4K or HD, OLED or QLED, 120Hz vs. 60Hz. If you find yourself scratching your head at all the technical jargon when it comes to buying a TV, then we’ve got a few handy points to consider during your shop.
Resolution is the number of pixels that appear on the screen. Higher resolution means you can display an image with greater details, which tends to make it considerably better quality. In the current market, we primarily have HD and 4K sets available. Ideally, you want to be looking at a 4K TV right now as we continue the shift in standards, especially as internet speeds gets faster and prices continue to drop. A growing number of services are offering 4K, such as Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube and the BBC. There are also 8K sets available, but I would advise waiting before adopting this due to lack of support, a high price point and the inevitable superior revisions.
High Dynamic Range is a brand new feature available on some 4K sets. It enables the screen to show more colours, contrast and brightness. There is growing support for this feature, especially across streaming services such as Netflix and 4K compatible games consoles, like the Xbox One X. If you’re buying a 4K TV, you want to be looking at a set with HDR, specifically HDR10. There is still a lot of confusion surrounding HDR, especially as some cheaper sets opt to use pseudo-HDR features. So, be sure to check you’re getting the real deal before purchasing if you would like to take advantage of the latest technology and enjoy a brighter, richer, more dynamic picture.
This is the number of times a picture is refreshed on the screen per second. Our current standard is 60hz, but you can also buy them with 120hz. A higher hz means the picture can appear smoother if the format supports it. This is particularly helpful for fast paced, sports and gaming.
It’s easy to get lost when it comes to screen type. Most standard TV screens are LED LCD, however you may have heard OLED and QLED being mentioned too. Without getting bogged down with the technical too much, the way they are lit is drastically different. LED LCD screens use backlighting, whereas OLED pixels are illuminated individually, this means pixels can be shut off entirely to produce incredible black levels and contrast in comparison. Additionally, OLED screens tend to be much thinner as the pixels are closer to the screen surface. QLED on the other hand, is Samsung’s answer to LG’s OLED, and is similar in some ways. The technology uses quantum dots, that in theory could omit their own light, however the tech in current Samsung TVs work in a similar way to your standard LED LCD TVs, using a backlight to instead pass light through these quantum dots to illuminate the screen. The disadvantage of both OLED and QLED is that they come at a premium in comparison to the LED LCD counterparts. As such, it is worth assessing whether you need the luxury before setting your heart on it.
Curved screens; are they the next big thing, or just a fad? Personally, I am of the opinion that they can be incredibly immersive, especially when it comes to gaming, but it all comes down to your set up. If you are going to be sat directly in front of the TV, then it is a viable choice, but if you are going to be viewing it from various angles in the room then consider getting a standard flat screen instead. Curved screens also tend to come in at a premium, so if you’re working with a budget, it can be one of the first features to remove to cut costs.
If you’ve got a budget, size or brand in mind; next step would be to go and see it in person. If you’re local to an electronics retailer with the TV in stock, check out the demo models to gauge the size, quality, etc. Comparing it to other models in the store will be a huge help in making your decision, especially if you’re torn between two sizes or OLED/QLED.
Not in a crazy rush to grab the TV from the first place you found it? You can save hundreds by being patient and shopping smart. Consider using a cashback website, such as Quidco or Topcashback, which allows you to get cashback on your purchase via many major retailers, for simply going through their website to make the purchase. As high-end TVs can be very expensive, you can save yourself hundreds. Use a website such as pricespy to check the lowest price on the TV at the moment, and to get a further saving, see if there are any discount codes you can use online. Why spend an extra £200-300 when you don’t have to?
The final thing you should consider when buying your next TV are the extras. The hardware may be just what you’re after - you’ve been to the store and saw it in person, great! But… what if the set isn’t compatible with your sound system? Is the TV easy and efficient to use? Are there extras you’d love (such as Philips Ambilight technology) that make it even better?