With innovation getting complex with each passing day, buying a TV has become more confusing than ever. With so many contradictions out there about what TV is the best and what the best TV brand to buy is, the decision-making process has even become more complex. It's surprising how prices vary for the same size of TV. The jargon part is the worst, especially when salespeople try to explain why this one is more expensive than that set and why you should buy this 55 inch TV instead of that one.
From a layman's point of view, when buying a TV there are two things you should consider:
How big is it? And, how much does it cost? Well, maybe color/picture quality too, to make it a top 3 criteria for most of us. The rest of the technicalities involved, most would not care any less.
The size factor will depend on how many people are going to watch the TV and where it's going to be set up, that is either wall mount or TV unit stand, wall-size etc. There is a general rule of thumb supporting how to decide on the size of the TV you should get, that:
you should sit at a distance from the TV that is three times more than the height of the screen for HD and just 1.5 times the screen height for 4K Ultra HD TV.
In other words, you can sit twice as close to a 4K UHD TV.
I would recommend investing in nothing less than a 40-inch TV for a standard living room area to ensure a pleasant viewing experience. You might want to read more on how to choose the perfect size for your bedroom or living room.
After all is said and done, buying a TV will come down to what you can afford. It's called a budget! A wise man once said "people should stay in their financial lanes" and I couldn't agree more. In other words, how much are you willing to spend on a new TV set? When it comes to cost, as highlighted earlier in this article, the exact same size TV can vary widely in price depending on certain specifications with some even costing as much as a car, unbelievable, right!
Types of TV Display
In simple terms, I will highlight the different types of TV display that you will come across and define the acronyms normally used and what they mean:
Plasma- Need we talk about these? They have lost nearly all their market share and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone, maybe 10 years ago.
Back then, buying a TV wasn't as difficult and confusing as is nowadays. I used to think that the plasma TVs produced the best viewing quality as well but that was before I was exposed to the LCD TV, then LED TV, and now there's also the OLED TV and QLED TV. You may notice that I haven't included the last two in the prior hierarchical sequence. As much as I am no technical engineer, from an ordinary TV consumer's perspective I am not yet satisfied with how both have presented their cases for me to ultimately name a winner there. It's still an ongoing research and the World Wide Web is a very confusing space! I would say they are equally competitive for now, but that's just my own point of view.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. These use cold cathode fluorescent lighting (CCFL) for backlighting and offer an increased brightness over the plasma. Lighter in weight than the plasma but heavier than the LED.
LED- In short, this is an LCD TV that uses Light Emitting Diodes (LED) as a backlight for the liquid crystals in the display. This obviously will give you a better version of the LCD TV. Uses less power than the LCD and provides a brighter display too.
OLED TV stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode TV. This type of TV produces stunning levels of contrast, sharpness, and true black levels. The pixels of an OLED are self-illuminating unlike in an ordinary LED TV where the LCD display uses LEDs to light up.
The OLED is most common in the LG brand but one would argue that it's nothing new as Sony had its first OLED, Sony XEL-1 first produced for sale back in 2008 while most of us were still looking for the best Plasma on the market.
QLED TV- This is Samsung's Quantum-dot LCD TVs which have a much brighter picture emission due to the semiconductor nanocrystals which produce pure monochromatic red, green, and blue light. I just had to flex my scientific jargon muscles a bit there, thanks to Google of course! In simpler terms, Samsung is using quantum-dots to enhance the performance of its LEDs.
You might want to read more on choosing between an OLED and QLED.
Other specifications to consider when buying a TV
Contrast ratios- This is the difference between the darkest black and the whitest white, the specific TV can produce. Thus, say White/Black = contrast ratio. This is not the type of information which is readily available when shopping for a TV. Also, not many people would ask about this. Why not inquire about this when you go shopping for your next or first TV? The bigger the ratio the better.
Color reproduction and color depth- This is how finely a TV can express levels of color.
Aspect ratio- This is an easy one, the ratio of a TV's width to its height, simple, right? I thought so too. In simple terms, the most common type being 16:9. Thus let's say if we divide the width into 16 equal parts then the height of the TV or picture will be 9 parts. If you are a film lover, you will probably look into getting a unit with a wider ratio.
Refresh rate- The number of times the image on the screen refreshes per second. The refresh rate is measured in hertz and the recommended rate will be 120Hz or more.
Inputs- This is the number of ports available for your external codes connecting your TV to your media sources such as your Blue-Ray player or Video Game consoles. You will need to know what you want to connect to your TV. A reasonable number will be at least 4 ports.
Smart TV- You have probably come across this label on most of the modern TVs. A smart TV is a TV that can connect to the internet and can stream content directly. This is a favorite feature for all the Netflix, IMDb or ShowMax lovers.
4K TV- This is also known as the Ultra HD TV. In this day, anything less than a 4k resolution is not considered to be quite ideal. In technical terms, a 4k TV has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels which is 4 times the 1920 x 1080 pixels found in a full HD TV.
Having a higher pixel density entails a clearer and better-defined picture.
Curved TVs- I have always wondered, what's the hype with the curved TV? After a little bit of research, I found out this type was more of a trend and style statement TV and making a really good one for that matter.
It, however, does not add any significant real value beyond the shape and viewing angles.
Curved TVs are really expensive to produce. Thus making them an expensive choice as well. I would say if you want to add a bit of style to your living room and have much disposable income then go for it. You can read more on curved screens from this detailed article.
An HDR compatible set is a way to go if you want the most colors as it offers a high dynamic range. HDR also offers increased brightness and an even better contrast as compared to standard HD and even 4K Ultra HD TV sets. This makes it an upgrade of the 4K actually. However, not applicable to 1080px HD sets.
TV speakers are becoming worse and worse these days due to the fact that the screens keep getting thinner. For a much better sound experience, I would recommend that you not only invest in a TV but in a sound bar as well. Take a look at some of our soundbars here.
To conclude, most of the TV manufacturers showcased their 2018 TVs at the annual CES show in Las Vegas this past January and I must say, the future really looks so bright in the world of Televisions. I am in complete awe from the magnificent innovations these major players are coming up with.
Our highly experienced buyers have traveled around and sourced the best TV brands. So we can assure you of a hassle-free experience when shopping for a TV. Our brands include Samsung, LG, Hisense, and JVC. We have the best TV deals in South Africa on all TV types with a variety of functions. You can buy your TV online or visit us in any of our stores and you will leave with the right TV set to suit your needs.