TV Buying Guide
How to choose the right TV.
Finding the best type of TV for you should be an enjoyable experience where you can gleefully anticipate all of the ways you will enjoy your new TV. However, buying a TV can also become a struggle with technical details. Whether you want to create the ultimate home theater with a big-screen TV featuring exquisite clarity and contrast or you need to fill a space with a smaller TV, you can start your journey here.
We will explore what to look for when buying a TV by examining the different types of TVs, what to look for in a TV and what TV specs to pay attention to. With this handy TV purchasing guide and a little research, you will be able to choose a TV with confidence and ease.
Screen resolution refers to the number of pixels that a display can show and it has come a long way over the years. We witnessed a jump in clarity and color quality when 4K Ultra HD TVs were introduced and now 8K Ultra HD is here. What should you be looking for when it comes to screen resolution? Here is a quick guide:
Lines of resolution
High definition (HD)
As lines of resolution and the total number of pixels increase, you get a more lifelike picture. 4K TVs boast four times the resolution of Full HD. 8K TVs offer an even larger jump in pixels with 33 million per screen. This is why the highest rated televisions are usually either 4K or 8K.
A nice advantage of 4K or 8K UHD is high dynamic range (HDR). This technology applies an even greater range of color and contrast to your images, with most HDR TVs featuring upconverting technology that displays any signal at nearly 4K or 8K.
Comparing TV sizes.
TVs are categorized by screen size class, which is based on the diagonal measurement of the screen. For example, a 55" class TV could have a diagonal measurement of 54.5". Because the class is a general indicator of size, review the TV specifications for width, height and depth to ensure the TV will fit on your furniture or wall.
If you are wondering, “What TV size is best for my room?” there is no ideal TV size for every room in the house. Instead, each room’s dimensions and viewing distance should be evaluated. It should also be noted that with the incredibly lifelike picture and outstanding detail of a 4K or 8K TV, even a bigger screen in a smaller room can be a great choice.
TV screen types: LED, OLED or QLED?
LED (light-emitting diode), OLED (organic light-emitting diode) and QLED (quantum dot light-emitting diode) screens are all energy efficient technologies that boast brightly vibrant, lifelike colors. To differentiate each display technology used by these types of TVs, it is important to look at contrast ratio, response time and viewing angles:
- Contrast ratio – the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image.
- Response time – how long it takes for a pixel to change from one color to another.
- Viewing angles – the maximum angles at which a display can be viewed while still maintaining acceptable visual quality.
LED TVs offer high contrast ratios and generally have fast response times, which helps reduce motion blur. Viewing angles of LED TVs vary based on the LCD panel technology used, but they generally aren’t as wide as OLED and QLED displays.
Each pixel emits its own light and can be individually controlled with an OLED TV, resulting in an infinite contrast ratio. The individual control of each pixel allows for a precise and rapid transition of colors, which helps OLED TVs exhibit very fast response times and excellent viewing angles.
QLED TVs incorporate a layer of quantum dots that enhance color accuracy and brightness, but this doesn’t necessarily make the contrast ratios, response times or viewing angles better than OLED technology. QLED TVs are, however, better suited for lighter environments like the living room while OLED TVs are ideal for home theater setups.
Smart TVs and voice-assistant TVs.
Without the need for a separate streaming media device, you can connect directly to your favorite content from popular streaming services with a smart TV. Netflix, Hulu, Max and more of your favorite streaming apps are conveniently included on your smart TV or are easily downloadable. In addition to built-in apps and content streaming, other features associated with smart TVs include:
- Internet connectivity
- Web browsing
- Screen mirroring and casting
- Interactive features
Additionally, most smart TVs and many non-smart TVs are equipped with built-in voice-control functionality. Some voice-assistant TVs include voice remotes that let you push a button and state your command. Other models have microphones inside the TV, allowing you to speak without a remote control for a hands-free experience. These conveniences should definitely be kept in mind when researching how to choose a TV.
Outdoor TVs and projectors.
Enjoying a full entertainment experience doesn’t have to be limited to the indoors. Whether you have a partially shaded veranda or a poolside patio situated directly in the sun, an outdoor TV might be the perfect choice. Outdoor TVs are available in all of the previously mentioned display technologies (LED, OLED and QLED) as well as Full HD and 4K. Outdoor TVs are engineered to withstand various environmental conditions, like exposure to sunlight, rain, dust and temperature fluctuations.
Ideal for hosting backyard gatherings, some projectors can be used outdoors, but most are best suited for indoor use. A home theater projector creates a larger-than-life viewing experience for movies, sports and more. And, portable models allow you to shift the entertainment to different viewing areas. For more information, check out this insightful guide: Home Projectors: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy.
Complete your TV buying experience.
Buying TVs online or in-person has never been easier. Now that you are almost there, don’t forget about the TV and home theater accessories you might need. The last thing you want to do is to get your new TV all set up and ready to go, only to realize that you forgot something. Essential TV accessories can include:
- HDMI cables
- TV mounts and stands
- Sound bars
- Surge protectors
- Streaming media players
- TV antennas
TV accessories provide additional functionalities and convenience, which enhances and customizes your viewing experience. So, don’t forget to complement your television setup when looking at the different television types.
What is the best television for you?
From resolution and screen size to display technology and smart features, the best TV to purchase for your setup will depend on your individual preferences and viewing needs. So, take the time to assess these factors while still considering what you will use your TV for the most.
Whether you like checking out features in-person or you prefer ordering TVs online, hopefully this TV buying guide helps you make an informed decision. Now that you know what to look for in a TV, you should be able to find the perfect one that aligns with your needs and interests, taking you one step closer to the ultimate entertainment experience.