What you need to know when buying a new TV

Buying a new TV can be a daunting experience, with new technologies and naming standards continuously being applied to products.

This is especially true if you are in the market for a 4K TV, as there may be conflicting information about what contrast ratio standards and colour ranges you need.

The most important specifications and factors you should consider when buying a new TV are listed below.


Resolution

Resolution refers to the amount of pixels in the display – the more pixels, the higher the visual quality of the television.

However, this also depends on the arrangement of the pixels by the display manufacturer.

The aspect ratio of almost all modern HD TV displays is 16:9. Below are the standard HD TV resolutions:

  • HD (720p): 1,280 x 720
  • Full HD (1080p): 1,920 x 1,080
  • 4K UHD (2160p): 3,840 x 2,160
  • 8K UHD (4320p): 7,680 x 4,320

Full HD is a relatively common resolution for TVs, with units cheaper than 4K UHD and 8K UHD displays.

It is also important to note that many media services do not support 4K or 8K streams yet.

LG 4K ULTRA HD TV


Display

While different TV brands name their displays in different ways, most modern TVs use one of two display types: LCD or OLED.

LED TVs and other displays, such as Samsung’s QLED display, are all essentially LCD screens backlit by LEDs, with unique designs and diode arrangements affecting visual quality.

OLED has not been around for as long as LCD, but it has begun to gain popularity in the display industry.

LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) comprise of liquid crystals backlit by a light source (usually an array of LEDs).

The crystals are aligned specifically to form an image using the backlight.

The main advantages of these displays is a lack of burn-in, high refresh rate, and high brightness.

OLED

Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays do not use a separate backlight and can display far darker black levels than their LCD counterparts.

The lack of a backlight also means these TVs can be thinner than LCD TVs.

OLED TVs are becoming more popular due to their better power efficiency and picture quality.

The superior contrast ratio offered by OLED displays is one of the major advantages of the display type, especially with the rise of HDR content.

Sony A1E OLED 1


HDR and Contrast

HDR refers to a TV’s ability to display a wider range of colours at higher rates of contrast.

Nvidia describes HDR as “a new standard for Ultra HD TVs that brings image quality much closer to the natural world. With HDR, your TV effectively comes to life with richer colours, more details, and brighter imagery”.

This expanded contrast range is generally reserved for UHD displays, as they have a wider colour gamut.

There are a number of HDR standards, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and UHD Premium – all of which have different colour range and contrast ratio requirements.

When purchasing an HDR television, it is important to examine the contrast ratio and which HDR standard is used.

HDMI 2.0a support is required for HDR.

Samsung QLED TV


Additional Factors

Other factors to consider include the TV’s built-in software.

A smart TV allows you to connect devices, install applications, and can be connected to the Internet.

It is also important to note that the HDMI 2.1 standard is set to launch later this year, delivering support for 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz displays and Dynamic HDR.

According to the HDMI Forum, Dynamic HDR ensures maximum visual quality on a frame-by-frame basis as opposed to the simpler filtering used by Static HDR.

LG Signature OLED TV W


Now read: LG Signature OLED TV W-series with Dolby Vision and Atmos announced

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What you need to know when buying a new TV