With the New Year, it’s time to have new aspirations, and one of them is getting a new TV; however, purchasing a new TV in 2018 is not as it was a few years back. Prices on TVs of the same size vary widely; manufacturers and salespeople use extra, alien-sounding terms to get you to spend more; and the Internet is full of conflicting opinions and facts. Just as you would need the right information to buy the right digital piano, here are tips that will help you get the best TV for yourself and family.
This TV buying guide is intended to give you the best information on modern TVs in an easy to understand format. However, the guide will not give you answers on what the perfect TV is. What it does is provide you with the tools to help you feel confident as you choose your family’s new TV set.
If you are on the market for the greatest and latest, or you are afraid of buyer’s remorse, it is better if you would wait for new TV reviews. In addition, do not use specs as your guide for choosing the best picture quality – manufacturers are known to fudge contrast-ratio specifications; instead, just use the specs sheet to differentiate features and trust your eyes for picture quality. Here are a few more things you should be on the lookout for as you shop for your brand new TV.
Optimum Screen Size
Whether you are looking to buy a high-performance or basic TV set, a huge determining factor as you make your decision is screen size. Take into account the number of people that are likely to be watching your new set at once as well as where you will place it. Moreover, pick a screen size that is capable of comfortably fitting in your space and budget.
Screen size will also depend on how close you and your family will sit to your TV. As a short guide, if you can distinguish the individual pixels in a screen, you are probably too close. To make the perfect choice, stand or sit at least three times the screen height for HD, and 1.5 times screen height for 4K Ultra HD. Plus, if possible, bring your family to the store to look at available choices.
Check HDR for More Colors
High Dynamic Range (HDR) 4K Ultra HD TVs offer you more colors, contrast levels and better brightness levels. The industry trade group, UHD Alliance, adopted the name Ultra HD Premium, which is why you will see a bigger number of sets featuring the label this year.
On the other hand, Dolby Vision is a HDR demanding version that’s licensed and created by the group behind Dolby surround sound. Theoretically, this technology meets a stricter criterion for displaying HDR content. Unfortunately, there’s HDR confusion with some TVs like Samsung being Ultra HD Premium compatible, Vizio and Sony being Dolby Vision compatible, and others like LG that are multi-compatible – with both Ultra HD Premium and Dolby Vision compatibility.
The recommendation is that you do not purchase a HDR set yet because this standard is yet to be settled. However, if you are looking for the best TV technology, purchase a HDR set that is Dolby Vision compatible as the standard is gaining popularity.
Look for More Connections
While this may usually seem like an afterthought, it is important that you take note of how many HDMI ports any TV has. Some manufacturers are working hard to reduce costs by minimizing the number of HDMI inputs on a set. Your game console, Chromecast or Roku, soundbar, and other devices can easily use up all the inputs if it only has a few.
In case you have decided to take the 4K Ultra HD route, ensure that your set has HDMI 2.0 support ports that will accommodate future releases of Ultra HD devices. Most TVs feature only a single 4K copy protection port better known as High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2. Go for sets that offer you a minimum of four HDMI slots; and if shopping for a 4K TV, ask whether it is HDCP compatible.
Go for Smart TVs
A growing number of TVs feature built in Wi-Fi capability for Internet streaming services for videos like Netflix, for running special-interest programs apps, downloading movies, for Facebook, or even for playing games. The interfaces are also getting better every day with established manufacturers like Samsung and Vizio displaying handy icons at the bottom of TV screens. Roku offers budget TVs like TCL and Hisense intuitive easy to use interfaces.
Google also has Android TV that powers TVs from companies like Westinghouse and Sony. In addition, most TVs work with major services like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu, so make sure that the TV you are looking to buy has the options you most want.
A few years ago, you could transform your “dumb” TV into a “smart” set using a streaming device. However, smart TVs are common, even in small bargain units. Since smart capability is fast becoming a standard feature in today’s TVs, this will be less and less a factor when making your purchase decision.
A big revenue source for major electronics stores is the included extended warranty because they are rare used, especially when you consider flat-panel LCD TV. Many components in the sets are resilient enough to last almost a lifetime; in fact, some sets have shockproof LEDs. This means that if you purchase a sub-par TV set, you will likely find out in less than 30 days – a period that is already covered by most store-return policies.
In addition, most TV manufacturers will include a one-year warranty on their products. Credit card companies also have automatic covers provided once you make a purchase; always check with your provider company. You can save lots of money by contacting your credit card provider to find out if there is a price protection policy in place too.