Be TV-smart - ask your expert local retailer
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Although home entertainment has undergone something of a revolution since the arrival of the internet, some things really do remain the same.
It won't be long before the schedulers reveal their seasonal line-up of wall-to-wall specials, show-stopping finales, and movies galore – it's as much part of Christmas as fairy lights and mince pies.
As the annual TV-fest demonstrates, there's plenty of life left in the old-fashioned, turn-up-and-watch TV experience. The only difference is that we watch on bigger, better, smarter screens than ever before.
So it's no surprise that once the clocks go back and the Christmas countdown starts in earnest, many of us head to the showrooms of our local towns or cities to see what's new in home entertainment. Home entertainment is evolving fast, with new products rolling off the production lines at bewildering speed, which can make choosing the right option for you and your family a challenge – even for the most tech-savvy consumers. Plasma or LED? Flat screen or curved?
When you want to make an informed choice on a big-ticket purchase for your home, it pays dividends to get the best advice, especially now that the plug-and-play option has been consigned to history.
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Today's TV is a complete home-entertainment systems, an audio and visual portal into the online world that has transformed our viewing habits.
It's also a portal into a world of acronyms. When do you need an HDMI cable, and what does it do? What's the difference between OLED and LED? Is HD or 3D the way to go?
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Online guides are a boon, but there's nothing quite like expert guidance from the people who know. They'll be able to advise on the right system for you, the right format, and – crucially – the right size and positioning. Screens are getting bigger, but you'll need a cinema-sized wall to enjoy a cinema-style TV experience at home.
Many retailers also offer an installation and aftercare service, which may well be worth considering if you're hooking up an entire digital system – internet, games console, satellite and audio, for example.
Whether you're upgrading your two-year-old set or setting up your first home theatre, welcome to the vivid new world of TV. And if you're considering getting wired for Christmas, it's a good time to be in the market, with new products in the shops in good time for the season ahead.
Click here to find out more about the Shop Local This Christmas campaign.