Buying a TV in 2018 - what to choose?
From year to year, the offer of audio-visual equipment is growing, thanks to which we have access to newer and better devices. This applies primarily to TVs, which we can choose from in several different ways. Everything depends on what we really need.
We will pay attention to slightly different elements when buying a game TV than in the case of a standard digital decoder. In addition to all this, there is a choice of system and Smart functions and possible additions. Due to such a wide offer, we should analyse all available solutions before making any choice.
LCD or LED models? How about OLED?
First of all, we should pay attention to the displays used. They are responsible for the quality of the generated image to the greatest extent. All this makes it necessary for us to check what technology they were made with.
LCD TVs are still the most standard, but their availability is still decreasing. This is of course due to their limitations, resulting from the use of CCFL lamps - they act as lighting for the generated pixels. Colours are generated by the polarizers through which light passes. LCD TVs consume little power, but in many cases the image they generate is of average quality, especially when we do not deal with so-called native resolution.
Much better in this respect are the LED models, equipped with special diodes emitting their own light. All this allows for better contrast and more vivid colours. It should be noted at this point that LED TVs come in two varieties, differing in the distribution of these diodes. If they are located only at the edges of the display, we are dealing with an Edge LED device, whereas if the LEDs are spread over the entire surface, such models are referred to as Full LED - they guarantee a much higher quality of generated image.
A complete novelty are OLED TVs, which are developed mainly by LG. In their case, we are dealing with organic diodes, which shine independently of each other and do not need any additional lighting. This allows you to generate an almost perfect black. The image itself is of excellent quality, which is why these types of devices are primarily aimed at people who place emphasis on the best image. They are especially suitable for watching movies and playing on the console. Unfortunately, they are still very expensive at the moment.
High quality is also ensured by QLED TVs, which can be found in Samsung's offer. They have nothing to do with the OLED technology described above, but are also worth attention. They use so-called quantum dots, which make it possible to generate very realistic colours.
Smart TV or not?
We discussed the technologies of image production, the time has come for another burning issue related to the availability or lack of an operating system.
It is safe to say that there is currently a fashion for Smart TV models. However, this is mainly due to the practices of manufacturers, who usually equip their new TV models with these operating systems. At present, mainly cheap devices are deprived of the Smart function.
But is it worth betting on smart TVs? It certainly does, if we want to support a variety of film, music and web applications. Smart TV will allow us to take advantage of Netflix, HBO GO or Spotify. In most cases, they also have web browsers and many other additional features, such as the ability to connect to mobile devices from your TV.
So if you're going to use similar possibilities, Smart TV will be a must. It's a bit different when you're looking for a TV to watch TV shows only or when you have a game console that supports most Smart features.
Do diagonal and resolution matter?
This time we will deal with the issues that cause most problems when choosing a TV. Pay attention to the diagonal of the image. Many people claim that large devices (over 40 inches) must be significantly away from where we sit.
In fact, all distances are not so long, they depend on exact dimensions, so every inch matters. If you buy a 32-inch TV, the minimum distance from the screen should be about 1.3 m and the maximum 2.5 m. If we sit down further down, the viewing comfort will fit in significantly. For 42-inch models, the range is 1.6 to 3.2 m, for 55 inches 2.1 to 3.9 and for 65 inches 2.5 to 5 m. As you can see, everything depends on how far away our couch is from the TV.
As far as resolution is concerned, the higher the resolution, the better. If we intend to use services such as Netflix or HBO GO, we should consider buying a 4K TV, especially as there are more and more materials produced in this resolution. The same goes for console games. The impressions of communing with such content with a 4K device are really great, so it's worth considering all this, especially as the price of TVs supporting such high definition is still decreasing. The cheapest 43-inch models currently cost about PLN 1400.
Currently, TV channels are not displayed in 4K, slowly starting to appear only the first transmissions (mainly sports), so if we don't care about these services or games, we can bet on Full HD models.
How is it with these technologies?
The answer to the question of which TV set to choose cannot be complete unless we consider all the technologies used by the manufacturers. It is worth mentioning first of all HDR, i.e. wide tonal range, used mainly in 4K TV sets. By using this image production technology, it is possible to achieve high contrast and generate very bright colours, making all colours more realistic. All this allows you to achieve even higher image quality, which you will notice especially when handling HDR-compliant content and games.
There are also Curved TV models on the market, i.e. TVs with a curved screen. They provide greater depth of image, as well as an extension of the field of view, which is particularly useful in games. The problem is that the full potential of a curved screen is only known when you sit in the middle of the screen and in relatively close proximity.
What technologies are still used in TV sets? In addition to the obvious Wi-Fi connection and Bluetooth module, mention should also be made of the 3D image, rear-mounted lighting panels (Ambilight) and any techniques to increase the quality of the generated image?
Which TV to choose?
We've come to the main question. The answer depends, of course, on how the TV is used by us.
If we are looking for a device to play high-quality films (e.g. from Netflix), and we have the latest generation game console, we should get a Smart TV model with 4K resolution and HDR technology. The display should be made at least in LED technology. Only such devices will provide us with the highest quality and full of happiness. In the case of games, it's also worth to pay attention to the input ladder parameter, related to the delays of the signals that occur between pressing a button on the paad and the reaction of the hero we control. This parameter should be as low as possible.
Ordinary Full HD TVs, on the other hand, will prove their worth in everyday life, when operating digital set-top-boxes - their biggest advantage is their low price.
Of course, we can decide on various variations, for example, related to the purchase of a Full HD Smart TV or 4K TV without an operating system. Curved TV is also available on the market, as well as the latest OLED and QLED devices. The choice is up to us.