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Buying the Right Television

It’s no secret that we’re in a golden era of TV shows. Not only is there always something good to watch, but there’s almost too much of it! For anyone leading a busy modern life, it can be difficult to block out the time required to keep up with a favorite series. When you do get to sit down and catch up with a thrilling episode, you want to enjoy it as vividly as possible. However, there’s a vast array of options and specifications to consider when it comes to buying a modern television. After reading this article, picking out a new “tube” will be far less daunting.

How Big Should You Go?

The first criteria most people consider for a new television is size. Big TVs are more than status symbols; they’re fun to look at. While the biggest TV may look best in the store, the optimal size depends on the room it will occupy. If you’ll be setting it on a table or a cabinet, take measurements to determine the size limitations. For instance, a TV should never hang over the edges of the table it’s resting on.

If your furniture doesn’t dictate the size of the TV you’ll be buying, your viewing distance will. There are countless formulas for determining the optimum ratio of size to distance, but a good rule of thumb for HD sets is that the viewing distance should be twice the length of the screen’s diagonal measurement. For example, if you typically sit 80 inches away from your television, a 40-inch set is best.

Understanding the Specs

Once you’re settled on a size, you need to compare TVs based on the quality of the image. These are the main comparisons you’ll have to make regarding modern sets:

  • 4K vs. UHD: 4K screens have four times the pixel density of 1080p HD screens. This leads to a much crisper image. It also means that you can view the display closer than an HD screen without noticing pixilation. If you’re an immersion junkie, a 4K screen is the way to go.
  • OLED vs. LED: LED screens are the most common type on the market. This type of display requires an array of white lights to add brightness to the colored pixels. This causes colors to look a little washed-out, especially shades of black. On an OLED screen, however, each pixel produces not only color, but its own light. When pixels go black, they don’t emit any light at all. Thus, OLED screens have the absolute best contrast and most vivid color. They’re also significantly more expensive.
  • Edge-lit vs. Backlit: Among LED screens, one major consideration is whether the white LEDs providing pixels with light are arranged on either side of the panel, or as an array behind it. The benefit of edge-lit screens is that they are very thin. Backlit screens, however, have a more evenly lit picture.
  • High Dynamic Range: An HDR screen is capable of producing a more complete spectrum of colors than a non-HDR screen. You can think of this as “color resolution.”

“Smart” TVs

Most current TV models have “smart” features like apps and Wi-Fi so you can watch your favorite streaming services without additional equipment. If you get the chance, try to use a model at a nearby store with the same operating system (also called a platform) as any model you’re considering. This way, if you think it’s a pain to operate, you’ll know to buy something else.

Finally, make sure it has enough inputs for any gaming devices or disc players you may want to connect!