.

Specification

Screen size: 40" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD, 1920x1080
Inputs: Scart, 2 HDMI, Component, VGA, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Cheap LED TVs

Most newer TVs have screens that use LED technology. This is actually the same as LCD TV, but instead of using a cold cathode lamp for the backlight, they have lots of low-power LEDs (light emitting diodes - tiny little bulbs).

Because LEDs are tiny compared to traditional bulbs, LED TVs tend to be much slimmer than LCD and plasma sets, so will save on space. LED models are also more energy-efficient than LCDs and plasmas.

Bush 32" Full HD LED TV£200 in-store at Argos

Order the Bush 32-inch full HD LED TV online from Argos* and collect from a local store for free. The product is usually available for home delivery but is currently out of stock.

It has three HDMI connections, so you can connect a Sky+HD box or Virgin HD box to it, plus either a DVD player or a Blu-ray player and a games console. It also has a SCART socket and a USB port, so you can connect your digital camera or hard drive.

The PC input allows you to use the screen as a computer screen, so it's easy to stream movies (full info in the Watch Movies Online guide).

The TV fares well in online reviews, particularly in terms of the picture quality. Also, because the screen is LED, it's also pretty energy-efficient.

Specification

Screen size: 32" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD 1920x1080
Inputs: 1 Scart, 3 HDMI, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

Bush Full HD 42" LED TV£300 in-store at Argos

You can get this big-screen full HD Bush set for £299.99 in-store at Argos*. The product is usually available for home delivery but is currently out of stock, so you'll need to pick up in-store.

It has a 42" screen, one Scart socket, three HDMI ports and a USB port. This means you can hook up a number of devices, to watch high-definition Blu-rays and TV, play HD games and watch content streamed straight from your PC/laptop.

This Bush telly has received some great feedback on the Argos website, averaging a score of 4.1 out of 5 from the 37 listed reviews.

Specification

Screen size: 42" widescreen
HD level/resolution: Full HD 1920x1080
Inputs: 1 Scart, 3 HDMI, Component, S-Video, VGA, USB 2.0
Freeview or Freesat: Freeview
Internet capability: No
Warranty: 1-year

More top TV deals?

Amazon Hidden BargainsOver 25% off televisions

There are more bargains to be had on Amazon, via our special Amazon Hidden Bargains tool.

You can customise your search depending on the discount you want (eg, from 25% off), though the smaller the discount, the more results you'll get.

Here's one specially-created with 25%+ off TVs:

25%+ off TVs*

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TV glossary

Screen resolution. 1080p refers to the number of horizontal lines which can be displayed by the TV screen. In order to view high-definition content from a Blu-ray player or PlayStation 3 at its very best, you will need a TV capable of displaying 1080p images.

HD. High-definition is a higher level of image detail (resolution) than standard definition (SD). Where standard definition tellies display 480 vertical lines of picture, HD ones can display 720 (HD-ready), or even 1080 (Full HD). However, HD-capable displays will only display a higher definition picture when connected to an HD receiver. (Wikipedia)

Resolution. Describes the detail an image holds. Put very simply, the higher the numbers, the more detailed the image will be, regardless of screen size. (Wikipedia)

Refresh rate. Measured in Hz, the speed at which the screen can refresh determines its effectiveness at reproducing fast-paced action. Most basic sets refresh at 50 or 60Hz, which is generally fine. But some viewers find it leads to eye strain when watching football, for example. As ever, this is more noticeable on larger screens. Sets with rates of 100Hz or more are now commonly available. (Wikipedia)

HD-ready. This refers to screens which are capable of displaying lower-end high definition (HD) content, which is still far more detailed than regular, standard definition telly (720 lines as opposed to 480), but not as detailed as full HD 1080p below. (Wikipedia)

Full HD (1080p). This refers to screens capable of displaying the highest quality of HD content (1080 lines). To do so, they need a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080. (Wikipedia)

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface). The preferred interface for plugging HD devices into each other. It's digital, and carries both sound and picture information. As an aside, don't be hoodwinked into paying over the odds for 'gold-plated' cables; since it's a digital format, there's barely any difference between them and the cheapest HDMI cable. (Wikipedia)

WARNING! Please think very carefully before buying one of these

While some of these tellies are very good value, they still cost a fair whack; don't be tempted to buy if you can't afford it. TV technology prices tend to drop for the same thing, so saving up and waiting a while can often pay off.

This site is about getting the best deals, but always spending within your means, so remember the MoneySaving mantras:

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Cheap HD TVs
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