Feb 02, 2017
In the market for a new TV? The options can be mind-boggling. There’s a lot more to choosing the best product than size and price. So before you head off to the store, use this TV buying guide to determine what you really want and need. After all, when it comes to TVs, what’s “best” is in the mind of the viewer — you.
How much space do you have, and how are your furnishings arranged? Experts advise getting the biggest screen you can afford, based on your space limitations. How many people will usually watch at the same time? With an HD TV, optimum viewing distance is about 3x the height of the screen. With 4K Ultra HD, you can cut that in half. Remember, you can easily wall-mount your TV to conserve surface space.
Screen Type/Picture Quality
Most TVs today use LED/LCD technology. They come in high-definition (HD) or Ultra HD, in any size from kitchen-counter small to 80”, so there’s one to fit your space and budget. Picture quality is good, even in a sunny room, but viewing quality deteriorates at an oblique angle. (A SANUS full-motion wall mount could help correct that.)
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens are the latest option. Picture quality is far superior, but the price is far higher (though prices are coming down).
Nobody wants to watch a not-quite-sharp picture, so shoot for at least 1080p screen resolution. “P” stands for pixels, the tiny dots that make up your picture. New 4K Ultra HD screens have twice as many pixels, so images and text are much sharper.
Picture quality also depends on refresh rate — how often the pixels change. Standard is 60Hz, but choose at least 120Hz to ensure fast-moving visuals don’t blur or appear “jumpy.”
Invest in a soundbar, especially if you watch movies or sports. That’s because there’s one big negative to today’s TVs: that thin silhouette we’ve come to love cannot accommodate quality speakers.
How often do you want to upgrade to a new TV? Technology is evolving at light speed. You can invest in features for which there is little to no programming currently available, but for you that may be overkill. On the other hand, choosing 4K Ultra HD should give you “tech-forward” viewing for several years.
Wi-Fi now comes standard on new TVs, to easily connect with streaming and other internet-based services. Look for a TV with at least 4 HDMI ports, to accommodate your soundbar plus game consoles, etc. You can wall-mount components and accessories near or under your TV, and use a SANUS cable tunnel to hide the cables.
The good news is that there’s a TV out there that will give you the viewing experience you want, at a price you can afford. Using the tips in this TV buying guide will help you find the best option for you.