Before you buy your next TV, be sure you know what all of the numbers and acronyms plastering it mean. We break it down for you below.
Buying a TV used to be simple. There were less specs and standards to consider when you were shopping for a superior television. Now, the TV buying experience has changed and shoppers expect higher quality characteristics from a TV: 4K HDR, OLED versus QLED, specific screen sizes for different uses, smart TV capabilities and so on.
It may have been some time since you thought about upgrading your television — but with continued stay-at-home orders, you might want to consider scanning the market for quality TVs to keep up with your favorite shows, movies and streaming services. Before you click "buy," here are some buzzwords and technologies that are worth noting. Feel confident about your purchase and read on to see some of the best televisions on the market.
Resolution matters and it’s the first thing any buyer should consider. Why? Ever take a photo on your smartphone and zoom in real close? It gets all fuzzy, doesn’t it? Those fuzzy little dots of color are called pixels. And when it comes to picture quality, the more densely packed the pixels are, the more lifelike things become. That’s called “high resolution.”The same rules apply to your TV. The higher the resolution, the better.
Bottom line: Buy a 4K TV, otherwise known as an Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV. It offers four times the resolution of HD TV. With eight million pixels, you have enough resolution to give you a picture worth watching on Super Bowl weekend. You can hold off on a 6K or 8K until movie makers catch up.
Most newer models offer the buzzworthy feature that is high dynamic range (HDR) already. It means the TV is designed to offer a brighter or more vivid picture.
HDR is a catch-all term for a variety of ways to deliver it. If vividness is especially important to you, upgrade to a 4K TV that features "ultra high definition" (UHD) or some version of HDR, as well. It'll get you an even better color presentation. If you see "Dolby Vision" or Samsung’s "HDR 10+" advertised, that’s considered a higher end form of HDR that promises to deliver striking scenes.
When it comes to TVs in the higher-end spectrum, many sport either OLED
or QLED panels, acronyms you'll see sprayed across their names.
According to Popular Mechanics,
they're also "the most prevalent" terms you might encounter during your
TV shopping journey. Here's a quick breakdown of what everything means:
Liquid crystal display (LCD): The dominant type of screen display, having vanquished the short life of its plasma competitor.
Light-emitting diodes (LED): Built into the TV, these basically act as a backlight for the display and offer much more contrast than a backlight ever could.
Though it came to dominate the TV market — meaning you don't have to worry about choosing between the two — the so-called "LED-LCD sandwich" left something to be desired. "There’s a big problem with LED-LCD TVs," Popular Mechanics explained. "That backlight color— and how it’s rendered as an image by the LCD screen — can vary pretty widely from set to set.
Generally used by Sony and LG, this solution has the TV's pixels emit their own light, resulting in a more contrasting image with a more vivid picture.
If you are going for wider-than-average viewing angles, the more expensive OLED style is better, just expect to pay more. Either style will result in a great-looking movie or streaming show (as long as it's, well, an actually good movie or show).