Televisions are getting bigger and better every year, and the holiday sales are an opportune time to score a great deal. The chances are, you’ll be able to replace your old model with something far superior and for much less money than you paid last time.
Feeling a little confused by the leaps in technology, all those puzzling numbers and the techie language on product advertising? We’ve put together our top tips to help guide your decision!
- Select picture quality you’re happy with (within budget)
A Full HD (high definition) or “1080p” TV, at 1920×1080 resolution, displays over 2 million screen pixels. This means you can sit from a reasonable distance of roughly three times the height of the screen.
A 4K Ultra HD TV, at 3840×2160 resolution (4x Full HD), has over 8 million screen pixels, giving you a front row seat to the action. You can sit twice as close as a Full HD TV of the same size – that’s sitting from just one and a half times the height of the screen!
An OLED TV is one of the leading products on the market, with smooth motion, crisp detail and consistent viewing from a wide range of angles. A 4K OLED TV excels over a 4K LED TV with cinematic colours and superior blacks. Its stunning profile is often as thin as a pencil… it’s a more expensive option than the 4K LED, of course!
The higher end 8K TVs, at a spectacular 4320×7680 resolution (4x 4K and 16x Full HD), are in the early stages of their technology (as of 2019). They display a massive 33 million pixels! It’s unlikely they’ll hit the mainstream until prices drop and 8K content becomes readily available, which may take a couple of years.
- Look for the true colours
While many products have lots of numbers in the descriptions, your eyes are the best judge of quality! Watching free-to-air shows is the best way to compare how vibrant and accurate colours appear. Check out the news or a TV sitcom, rather than cartoons or digitally mastered films. Do people’s faces and their skin tones look natural or blotchy? Also look at obvious primary colours, such as red or yellow. They shouldn’t appear too orange! If you see the term “HDR” (high dynamic range), this is an indicator that there should be a better colour representation, as there are more hues in the range of the scale.
- Go for blacker blacks
One of the most telling features of a quality TV picture is how deep the blacks appear on-screen. The HDR label generally indicates blacks will be darker and the whites will be lighter. Do the shadows in your favourite movie look a little grey in that familiar scene? A brilliant image has high contrast and strong black hues are one of the most important ingredients in making this happen. Just bear in mind – while glossy screens will display blacks better, if your room is overly bright, you might opt for a matte screen to reduce unwelcome reflections.
- Size up your space
Screen size is measured in inches, diagonally from one corner to the opposite one. A 40 inch TV is a cost effective, unobtrusive option for a bedroom. A TV 50 inches or more is best for viewing in most living rooms, and you could possibly jump up to 65 inches, depending on your budget. Allow a bit of room on the top and sides of your TV for heat ventilation. If it will rest on furniture, you’ll want to be wary of the how the legs will sit on your cabinet or tabletop. They are often spaced further apart on newer models. If you’re mounting on a wall, select your bracket based on the weight of the TV.
- Plan on needing a sound bar
Today’s TV screens have very high resolutions and are considerably thinner than they used to be. Sleeker designs means less space for powerful speakers, so you might consider adding a sound bar to get the most from your setup. Just make sure your new TV has enough HDMI ports (usually located on the back) to get the job done, especially if you plan to use other devices such as a Blu-ray player or game console.
- Consider smart devices
If you’ve started to delve into the world of smart technology, or are thinking about it, the good news is there is a TV solution for basically any budget. Many new TVs from leading brands already support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. If you’re on a limited budget and want voice control, you can always plug in an external dongle, like a Google Chromecast, and pair it with your Google voice speaker. Many TVs come equipped with ‘smart’ features, such as built-in apps, for streaming your favourite movies and TV shows on Netflix and Stan.
If you’ve recently purchased some home entertainment gear, our audio visual professionals can bring your experience to the next level. We take the heavy lifting out of mounting your TV on your wall or cabinet, tidy up all the cords, get your devices talking together and show you the basics of how to use them. We’ll even recycle the large box your TV came in, so you don’t have to worry about trying to cram it in your own bin!