The Best TVs (and Helpful Buying Tips)
Jun 20, · One of the most visible aspects of picture quality is contrast ratio. This is the difference between the darkest a TV can be and the brightest. A high contrast ratio gives Author: Geoffrey Morrison. Apr 06, · A good rule of thumb is that you should sit at a distance from the TV that is three times more than the height of the screen for HD and just times the screen height for Author: Brian Westover.
A TV is a big purchase, and we all want to get the best TV for our dollar. But what makes an HDTV the how is socialism similar to capitalism If you spend more, are you guaranteed a better TV?
With all the jargon, marketing, and hype, what performance and features matter the most? There are three main factors that determine how "good" a TV is. When I sold TVs, I'd ask what people were looking for in their potential purchase.
It was really just for my own amusement, because without fail people would say, "Good picture quality. When pressed, though, most people couldn't elaborate on what constituted picture quality in their view. Contrast ratio One of the most visible aspects of picture quality is contrast ratio. This is the difference between the darkest a TV can be and the brightest. A high contrast ratio gives the image dimensionality, makes it "pop. Color Personally, I'm a fan of accurate color. At first glance, this seems like a given, but many people prefer slightly oversaturated colors.
In fact, most TVs when taken out of the box present oversaturated colors. What's important to me, in finding our dream TV, is the ability to adjust the colors. Most new TVs have modes in which you can choose between oversaturated and reasonably accurate color. Most newer Panasonic plasmas have accurate color as well. Thankfully, almost all modern televisions have adjustable color temperatureso this isn't the factor it once was. So the TV's performance in this regard doesn't matter.
Almost all TVs deinterlace correctly these days, so this isn't much of an issue, either. One might class overall light output, or how bright a TV is, under the heading of picture quality, but I disagree. Bright TVs are great, but it's easy for a relatively "dim" TV to have vastly better picture quality than an extremely bright TV. Subjectively, if the two TVs were judged on their own for picture quality, the Kuro would win easily. Most modern TVs do at least a decent job of creating an image.
Some, of course, do a better job than others, but it's rare to find a "bad" television. At least, from the name brands. If you're buying an LCD out of the back of a white van, your mileage may vary. Netflix and other streaming services Netflix has gotten huge in the last year, and rightly so. Tons of streaming content, all for a low monthly fee. The question is, do you need Netflix streaming to come with your TV?
If your Blu-ray player doesn't have streaming built in, then sure, get it in your new TV. Trust me, you'll love it. If you don't have a Blu-ray player, well, you should get one. They're crazy cheap, and offer better scaling than most TVs.
So if you're going to get a Blu-ray player, don't worry about whether your TV does streaming or not. How 3D content works: Blu-ray vs. I'm pretty apathetic about the whole thing, but if you're into it, go for it. The most important thing to realize about 3D is that how much does it cost to tile a room is just a feature.
You don't have to use it. Most high-end models happen to have the ability to show 3D. Because they're high end, they also typically look the best as well. Personally, looking for the "best" TV, I'd end up looking at 3D models, even though the 3D aspect is irrelevant to me, because of how well they show 2D. Light and lighting: The TV vs. In finding the best TV, it's best to ignore hype and marketing and just ask yourself how you'll use the TV.
In a dark room, or at night, plasma offers the best picture quality. Plasma TVs aren't "dim," but in a brightly lit room, they're not going to look as good as one of the new LED LCDs, which often have prodigious light output.
For daytime viewing, LCDs still edge out plasmas, despite the antireflective and antiglare coatings. That said, a plasma is still plenty watchable during the day, and an LCD with an adjustable backlightanyway will still work fine in a dark room or at night.
Tally up what you've picked as important for your future TV. For me, I've focused on a TV with a decent contrast ratio, accurate or adjustable color, possibly streaming, possibly 3D, and probably a plasma, as I do most of my TV watching at night.
Finding a TV that matches all of your criteria is only half the battle, of course. The other half is the price. Price has a pretty direct relationship to the one thing we haven't talked about:.
That much is generally true. There are plenty of guides that tell you what size TV you should get, but to be honest, I've yet to hear of anyone who actually follows them. Most people buy a TV in the to inch range because they think it looks right, and because it's affordable. The truth is, you can go much bigger if you want.
I sit 10 feet from a inch screen, and it's epic. You don't need to go that big, but you can if you want to. It's a tough call between a good TV that's big, and a great TV that's small. I'd generally err on the side of larger, but really this is something that's how to find out about someone in jail judged on a case-by-case basis. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policywhich we encourage you to read.
Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. What makes a good HDTV? We all want the best TV we can afford. But what makes a TV "the best"? What is the sisters grimm about Morrison. June 20, a. Well, I'm glad you asked. Contrast ratio or how every TV manufacturer lies to you Geoffrey Morrison Contrast ratio One of the most visible aspects of picture quality is contrast ratio.
Features Most modern TVs do at least a decent job of creating an image. So it's features that are the biggest differences between TVs. Price Tally up what you've picked as important for your future TV. Price has a pretty direct relationship to the one thing we haven't talked about: Size Small TVs are cheap, big TVs are expensive.
