TV Buying Guide: Everything to know before you go shopping

When it comes to TV, I am Joey at heart. I love to sit on a couch and binge-watch friends again and again. With all the smart technologies coming up every day TV is not just local cable these days. We all love to Netflix and chill. Don’t forget Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Exclusive sports content and many more. Hence owning an average TV is not just enough. It’s time to deep dive into the latest tech and find the best for you. But don’t worry, This article is going to be your ultimate TV buying guide. So, bookmark it and let’s start.

Display

Remember the battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones season 8? Were you among those who felt that a good deal of the action was difficult to make out as it was too dark to see? That means you do not have the TV that fits with the content you are watching. LCD and Plasma are old technologies now. It’s time for LED, QLED and OLED displays. Wait! did I say that LCD technology is old? Well, we still have LCD TVs coming in market but there is a difference.

LCD with CCFL vs LCD with LED

LCD-CCFL and LCD-LED

To create an image on the screen LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) need a backlight system. Old LCD TVs used to have a standard liquid crystal display with CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp). New LCD TVs use the same liquid crystal display but with LED (Light Emitting Diode) backlighting. But what does that mean? Don’t worry I won’t teach you the science here because that is not why you came here. So, I will just explain why does that matter for you. LCD-CCFL forms were not very energy-efficient and also were not quite bright. LCD-LED are more expensive than LCD-CCFL but they will save you money on your electricity bill. 

To create an image on the screen LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) need a backlight system. Old LCD TVs used to have a standard liquid crystal display with CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp). New LCD TVs use the same liquid crystal display but with LED (Light Emitting Diode) backlighting. But what does that mean? Don’t worry I won’t teach you the science here because that is not why you came here. So, I will just explain why does that matter for you. LCD-CCFL forms were not very energy-efficient and also were not quite bright. LCD-LED are more expensive than LCD-CCFL but they will save you money on your electricity bill. 

LED TVs

LED or LCD-LED or LED-backlit TVs all are variant names of this technology. As the name suggests these TVs use LCD displays with LED backlighting. TVs using this technology are slimmer and provide brighter viewing experience. This is the most widely used technology for TV displays because it provides the most affordable options.

So, they are nice, bright and affordable should you buy them? Before you make a decision there is one more thing you need to know about.

Not all LEDs are Full LEDs. There are two LED screen technologies available in India. Let’s check them.

Edge-Lit Screens vs Back-Lit Screen

By now you know that LED TVs use LCD as display and LED lights to illuminate that display. In Edge-Lit Screens LED lights are placed along the edge on the screen facing the centre. In Back-Lit Screens, which are also known as Full array Screens in the market, LEDs are placed behind the screen in such a manner that the entire display is covered. Edge-Lit models are much thinner and lighter but the dark areas in the picture are illuminated a bit more. That means night scenes in a movie will look a bit dull. So, if you are looking for the best picture quality you would want to go for Back-Lit Screen TV. If you want a slim television set and you are tight on budget then Edge-Lit Screen TV is a good option. 

What is IPS LED?

So you have bought a nice LED TV and installed it in the living room. Now you are sitting in one corner and watching your favourite movie. Did you feel that the picture quality changed? Is it different from when you were watching it from the centre? It is because usual LED TVs offer less than 50-degree viewing angle.

Tip: LED TVs that come with IPS (In-plane switching) technology provide a wide viewing angle of up to 178 degrees. If you have a bigger room and you are opting for LED TV then you should look for IPS LEDs.

LED TVs On Amazon

QLED TVs

QLED or Quantum Dot LED is a relatively new screen technology. Initially, Samsung started with it in the Television world but now many manufacturers are using it. It is just like a regular LED TV but it uses a layer of quantum dots semiconductors that improves colour and brightness of regular LED TV to a great extent. TVs with QLED displays have better picture quality than above mentioned LED TVs. These are also expensive compared to other usual LED TVs.

QLED TVs On Amazon

OLED TVs

Folks, This is the section where I will tell you about the Best screen technology that is available today in the market. OLEDs. OLED or Organic LED use millions of organic pixels to emit light. Each pixel is an LED light which can produce both light and colour in a single element. The best part about OLED TVs is their black colour levels. LEDs and QLEDs dim their backlight to produce black colour which is a bit dull. OLED simply turns off the pixels on that area to produce a perfect black. LG is the pioneer in OLEDs. It also sells OLED panels to Sony. Hence LG and Sony are the only two manufacturers that produce LED TVs. OLED provides a viewing angle of up to 84 degrees which is greater than regular LED TVs and QLED TVs. These TVs are the most expensive.

Tip: If you are low on budget then go for the LED TV with IPS technology. If you can spend a good amount of money then OLED TV is the right choice.

