TV Buying Guide Tips To Make The Right Choice
Buying a new TV is exciting, but it can quickly become overwhelming when you start looking for the perfect one because of all the options and specifications. Searching for your next TV should be a fun experience instead of a dilemma of technical details. Hence, we have come up with our TV buying guide to help make things a little simpler. It will help you consider the things that matter and avoid the rabbit hole of technical specifications.
TV Buying Guide
Here are the key things to consider when buying new TVs.
TV resolution is the first thing to consider because it will dictate the picture quality and other things like the size of the TV and the type of content you want to consume. You have 4 main options for TV resolutions, and we will explain their strengths and weaknesses here.
- 720p (HD).
This is the original HD, or “High Definition”, which offered twice the resolution of any analog TV. It has 0.92 million pixels and works well with smaller displays like 24-inch TVs. Clarity and sharpness are lost in larger screens because there aren’t many pixels to go around.
The key benefit of 720p resolution TVs is that they are inexpensive. However, they aren’t too economical compared to 1080p TVs of similar specifications. These are great for a smaller TV in the kitchen or home office that makes light use.
- 1080p (Full HD)
Also known as Full HD or FHD, this resolution offers 2.1 million pixels and has more than twice the clarity and sharpness of standard HD. It is a noticeable difference, but not too much. This resolution offers excellent clarity and sharpness on smaller TVs.
It is also considered the optimum resolution for gaming at high refresh rates. The pricing is fairly economical, and 1080p TVs arguably offer the most value for money. They are also perfect for consuming most broadcasted and online content because Full HD is the industry standard for most content.
- 4K (UHD)
Also known as Ultra HD or UHD, 4K brings a very noticeable difference to display sharpness and clarity thanks to its superior pixel power that delivers 4 times the resolution of 1080p Full HD on any screen size. The drawback is that these TVs are slightly expensive, but we feel they are well worth the extra bucks, especially if you want a larger TV.
Almost all TVs around 50-inches support 4K resolution because they have 8 million pixels to use on larger screens. This is the perfect resolution for a large living room TV and allows you to consume 4K online content with excellent cinematic picture quality.
- 8K (UHD)
8K TVs are often considered overkill because of the lack of 8K content available to consume. However, its 33 million pixels are unbeatable on huge displays that exceed 60-inches. The picture quality, sharpness, and clarity are flawless on 8K TVs playing 8K content. However, these TVs are expensive.
Panel Type (LCD/LED or OLED)
Consider the TV panel used in the model because it will dictate picture quality, deeper blacks, viewing angles, and dynamic range. Without getting into too much detail, OLED panels are the best. However, the newer LCD TVs are getting better each year and inching closer to OLED performance.
Technologies like full-array LED backlights and Mini LED are pushing the envelope on LCD/LED TVs, providing local dimming, deeper blacks, good dynamic range, and an overall better viewing experience. We recommend OLED TVs, but they are expensive, so it isn’t a bad idea to go for LCD/LED TVs that offer the mentioned newer technologies.
The next thing to consider is the size of your TV. While most people and “experts” will tell you to consider the distance of your couch to the TV for picking a size, we suggest that bigger is always better. This is true for smaller spaces because the quality of 4K and 8K is incredible in smaller spaces.
They allow you to sit closer without compromising on detail, which is why we recommend considering the space you need to fill instead of the distance from your couch. Consider the size of your TV console or the wall area to decide the size of the TV unless you opt for 1080p resolution; then, you should consider a smaller size, like 32-inches or 24-inches, if you go for 720p.
Smart TVs (Most TVs Are)
An overwhelming amount of TVs, especially mid to large-sized ones, are smart TVs. They can access online content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Primes, and more. Some smart TVs offer a wider selection than others, but most will deliver the popular options.
What is not so common are voice controls and assistants. Sophisticated models respond to voice commands and may have built-in assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Just be aware that almost all smart TVs collect information about the shows you watch and the apps you use for marketing purposes.
Look for smart TVs that offer the online channels you use most and added perks of voice control and assistants.
Other Things to Consider
There are a few more things to consider, especially if you want to dive deeper into technicalities.
New TVs are thin and slim, which means they may have to compromise on sound output. While you should consider the quality of sound, we highly recommend opting for a soundbar for your TV to get a better sound experience.
The standard measure for brightness is in “nits”. The more units a TV has, the brighter it is. You may want to consider the brightness of a TV, especially if you plan to place it in a bright space like your patio.
High Dynamic Range can boost TV brightness, contrast, and colour accuracy, rendering the picture quality more life-like. It can offer deeper blacks and brighter whites, which is why “dynamic range” is in the name.
Brands may use different names for different types of HDR. If superior picture quality is important to you, look for technologies like HDR10, Dolby Vision, or HDR10+. These are all different types of HDR. Just remember that you need HDR content to make use of this technology.
- Input / Output Ports
Consider the ports provided on the TV, especially if you want to connect various devices like gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and more. We recommend at least 3 HDMI inputs, a Composite Video Input, RCA Audio Jacks, 2-3 USB ports, a Digital Optical Audio Output, an Ethernet/LAN Jack, and an RF/Antenna Input.
Most TVs typically offer the majority of these ports, but you can skip any of the mentioned ports that may not be useful for you.
You may have noticed that we didn’t mention any brands, this is because these days most brands are producing quality TVs and it depends mostly on your preference. This is not to say that higher-end brands like Sony or Samsung aren’t producing superior TVs, but it is hard to justify the higher price tags for most people.
You can get comparable TVs from inferior brands at much lower prices. However, some of the best TVs are still produced by known tech giants.
That being said, follow our simple TV buying guide, and you should have a fun experience and not a confusing one.