TV Buying Guide for Your New Smart TV
TV Buying Guide for New Users. If You are thinking shopping for a TV would be simple, given that it’s a pretty mature product category. But buying a TV still involves many choices, some of which may be new to you. You’ll see plenty of Ultra HD (UHD), or 4K, TVs with greater promised picture detail than that of HDTVs, and improved contrast and color. There’s also a new 4K featured, called high dynamic range, or HDR, which promises brighter, more dynamic images, and more vivid, lifelike colors. So one question you’ll face is whether it’s time to move to one of these newer 4K UHD TVs, or stick with a regular 1080p set.
You may also notice that there’s a newer TV technology, called OLED TV, that dominates our current TV ratings in the larger size categories. These sets are still pricier than LCD/LED models—though every year that price gap narrows—so you’ll need to decide if it’s worth splurging for a top-performing set. Also, every year top-performing LCD TVs get better, edging closer to OLED TV-like performance. Right now OLED TVs are available from only two brands, LG Electronics and now Sony, so you’ll have fewer choices than you will with LCD-based sets.
Once you know what type of TV you want, focus on getting the right size, picture quality, and a few key features. And make sure your new TV has the connections required for equipment such as a streaming media player or sound bar speaker. (Our full TV ratings, available to members, provide all the picture-quality evaluations you’ll need. Looking to get rid of cable or change providers? Check our telecom services reviews, covering triple-play bundles and internet, TV, and phone services.)
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for determining the right size TV—personal preference, the field of view, and even visual acuity come into play—there are some general guidelines you can use. You can try one of the many online calculators that are available free, or apply the following, easy-to-use, equation.
Full HD TV
UHD 4K TV
Budget for a Good TVs
Here are a few typical selling price ranges for several screen sizes:
18000 to 25000 for a 32-inch model
28000 to 58000 /-for a 40- to 43-inch set
54000 to 65000/- for a 49- or 50-inch set
6500 to 85000/- for a 55- to 59-inch set
9800 to 250000/-for a 60- or 65-inch set
Our full TV ratings are broken down by screen-size categories ranked by overall score, so it’s easy to see how well the TV performed in our tests and how much it costs relative to other sets of its size.
Choose Between HD and Ultra HD
Ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs, also called 4K TVs, have screen resolutions of 3840×2160, so they contain 8 million pixels, or four times the number of individual pixels as an HD set. The more densely packed array of pixels in UHD sets makes them capable of greater picture detail. The benefits of a UHD TV are more apparent in larger screen sizes—say, 65 inches and above—or when you’d like to sit closer to the TV than you could with a 1080p set.
These days, purchasing a 4K TV makes a lot of sense, especially in larger screen sizes where it’s getting harder to even find HD sets. And you won’t have to pay much more for one because the price gap has narrowed. But you will still find 1080p and 720p TVs in the smaller screen sizes—say, 32 inches or smaller.
The good news is that there’s a growing amount of 4K content to watch, especially from streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix.
Ultra HD TV
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
As you can see in the dramatized image below, when HDR is at work, you’ll see details that might not otherwise be obvious, from the texture of the brick on a shady walkway to nuances in the white clouds in a daytime sky.
on 4K and HDR, you can find several good—and inexpensive—options.
Decide Whether You Want a Smart TV
Around 70 percent of the TVs sold these days are now smart TVs, according to market research firm IHD Markit. But if you’re considering a more basic TV or you already have a TV that lacks smarts, you can easilcontent, such as streaming video services from Amazon Prime and Netflix. Basic smart TVs may be limited to the most popular services, and others offer a vast assortment of apps. Many have full web browsers, and more sophisticated smart TVs can respond to voice commands, make program recommendations, and let you view content from your smartphone on the TV screen.y add internet capability using a separate streaming media player, such as an Amazon Fire TV, an Apple TV, a Google Chromecast, or a Roku player.
Streaming Media Players
There are more than a dozen streaming player models, offered in two styles: set-top boxes, and stick players about the size of a USB flash drive. The most recent set-top box models include an updated version of the Amazon Fire TV, $100, a new Apple TV, $179, and the Roku Ultra; all support 4K video.
(Some sets may have all three.) Some TVs from the major brands will also connect to, and interact with, other smart home devices, allowing you to play music on smart speakers, raise or lower the temperature on smart thermostats, or adjust the room’s lighting on smart light bulbs, all from the TV.
Check the Viewing Angle
Make the Right Connections
Nearly all TVs now have side input connections, as well as rear inputs, which provide some flexibility for connecting source components to your TV. Inputs located on the side or bottom of the TV work best if you’ll be mounting a TV flat against a wall.