OLED TVs On Amazon

Screen Resolution

What does it mean when you hear that the screen resolution is 1280×720? It means the screen has 1280 pixels horizontally and 720 pixels vertically. What does it mean for you? More pixels means more detailed picture, more clarity and sharpness. Three most popular resolutions available today are HD, Full HD and 4K.

screen resolution

HD

HD or HD Ready TVs are also known as 720p screen resolution TVs. 720p screen resolution contains 1280×720 pixels i.e. 921600 pixels. This is the most basic screen resolution available today. This resolution is mostly available in budget TVs and commonly used in 32 inch TVs. If you are planning to buy a bigger screen size then you should look for Full HD or 4K.

Full HD

Full HD contains 1920×1080 pixels i.e. 2073600 pixels. This TV is also known as 1080p resolution TV. If you are a fan of online streaming and satellite TV content then this option is for you. Full HD offers sharp images and two times better clarity than HD Ready screens. 

4K

4K or UHD (Ultra HD) with 8 million pixels screen resolution is a treat to your eyes. It provides 4 times the picture clarity than Full HD. Cable networks do not have much 4K content but if Netflix and Amazon Prime is your jam then you can opt for this resolution. Ultra HD is a must-have TV for the people who wants an enhanced gaming experience on their Television set and loves to watch 4K Blu Ray content. This resolution is ideal for bigger screen sizes.

HDR

Up till now, TVs were not able to produce true-to-life colours. HDR or High Dynamic Range expands the colour and contrast ratio of the picture which makes it true to form. Online streaming services are coming up with HDR content and to enjoy them fully you must have 4K HDR TV in your home. If you do not watch much 4K content now even then I would suggest you go for it if you can pay for it. That way your TV will be future proof.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the number of times an image changes per second on your TV screen. The higher refresh rate is ideal for watching car racing, high-speed sports content and fast action movies. But that doesn’t mean you should always opt for a higher refresh rate. Most of the content available on cable and online streaming services range from 24 fps to 60 fps. Higher fps TVs of up to 120 fps are also available in the market but it will take some time to get such content on cable networks or streaming services.

Tip: Considering the content, we get on cable networks and online streaming services 60 fps screen resolution will be a nice choice.

Screen Size

Screen size is measured in inches diagonally. To decide which screen size is ideal for you, you have to keep two things in mind.

  • Viewing distance 
  • Screen Resolution

First, measure the distance from your sitting position to the TV in inches. This is your viewing distance. If you are planning to buy 720p HD Ready TV or 1080p Full HD TV then your viewing distance should be 1.5 to 3 times your TV screen size. If you are looking for a 4K ultra high definition TV then your viewing distance should be 1-1.5 times your TV screen size because ultra high definition TV offers more details which can be missed from a larger distance.

32″ – 39″ Televisions

40″ – 47″ Televisions

48″ – 54″ Televisions

55″ and above Televisions

Connectivity

You may want to connect a set-top box, sound system, flash drive or Amazon fire stick to your TV. You need to make sure that your TV has enough ports to serve these purposes. So let’s understand them so you don’t miss out on the very small but very important part of your TV.

connectivity

HDMI port

If you want to connect HD set-top box, DVD player, Blu-Ray Player, Gaming Console, Fire TV stick etc. to your TV then you need HDMI port on your TV. Now, how many ports should you have that depends on the number of devices you want to connect to your TV at the same time.

USB port

If you want to connect the internet dongle, pen drive, hard drive or digital camera to your TV then you need USB ports.

RCA port

If you have a standard definition set-top box or an old DVD player then you need RCA port to connect them to your TV else you can ignore this port.

RCA connectors

RCA ports are used for connecting input devices as explained above. These RCA connectors are used to connect output devices like the speaker, soundbar or home theatre that supports RCA connection.

LAN port

To connect your TV to LAN you will need a LAN port. If you are planning to use wifi then you may ignore this one as well.

3.5 mm Jack Connector

Using the 3.5 mm jack you can connect your wired speakers and headphones to your TV.

Bluetooth

To connect your wireless speakers, headphones or mobile phone you must have Bluetooth connectivity on your TV.

HDMI ARC

You will require this port if you own a smart TV and home theatre or soundbar. You have to connect your set-top box to home theatre and then home theatre to the TV using HDMI. But now if you want to use online streaming apps, any audio that is produced by those streaming apps like Amazon Prime or Netflix needs to be transferred to your home theatre system or soundbar. For that, an additional optical digital cable is required. If you do not want that then you must have an HDMI ARC port on your TV and soundbar. This allows the only single cable to transfer audio to the receiver.

Tip: HDMI, HDMI ARC, USB and Bluetooth are must have connectors.

If you have gone through the above guide I am sure now you understand most of the TVs and their technologies available in the market and are now ready to make a good decision but if you are still not sure what TV is right for you, then you can check our detailed reviews: Best 32 inch smart LED TV reviews, Best OLED TV reviews and Mi LED TV reviews

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