Even as the streaming war rages on and changes the landscape of television, the machines themselves remain a fabric of modern living. From Superbowl parties to movie nights to simply putting something on in the background while you work, our TVs aren’t just statement pieces in our homes but an integral part of our daily routines.
And this distinction is what makes television sets more complicated to buy than other home appliances. This is especially true because of the advent of smart TVs, 4K Ultras, and even 8K TV. All these advancements have brought up so many more questions. For instance, what is OLED? What is the difference between LED & OLED? Why should we invest in 8K or 4K?
So instead of just buying the flashiest option, why not clock some time researching what works best for you? And lucky for you, we are here to guide you through the entire process.
Factors to Consider When Buying a TV
Display type here refers to the actual display technology in the television like the old school CRT machines, plasma screens, or the varieties we discussed in the introduction. As such, the display type has been an essential consideration since flat-screen panels replaced the previously mentioned CRTs.
Today we have three main types of screens – OLED, QLED, and LED (most likely to be LCD LED) – available commercially. Of these options, OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) is inarguably the best, and LED is the most affordable, with QLED (Quantum-dot Light-Emitting Diode) falling somewhere in between. OLED excels as every pixel can emit light in response to an electric current and shut off completely. As a result, we get deeper blacks, higher contrast, and realistic colors, though it struggles with brightness. However, it makes up for it by eliminating the problem of viewing angles.
So what are we getting if we don’t have the disposable income to invest in OLED? With QLED much closer to LED than OLED despite being regarded as a middle-ground option, let’s discuss these together. Essentially, going this route will give you a more extensive array of prices, sizes, and features. Not to mention, brighter screens and steadily improving image quality. Though lower-end LED TVs often have a viewing-angle issue.
Since introducing home televisions, we’ve gone from clunky-looking, gaudy eyesores to sleek, beautiful machines (ranging from 14-inch to 100-inch). These TVs can even mimic wall art when turned off. And, when it comes to TV’s bigger is definitely better (which is why our focus is on large screens), but even so, you still need to make sure you can actually fit it into your house.
So, we recommend taking a tape measure to the target wall to guarantee the dimensions of this TV fit. (Here, the number of inches is the diagonal length of the TV screen, from the bottom corner to the upper corner on the other side.)
As 55-inch is the flagship these days, the newest TVs come in this size. But if you want to go even bigger, the demand for 65-inch TVs is also reasonably high, so you are likely to find quite a wide range of options there. However, around 75-inch sizes and above space becomes an issue.
And here is where we take our stand in the raging debate on 8K or 4K Ultras (Or Ultra HD). While there is no doubt that 8K TVs such as Samsung’s Q900 8K TV and LG’s 88-inch Z9 OLED are a massive leap forward in terms of advancement, we recommend that currently, you should skip these. Because not only are they super expensive, 8K movies and shows aren’t available yet. In fact, some places don’t even have access to 4K content.
Nevertheless, even if you don’t have access to all such content, we recommend that you take the plunge. It will inevitably become more accessible with Netflix, Amazon, and more investing in 4K sources, and the detail on the images is 100% worth it – especially for TV’s 50-inch and above. However, if you are merely looking for a smaller second screen for your house, HD TVs are still a solid choice.
Now, this might seem like a small thing, but with the dozens of interconnected devices most of us use daily, how many HDMI ports you have can severely impact the ease of use of your smart TV. Especially considering getting rid of such ports is an idle way for manufacturers to cut costs. As a rule, make sure you have a minimum of four HDMI ports.
Additionally, if you opt for a 4K Ultra HD, make sure the ports on the TV also support HDMI 2.0 or, even better, the newer HDMI 2.1 format to accommodate future Ultra HD sources. Lastly, check the range of and options on the remote control and how that works for you as this will be your primary interface in most cases.
We come to the Achilles’ heel of all modern televisions: poor sound. The sleek, beautiful designs we discussed earlier must come at the expense of something. In this case, it leads to a lack of space, preventing the inclusion of satisfactory speakers. This state of affairs leaves us with the following three options:
- Use headphones
- Set up a surround-sound system
- Buy a soundbar
We suggest the third since headphones defeat the purpose of such a large-scale set-up. And a surround-sound system is a hassle to install, results in clutter, and is expensive.
Speaking of costs, we come to our final and most important consideration – how much you can afford to spend.
Now, researching premium models may have convinced you that TV is just too expensive the reality is that high-end televisions have never been more affordable if only you consider what you actually want. For example, you can expect to pay about $500 (£379) for a 55-inch 4K TV and at least $900 (£650) for a 65-inch model. Which is much less than the $2000 most standard premium products would have you believe. Not to mention, you can get away with paying even less if you look out for upcoming sales and bargains. Luckily for us, one always seems around the corner.
Buying a TV can be pretty complicated if you aren’t tech-savvy like most of us. We’re no longer in the early 2000s, where a TV had one purpose; display cable TV. We’re now relying on TVs for a lot more than just cable. Just follow the factors mentioned on the list, and you should be able to buy a pretty decent TV for your home.