The Complete Guide to Buying an LCD Television on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying an LCD Television on eBay

LCD televisions are currently the most popular type of television, and this has been the case ever since they overtook traditional CRT technology. They make an excellent choice for almost anyone who wants to replace an old television for whatever purpose, from watching HD movies to playing video games or surfing the internet. However with so many technological variations and differences from one set to the next, it can be a daunting task to select the right television. This guide offers a clear introduction to LCD televisions and how to use eBay to make the right purchase.

LCD Television Overview

LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and this technology in one form or another lies at the heart of all LCD televisions. The liquid crystal screen acts to filter white light into colours, and these individual colours combine to form each pixel, which in-turn make up the image. In comparison to other modern TV technologies, LCD televisions are able to provide highly competitive picture quality. LCD has been around for a fairly long time and they have developed quickly, bringing significant improvements to picture quality, and continuingly lowering in price. LED LCD televisions look set to become the most popular television in the near future, but there is still plenty of choice for standard LCD televisions, which are more affordable.

LCD TV Specifications

It is very important to realise that television specifications can be confusing and misleading. Aside from the brand, the resolution, the screen size and the backlighting, the specifications should not influence the overall purchasing decision. Television manufacturers like to provide a plethora of specifications for their products but few of them give any useful indication of the actual picture quality. The technology landscape for all modern televisions is extremely diverse, and it is a very complex interaction of many different factors which ultimately governs picture quality. It is instead much better to read independent product reviews or with the option to purchase used LCD televisions on eBay, head there to the Discussion Boards to understand picture quality other important LCD television characteristics.

LCD Resolution

The picture quality of an LCD television is determined by a number of factors, including the contrast ratio, resolution, backlighting technology and image processing. There are many resolutions, including, in order of low resolution to high resolution, 480i, 576i, 720p, 1080i and 1080p, each of which can be specified with the eBay search filters. HD televisions begin at 720p, and this is the minimum advisable resolution to look for if the TV is to be used for HD viewing. 576i is the UK broadcast standard and PAL standard for DVD and similar media, while 480i is the standard for US broadcasting and NTSC (standard definition not high definition). The 'p' stands for 'progressive scanning', which offers the highest quality image for a given resolution. The number for each resolution describes the amount of vertical screen pixels. The most common source of 1080p visuals are Blu-ray disks. Most HD television channels transmit at 1080i or 1080p.

Television Size

Television screen size is the diagonal corner to corner distance across the viewable screen. The screen size should reflect the size of the room and the expected viewer-television distance. The picture quality of larger screens appears worse when viewing from a very close distance, and this is why bigger isn't always necessarily better.

TV Screen Size (inches)

Optimal Viewing Distance (m)


Less than 20

Very Close

Personal Use


less than 1.5

Kitchens, Small Bedrooms



Kitchens, Bedrooms, Living Rooms



Large Living Rooms


More than 3

Home Cinemas

These screen size brackets can be found on the eBay search filters to narrow down the search listings.

LED Backlighting

All LCD technology requires a source of light behind the screen known as the 'backlight'. The most well established backlighting technology is CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps). LED backlighting is a newer technology present within LED televisions, and they provide the advantages of greater energy efficiency, a thinner and lighter television profile, and a greater dynamic contrast between light and dark. LED backlighting is also more reliable and lasts for longer.

Television Features

Modern LCD televisions come with software for internet surfing and internet media streaming, home network streaming, video calling and downloading apps. Many options come with built-in media players such as DVD and Blu-ray players, as well as memory card slots, USB ports and Wi-Fi. All of these features and many more can be searched for using the eBay search filters.

Built-in Speakers

The vast majority of LCD televisions come with internal speakers. These speakers are mostly stereo and designed for general purposes like watching television programming. They are small and do not provide the low bass frequencies or surround sound associated with speaker systems.


There are a number of connections that HD televisions have built into them. HDMI and component cables are capable of transmitting HD signals. The older standard definition cables are the composite cable and SCART cable.


Games consoles, HD freeview, DVD players, Blu-ray players

Composite (Yellow, Red, White)

Stereo systems, older game consoles


Stereo systems, modern games consoles


Electronic storage


Backwards compatibility with older devices

Making the Right eBay LCD TV Purchase

eBay is an excellent platform from which to purchase an LCD TV:

Buying Used LCD Televisions

Big savings can be made when purchasing a used or refurbished LCD TV, but even when buying from a reputable eBay seller there are always risks when buying used televisions without a warranty. The two most important factors to keep in mind are the age and the brand of the television - televisions from well known, reputable brands hold their picture quality for longer and last longer in general. It is also important to check for resolution capabilities and back-connections. Used televisions may not come with built-in freeview or digital tuners. All HD-ready televisions come with HDMI ports to connect to a HD media device. Keep in mind that adapters may be needed for connection to the television if older devices such as tape players are to be connected.

Buy it Now and Auctions

The eBay Buy it Now format can be used to directly purchase a LCD TV for a specified price. The Auction format is the traditional buying format where potential buyers try to outbid rivals and win the purchase before the time runs out. The first format is quick and hassle-free, though the second format can offer very good savings potential. Some listings will come with either buying format or both buying formats.

Types of eBay Seller

On eBay there are individual sellers and eBay Shops. Regardless of which type of seller the TV is purchased from, eBay Buyer Protection offers safeguards for the rare occasions where the seller is illegitimate. A seller information tab can be found for each individual listing, and this shows how many products the seller has sold before and the seller's overall customer satisfaction ratings. eBay's Top-rated Seller qualification is given to sellers who gain consistently high ratings, dispatch items quickly and have a great track-record overall.

Ask a Question

Some eBay sellers will provide lots of information for their television listing while others won't. The Ask a Question features allows the buyer to ask the seller questions, which is highly recommended to use when purchasing advanced equipment like an LCD TV and especially if the TV is used or not much information is provided.

Finding an LCD Television on eBay

To search for LCD televisions on eBay, first navigate to the eBay homepage. Follow the Electronics & Technology tab on the left hand side and click on Sound & Vision. Then click on Televisions to go to the main TV listings page. There are search filters on the left side of the listings, and under Display Technology there are LCD and LED LCD search filers which can be used to obtain specific LCD TV listings. There are a range of other search filters including Brand, Screen Size, Price Range, TV Features, Resolution and Buying Format (Buy it Now or Auction), which can be used to specify the listings as required, for example, a new 30" LCD television or a used 1080p HD LCD television.


There is a huge range of LCD televisions available to purchase on eBay from a variety of sellers. It is easy to find the right LCD television when the search listings are used. Additionally, with so many sellers in competition good prices are always there to be found.

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