If you think that buying a TV simply means getting an affordable one with the largest screen you can find, you better think again. It is not this simple anymore.
Technology has added so many features to the simple TV. Some of these features can enhance TV viewing to a significant degree. Others, however, are gimmicky and simply there to make you pay a little more. However, you do not have to be burdened by studying an entire list of technical specifications. Feel free to check out our chart and reviews below for the Best Gaming TVs or the Best TV Under $500. Have a specific size in mind? Read our reviews for 32-inch, 50-inch, and 70-inch TVs before you make your decision.
Do Not Be Misled By Contrast Ratios
There are many salesmen who will try to make you buy a certain model by using contrast ratios as a vantage selling point. Do not allow yourself to be misled. Contrast quantifies the range in brightness and darkness that a screen can demonstrate. A significant contrast ratio implies that a particular TV model is better able to reproduce subtle nuances in shades and to contrast bright images with darker shadows. However, contrast ratios are difficult to measure. To date, there is no standardized method in the industry to do this. Vendors may do comparisons, but such comparisons are not based on universally accepted norms; they are, in fact, meaningless.
Do not decide to buy a TV simply because the salesman pitches it as having great contrast ratio. It is better for you to play with the TV’s sharpness, brightness, and other image-related settings and see for yourself if you are satisfied with the contrast specs of the said TV model.
Do Not Be Taken In By Refresh Rates
The frequency/second that a particular image gets flashed onscreen to suggest motion in video is referred to as the refresh rate. 60 Hz or 60 times/ second is universally accepted as the average refresh rate. In scenes where there is significantly rapid movement, however, 60 Hz can result in jittery or blurred images. This is true, particularly for LCD High-Definition TVs. Some TV manufacturers offer refresh rates of 120 Hz or 240 Hz to generate a more precise picture. Sometimes, however, the video may appear rather flat. When buying a TV set, do not just look at the refresh rate indicated. Check for yourself.
Buying a Smart TV Makes Sense
You may have to pay a modest amount to buy a Smart TV. However, you have access to many entertainment options. You are connected to the Internet and a variety of streaming services the likes of Hulu Plus, Pandora, and Netflix. You do not have to purchase and attach a separate set-top box like Apple TV or Roku for streaming services. You can use the extra HDMI port instead for a Blu-ray DVD player or a game console.
If you buy a Smart TV, you enjoy built-in Internet connections which make a lot of things possible. You can easily upgrade or patch software to include additional services or address picture-quality problems.
Take A Look At The HDMI Ports Available
How many HDMI inputs does the set have? This question is not as inane as it may first appear to be. Some TV manufacturers save on cost by decreasing the number of HDMI plugs at the back of the TV set. The more ports a TV set offers, the better for you. You are likely to require these ports for a game console, a Blue-Ray DVD player, and a sound bar, at the very least. Make sure that you do not run out of ports for any additional use later on.
Expensive Curved Screens Do Not Always Give You Your Money’s Worth
An increasing number of people are drawn to curved screens, particularly because these screens seem to be given more valuable space in most store displays. Curved screens, however, do not offer a distinct edge over flat screens. They are just more expensive. Curved screens, in fact, have certain unique drawbacks. The curved screen can cause some distortion in the images. There are also less side viewing angles available; only the few people sitting right across the screen can enjoy a good view.
People are likely to choose curved-screen TVs which are LED models (as OLED models are simply over-the-top expensive). If you opt for a LED TV with a curved screen, you will not be able to get consistent brightness or clarity across the curved screen. It is also interesting to note that there have been many reports about viewer fatigue as a result of the curved screens.
Do Not Believe All The Hogwash About 4K TVs
Many television manufacturers are praising Ultra HD or 4K models. These HDTV screens boast of pixels quadruple that of the average TV set. The price is also three times that of the ordinary TV. There is the not-so-insignificant matter of finding high-definition video shows, however. While it is true that watching a high-definition video may be an amazing experience, you are not likely to find many satellite channels, cable, or 4K broadcasting – save for two or three streaming shows (some Netflix programs, in particular).
Ultra HD TV may enhance the viewing of available HD content. But the results are not likely to be as sharply defined if you were watching bona fide 4K programs. 4K TV sets may very well be the standard peg in the years to come. These days, however, if you are on a strict budget, spending for a 4K TV is simply putting money down the drain.
Consider A Sound Bar
Some really pricey HDTVs fall short of expectations for lack of high-definition audio. Flat panels may have a svelte look; the design, however, also limits the space to accommodate large speakers. You cannot enjoy a full and rich audio if you do not have sufficiently-sized speakers. There are several things you can do. You can use headphones. You can set up a surround sound system. Or you can buy a sound bar.
The first option makes you look anti-social. The second option requires additional work to set up, and may mean clutter. The sound bar seems to be an interesting alternative. It is also a popular option. It is inexpensive if done right. And it enhances the cinematic experience to a significant degree. You can easily and conveniently install a sound bar. It can fit underneath a TV stand. Or it can easily be slid underneath the TV set. It can also be installed under a wall-mounted TV.
Do Not Go By The Promise Of Extended Warranties
Many electronics stores selling big-box TVs generate a lot of sales by promising extended warranties. You are not likely to need these warranties. If you decide to buy a flat-panel LCD TV, you will have no use for such a warranty. The mechanisms that an HDTV has are extraordinarily tough and hard-wearing. The LEDS used for lighting the picture are practically shockproof. If by a long shot you get a defective set, you are likely to discover this within the first few days after delivery; you can return the unit as stipulated by the return policy of most stores. Beyond this, you have the usual one-year warranty. If you buy a TV using a credit card, you may even enjoy supplementary insurance coverage on your purchase.