7 Mar 2014



A subscription-free digital satellite TV service. To watch it you'll need a Freesat set-top box, a satellite dish and ideally an HD-ready TV. Freesat offers more channels than Freeview.


A subscription-free digital TV service that provides television through an aerial. Virtually all new TVs come with Freeview built in.

Freeview HD

Similar to Freeview, with a handful of HD channels thrown in. Some new TVs come with Freeview HD built in. Alternatively, you can buy a Freeview HD set-top box to access it.

Full HD and HD-ready

Screen resolution is the number of pixels, or lines, displayed on the TV, expressed as ‘width x height’. Full HD screen resolution is 1920 x 1080p and these TVs have superior picture quality when watching a Blu-ray movie. Cheaper, 'HD ready' TVs have the minimum screen resolution to display a broadcast HD picture, but Blu-ray movies will not be as sharp as Full HD.


Liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs use lamps to shine light through liquid crystal cells in the TV's panel, letting varying amounts of colour through to create a picture.


LED TVs are the same as LCD sets, but the back-light lamps are replaced by tiny light emitting diodes (LEDs), which illuminate the screen for the picture to be formed. LED TVs are typically slimmer and more energy efficient than LCD ones.

Flat-panel display

The general term used for LCD , plasma and LED technologies.

Native resolution

The number of pixels or lines displayed on the screen (width x height). The highest screen resolution commonly available is 1920 x 1080. This is desirable for HD TV, but doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best picture for standard TV broadcasts or DVDs.

Picture-in-picture (PiP)

Picture-in-picture displays a small image of another channel or DVD in the corner of the screen while you watch the main image or use on-screen menus.

Plasma TV

Tiny gas cells are sandwiched between two sheets of glass, each emitting ultraviolet light that strikes red, green and blue spots in the screen to make up the picture.


A programmable video recorder (PVR) is a digital TV recorder. You can set recordings of live TV programmes using an on-screen menu and then choose to watch, keep or delete them. Some PVRs let you store up to 1TB of content and even pause live television.


Organic light emitting diode (OLED) TVs don’t need a backlight and so can be thinner even than LEDs, and display deeper black levels than any current screen type. However, OLED TVs only recently emerged onto the market and are very expensive.