Shopping for a new TV? Here are 6 things you need to look out for
Generally, TVs don't have short product life cycles like smartphones. On top of that, a lot of people tend to hold on to their TVs for many years before deciding to get a new one. That's particularly true for those who are frugal.
But technology marches forward and TVs, especially Smart TVs, can do so much more these days. As a result, we as consumers have a greater incentive to upgrade. Unfortunately, buying a TV isn't quite as straightforward as getting a smartphone. Fret not! In this article, we'll discuss 6 things you should consider when buying a new TV!
#1 The bigger the TV, the better? Not exactly...
Your TV's size and resolution both have an impact on suitable viewing distance
First, an important thing to consider is the viewing distance. For your info, viewing distance here refers to the distance between the human eye and the TV screen. In that regard, where you place the TV and how much space you have can affect what TV size you should choose. If the TV is too big or too small, relative to the viewing distance, you may experience visual fatigue and affect the health of your eyes over time. For an idea of the TV size or viewing distance you should go for, you can refer to the images above.
#2 4K or 8K?
1080p TVs have mostly been phased out of the market. If you are shopping for a new TV, you'll find that most of them are 4K TVs. We're also starting to see 8K TVs being launched this year. Some brands have begun to launch more mainstream mass-production 8K TVs, but most 8K TVs remain as premium products.
Although an 8K TV can deliver better image quality, it doesn't feel necessary. 4K itself has yet to become a widespread standard, with only a few TV stations or streaming services capable of transmitting in 4K. Due to the lack of 8K content and the high manufacturing costs, there's no point in getting an 8K TV at this point in time. Those who have the budget and like to adopt new technology early can certainly consider it, but the average user should just stick with 4K TVs.
#3 OLED or LCD?
The next thing you would want to consider is whether to get an OLED or LCD TV. OLED TVs have wider viewing angles, higher contrast ratios, and faster response speed. Overall, OLED TVs perform better than LCD TVs. But in exchange, you'll need to fork out more money compared to relatively inexpensive LCD TVs. If you have a limited budget, LCD TVs would be the better option.
#4 Is it truly 4K?
Nowadays, more and more TVs are marketed as "4K". But when you look at the price tags, they range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. How many of these are real 4K TVs?
A regular 4K TV would be using the RGB colour model, with three colours of red, green, and blue forming one pixel. However, some 4K TVs use the RGBW colour mode, which has the colour white added to the pixel. This is what some consider as 'fake 4K'. As you can see in the image below, a fake 4K TV would have 'larger' pixels as a result, which may affect the image detail.
The method to check whether a TV is true 4K is simple. All you need to do is to take your mobile phone, place the camera close to the TV screen and take a picture. After that, zoom in on the picture. If you can see the red, green, and blue colours in sequence, then it's a true 4K screen. If there is an extra white, then it's an RGBW four-colour 4K TV.
#5 How to distinguish between true and false HDR?
Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about how to discern true and fake HDR. Many TVs on the market, from entry-level to flagship, all claim to support HDR, but is this really the case?
To put it simply, cheap HDR TVs only support HDR decoding, but don't have the hardware to achieve HDR effects. As you can tell, there's a huge difference between supporting HDR encoding and actually being able to output HDR effects. This is something that manufacturers don't tell you, so keep it in mind when you're shopping for a TV.
HDR TV standard:
- LCD screen peak brightness is above 1000 nits
- Wide colour gamut, greater than or equal to 90% DCI-P3
- Supports dynamic backlight control
- Supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, or HLG
HDR provides greater contrast and brightness to visuals
#6 Refresh rate
Refresh rate refers to the frequency at which the image displayed on the TV refreshes in one second. The higher the refresh rate, the faster the image is refreshed and that leads to smoother visuals. These days, the refresh rate of most TVs is 60Hz, while the refresh rate of flagship TVs can go up to 120Hz. By combining a high refresh rate with MEMC technology, you'll be able to experience a better viewing experience.
If you are planning to buy a TV to play games, or even for the future PS5, then the refresh rate would be an important thing for you to consider. A high refresh rate TV will make games much more enjoyable.
120Hz refresh rate will make your movies and games look much smoother
And that's it for this article! You can consider the points above common sense for buying a TV these days. Of course, there are also a few minor things to consider. For example, if you want to connect a Bluetooth speaker to your TV, then you'll need one with Bluetooth support. You may also want to consider the I/O ports available on the TV. In this case, the more HDMI ports available, the better. Otherwise, you might not be able to plug-in multiple devices, like a PS4 and Nintendo Switch. After all, it's a bit annoying if you have to constantly unplug and plug the different devices you may have every time you want to use them.
Of course, the most important thing is to always consider your own needs. You should have a clear idea of what you are looking for in a TV so that you won't get hoodwinked by the sales guy.
With that said, we hope this gives you a good idea on how to shop for a new TV. Let us know what kind of TV you're interested in and do stay tuned to TechNave.com for more articles like this!