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Nov 23, · Moreover, today's HDTVs are essentially flat-screen computers, so having a built-in internet connection means that the set's software can be . Feb 22, · The Hisense H8G is one of the more affordable televisions that is made with console gamers in mind. The proprietary ULED panel gives you excellent 4K resolution, and with Dolby Vision HDR support, you'll get great detailing and color for more lifelike images. It also has 90 local dimming zones for deep, inky blacks and better contrast. Feb 19, · In terms of HDR content, it has excellent gradient handling, displays a very wide color gamut, and has decent HDR peak brightness, but it still may not be enough to deliver a true HDR experience. Unfortunately, it can suffer from permanent burn-in, Estimated Reading Time: 7 mins.
This TV buying guide walks you through everything you need to know when buying a new TV. With lessons learned across dozens of reviews, guides and technical explainers, this guide is your sherpa through the TV shopping wilderness, whether you're looking for simple shopping advice or need to know which features matter most. The technologies and features are amazing, but it can be hard to keep up with it all, let alone determine what's important.
We explain each of these points in greater detail in our TV buying guide below:. Whether you're looking for a basic or high-performance TV, the biggest factor in your decision will probably be screen size.
Consider how many people in your family typically watch at once and where you're going to put your new set. Then pick the largest screen size that will fit comfortably into that space — and your budget. The sweet spot today, considering price, performance and the typical living room, is between 55 and 65 inches. Screen size also depends on how close you sit to the TV. Basically, if you can see the individual pixels of the screen, you're too close.
A good rule of thumb is that you should sit at a distance from the TV that is three times more than the height of the screen for HD and just 1.
Here's a more in-depth guide to calculating the proper TV screen size based on the dimensions of your room, as well as the resolution of the TV. And check out the best TVs by size:. No TV buying guide, no matter how detailed, can replace your own experience and judgement. If you have the opportunity, go to a store and maybe bring your family and look at the TVs. Even though 4K content is less common than p, you may want that higher-resolution technology if you plan to sit close to a very large screen.
But you should also consider where the TV will be going in your home. While the above advice is intended for living rooms and home theaters, you'll want to consider what size is appropriate for other parts of the house, like the bedroom or the kitchen, where a smaller TV may be a necessity. Bottom Line : Choose a screen size and resolution appropriate for the distance you will sit from the screen. Resolution describes the number of pixels that make up the picture on a display, described in terms of horizontal rows and vertical columns.
More pixels translate into sharper picture and finer details, so higher resolution is almost always better. No TV buying guide would be complete without a discussion of resolution. For many years, the x resolution, also called full HD, has been the standard, and is still the most common resolution in TVs across globe.
The biggest benefit of 4K TVs is that small objects on the screen have more detail, including sharper text. Overall, images appear richer and more life-like than on an HDTV, but the benefits can be subtle. The sharper picture also has the added benefit of letting you comfortably view the screen from a shorter distance, making larger TVs more comfortable to view in a regular-sized home.
Ultra HD video looks great, and it's getting easier to find. Several streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon Video and even YouTube have started offering 4K content, making smart TVs and streaming sticks your best bet for easily finding 4K movies and shows.
While ultra HD Blu-ray discs are becoming more common, they're still less common than standard p. Although Ultra HD sets can upscale existing HD content, the results can be mixed and do not look as sharp as original 4K programming. You might start getting 4K TV over the air. The new ATSC 3. There are finally somewhat affordable 8K TVs on the market now. These displays quadruple the resolution seen on 4K sets, offering a giant leap forward in picture quality, but finding content to full take advantage of that higher resolution is extremely limited.
Check out our guide Should you buy an 8K TV in ? Bottom Line : Ultra HD resolution, also called 4K, is increasingly becoming the standard, and it's a better choice if you want to future-proof your investment. You can already buy higher resolution 8K TVs, but we suggest holding off. HDR is a new feature of 4K Ultra HD sets and it stands for high dynamic range, a reference to its ability to deliver more colors, more contrast levels and increased brightness. Dolby Vision is a more demanding version of HDR, created and licensed by the folks that brought us Dolby noise reduction and surround sound.
In theory, a Dolby Vision set has to meet a stricter set of criteria to display HDR content, and our testing seems to bear this out. There continues to be some HDR confusion. Every HDR-enabled set on the market is currently HDRcompatible, but Dolby Vision is only found on sets that both meet Dolby's technical standards and pay licensing fees for the standard. Yes, Samsung's naming makes things very confusing. It's still far too soon to know if either of these newer formats will have much impact on the market.
There are a few dozen movies in the new 4K Blu-ray disc format, with a growing number of HDR shows available via streaming services, like Amazon Prime and Netflix. Some new 4K Blu-ray players also promise to be upgradable to handle the new HDR discs, but check before you buy. Bottom Line : Don't choose a set just for its HDR support because the standard has not yet been settled. However, if you want the best, buy an HDR set that is compatible with Dolby Vision, as that format seems to be gaining momentum.
