A TV set is crucial for numerous reasons; even if one refuses to agree with the notion of it being an idiot box, the process of buying one does make it seem like it. With the countless options and jargon thrown one’s way, the experience seems more like a test of one’s recollection of high school science combined with the diminishing patience with overzealous sales folks.

To make life easy, here’s a guide that cuts the overkill and helps you invest in a set of your choice, without unnecessary detours.

Quashing the Identity Crisis

 A showroom full of blinking TVs can be overwhelming for the best of buyers. Even understanding what differentiates various types of TVs can seem like an uphill task. The abilities of your TV set largely rely on the type it belongs to.

LCDs (liquid-crystal display) are essentially the ancestors of LEDs (light-emitting diode). While LCDs use fluorescent tubes as light source, LEDs work on backlighting. What lend LEDs an edge are the edge lighting and backlighting features. The more expensive backlit ones have LEDs spread all across the screen, lending it even lighting. In edge lighting, the LEDs are lined along the edge of the screen, giving it a not-so-even lighting. LCDs are the cheaper variants available in the market & should be opted for only when shopping on a shoestring budget. LEDs offer value for money, delivering excellent picture quality.

Plasma works on a series of chemical reactions that create plasma & project visible infrared light through screens. Plasma doesn’t rely on backlighting & produces vibrant colours. These also offer wider viewing angles compared to LCDs.

The newest trend in TVs, OLED (organic light-emitting diode) doesn’t depend on any side lighting or backlighting. It has millions of individual LED panels behind the screen, each self-illuminating to form a pixel. OLEDs can turn off individual panels to render pure black pixels on screen.

Verdict: LEDs pretty much serve the purpose of a good quality TV set. However, if there are no budget constraints, the expensive OLEDs make for a good choice.

 Size Does Matter

Another factor that could activate your brain is size. Although sticking to the policy of ‘bigger the better’ is wise, the decision depends on numerous factors. You’ll need to pay emphasis to the distance between your TV & yourself. If you can notice the pixels, you’re probably too close to the screen. Ideally, the distance, in case of an HD set, must be three times the height of the screen. For a 4K set, it must be 1.5 times the screen.

Verdict: The size eventually boils down to the comfort of the user.

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Defining the High Definition

 The resolution of a TV determines the sharpness of the picture. A budget HDTV supports 720p (i.e. 720 horizontal lines are scanned in a single pass). Today, most HDTVs—called Full HD—support around 1080p; these are the ones worth investing in.

Gears are also rapidly shifting towards 4K, also called Ultra HD. A 4K TV has four times the pixels of a full HD. It helps smaller objects, including texts, appear sharper, making the overall image richer and more life-like. The flipside, however, is that while most channels relay full HD quality—with Blu-ray movies also becoming common—not many broadcasters relay 4K quality content.

Verdict: Full HD is just right. Invest in 4K if you’re intending on making a future-proof investment.

Matter of the Hertz

Refresh rate is another important feature to be taken into consideration. Measured in Hertz, it denotes the number of times per second a picture is refreshed. The higher the refresh rate, sharper is the quality of a fast-moving image. Caution must be maintained towards statements like ‘effective refreshed rate. It indicates that the actual refresh rate is half of what it is being projected.

Verdict: Don’t buy a TV whose refresh rate is lower than 120Hz.

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Taking Smart a Notch Higher

Only those who keep up with the changing times are privileged to experience the sweet taste of success. 2016 has been all about smart phones, smart homes, etc. The same applies to TVs too.

Most TVs today come with built-in Internet / Wi-Fi connectivity to stream select programs or series from the Internet, watch on-demand movies or even operate social media. Gone are the days when you spent considerable moolah on a ‘dumb TV’ set. We’re living in times when even the most basic of sets are ‘smart’.

Verdict: The feature is a given in most TV sets today. However, the speed of your Internet is vital here.

 A ‘Sound’ Sense

While we’re often looking to invest in thinner sets, what we fail to realise is that the width of the TV has overtaken the need for a superior sound quality.

Verdict: It makes for a rather wise decision to invest in a good sound bar or home theatre system to enhance your overall TV viewing experience.

Cover & Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com

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