TV buying guide; Buying a TV is becoming more and more complicated. These days, new types of technologies, different formats and new concepts are constantly being introduced that TV buyers should be aware of. In addition, several companies are launching cheaper TVs with a lot of features to compete with the likes of LG and Samsung.
In any case, if you are thinking of buying a TV, in the following, we will briefly and usefully address the most important points that you should pay attention to.
TV buying guide
Screen selection; LCD, OLD, QLED and more
Currently, there are two dominant display technologies in the TV market: LED-LCD (including QLED) and (OLED). Understanding the differences between these technologies will help you make the right decision.
Most TVs on the market use LCD panels with LED backlight. Many low-cost TVs to some expensive TVs based on QLED panels use essentially the same technology. Of course, this does not mean that they are of the same quality. QLED panels support a wider range of colors and display colors more vividly overall. Of all the LCD panels, QLED panels offer the best possible quality.
As we said, these types of displays use LED backlight, so to display an image, LED light must pass through multiple layers of the screen. This usually results in the black color not being deep and sometimes even leaking light on the edges of the screen.
The latest and greatest TVs based on this technology use local exposure technology, which improves the black color of the screen. In this technology, the LED backlight panel is divided into different parts so that, for example, if a part of the video is dark, part of the LED panel also turns off. Of course, if these areas are very large, the result will not be great.
Old is a completely different technology from QLED. In monitors based on this technology, each pixel can produce its own light. That’s why we no longer deal with the LCD layer and the LED background panel. As a result, old panels can be very thin.
That’s why old TVs can display black with a lot of charm and depth due to the ability to turn off the pixels, which is also very important for image contrast. Of course, if the old TV is not of good quality, some details in the shadows will be lost.
Older panels are more expensive to make than LCD panels, so older TVs are usually more expensive than LCD TVs. Of course, for QLED TVs, this price difference is not so great.
In the meantime, we must mention another technology called mini-LED. In this technology, we see the use of LCD again, but for backlight, smaller LEDs are used, which means that the panel for local exposure uses much more sections. As a result, these types of displays in terms of black display offer much the same function as the old panels, and in general, many of the weaknesses of the LCD display are eliminated.
Although mini-LED TVs strike a very good balance between price and picture quality, they have not yet been widely marketed, but the number of such TVs will increase in the near future. So if you are thinking of buying a mini-LED TV, you will probably have to wait a while.
Brightness and viewing angle
Adapting TV technology to your viewing environment and habits is very important. Because LCD displays (including QLEDs) use LED backlighting, they can provide much more light than older models. This is due to the presence of organic matter in the composition of old displays, whose brightness is limited due to heat production.
The brightness of a QLED TV can be up to twice that of an old display, making it an ideal TV for outdoor use. On the other hand, if you enjoy watching movies in the dark or more at night, old TVs display a better picture with a more attractive black color.
Older monitors have outstanding performance in terms of viewing angles and are therefore ideal options for group viewing. Although at some angles you may experience a slight color change, at different angles the light of the image does not decrease significantly. Different LCD TVs use different technologies to overcome this problem. For example, LG nanocell TVs use IPS panels that offer excellent viewing angles but a low contrast ratio.
On the other hand, VA panels used in Samsung QLED TVs do not have much to say in terms of viewing angles, but instead have a high contrast ratio and high color accuracy.
If you have a large family or, for example, regularly watch movies or sports games with your friends, pay attention to the viewing angles and ambient light before buying a TV.
HDR capability or wide dynamic range is one of the important features of new displays. Dynamic range is the difference in the amount of light between the darkest points and the brightest areas of an image that has recognizable detail. This difference is usually measured in units of Stop. SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) TVs support a range of up to 6 stops, but some newer HDR displays extend that range to more than 20 stops.
Simply put, this means you get more detail in the shadows and bright parts of the image, resulting in a richer and more attractive image. HDR TVs also support a wider color gamut and provide maximum brightness. This means you will see more colors and be less likely to encounter similar color groupings.
HDR content is becoming more and more important, and many new movies and series are using this feature. Also, the new generation of consoles such as Xbox X Series and PlayStation 5 have shown a lot of attention to this feature.
If you are interested in HDR content, we must first explain the most important formats in this area:
- HDR10: This is the minimum HDR standard, and all TVs that support HDR are compatible with HDR10.
- Dolby Vision: Dolby Vision is one of the most advanced HDR formats that uses dynamic metadata to create accurate HDR frames.
