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Read the television reviews sections before you buy

HDMI, pixels, USB, PVR, DVD, plasma, Sky Box. . . the language of modern televisions can be baffling, even if you think you know what you are looking for. If you are buying a new TV, it can be helpful to skip past the manufacturer's and seller's enthusiastic technical jargon and head right for the section devoted to customer television reviews. This is where you will find all the really useful information.

Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk) has a well-established system of customer reviews. Read as many as possible before getting out the credit card. Ignore the 2 reviews that are highlighted, as these tend to offer the extremes of opinion, positive and negative. Instead look for reviews that mention the same little glitch or problem, or that agree about the poor sound quality, or excellent picture. This will help you make an informed purchasing decision.

With Amazon and some other sites, there can be an annoying tendency for manufacturers to try to skew the customer review section by commissioning positive reviews. These aren't too difficult to spot usually, as they are full of the sort of blandly enthusiastic phrases that don't ring true.

Revoo UK (www.reevoo.com) is a site devoted entirely to customer reviews. They guarantee their reviews are from genuine customers, who offer frank appraisals of the TVs. For the clearest picture it's best to look at examples with plenty of reviews, where a consistent pattern will emerge. Their marks out of 10 average is a reasonable indication of approval ratings.

The feedback at www.consumerreports.org is also a useful resource, with plenty of the latest digital technology subjected to customer appraisal, including a wide selection of television reviews.

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