What to Consider When Buying a New TV

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TV technology has come a long way since the days of fuzzy black and white screens. Today, viewers can enjoy higher-resolution images and more immersive sound while having access to more content than ever before. The advent of streaming services has also revolutionised the way people consume media, allowing them to access their favourite shows, movies, and more on demand.

With the combination of advanced technology and a range of content options, television has become a much more satisfying and engaging experience than ever before. But these improvements also mean there’s a lot more to consider when buying a new telly. 

With so many features and options to choose from, buying a new set can be an overwhelming experience. But fear not, dear reader! Whether you’re a movie buff, gamer, or binge-watcher extraordinaire, we’ve got the tips to help you make an informed decision and elevate your viewing experience to the next level.

Choosing the Ideal Screen Size

When it comes to buying a TV, bigger isn’t always better, but it sure can be sweet! To make sure you’re maximising your viewing experience without breaking the bank, consider the size of your space, your budget, and the number of regular viewers. Generally, experts recommend a screen between 55 and 65 inches, which is a sweet spot for most people.

Now, if you’re looking to step up your TV game and opt for the 4K Ultra HD resolution, here’s a pro tip to keep in mind: Make sure to sit at a distance of 1.5 times the height of the screen to truly appreciate the higher quality. Otherwise, you might not notice the difference!

Screen Resolution: HD, 4K or 8K?

Generally speaking, higher resolutions are preferred since they result in sharper, more detailed images. Full HD, also known as 1920 x 1080 resolution, has been the standard for some time. However, the television industry is rapidly transitioning to Ultra HD (also known as 4K) models, which have four times as many pixels as modern HDTVs, or 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K sets are all the rage these days and for good reasons. With their increased pixel count, small objects on the screen appear more detailed, and text is crisper than ever before. The result? More lifelike images than those produced by standard HDTVs. While the benefits may be subtle, the overall viewing experience is undeniably enhanced.

But wait, there’s more! If you want to take your viewing game to the next level, you might consider an 8K unit. These bad boys quadruple the resolution of 4K sets, delivering an even more jaw-dropping visual experience.

But is 8K resolution necessary to get the best experience? Well, aside from being more expensive than 4K sets, content that takes full advantage of 8K’s capabilities can be hard to come by, so you should consider holding off for now. 

Panel Technologies: OLED or LED?

It’s important to know your LED from your OLED. And within the LED camp, there are also a few key variations to consider.

When it comes to LED TVs, the lighting configuration of the panel is a critical factor that can have a big impact on the screen’s contrast. Some models use edge-lit panels, where the lights are located on the screen’s edges and shine across it, while others have lights positioned directly behind the screen.

Generally speaking, TVs with lighting behind the screen offer better contrast than their edge-lit counterparts. However, these models may be bulkier, more expensive, and consume more power than their sleeker, edge-lit counterparts.

The main advantages of LED televisions are their brightness, affordability, and durability. The main shortcomings stem from the need for external light sources, which limit viewing angles and make it challenging to change the quantity of light in the image.

There are two different kinds of LED panels: IPS and VA. Although IPS screens have less contrast than VA displays, they have slightly wider viewing angles. Nonetheless, the VA panels’ up to this time narrower viewing angles frequently produce noticeably better contrast.

The best OLED TVs have self-emitting pixels, which enable each pixel to entirely independently produce its light from its neighbours. The technique of organic phosphors is used to achieve this. This makes it possible for contrast and light accuracy to be far higher than what is even feasible with the most advanced LED set.

Additionally, it suggests that OLED displays have much wider viewing angles than LED screens do without sacrificing colour or contrast. Because of these features, OLED is currently favoured by many fervent AV lovers.

Yet, there are issues with OLED too. Despite recent price reductions, they are still considerably more expensive than typical LED televisions. OLED Displays’ lower maximum brightness compared to LCD TVs could be an issue with HDR content.

Refresh Rate: Faster Is Better

60 hertz, or 60 cycles per second, is the standard refresh rate. When viewing scenes with swiftly moving objects, a 60 Hz refresh rate, especially on LED HDTVs, can make things appear jittery or fuzzy. As a result, manufacturers raised the refresh rate to 120Hz to produce an image that was more stable (and in some cases up to 240 Hz). 

Many current models tout High-Frame Rate (HFR) capability, which means that in addition to having a higher refresh rate, they provide compatibility for content with frame rates higher than 60 Hz. HFR is a feature to keep an eye out for because it will be incredibly helpful for live sports. HFR content is probably going to come from live broadcasts as well as movie theatres.

Because of this, owners of PS5, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S consoles and games that support 120 Hz should search for a TV that can make use of higher refresh rates. The ideal frequency for retro video game consoles is 60 Hz.

Speakers and Sound 

The sound quality of flat-screen TVs can differ significantly. If you don’t want to use an outside sound system, you should be aware of this. The majority of manufacturers disclose the speaker system wattage for their TVs, however, this data is rarely helpful in forecasting how a set will sound.

Instead, think about a TV’s audio setup, notably how many speakers it has. For instance, a “2.1” setup would signify dual main speakers, with the “.1” bit designating a bass speaker. A 3.1 configuration would suggest two speakers and a separate centre or talk channel.

Due to the small amount of area they have available, tiny speakers frequently have to discharge their sound downwards, which can cause an indirect, muddled, and weedy sound. Forward-firing speakers on televisions typically produce audio that is substantially clearer and more powerful.

Another piece of advice is to not believe manufacturers when they state that their models come with DTS or Dolby Digital surround decoding. No TV can provide a sound experience that even comes close to being true surround sound without using real back speakers, and many that do sound terrible.