The refresh rate, expressed in Hertz Hz describes how many times per second a picture is refreshed on the screen. The standard refresh rate is 60 times per second, or 60 Hz. So, to create a more solid picture, manufacturers doubled the refresh rate to Hz and in some cases up to Hz. Since there aren't that many per-second images in original video content, TVs handle the faster refresh rates in different ways. One method is to simply insert black images between the original pictures, tricking the viewer's eyes into seeing a less blurry, more solid picture.
Another technique is to generate and insert new images — showing a state of movement in between the two adjacent pictures — to display more realistic-looking motion.
However, depending on how the video-processing is done, it can make a movie or sitcom look flat, or as if it were a poorly lit, old-time soap opera. Some new models are boasting High-Frame Rate HFR support, which means that they have both a higher refresh rate and added support for content with higher than 60 Hz frame rates. With HFR content set to come from both movies and live broadcats, and HFR will be especially good for live sports, so it's definitely a feature to watch out for.
Gamers will be especially keen to get higher refresh rates, but if you're using a gaming console, 60 Hz is the sweet spot. Most gaming consoles top out at 60 frames per second, and even the best 4K gaming TVs offer the best performance well below the Hz we suggest for other content. A word of caution: beware of terms like "effective refresh rate," which means the actual frame rate is half the stated rate e. Everything else is done with video processing, not a refresh of the screen.
It may seem like an afterthought, but pay attention to the number of HDMI inputs a set has. Manufacturers looking to shave costs may offer fewer HDMI plugs on the back. These ports can get used up quickly: Add a sound bar, a Roku or Chromecast and a game console, and you've used three ports already. The newer HDMI 2. By matching the TV refresh rate to the frame rates of you content source — in this case the graphics card inside your game console or PC — you'll get smoother action and zero screen tearing.
It also adds higher frame rates for 4K video and richer HDR data that will allow adjustments at the scene level for more-precise backlighting control. As of now, we've seen HDMI 2. And HDMI 2. Many of these TVs can dynamically light up specific portions of the screen and dim other parts to better represent a mix of light and dark areas in a scene — a feature known as active dimming or local dimming. The better of these models support active dimming, but it takes some digital sorcery to do this by merely manipulating lights along the edge.
Full-array LED sets have light-emitting diodes directly behind the screen, in a grid of "zones" that can be lit up or darkened individually. Such an arrangement makes the backlight more precise and allows a more-detailed picture regarding contrast. Full-array backlighting was once reserved for top-tier models, but with more Ultra HD sets appearing at lower prices, this feature is becoming more common on modestly priced sets. Another LCD technology, called quantum dots, is becoming more common, spurred on by the requirements of HDR to produce a wider array of colors and more brightness.
The result is a wider color spectrum and increased brightness. Be aware that some brands offer confusing labels. And while quantum dot displays still can't match the true black levels of OLED, the gap is narrowing as manufacturers work to improve the technology.
Pros : Wide array of prices, sizes and features; Some affordable Ultra HD 4K models; Bright screens visible even in a sunny room; Image quality steadily improving with full-array backlighting and quantum-dot technology.
Cons : Exhibits imperfections when displaying rapid motion, as in sports; Loses some shadow detail because pixels can't go completely black even with full-array backlighting ; Images fade when viewing from the side off-axis. In place of a backlight, OLEDs use a layer of organic LEDs, controlled at the pixel level, to achieve absolute black and stunning levels of contrast. Footage of fireworks against a black sky is a favorite demonstration of OLED technology.
The best-in-class display technology is seen exclusively on 4K sets and higher, with the introduction of LG's Z9 8K OLED , and range in size from 55 inches on up to 75 inches or larger. Cons : Premium prices; lower peak brightness than some LCD sets, uncertainty about how screens will fare over time, including whether they will retain "ghost" images also known as burn-in from displaying a static picture for too long.
But the TV industry is always readying new technologies, and new jargon to go with it. While technolg9oies like micro-LED and mini-LED are still new and relatively rare, they'll start showing up more on new models later this year, so keep an eye on our coverage to find out about new features as they arrive.
If you thought the jump to 4K resolution was amazing, you'll be floored by 8K, which ratchets up the detail even further with x pixels. It's amazing to see, and it's the next big thing in consumer TVs. But any worthwhile TV buying guide should be telling that it's not worth spending your money on just yet. TV manufacturers are betting big on 8K displays, and there's no doubt that it's the next big thing in TVs. But all that eye-popping detail is still missing an essential element: Content. There are no 8K movies available for purchase, and streaming in 4K is already more taxing than many people's internet connection can handle.
So far, companies are hoping that fancy AI-powered upscaling will make everything look good enough to justify prices that far outstrip the cost of premium 4K sets. The 8K models on the market are more expensive than the 4K competition, but it's getting better. Until content is available, you'll just wind up paying a lot of money for upscaled 4K video. An increasing number of sets come with built-in Wi-Fi for connecting Internet-based services like Netflix for streaming videos or to run apps for watching special-interest programs, downloading on-demand movies, playing games or even posting to Facebook.
The latest models can even search for content across streaming services and live programming on cable and satellite. The interfaces are generally getting better. Vizio, LG and now Samsung use a handy bar of icons at the bottom of the screen.