TV Screen Size
The size of your display is critical to the impact of your TV and movie-watching experience. Your goal is to get the biggest screen you can and create an optimal, cinema-like viewing window, but without overwhelming your room’s aesthetics or sitting so close that individual pixels that make up the image become visible and distracting. Here are some tips and tricks to insure you can “go big” while avoiding unpleasant surprises when you unpack your new set.
See also: What TV Screen Size Should You Pick?
TV Backlight Technology
Today’s TV industry spouts enough jargon to make a new HDTV shopper run for the hills, arms flailing. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this section, we’ll discuss the different ways today’s TVs make their pictures and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
LED: The most widely available and popular HDTV’s today are liquid crystal displays that use an LED backlight, often just referred to as an LED HDTV. LED sets are lightweight, energy efficient, thin in profile, and have the ability to make very bright images—a plus for watching in a sun-drenched room.
Plasma: Plasma televisions are known for delivering excellent contrast while getting bright enough for all but the very brightest rooms, though you’ll see fewer of them in the market these days.
OLED: OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, represents the cutting edge of display technology. Unlike other display technologies, OLED HDTVs have the ability to reproduce true black along with bright, punchy highlights, essentially delivering infinite contrast and striking image quality. OLED displays can be made very thin, and they’re lightweight and energy efficient.
TV Screen Resolution
Screen resolution is a key specification of any TV, be it LED, Plasma, or OLED. It determines the TV’s ability to show fine detail, and it’s determined by the number of picture elements, or “pixels,” used to create the image. More pixels mean more detail and smoother, more natural rendering of the edges of onscreen objects. Most high definition displays today use a grid with 1,920 horizontal pixels running across the width of the screen and 1,080 vertical rows of pixels running top to bottom. You’ll see this listed in the specifications as “1920 x 1080.” These displays are also referred to as having “1080p” or “Full HD” resolution. New 4K Ultra HD TV displays quadruple the pixel count to 8 million in a grid that’s 3840 x 2160. The larger number of smaller, tighter pixels for a given screen size allows viewers to sit much closer to the screen compared with a 1080p set of the same size, or enjoy a much larger screen from the same viewing distance without fear of detecting the pixels.
TV Screen Refresh Rate
The content you view on your TV as video is really a series of still images flashing in rapid succession. The images are flashed so quickly that the illusion of motion is created, and the speed at which the images are flashed on screen every second is referred to as the refresh rate. A faster refresh rate ensures fluid motion, great for watching content with lots of action such as sports or playing video games. Read on to learn more about how refresh rates work and what your options are when shopping for a new TV.
Ultimately, the purpose of your TV is to deliver content, and today’s HDTVs offer exciting new options to access and navigate a wide variety of programming. Built-in Wi-Fi and on-board apps provide a range of video and music streaming services, not to mention cloud-based photo albums, social media, and more. In high-end models, a sophisticated graphic user interface (GUI) may be available to navigate through all this extra content, browse the web, and even make suggestions about what to watch based on your viewing history. Some sets even provide cutting-edge options to simplify operation of your television—things like swipe-friendly touch-pad remotes, voice or gesture commands. All of these fall under the header of “Smart TV” features. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the smart TV buying options.
TV Screen Color
Unless your preference is a black-and-white tube TV, the quality of a TVs color is a key consideration when shopping. While finding an objective measure of color is difficult, it helps to understand how TVs create colors, and why color range is an important factor in the quality of your viewing experience. In this guide we’ll cover both the technology behind TV color, and the steps you can take to ensure you get the most accurate color out of your TV.
Photo by Aranami