Buying a TV can be rather overwhelming and confusing, or underwhelming and simple depending on the criteria you are going with. For a gadget that is ideally the focal point in a room, we often go with two main criteria – how big it is and how much it costs. While the choice is fairly simple, if you want to get bang for your bucks, then understanding some things is very essential before you decide to buy one.
TV shopping involves understanding the finer details, and as with most other gadgets, will affect what you as a user get from it. Below is a cheat sheet to go through before buying a TV.
1. DISPLAY TYPE
The type of TV you buy will vary based on the display – LED, LCD, OLED or PLASMA.
- Plasma TV’s offer high quality viewing, excellent color and high contrast ratio which altogether makes TV viewing interesting. The wide angle view allows a clearer picture from any angle wherever people are seated, without color distortion and image altering. These TV’s cannot be viewed clearly in ambient light.
- LCD TV’s are common and very cheap. They have good color and are energy efficient. Their viewing angles are however limited and high resolution gaming cannot be practiced on them.
- LED TV’s have an LED backlight to power the display. They use less energy than an LCD but can be more expensive.
2. COLOR DEPTH
Most TV manufacturers keep an adequate color depth that won’t strain eyes, but when shopping for a cheaper option, consider getting a TV with a bit depth of ‘8 bits per channel’ or more. This ensures the TV is able to create enough color to be viewed as photo-realistic images.
3. CONTRAST RATIO
Contrast ratio differs from one TV to the next. It is the difference between the darkest black and whitest white that a TV can produce. Low contrast ratios mean black may appear as gray, or white with a lack of brilliance. Numbers such as 2,000:1 or 5,000:1 indicate the contrast ratio, where the higher ratio indicates better viewing. For a lay person, contrast ratio can be understood by watching TV in a dark place.
4. REFRESH RATE
This indicates the number of times the image refreshes on the screen per second. Therefore 60Hz, 144Hz indicates this measure. Higher refresh rates reduce blur and allow images to flow into each other smoothly. High rates are good for gaming, action movies and any picture where there is a faster changeover of scenes.
Input options in a TV are very important, especially if you know what you will be connecting to the TV. To input a signal from a gaming console, computer or speakers, an HDMI cable or DisplayPort inputs are required. Connecting an old VCR or DVD requires analog composite inputs and cable box needs a coaxial cable input. In case connection with Blu-Ray players is required, the TV you buy also needs to use HDCP.
6. SMART TV
Unlike a regular TV, SMART TV’s connect directly to the internet and stream content. Some connect with Wi-Fi, others need an ethernet jack but a basic advantage of such TV’s is that they come with a host of built-in applications.
Understanding the finer details and asking for specific features will make it easier for you to decide which TV set you want to buy.