TV Buying Guide: All You Need To Know On How To Choose and Buy A TV
Buying a new TV is never easy. Ideal TV size? 4K or Full HD? HDR? OLED or QLED? Contrast ratio? All of these confusing jargon and alien sounding technologies almost make it feel like you’re buying a spaceship.
It won’t tell you exactly which TV to buy because we all have varying needs and budgets, but this should provide you with the basic knowledge you’ll require to make a more informed decision.
TV Types Explained
LED vs. OLED
Most LCDs today use an LED backlight, where each LED illuminates a small cluster of pixels in order to form an image. An OLED, on the other hand, is even smaller than an LED and can be used as individual pixels on a TV screen. This also means OLEDs can be lit up and shut off independently in order to create images, unlike LEDs.
One huge advantage of being able to do this is that an OLED screen simply shuts off pixels to achieve “absolute black” and what most TV salespeople would call “a stunning level of contrast”.
In contrast, a LED LCD achieves “black” by blocking most of the LED backlight. The problem with this is some of the light may still shine through. This might be noticeable, especially in a dark room.
Naturally, OLED TVs are more expensive and targeted at TV shoppers with a larger budget.
OLED vs. QLED
For those looking at Samsung, you will notice that they have a line of TVs called QLED, which should not be confused for OLED.
Samsung’s QLED stands for Quantum Dot LED, which is essentially a LED LCD with a quantum dot film. This technology gives QLED TVs the potential to match the “absolute black” levels and contrast of an OLED but with better colour and brightness, and most importantly, at a much lower price.
4. About Smart TVs
Most TVs today are Smart TVs with easy access to Netflix, Youtube, and other online apps. And even if it doesn’t come with inbuilt apps, all you need is a media streamer like Apple TV or a Xiaomi Mi Box to make your TV “smart”. By the way, all the TVs mentioned so far are Smart TVs. So be extremely wary if the TV salesperson makes a big deal out of this feature.
Some Important TV Jargon
There is a growing amount of 4K content that is being made available on platforms like YouTube and Netflix. So if you’re looking for a TV that is future proof, you’re going to want one that is 4K ready and HDR compatible.
1. What is 4K Resolution?
Without going too much into the terminology and science behind 4K, here’s a very simple way to look at the various screen resolution sizes and what they mean: 720p is High Definition (HD), 1080p is Full HD, whereas 4K is Ultra HD.
To put that into perspective, 4K has four times as many pixels as 1080p. This means that 4K has four times the resolution offered by Full HD.
The higher resolution is great because your picture quality will be super sharp, but it does present a problem with colour rendition. By squeezing a higher resolution into a smaller space, individual pixels get less light and thus, lesser colour is reproduced in the resulting image.
2. What about HDR?
TVs with High Dynamic Range (HDR) deliver more colours, more contrast levels, and a perceivable increase in brightness. In short, HDR renders pictures that are more life-like.
Tech-savvy readers will also know that within HDR, there are formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Various manufacturers and companies also produce content in varying HDR formats. As to which is arguably the best, again, that’s a whole other article for another time.
For now, at least, it’s relatively safe to say that if you buy a middle to high-end 4K TV with HDR compatibility, it should be good for anything that might be introduced in the near future.
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