- HDR10 +: An evolved version of HDR10 that uses dynamic metadata like Dolby Vision. This format is mainly used in Samsung TVs.
- HLG: This format is used by TV networks and allows SDR and HDR TVs to use a single source. As a result, more data is available for HDR TVs, and they are able to play better images.
With the exception of HDR10 (which is the default HDR standard), Dolby Vision is more popular than HDR10 +. Streaming services such as Netflix use the standard for almost all of their new content, and Microsoft has announced that Xbox X and S series games will be based on the standard.
For about $ 600, you can buy a great TV, and spending $ 1,200 will not necessarily lead to a much better TV. There is even a possibility that you will get a worse TV by paying more.
This is due to the differences between the different features of TVs. If you do not want to spend too much on TV, then it is better to get acquainted with some of these features.
The image processor on your TV can greatly affect the picture quality. A good image processor can capture 720p video and display it as 4K quality video. On the other hand, a poor image processor can significantly reduce the appeal of different content. Although some low-cost brands may perform poorly in this area, some brands, such as Sony, do well.
Some brands offer a feature called BFL (Insert Black Frame) which means placing the black frame at specified intervals to make the video display smoother. This may be important for movie buffs, but it should not be a priority for most people.
Communication is another area that you should consider when buying a TV. Most TVs use the HDMI 2.0 port, but the HDMI 2.1 standard is becoming more and more popular. If you do not want to use the highest resolution and frame rate (120Hz) of PlayStation 5, Xbox X Series and high-end PCs, then you do not need HDMI 2.1.
High-refresh display monitors allow you to view content at 120Hz, which is twice as much as most TVs on the market. However, if you are not using a new and powerful console or graphics card, it would not be wise to spend more on a 120 Hz TV.
Software is one of the areas in which new TVs have made significant progress. That’s why new generations of smart TVs are so much better in terms of software than ever before, and if that’s important to you, pay attention to the operating system before you buy a TV.
Pay attention to the sound
In recent years, TV companies have paid special attention to their design, and as a result, very thin TVs with low margins have entered the market. One of the side effects of such an approach is that most TVs do not have much to say in terms of speakers.
Of course, there are exceptions, such as old Sony TVs that use the display as a speaker, and some TCL TVs have an internal soundbar. But most TVs – especially the low-priced ones – offer disappointing sound quality.
If sound quality is very important to you, then in addition to buying a TV, it is better to save some money to buy a soundbar. Sandbars are not very expensive, but they can provide excellent sound quality. Many of them support new standards such as eARC and Dolby Atmos, and overall increase the attractiveness of the TV.
Enough with 4K resolution
Given that 4K and HDR TVs are now very popular in the market, most people now have a good reason to buy a new TV. But why do companies now want to force people to buy 8K TVs?
Even if an 8K TV is not very expensive, the fact is that such a resolution is still not worth the investment. It should also be noted that the difference between 4K and 8K resolution is not so noticeable to many people.
The jump in SD content to HD was quite noticeable in terms of image quality, but the difference between 4K and HD is less noticeable than the previous jump. To get a better view of the benefits of 4K, you need to have a certain distance from a TV, but in any case, you can not hide the more detail and clarity of 4K videos.
But as we said, the difference between 4K and 8K is not so noticeable, and in order to be able to see the difference between them well, you have to get very close to the TV. All in all, 8K TVs probably won’t be able to get a lot of users excited.
We must also address the issue of content. Although most 8K TVs do a good job of upscaling 4K content, finding true 8K content can be a daunting task. YouTube supports this resolution, but there is no way to filter search results to find 8K content. Some streaming services do not yet offer 4K content, and many TV networks still broadcast on SD.
Netflix has advised its users to use 25Mbps internet to stream 4K content. This means that users must have access to a minimum internet speed of 50 Mbps for 8K streaming, which is certainly not the case for many users around the world.
Just as now is a good time to buy a 4K TV, 8K resolution will be ubiquitous in the not-too-distant future. Of course, don’t forget that the early 4K TVs didn’t have much to say about HDR, and after a while, all-in-one 4K TVs finally hit the market. The same thing is happening with 8K TVs, so now is not the time to buy them.
Pay attention to reviews
Like other gadgets, before buying a TV, be sure to take a look at the reviews. The RTINGS site is one of the best sources for this, and with extensive reviews, they provide a list of the strengths and weaknesses of TVs. All in all, there is no perfect TV for all users, and you must first determine your priorities and then look for the TV.