Things to consider when buying a new Television.
Welcome to the September 2015 newsletter from the Electric Playground, the home technology specialist.
We’re back after our summer break and looking forward to the next few months with some interesting installations on the horizon.
This month we wanted to give you a few things to think about when buying a new TV. Technology in this area changes so rapidly it’s sometimes hard to keep up.
Bigger is better
Our rule of thumb is to get the biggest TV that your wall space can accommodate. For a family’s main TV nothing smaller than 55 inches will do.
4k or not 4k
That is the question. Our advice if it’s important to you get it, if not hold off for now as the price will come down.
These have been developed to deliver a more immersive viewing experience for everyone watching, regardless of their angle. For: Improved immersion, sense of depth is enhanced, wider field of view, better contrast, uniform viewing distances and a wider effective viewing angle. Against: Curve exaggerates reflections, curve limits viewing angles, really only one viewing sweet spot, they need to be big, their expensive.
A smart TV with multiple streaming services is a good choice for a bedroom, den or kitchen, where installing an additional cable box would be difficult. A lot of TV’s come with a Netflix app built in but think Apple TV or Amazon Fire. These can easily be fixed to the back of a TV and hidden from view.
LED or OLED?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes whilst OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diodes. Both refer to the way your screen pixels are lit to create the colours and contrast of the images on your screen. OLED is the latest technology. The pixels create their own light source to make up the picture. This means that they can turn themselves off completely in order to show the deepest blacks. LED screens on the other hand have a backlight which is shone through an LCD panel to produce the individual pictures. OLED TV’s: Richer and more vivid colours and contrast, lower energy consumption than LED, excellent quality pictures at all viewing angles, screens are generally thinner. LED TV’s: More choice of TVs as LED is easier to produce, usually cheaper in price, produces great picture quality.
If you watch a lot of 3D movies, then look for a smart TV with active 3D technology. Active 3D delivers full resolution to each eye, but passive 3D cuts the resolution in half. If 3D isn’t very important, then don’t worry about active vs. passive.
The best smart TVs have advanced, intuitive menus or guides to help you find the streaming content you want. Bargain-brand TV’s tend to have bare-bones menus that can be slow and difficult to use.
Full web browsing.
Yes, you’d think this would be standard on any smart TV, but surprisingly, it’s not. If you want to look up something on a web browser without having to open up your laptop every time, this is a feature you’ll want.
Because the TVs have gotten more advanced, better remotes were needed to make the TVs easier to use. Some include full built-in keyboards (a nice feature when web browsing) while others use gesture or voice prompts to access favorite features. Imagine speaking into your remote to select a movie.
If sound is important to you, don’t use the TV’s built-in speakers. Get a soundbar or soundbase. For a full surrounded sound get an AVR, some satellite speakers and a sub woofer, like these from Bowers & Wilkins.
When viewing TVs in a shop showroom, know that they probably haven’t been calibrated and are usually set at the brightest, most unnatural mode. If possible, ask to have the TVs switched to their Movie, Cinema or Theatre mode (which is going to make the colors in the picture look a lot more realistic).
Wi-Fi or not?
If you can, connect your new TV directly to your network router via an Ethernet cable because that signal will be more robust and reliable. Only use Wi-Fi if you can’t get a cable to the TV.
Can we help?
I hope this has given you a few things to think about when buying your new television.