What to look for when buying a new TV

Staff Writer By Staff Writer - updated October 20th, 2020
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When searching for a new TV there is a few things you should look out for depending on your needs.

Some of the first things I usually look at early on, besides the price, is the screen size and the resolution. Full HD 1080p is still currently the standard for digital TV broadcasting but with the help of modern UHD Blu-ray players and websites like YouTube and Netflix, more and more 4K content is becoming available, so If you're wanting to future proof yourself going after a 4K TV will make sure you're set for the years to come.

The size of the screen in combination with resolution will determine the optimal distance you should view your TV from. To figure out how far away you should place your screen there are few handy websites out there to calculate this (http://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/by-size/size-to-distance-relationship). Just keep in mind having a higher resolution display means you can get away with sitting a lot closer than usual while still having a very clear picture.

Next is viewing angels, because a TV is usually in the centre of a room you want a wide viewing angle to allow more family members to view the content. So looking for a TV with close to 180 degrees of view angle is important.  This means that the colours won’t shift as you move around the display and you have the freedom to sit where you want in a room. If you're looking at a new TV in store and you're going to putting this into a large living space, it's best to look at it from the extreme left and right angles, just to check if the colours change.

Another thing to keep in mind is the bezels, not just the thickness but also the colour, going with a screen with black bezels helps your eyes focus in on the content a lot easier compared to white or silver.

Gaming is also another big feature in the living room so speed is important. Choosing a TV with an array of inputs is helpful and refresh rate is also important to keep things smooth. This feature is usually measured in Hz or cycles per-second, 60hz is a good baseline to start from, what this means is that the image on the screen is refreshed 60 times every second which is okay for current gen consoles or computers, though you are better aiming for a TV with 120Hz+ to make the most of current-gen gaming. Another thing to consider is the number of I/O, HDMI inputs are for all your modern devices and RCA if you happen to have an old DVD player or last gen console you want to still be able to use.

Next is mounting, most TV's come with a stand or feet that you screw into the bottom, but if you want a little more flexibility looking for a VESA compatible display should be something to keep in mind. VESA is a universal mounting standard and buying a TV with a VESA mount will ensure you can purchase wall mounts or monitor arms to go along with it. If you want to mount your new TV on a wall check the features for 'VESA compatible' so you will easily be able to find wall mounts for it!

Last thing to look out for is contrast ratio, a TV's contrast ratio is the range from Peak white to the darkest black. A greater difference between these two points is usually better and a good contrast ratio is ideal for watching movies in the dark and getting a cinematic feel. Now, this can get a little confusing because there is many different ways to calculate contrast ratio and no agreed-upon industry standard.

True or static contrast ratio looks at the brightest and darkest parts of a single image simultaneously, while dynamic contrast ratio goes from a full white screen to a full black screen over time, so that number is always much higher.

When calculated properly true contrast ratio will cap out at 3000:1 - 5000:1. If you ever see a manufacturer claiming they have 100,000:1 or even 1,000,000:1 this will be dynamic contrast ratio, so you just need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Again this number is a hard thing to rely on when comparing different brands of TV’s as everyone measures this differently, so just keep that in mind.

Other than that it basically just comes down to features. Smart TV's can be hooked up to the internet so you can use your TV remote to scroll through YouTube or Netflix without the need for an external device.

These features do come at an additional cost, a good idea to save a little bit of cash is to skip the smart TV and buy something like a Chromecast or Apple TV, this just plugs into one of your TV’s HDMI ports, and then you can push content like music or movies from your phone, tablet or computer. It’s essentially the same thing, for a much lower cost but just requires you to use another device as the remote.

Check out the massive range of TV available at PB Tech

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Staff Writer

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