Television Buying Guide

With all of the confusing acronyms, buying a new television can be a confusing experience. There are several new types of televisions and many different features to consider. When buying a television, you will need to consider the type, size, features, and brands.

Types of Televisions

HD televisions (TVs) have a screen resolution of 1920 by 1080, and they are commonly called a 1080p model. They come in the widest range of sizes of all the different types of televisions, ranging in size from 20 inch to 110 inch screens. These televisions generally have an LCD display with an LED backlight. You will find that you will save several hundred dollars with an HD TV versus a UHD TV, and you will also be more likely to find sizes smaller than 39 inches with an HD TV where you will not with a UHD TV.

OLED TVs are the next big thing in televisions. OLED stands for organic light emitting diode, and it is a huge improvement over the traditional LED/LCD televisions. They produce the brightest, clearest images, have reduced power consumption, and quick response times. The disadvantages of this type of television are that only two companies produce them at this time, Panasonic and LG. In addition, these OLED televisions are almost prohibitively expensive, but the prices are predicted to come down as more are produced in the near future.

Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions, also called 4K TVs have a screen resolution of 3820 by 2160, and they contain four times the number of pixels as an HD TV. Since the pixels are more densely packed in a UHD TV, it is capable of greater picture detail. The benefits of a UHD TV are best seen in larger screen sizes, such as 65 inches and above or when you would like to sit closer to the television than you could with an HD TV. The disadvantages include the facts that these UHD TVs are more expensive, and there is not currently a lot of native 4K content at this time though more is coming.

Another type of television is the Smart TV. These types of televisions have the capability of accessing streaming programs such as from Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Some have a wide variety of apps while more sophisticated ones have a full web browser. These allow the user to access social media, email, and any other web pages. In addition, the most sophisticated Smart TVs can respond to voice command, make program recommendations, and let you see information from your smartphone on the screen. These TVs come in a range of prices, but they tend to be higher priced than a standard HD TV by several hundred dollars for a similar sized screen.

Pay Attention to

Screen size is one of the most important things you need to be aware of. You need to take the size of your room into consideration as well as how far away from the screen you will typically sit. A good rule of thumb is that you should be sitting a distance of three times the height of the screen for an HD TV or 1.5 times the height of the screen for UHD.

You need to consider the refresh rate of the television you are looking to purchase. This figure is expressed in hertz. It refers to the number of times per second that the picture is refreshed on the screen. The standard refresh rate on televisions is 60 hertz (Hz) which basically means that the picture refreshes 60 times per second. On many HDTVs, however, this refresh rate makes for a jittery or blurry picture, so it is suggested that you look for a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the better your display will look.

Consider how many HDMI ports a new television comes equipped with. These ports are typically used when plugging in game systems, a sound bar, or Roku system for streaming. Manufacturers looking to cut costs often include less ports , and this can be problematic if you have a number of accessories to plug in.

Curved screens are not necessary. While manufacturers hoped to make the TV viewing experience more immersive, the curved screens actually distort the picture on the screen. In addition, the curve also impacts side viewing of the screen, reducing the ideal viewing spots to only a small area directly in front of the screen. Furthermore, the curved screen televisions will cost more than a comparable flat model.

The sound on most of the flat screen televisions is poor. There is simply no room for adequate spacers on most models. The solution may be to purchase a sound bar that plugs into an HDMI port and typically fits under the television screen. Just be aware of the additional cost involved.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Hisense is headquartered in China and, in addition to its own brand, markets televisions under the Sharp name. They offer a wide variety of models and price ranges.

Insignia is the Best Buy signature house brand. They offer value priced LED/LCD televisions in a variety of sizes.

LG Electronics produces high end televisions, and they are currently the only manufacturer making the new OLED televisions.

Panasonic sells a variety of LED-based LCD televisions in a variety of sizes.

Samsung is a top-tier television manufacturer producing models of all sizes and feature ranges.

Sony's Bravia line of televisions are fully featured televisions in a wide range of sizes.

Vizio has a lineup of televisions that range from entry level models to high end UHD TVs.

Westinghouse Electronics includes budget brand televisions that are priced well below comparable sized and featured televisions.