July 1st, 2020
Smart TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a new TV
If you're in the market for a new Smart TV, you've probably noticed there are a whole lot of acronyms and jargon in the TV world that can be hard to translate. We imagine you've got a lot of questions, from "what exactly is an OLED TV?" to "I just heard of 4K TV... now there's already an 8K TV?" and "do I really need that 65-inch Smart TV?"
Good news for you: Asurion Experts help our 300 million+ customers to get the most out of their devices, appliances and tech every day, and they can help you decide which TV is best for you. Here are answers to the common television questions they hear and other things worth considering to help you choose the perfect Smart TV for your home.
What exactly is a Smart TV?
First, the basics: a Smart TV is a TV that's connected to the internet. Smart TVs can access all the best video streaming services, such as Disney+ and Hulu, as well as entertainment apps like on-demand video rental services (Amazon Instant Video, Google Play), Internet music stations (Pandora, Spotify), and web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome). Smart TVs can also easily sync up to your smartphone, if you'd like to share pics from your device on a larger screen, and your laptop, giving you an extra monitor to work from home on.
QLED vs OLED TV: which one is better?
For starters, the LED part stands for the same thing, a light-emitting diode. It's the lighting system used to backlight the display that most LED/LCD TVs use. This technology is favored due to its energy efficiency and the clear imagery it helps create.
- OLED stands for organic light emitting diode. What does that mean to you? The pixels in an OLED emit their own light and don't rely on a backlight (like QLED). Simply put, this means that an OLED TV is capable of higher contrast that creates awesomely deep blacks and whites, as well as impressive color accuracy and responsive motion. An OLED TV is an ideal TV for someone who enjoys watching a lot of movies, either on Blu-Ray or streamed.
- QLED stands for quantum dot light-emitting diode. A QLED TV uses what are known as quantum dots to help with brightness and color. While an OLED TV is known for its high contrast, a QLED TV is all about its brightness, making it a great solution for a well-lit room, and they work great for viewing HDR content.
Currently, there are two main differences between OLED and QLED: cost and size. OLED TVs on the market now start at 55 inches and go up to 88 inches. LG, Sony and Samsung, among others, offer OLED options that range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000+.
QLED TVs currently offer a wider range of sizes, from a 32 inch Smart TV all the way up to 98 inches. They also offer a wider range of prices, with brands like Vizio and Samsung having many options well under $1,000 (and, if you keep an eye out around holiday time, you're likely to find an even better price when retailers run a Smart TV sale).
Ultimately, what you want from your Smart TV will dictate your choice between OLED and QLED. However, if you're still not sure, that's okay. Both are great options, so you can be confident in whichever you choose.
What's the best TV screen resolution: 8K, 4K, or Full HD?
If you're trying to choose exactly how big of a TV to buy, remember to think about screen resolution. Screen resolution is the number of pixels that make up what you see on the display. Simply put, the more pixels your TV has, the sharper the image will be. Here's a look at three of the most popular TV resolutions:
- Full HD: Has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is the most common among TVs (for now).
- Ultra HD: Also referred to as UHD or 4K TV. Is 4K resolution much better than Full HD? Well, to be exact, it's four times better. Ultra HD's 3840 x 2160 resolution quadruples the number of pixels to nearly 8 million, which is close to 4 times more than what Full HD displays.
- 8K TV: A new resolution contender to recently enter the commercial market, 8K has four times the resolution of 4K with 7680 x 4320 (nearly 32 million pixels). To fully experience the difference, 8K would be more ideal on larger screens, such as a 65 inch Smart TV.
While full HD is the most common resolution for TVs, UHD is quickly becoming the new go-to resolution for most buyers. One thing to consider: while many shows and movies are still being released in full HD, the future appears to be moving towards studios creating more and more ultra HD (4K) content. So, while you can enjoy full HD on a UHD display and vice versa, having an UHD display to watch UHD content on will allow you to experience the content at its best.
What size TV do I need?
When it comes to finding the best Smart TV for you and your family to enjoy, there are a few factors to consider like room size, viewing distance and viewing angle. Our experts dive into each topic to help you narrow down the ideal Smart TV size so you can buy with confidence.
Buy according to your room
Identifying which room in the house you're buying the TV for is step one. The room helps dictate the ideal size of the screen (i.e. bedroom, living room, basement, etc.). According to CNET, a 43 inch TV would work great in a bedroom; however, for a living room or the main room in the house, the more ideal size is at least a 55 inch Smart TV.
Use the TV viewing distance formula
An excellent tool for determining the best TV screen size is the viewing distance formula. First, measure the inches of your viewing distance—how far away you plan on sitting from the TV. Next, divide by three. Voila, that's the size screen you'll want. For example, if your couch is 120 inches from where you plan on putting the TV, your screen size should be at least 40 inches.
Decide on the best TV viewing angle
Once you've considered your viewing distance and resolution, next decide on the viewing angle. A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your TV screen straight ahead and at eye level (give or take 15 degrees). If you're mounting your TV, make sure it's not too high up where you have to tilt your head up to view it.
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