Smart TV. LED. OLED. 4K. HDR. The world of TVs is looking better every day, but also more confusing. Today, there’s a ridiculously wide array of high-definition (HD) and 4K Ultra HD sets in stores, from bargain big screens to high-end displays that can cost as much as a car.
We’re here to help you decide.
If you’re in a hurry, here are the most important things to consider before you buy a television. We explain each of these points in greater detail in the text below:
- Don’t buy a TV with less than 4K resolution (i.e., avoid 1080p sets) if you want a future-proof set.
- Expect to pay about $500 for a solid 50- to 55-inch bargain 4K TV and at least $900 for a 65-inch model.
- Don’t buy a TV with less than a 120 Hz refresh rate.
- For state-of-the-art models, look for an HDR-compatible set, which offers more realistic colors and better contrast.
- OLED TVs look much better than a typical LED LCD, but they are considerably more expensive.
- Ignore contrast-ratio specs: manufacturers fudge the numbers. Trust your own eyes.
- Look for at least four HDMI ports; 4K shoppers should ask about HDCP compatibility.
- Curved TVs are a fashion statement. They don’t benefit image quality.
- Most TVs are “smart TVs” these days with easy access to Netflix and other online apps. Don’t be tricked into thinking this is a big deal.
- Plan to buy a soundbar. TV speakers are worse nowadays because the screens are thinner.
- Avoid extended warranties. Your credit card company may already provide purchase protection.