Television Buying Guide – All you need to know when choosing you new TV
To paraphrase a popular movie from the 1980s, technology moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. And perhaps this adage counts double for television technology. Just look back to the early days of black and white television in the 1950s and compare it to the huge 50-inch+ flat-screens of today – some progress, eh? Well, it’s clear that buying a new television in this day and age may be something of a confusing experience, so we’ve decided to help out. In this article, we’ll demystify some of the common TV technologies – and advise you on which ones are worth your time or not.
4K and Ultra-High-Definition television
In recent years, HD (High Definition) has become standard on all new televisions. HD simply refers to the number of pixels on screen at a time. In a nutshell, the higher the number of pixels, the better the image quality (or resolution) of the television image – at least for channels broadcasting in HD. 2014 has seen a surge in the number of 4K or ‘Ultra HD’ televisions on the market. Again, this simply means more pixels on screen and a higher resolution. The standard resolution at the moment is a size of 1920 (wide) x 1080 (high), also known as 1080p. But 4K has a size of 3840 x 2160, thus making it about twice as sharp as an HD picture. Bear in mind, however, that there are currently no 4K video sources available except for a few online streaming options, so it may be best to wait.
Curved or flat-screen?
Alongside the boom in 4K televisions has come a new form-factor for TVs – the curved model. Historically, modern TVs have featured a flat screen with either an LED or LCD backlight setup. Many of the 4K sets, however, feature a gently curved screen that offers a concave effect. This technology isn’t new – many cinemas feature curved screens – however it’s not been seen in the home before. A curved screen is beneficial because it improves viewing angles for those who aren’t sitting directly in front of it. However, almost all curved TVs retail for around £1000, so it’s still not standard by any means.
Everything is ‘smart’ these days, or at least it seems that way, and TV is no exception. A smart TV is essentially a web-enabled TV that allows you to install certain apps on it. All manufacturers are different, but on most smart TVs you’ll be able to access BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4od and Netflix. Having these features built in to the television is a convenience thing, really, and means you don’t need to hook up yet another set-top box! Out of all of the recent advances in TV tech, the smart factor is probably the one that most people will truly benefit from.
We hope this television buying guide has given you some clarity on what can be a befuddling experience. As always, be sure to do your research before purchasing any large electronic item. Oh, and one last thing: don’t bother with a 3D television; they’re something of a flash in the pan.
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