How to choose your next TV

If you’re in the market for a new television, what’s going to make the kids envious? There are several things you must consider before you charge off to your favourite electrical store and buy the best and biggest television you can afford.

First, look at the room it’s going into.

Large rooms can cope with larger televisions, while smaller rooms get overpowered. The television industry has some guidelines here. If you’re thinking of buying a full HD (high definition) set, you should sit at a distance that is three times greater than the height of the television screen.

An Ultra HD or 4K television – one with at least eight million active pixels – can be watched from a distance of just 1.5 times the screen height, meaning you can sit twice as close.

Then decide whether you’re going to wall-mount it or sit it on a sideboard or stand. If it’s the former, make sure your wall can cope with the weight; and factor in the expense of a wall bracket and maybe paying somebody to hang it.

Finally, have some sort of understanding of what the salesman will be talking about.  For example, TV measurements are taken diagonally across the screen, so from the bottom left corner to the top right corner.

And TVs these days can be as thick as your thumb, so don’t let them sell you something fat and heavy that’s on special.

So, armed with this knowledge, what’s hot and what’s not?

OLED (organic light-emitting diode technology) televisions are reasonably new and offer the best picture quality. While they offer the best viewing experience, they are more expensive than LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs.

Then there are Full HD and Ultra HD screens. A Full HD screen would have a resolution of 1080p, which implies 1920×1080 pixels. An Ultra HD screen, as explained earlier, has four times the resolution of Full HD. The salesman might refer to this as 4K.

The rule of thumb here is that the higher resolution, the better the picture,  especially if the physical size of the screen is larger. But remember, a 4K television is best watched from a distance of two metres.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, 4K should be your preferred option.

The salesman will also talk about Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) and both will be better than what you’re getting rid of.

Whatever you buy, make sure Ultra HD, WCG or HDR are involved.

The best way to decide which set provides the best quality picture is to watch it from various angles. As you move from the centre of the screen to the side, the television will lose some colour and contrast. Just make sure this isn’t too extreme.

The salesman might also refer to Smart Televisions. These are sets that can be connected to the internet, your computer and you smartphone.

If you like this option, it’s best to spend more money because cheaper smart televisions aren’t very smart – they’re more of an average intelligence.

Stay away from plasma sets. They’re outdated and, while much cheaper, they don’t have the quality of OLED or LCD sets. And don’t be tempted by 3D or curved screens.

As for the price, that will largely depend on the size of the screen, but even that’s not a reasonable guide as you can pay anywhere between $2000 and $6500 for a large screen TV, while medium screens can vary from $500 to $3000.

So, do your homework and don’t get too agitated by the thought that, whatever you buy, it will probably be out of date next year.

Have you bought a TV recently? Did you do your research? Did you understand all the lingo?

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Written by Perko


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