We’ve all been watching a lot more TV recently, for better or worse. Many people are now looking at their old televisions and thinking if it’s time to update. If your television is close to ten years old, the answer is yes. Recently, there has been a lot of innovation and new capabilities in TVs, which means you’ll need to brush up on some new tech words and lingo before you go shopping.
You know that everything appears better on a bigger screen, but how do you go about finding the best TV for you? It’s easy to become overwhelmed with so many display options and technologies (not to mention a bewildering amount of smart functionalities). This guide is your perfect way through the TV purchasing jungle, with lessons gathered from dozens of reviews, guides, and technical explainers, whether you’re seeking simple shopping tips or need to know which features matter most.
Don’t worry: this 4K TV buying guide will break it all down for you in simple terms. Finally, you’ll know exactly which features to search for and which to ignore to obtain the greatest bargain on a new television for your house.
Size and setup of a 4K TV
When shopping for a new television, the first thing to consider is how much space you have in your entertainment area. Keep in mind that TV screens are measured diagonally, thus 65 inches refers to the diagonal dimension rather than the height or breadth. These measurements may be found on the product page of television and are frequently mentioned in reviews. A 50-inch or bigger TV will look great in most living rooms, however, you can go as big as your entertainment center — and your checkbook — will allow.
The size of the screen is also determined by how close you sit to the television. Basically, you’re too near if you can see the individual pixels on the screen. A decent rule of thumb is to sit three times the height of the screen for HD and just 1.5 times the height of the screen for 4K Ultra HD. In other words, a 4K UHD TV allows you to sit twice as close to it.
If you’re planning to use a TV stand, remember to include the measurements of the stand in your calculations to guarantee a suitable fit. It’s also worth noting that more and more TVs are being installed on legs on the outside rather than bases in the middle, which necessitates even more room.
Those who want to mount their TV on the wall will be relieved to learn that weight is not an issue. There are mounts available for people of all sizes and weights.
The term “4K” refers to the resolution of 4K televisions. Although 4K TVs don’t exactly have 4,000 lines of horizontal resolution (they really have 3,840), the phrase is catchy and simpler to remember and say than alternative names for the technology, such as “2160p,” “4K Ultra HD,” or simply “UHD.” Whatever you name it, it refers to a pixel count standard for creating the on-screen image you view.
The difference is noticeable, especially when these TVs display native 4K material, with four times the pixel quality of the previous standard, 1080p HD. Images are sharper, minute details are more visible, and you may sit closer to bigger TVs without experiencing significant image loss.
Of course, some manufacturers continue to produce 1080p or 720p screens, but they are often the lowest-quality TVs with the smallest screen sizes in their portfolio. It made sense to consider one of these models if you wanted to save money a few years ago, but today, you can purchase a 50-inch 4K TV for $300 or less, which implies that only those with the tiniest of budgets should explore TVs with lower resolution. Indeed, as 4K costs continue to fall and the cycle slowly begins again, we’re starting to see a range of 6K and 8K displays.
HDR stands for high-dynamic range, and in our opinion, when done correctly, it makes a considerably more noticeable difference in overall image quality than resolution alone. Higher brightness and contrast, as well as a broader color gamut — the total amount of colors a TV can display — make HDR images more colorful and lifelike. When HDR is at its finest, it is simply breathtaking; once you’ve seen it in action, you won’t want to go back to SDR (standard dynamic range).
Although nearly all 4K TVs offered today are HDR TVs, not all HDR TVs are made equal. There can be significant disparities in quality, and some HDR TVs simply lack the necessary components to make the most of this new video format.
You should also be aware that HDR is a collection of codecs, with the most common flavors being HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+. As a result, your TV must support the same HDR format as your HDR video to provide the best results.
Product reviews will show you how any specific TV’s HDR characteristics, such as brightness levels, contrast, and overall image quality, compared to others in its price range, and you should read them before making your buy.
Finally, keep in mind that you’ll need an HDR video source to appreciate the benefits of an HDR TV. Currently, this implies using a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs that have been generated using an HDR format or using a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs that have been produced using an HDR format.
HDMI Input options
TVs can accommodate a variety of inputs and outputs, and you’ll frequently see TVs with a colorful array of ports on the back or side panels. However, unless you have a lot of outdated hardware, HDMI is the only input you need to be concerned with. HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is the industry standard for connecting streaming gadgets, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and even personal computers to a television.
Look for at least three HDMI connections on your TV to ensure that it is future-proof (though getting four is safer and easily attainable). If you’re going to utilize a soundbar or A/V receiver with your TV, make sure it supports HDMI ARC or, better yet, eARC, which is a straightforward method to transport audio between the TV and your speaker system while also providing other valuable capabilities.
If you’re prepared to seek a bargain, you can obtain a top-rated TV for less. Hopefully, we’ve decoded some of the most conventional phrases and patterns in today’s televisions and now you have everything you need to know regarding 4K TVs with our 4K TV buying guide.