Football season is back with us and this might be the best time to buy or upgrade your TV, but how do you choose the best set for you? In this short guide, I talked to experts and tried to find out what you should be looking for whilst in the market for a TV.
With a surplus amount of brands now selling TVs, so many display options and technologies, a good TV could be your best friend for years to come, you’re going to want to get this right. Before you spend thousands of shillings, you’ll want to read this.
Our TV buying Guide
Here are some of the most important things to consider before you buy a television. We explain each of these points in greater detail in our TV buying guide below:
- Price & Safety – Expect to pay about $500 for a good budget 55-inch 4K TV.
- Resolution, LCD, or OLED– Don’t buy a TV with less than 4K resolution, you can skip 8K for now. OLED TVs look much better than most LCD sets
- TV Size – Bigger isn’t always better.
- Smart TVs– Android TVs are pretty much standard these days. If you can, go Google TV.
1. Price & Safety
TVs have never been more affordable, while you might want to hold off from buying a set because you think they are too expensive, the reality is that TVs have never been better.
According to Plugpoint Electronics, while you may want to go for cheaper brands that boast of bringing premium features for a budget price, you are almost always compromising on the quality of your device.
In Kenya, avoid Instagram stores that offer very cheap prices for electronics. Compare and contrast with other vendors to avoid getting scammed.
2. Resolution, LCD, or OLED
Higher resolution is almost always better. Resolution is the number of pixels that make up the picture on a display, it is described in terms of horizontal rows and vertical columns. More pixels translate into a sharper picture and finer details.
The latest 4K, or ultra HD (UHD), sets have roughly four times the number of pixels as standard HD TVs. There isn’t a whole lot of 4K-compatible programming available today, however, several streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon Video, and even YouTube have started offering 4K content.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a new feature (read upgrade) for 4K Ultra HD TVs that deliver more colors, more contrast levels, and increased brightness.
TV refresh rate, expressed in Hertz (Hz) describes how many times per second a picture is refreshed on the screen. The standard refresh rate is 60 times per second or 60 Hz. However, in scenes with rapidly moving objects, a 60 Hz refresh rate can make things look blurry or jittery, particularly on LCD HDTVs. So, higher refresh rates equal better quality.
Seeing as Ultra HD resolution, also called 4K, is just now becoming the standard, and it’s a better choice if you want to future-proof your investment. Get a HDR-compatible device with a high refresh rate while at it. You can already buy higher resolution 8K TVs, but that can wait.
LCD or OLED
There are basically only two types of TVs on the market: LCD and OLED. Unless you are a member of the cartel with a lot of disposable income, you will probably be buying an LCD TV.
Most LCD sets use LEDs on the edge of the screen. These HD and Ultra HD sets use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the LCD screen. Many of these TVs can dynamically light up specific portions of the screen and dim other parts to better represent a mix of light and dark areas in a scene.
Another LCD technology, called quantum dots, is becoming more common, commonly dubbed “QLED”, these are quantum-dot LCD TVs with LED backlighting not to be mistaken for OLED.
OLED TVs are better than LED-LCDs, instead of a backlight, OLEDs use a layer of organic LEDs, controlled at the pixel level, to achieve absolute black and stunning levels of contrast.
3. TV Size
Like I mentioned earlier, bigger isn’t always better. Watching Manchester United play on the big screen is great, but if your display is too big for the room it lives in, the viewing experience will be uncomfortable.
“The viewing distance (in inches) divided by 3 = recommended TV size. For example, if you usually sit 10 feet from the TV, that’s 120 inches (10 feet x 12 inches). Divide 120 by 3 and the recommended screen size for you is 40 inches (remember, that’s the diagonal measurement of the screen),” according to Samsung.
4. Smart TVs
TVs now come with built-in Wi-Fi for connecting Internet-based services like Netflix for streaming videos or to run apps for watching special-interest programs, downloading on-demand movies, playing games and more.
To run apps like this, TVs are smart, which means they have Operating Software (OS), There are tons of those in the market from Android Tv, Samsung Tizen, Smart Central, LG’s WebOS, and others.
Many budget-friendly brands will offer smart TV functionality without naming the actual platform that they use. In these cases, expect to run into limitations. Off-brand smart platforms frequently suffer from severely limited app selection, sub-par performance, and gaping security holes.
Get an Android TV, or even better, The all-new Google TV.
check what ports and connections the TV you are buying has. Connections don’t differ that much on TVs with most sporting at least three (often four) HDMI inputs.
4K TVs will have at least one HDMI port that’s 2.0- and HDCP 2.2-certified for native 4K and HDR content, but we’d check compatibility if you plan to plug in several 4K sources.
No surprise here, but the speakers inside these amazing new, thin 4K TVs are not as good as the speakers that came in earlier TVs. Plan to buy a soundbar or home theatre system.
Is it a good idea to buy a TV online?
If you care about the prices, you will most often find better prices for TVs online. However, there is no harm in visiting an actual store and experiment with sets of interest before you buy. You need to see the picture on the screen, check out the ports and controls, and decide whether or not the set will go well with the décor of your living room. Some features and functionality that sound great online may seem very different in person.
You can check out Plugpoint Electronics Kenya who have both an online and walk-in store.