Buying a new television is easy, but deciding a perfect fit for your home can be complex. What size is perfect for your homes, which brand is best and how much money you must spend and so on? After all, when you buy a TV, you don't really expect to replace it within a year or two, like we do with mobile phones. The sales person may further throw in some tech jargon of advanced technology, but do we have content to support that technology? So, if you are planning to buy a television set this Diwali, then we are here to breakdown and explain everything you need to know before buying a TV.
Bigger is better? Not really! The size of the TV depends upon the size of the room you plan to place it in. So, first figure out whether the TV is for your living room or bedroom. Once, you do that try to figure out the viewing distance from the screen and the bed or couch. For instance, if the viewing distance is 4 to 6 feet than go for a 32-inch TV, if the distance is 5 to 8 ft than 40-42-nch and if the viewing distance is 6 to 7 ft then opt for a 46-49-inch panel.
Some of the seasoned brands when it comes to TV units are Samsung, LG and Sony. Their devices carry relatively higher price tags. But, there are others like VU, Micromax, Sansui, Philips, TCL and many more offering TVs at affordable prices.
HD, Full HD and UHD
You will often find HD, Full HD, Ultra HD and similar terms. These terms are used to describe the resolution of a TV. HD means High Definition, which is a resolution of 720p. Full HD is now become the preferred resolution as it pushes up the pixel count to 1080p. These days you will find Ultra HD or UHD, which is also known as 4k with 2160p resolution.
You will also come across a term called HD Ready, which is 1080i resolution. TV channels, and precisely HD channels, are transmitted at 1080i resolution. In India, there is no TV provider offering Full HD channels.
However, if you decide on a Smart TV (more on it below) then you must know that all streaming sites offer content in Full HD and some even in Ultra HD.
HDR and Dolby Vision
Another term that is often associated with TVs is HDR (high dynamic range). Now, don't confuse the HDR for TVs with the HDR for phones. HDR for phones/photos means combining multiple images with different exposures to create an image. When it comes to TV, HDR basically helps expand the range of colour and contrast. To simplify it further, if there are two TVs - one with larger pixels and the other with greater contrast and colour accuracy, you will most likely choose the latter, considering it closely resembles pictures in real life.
Dolby Vision promises the best viewing experience possible as it’s an end-to-end process, so the metadata in each frame is dictated by Dolby. On the other hand, HDR10 relies on the HDR TV to interpret metadata. Dolby Vision supports up to 12-bit colour depth and HDR10 up to 10-bit. To get a better understanding, 12-bit colour depth offers over 68 billion colours while just 1 billion offered by 10-bit.
However, there are two issues - content supporting it and the price of the TV panels supporting it.
OLED or LCD TV?
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and is made up several individual pixels. Without going into the depth of how it works and so on, let's understand what it brings to your TV. It is this technology that can bring absolute dark blacks and bright whites and also help build ultra-thin TV panels, which LED-lit LCD TV lacks. OLED are further broken down into two types - AMOLED (you will hear this one quite often) and PMOLED. Furthermore, OLED pixels can emit their own light and colour, making viewing angles better than LED-backlit LCDs. Hon the flip side, OLEDs don't come cheap, and rather they are too expensive.
We saw Samsung and LG bring a number of curved TVs. Curved TVs didn’t manage to catch the public interest in India, and flat TVs continue to dominate.
Smart TVs are the latest fad. We have seen Samsung TV run Tizen and Sony run Android, giving you access to streaming content, ability to run content from a USB drive and also a basic web browser right onto your screen display. There are TVs that support several apps.
Smart TVs come with built-in Wi-Fi or support for external dongles. You will also find terms like DLNA or Miracast support, which basically allows you to wirelessly stream content from your mobile devices directly to the TV.
Some other things that you should keep in mind are TVs come with a stand, but you may have to buy a wall mount. Also, slim TVs often compromise on quality, especially the really budget ones, so you may have to invest a little in a speaker and home theatre.