TV Buying Guide: The Ins & Outs to Your Perfect TV
Buying a new television can be a challenge because of all the choices that the buyer is required to make.
Screen size, viewing angle, resolution and other factors can all make a difference in your television viewing experience. Picking the right television for your room and your needs is important.
This guide will help you narrow your choices and make a smart, well-informed decision. The more you know about the various types of televisions on the market, the easier it will be to buy the right television for you.
LED Vs. OLED
In the past, LCD and plasma televisions dominated the market. Today, the big question that television buyers must ask themselves is: will I get an LED or an OLED television?
LED televisions are popular with consumers for a variety of reasons. LED, which stands for “light emitting diode,” is the method by which the television is backlit.
LED models work well in all lighting conditions and deliver excellent picture quality. LED televisions perform well in well-lit spaces and have a very slim profile, making them more versatile. LEDs are also durable and may last longer than OLED versions.
OLED models offer less blur, excellent color accuracy, astounding color range and great contrast from bright whites to true black. OLED models also produce dazzling displays and rich pictures. Both types of televisions deliver a quality product.
4K Ultra HD, Full HD and HD
Picture quality and resolution is a big concern for many television shoppers for obvious reasons. The picture quality contributes a great deal to clarity and detail in the images that the tv produces.
Television resolution is determined by the number of pixels contained on a screen.
A full HD television contains 1920 pixels on the horizontal side and 1080 on the vertical side, for 2 million pixels on the television screen in total.
4K models have 3,840 pixels on the horizontal side and 2160 pixels on the vertical side, for a total of 8 million pixels altogether.
On the market today, the main choices come down to 4K Ultra HD, Full HD and HD.
- 4K Ultra HD (2160p). 4K Ultra HD offers the best resolution. Their detailed images are 4 times as clear as full HD images. In fact, 4K televisions can actually upscale standard HD content, producing a sharper image overall. 4K pictures provide the most clarity for viewers who sit up close to the television, but for viewers who sit far away, the difference between a 4K and a full HD television may not be as obvious. 4K televisions also offer a feature called High Dynamic Range (HDR), to enhance contrast and color, producing a truer to life image. 4K Ultra HD models can cost significantly more than full HD and HD versions, but the price gap between 4K and full HD is slowly narrowing.
- Full HD (1080p). Full HD televisions enable all television content to be viewed at its highest level of detail. These models are the most common on the market today and deliver excellent picture quality. Full HD pictures are best in screen sizes smaller than 65 inches, but can still deliver good quality pictures at sizes larger than 65.
- HD (720p). This type of television delivers good quality pictures. Usually, these tv’s are on the smaller end.
The size of the television is important and should depend on variables like how close you plan to sit to the television, how many people will watch the television at once, how large the room is where the television will be installed and so on.
A television screen is measured with a diagonal line across the screen, from the bottom corner to the opposite corner on the top side.
Modern televisions can range in size from 20 inches to 80 inches. The size that you choose will depend on several factors, including:
- The size and purpose of the room. Larger televisions look better in larger rooms, while smaller televisions look better in smaller rooms. Smaller televisions also work better in rooms where the tv is not the focal point. For example, in a room like the kitchen, where the focus of attention is on cooking and food, a small television is appropriate (even if the room itself is very large).
- Where you will sit to view the television. You’ll want to sit at a distance of at least 1.6 times the length of the television in order to view the entire screen comfortably. Larger televisions require larger viewing distances, so getting a large television for a room where the chairs are positioned only 5 feet away may mean that viewers will not see the entire screen comfortably while using the television.
- Budget. It’s true, smaller televisions cost less, larger televisions cost more. However, there’s a large range in cost for televisions of all sizes, so even people who want to buy a large television can do so on a budget.
Curved or Not Curved
Curved televisions have a slight curve to them. This curve mimics the curve of your own eyes to give a richer viewing experience overall. There are many advantages to curved televisions, including:
- Greater picture depth.
- Better clarity at the edges of the screen.
- The television’s field of view appears wider.
- Greater contrast.
However, curved televisions have disadvantages as well. Curved televisions have limited “best viewing” spots, so that people who sit in the periphery of a curved television may have a less rich viewing experience.
Curved televisions can pick up glare from lights in far corners of the room, and the curve can have a strange effect on geometrical images on the screen.
The refresh rate refers to the number of times that a television will rebuild its picture per second.
Models that have a higher refresh rate will have a clearer picture during action scenes, while lower refresh rates will have some blur.
For example, if your television has a 60Hz refresh rate, you may notice some blur during fast action scenes compared to a television that has a 120Hz refresh rate.
However, it’s important to understand that some brands use proprietary technologies to reduce blur during action scenes, and refresh rate is not the only factor to consider.
Smart Vs. Not Smart
Smart televisions are able to connect to your home’s network for streaming movies on the Internet and are also able to connect to the Internet directly with a browser, so you can use your television like a large Internet-surfing computer.
This feature enables users to enjoy streaming movies from their Internet movie subscriptions and bypasses the need for a DVD player or movie rental.
Smart televisions provide viewers with the ultimate convenience, but for people who buy non-smart televisions and decide later that they would like their television to have smart features, there are many products on the market that can display streaming content on a television.
If you do purchase a smart television, remember that the speed of your network will play a large role in your ability to enjoy movies through the Internet.
HD content requires quick download speeds in order to deliver continuous content. The best televisions for streaming purposes will have a wireless-N router, or a wireless-N plus router, and will require download speeds between 5Mbps and 25Mbps for streaming content, depending on the picture quality of the television.
For televisions that get greater picture quality, faster download speeds are required.
Making Your Final Decision
Once you’ve done your homework and studied all the options, the best way to determine the right type of television for your needs is to view the different models in person, side by side.
If possible, look at different televisions in different lighting conditions, to give yourself an idea of what it would be like to watch a television in a room that is lit by sunlight during the day and artificial light at night.
Stand back from any television you are thinking about buying. Maintain the same approximate distance that you would sit to watch the television in your own living room.
It’s also important to stand at different angles in front of the screen, to mimic the experience of sitting in your living room at different chairs while you watch.
Finally, measure the space where the television will be positioned, and take note of the different possible positions of the chairs in the room.
It may be that you’ll decide to rearrange the furniture just to accommodate the television when it’s purchased, so taking this into consideration before actually making the purchase is important.
The best way to determine which television is right for you is to do your research ahead of time.
We hope that this guide has been helpful in choosing HDTV for Cyber Monday 2018! Make sure to check out our dedicated Cyber Monday TV Deals page for all of the latest HDTV deals from a variety of retailers for Cyber Monday 2018!