3rd Dec 2018
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What you should know before buying a new TV
Author: Steve Perkin
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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    COMMENTS

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    johnp
    3rd Dec 2018
    1:17pm
    You didnt talk about reliability or longevity ??
    Eddy
    3rd Dec 2018
    2:44pm
    Given the state of electronics these days if a TV, or any electronic device, survives the warranty period there is a high probability it will last a reasonable time. Possibly it will still be working when you eventually decide to upgrade. This is true even for cheaper brands. The tendency for some electronic devices to fail very early in life (a matter of weeks or a few months) is known as 'Infant mortally" and is taken care of by the warranty. This can happen even with the more expensive brands.
    johnp
    4th Dec 2018
    9:17am
    thanks Eddy, that made sense even with my limited electronic knowledge
    Pammy
    3rd Dec 2018
    1:49pm
    And nobody ever talks about sound quality. I find it generally poor, even on quality brands like Sony and Panasonic.
    Gypsy
    3rd Dec 2018
    8:30pm
    I'm with you Pammy. Ours is so bad (decent brand) we bought a sound bar. More expense.
    Circum
    3rd Dec 2018
    2:13pm
    Longevity varies.If you are young longevity is when the new model comes out.If you are older longevity is when your current tv dies.
    Pammy is correct about sound quality.It hardly rates a mention.I have a smart Samsung with poor quality sound so I need a soundbar.My non smart Hisense has reasonable sound.


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