December 23, 2014

Buying an HD TV

Humour Hive posted the following (far too good to just appear as a Comment on a short Post). I hope newbies find it useful:

A couple of tips for those purchasing a TV and unsure what resolution they are buying. 
Most TV's have a sticker on the TV or box that states it is in High Definition (HD). 
If it says HD READY, this means it is 720 pixels. 
If it says FULL HD, this means it is 1080 (either 1080i or 1080p). 

The reason you may want to know the resolution is mainly based on the size of TV you are getting. 720 can be just as good an image as 1080 as long as you get the right screen size. 720 is best for smaller screens up to 32/36 inch TV's, whereas 42 inch and bigger would benefit with a 1080. 
If you try and get a cheap TV that is 720 on a 52 inch you will lose picture quality. Whereas paying out a lot of money for 1080 when the screen size is 22 inches is also a waste of money as the screen is too small to really appreciate the extra pixels, so the noticeable quality is hard to distinguish. 

Finally it is also worth noting that the bigger the screen size, the further away you should sit from the screen. A 32 inch screen you can sit much closer to, to get the best viewing of the image, while a 60 inch screen is better suited to large houses as you would really need to sit a good 10 - 15 feet away from the TV before you are getting the best image quality they want you to view the TV at. 

For the average UK living room a 32-42 inch TV is perfect for the distance the sofa is likely to be from the TV set. And the bigger you go, the more you want to avoid HD READY and go with FULL HD, especially over 40 inches. 

Don't worry too much about 4K TV's because they are expensive, not very many manufacturers and virtually nobody is even broadcasting in 4K yet except the occasional show on Netflix, etc. But even those shows in 4K will require you to have a beefy internet connection to stream them before you even buy the TV. 
And you could buy 4K to future proof yourself, but to be honest only the world cup final and a couple of Wimbledon matches have been shown in 4K to test the technology and is still a good 2 or 3 years before it will start to be broadcast in any regularity on a channel. It could be at least 5-7 years before it is as popular as HD channels are now, and by that time the price of 4K TV's will have dropped to a similar price as a HDTV is now, and you might be ready to upgrade again in 7 years time anyway. 
Its also worth noting that although 4K is very futuristic to the consumer, its already been outperformed by an even bigger HD technology that is starting to appear at tech shows and that broadcasters may see the investment in 4K a little pointless if the new technology is as cheap and far more advantageous for them to broadcast, it may be that 4K may end up like 3D and be a short-lived fad that is soon forgotten about. 
My advice, get a good quality FULL HD TV that suits the size of your living room. Invest in a Blu-Ray player that are really cheap now that makes full use of your new tv. Get a Netflix subscription and enjoy the next 3 or 4 years of entertainment to be had by that while 4K sorts itself out on whether it wants to be a dominant force or fades out into oblivion. 


David Hill said...

Yes. A very good post. I think another thing to consider in buying a new TV is to decide whether you want a smart TV or not. If you think you will never use the smart apps such as Netflix or Amazon Prime on the TV because you can access them already via your TIVO or Blu Ray Player then there are some great non smart TVs available at very competitive prices.

matthew smith said...

Great post! Just to add, make sure when purchasing you new TV, make sure you check the hertz (Hz) aka refresh rates, you don't want to get home and set up you newly brought to and find you get motion blur! (It's sucks trust me) for smaller screens no bigger than 28'' a 50/60Hz will be fine, any bigger and you want to be looking at 100Hz or greater! Plasma screens can handle much huger refresh rates (500-600Hz on average) but is compromised by less true HD colour then a decent LED tv.