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TV Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know Before Purchasing A New TV

Picking a TV in 2018 is no simple task. With so many features to consider, and new technologies being introduced all the time, making a decision can be really hard. In this article, we hope to make your TV-buying process easier. Read on for everything you need to know before purchasing a new TV.

Size & Setup

TVs today are getting thinner, while screens on the other hand are getting bigger. Screen size is easily the most important parameter while buying a new TV. The screen size you choose will depend on the number of people watching at once, and the TV’s location in a room. The sweet spot for TV size today is 40-inches. It’s worth noting that the screen size, viewing distance and perceived resolution share a direct correlation with each other. If you can see individual pixels on the screen, you’re too close and this makes for a poor viewing experience. If your living room is spacious, you can consider a bigger TV as you will be viewing it from further away. Refer to the table below to choose the appropriate TV size:

Screen Size Viewing Distance
32-inches 4-6 feet
40 – 42 inches 5-8 feet
50-inches 6-10 feet
> 50-inches 8-12 feet

As for the setup, almost all TVs come with an option to be placed on a table or be mounted on a wall. While using a TV stand, users need to factor in the stand’s dimensions respective to the TV to ensure a good fit. On the other hand, mounting a TV on the wall is practical in a smaller space. Ideally, you should place the TV in a location where other devices like a set top box, gaming console and DVD player can be easily connected.

Display & Audio

Currently, there are two types of display technologies in the market: LED and OLED. Most buyers find the acronyms confusing. LED TVs are basically a type of LCD TV, and make use of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to illuminate the display. All LCD TVs in the market now use LED backlighting, and are therefore universally known as LED TVs. These are the most popular type of TV in the market, owing to their cheaper price.

OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode. Unlike LCDs, which require LED backlighting as mentioned above, in OLED displays, each pixel can produce its own backlight. As a result, OLED displays can produce deeper blacks, since individual pixels can be turned off completely. OLED TVs also produce good color accuracy, high contrast ratio and wide viewing angles. They are also thinner than LCD TVs. The downside to all these upsides is that OLED TVs are more expensive.

When it comes to sound quality, every TV has a built-in speaker and also supports external audio devices. The stock speaker should suffice for most users. But, if you’re an audiophile and want a stellar sound experience, consider hooking up a soundbar to your television.

Resolution

The highest screen resolution used to be HD or Full HD a few years ago, but that’s no longer the case. Even so, they continue to be the most common TV screen resolution available today, and can be found at affordable prices.

4K – also known as Ultra HD resolution – provides four times the pixel resolution as full HD, which means that the image is four times sharper than a standard 1080p TV. This display provides stunning details and sharper text, If you are buying a TV larger than 50-inches, it’s worth considering 4K resolution.

To make it simple:

  • HD TVs are best for standard set top box content
  • Full HD TVs are ideal if you own a HD set top box, or use streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc
  • 4K or UHD TVs can be considered if you own a gaming console like Xbox or PS4, use a Blu-ray player or have access to stream 4K videos

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate refers to the number of individual frames per second a screen can display. The standard refresh rate is 60Hz and is usually found in older and cheaper televisions. Images on a 60Hz refresh rate may look blurry in case of fast action scenes like sports, action movies, and gaming. 120Hz is the recommended refresh rate on TVs. This will ensure smooth, seamless pictures and transitions, as well as deliver a lag-free gaming experience.

Connectivity

TVs carry a large number of inputs and outputs. On some TVs, these are located on the side panel, while others have them on the rear. Inputs and outputs on the side panel are easily accessible if you prefer mounting your TV on the wall. HDMI technology is widely used for connecting various devices like a set top box, Blu-ray player, gaming consoles and streaming devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Keeping this in mind, you should look for a TV with at least three HDMI ports. If you plan on connecting a soundbar, make sure the TV supports HDMI ARC. Most TVs also include component / composite video inputs in red, blue and green colours. They are used to connect older gadgets that lack HDMI outputs. USB ports are another important component for connecting portable devices like USB drives. Almost all internet capable TVs come with an Ethernet port also called as LAN port. The Ethernet port acts as an fallback option for connecting to the internet in case the Wi-Fi stops functioning.

Smart Features

Many TVs available these days are labelled Smart TVs, but it’s advisable to do a bit of research before buying one. Smart TVs can be connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Many Smart TVs have a web browser that lets you surf the internet. Some smart TVs have inbuilt features like Google Cast that let you stream video content from services like Netflix, Hotstar, YouTube, etc by using your smartphone. This feature also lets you mirror your smartphone’s display to the TV. Smart TVs usually offer access to a broad range of apps and various streaming services. The operating system is the main factor that determines which apps will be available to users, so make sure you pick accordingly.

There are currently three types of OSes in the market:

  • Google-certified Android TVs: These offer access to a broad range of Google content including the Play Store, YouTube, Music, Movies and over 3600+ compatible TV apps and games.
  • Android-based smart TVs: These run the base Android OS with a custom interface layered on top. They have fewer preloaded apps.
  • Third party OS:  Samsung and LG use their proprietary OS for televisions. Samsung TVs run Tizen OS, while LG TVs run WebOS. They offer access to popular apps and games too, although the selection is lower than Google-certified TVs.

If you are considering a basic TV but want to add smart features, consider purchasing a media streaming device. This will give you access to popular apps and games, streaming services, and let you browse the web too. In India, you can choose from the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

Brand Choice

There are options galore when selecting a TV brand – from established brands like Sony, LG, Samsung and Panasonic to newer entrants like Xiaomi and TCL. Which brand you pick boils down to personal preference, but either way, these are the basic criteria to consider:

  1.    Initial cost of the TV
  2.    Installation charges and after sales support
  3.    Availability of service centers around your home
  4.    Value for money

We hope we have demystified all the necessary knowledge about TVs, so you can make an informed decision. You can check out the various TV brands and features through our TV finder here. If you still have any doubts, feel free to reach us on Facebook or Twitter and we will be glad to help you out.

Related read: Top TVs To Buy This Diwali Under Rs 30,000

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