The famous dialogue delivered by Joey Tribbiani from the evergreen TV show- Friends, “You don’t own a TV? What does all your furniture pointed at?”
Truly, in this era, a Television has become more of a need rather than just a device of leisure.
It has taken the job of a window through which the users can dive into places farther away, without sacrificing the comfort of the couch.
With the passage of time, the Television has come a long way from being a hefty box with a screen to a gadget that can be used for leisure, learning and more.
With the array of options at the customer’s disposal, it is important for a buyer to understand his own needs and match it with the best product in the market.
Here are some of the points that one must bear in mind to make the best purchase
Table of Contents
- Display type
- Screen Size
- Viewing Distance
- Screen Resolution
- Refresh rate
- Contrast ratio
- Panel Technology
- High dynamic range
- Curved or non-curved
- Sound technology and sound formats
- Picture Engine
- Smart TV: the fad that’s going to stay
- Types of Operating system in television sets
- RAM and storage in TV
- Screen mirroring and casting in smart TV
- Remote, navigation and control
- Latest technologies to look out for in 2019
The primary function of a television is to display the selected topic of interest of the user, making it the most critical point to consider when making a purchase.
The display type speaks for the quality of picture that the TV can produce. It includes the robustness of colours and the details of the picture. The major display types are:
when these screens are manufactured, two sheets of glasses between which gasses are injected and sealed. These gasses react with electricity to lighten up the screen.
Compared to LCD and LED, Plasma is much superior due to its colour accuracy as it displays 16.77 million colours and sharpness of the image.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
This is a flat panel where each block is filled with liquid crystals which can block or allow the light to pass. However it can not produce light of its own and needs external light source.
simply put LED TVs are an updated version of the LCDs. The only advancement here is that instead of using an external source like a light bulb to illuminate, LEDs use light emitting diodes.
There are two different types of LEDs being:
Direct LEDs– this are the LEDs that we have discussed above. They enable to control specific areas of the screen to brighten or darken.
Edge-lit LEDs– here the LED lights are arranged along the perimeter of the screen. These LEDs reflect light on the centre of the screen to illuminate it. Since there are no LEDs at the centre, edge-lit LEDs are more compressed.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)
This is the latest development in the field of the display. OLED unlike it LED’s and LCD’s does not have a need of a backlight to light up the set area. It uses organic materials to create light.
OLED gives a better picture quality by giving deep colours, proper contrasts, processes the images quicker.
Cathode Ray Tube is the display that was used in the yesteryears. Here the image is projected on the screen when a projector gun fires electrons onto the screen to stimulate the particles on it.
The use of the projector gun makes the television bulky, hence suitable only for buyers who believe in ‘old world charm’.
As discussed above, the size of the screen and the viewing distance, both are interdependent. The distance between the viewer and the TV is directly proportional to the size of the TV. Larger the TV screen farther should be the user.
Here is a generic chart for the buyer’s use.
|Distance||Ideal screen size|
|5-6 feet||32 inches|
|6-9 feet||40-45 inches|
|9-10 feet||50 inches|
|10-12 feet||60-65 inches|
The amount of pixels that a display uses in length and height is measured in resolution. The more number of pixels means the monitor has better resolution, which in turn increases the picture clarity and gives a sharper display.
Full HD is often believed to be 1080 pixel and is widely used in today’s television screens as well, but with the increasing demand for better quality the manufacturers are shifting to Ultra HD also known as 4K, that’s because the number of pixels in 4K models is four times that found in HDTV.
4K TV provides with the minutest details of the picture. The images are life-like and it doesn’t make the viewer sense a screen between him and the subject on the show.
For buyers who are looking for the best picture quality and a screen which is future proof then, it’s suggested that they pick Ultra HD.
Refresh rate is the number of times the monitor can refresh the image displayed per second. It basically means the number of times the monitor updates the new information and curbs motion blur.
It also measures the number of frames the monitor will be in a position to display per second. The refresh rate is measured in Hertz.
60Hz of refresh rate is said to be the standard, although it is extensively used 60hz of refresh rate does not hold good when the objects are moving swiftly as that can make the pictures jittery and hazy.
Hence for better picture quality, the refresh rate has to be amplified. The current popular Ultra HDTV gives from 120hz (of native refresh rate) to 480hz of refresh rate.
Some of the new models in the market boast of having a high refresh rate and a high frame rate to support the motion and maintain sync. This can make watching live performances more and more life-like.
To state in a few words, its wise to buy a TV with 120hz of refresh rate to enjoy the high-quality display and also not have to worry about its adaptability with emerging technologies.
High dynamic range
HDR tells about the quality of the screen. A high density of resolution means the number of pixels on the screen is more, making the image lucid and crisp.
HDR captures the white and black areas of the pictures as they are in existence; giving the best results of contrast. It produces pictures with enough luminosity that ensures that the picture is exactly what a human eye would see in real life.
Thus most of the telecasting events that take place outdoors, especially in the sun, will not have to worry about reflections and the sun’s glare.
So, unlike regular TV sets that offer 400nits, HDR TVs has a peak brightness level of 5000nits.
Does HDR Affect the choice to be made between LEDs and OLED?
Basic LEDs and LCDs have better chances of creating TVs that are HDR compatible as they come with LED lights in the background that create the light.
But, OLED TVs create light of their own making it non-compatible with HDR as it cant produce the same level of brightness that a LED can produce.
However, there are two standards to make TVs compatible with HDR. One asks for more brightness and the other for low darkness with low brightness.
Hence, it can be said that OLED TVs can give out pictures with a more profound black while, LED TV with HDR will give more illuminated whites with these standards.
Requirements that are to be fulfilled for images to be HDR
If the source content is in HDR and the TV is HDR compatible only then the output will be HDR, but if the source content is not in HDR then you can not watch HDR.
There are 4 types of HDR
This is an open standard for HRD that can be used by manufacturers without the need to pay any fees to Dolby. The brightness provided by HDR10 is 1,000 nits and gives 10-bit colour. By default the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disks use HDR10.
It requires the device to be specifically designed with a Dolby Vision hardware chip. For which fees must be paid to Dolby. It has a nit limit of 10,000 and gives 12-bit colour, which gives the best HDR experience.
HLG has been newly developed by the BBC and NHK broadcasting network. It simply includes additional information about HDR for the sets to implement.
Advanced HDR is the latest development in the field of HDR. It was mainly built for broadcasting but it is compatible with almost all HDR hardware. It gives the best results among the other counterparts.
Curved or non-curved
Curved screens have been around in the market for a little while and people often consider it to be a passing fad, curved TVs actually gives the user a slightly higher level of immersion.
It makes the whole experience of viewing a screen more realistic as it bends around the viewer’s field of view. Although it does not really have any technical advantage, curved TVs give a feel-good factor to the viewer.
But the curvature also is accused to distort the image. The curve leads to smaller viewing angles. Thus, it limits the number of viewers.
On the other hand, a flat screen has been in the market for a very long time and it has been tried to give a balanced viewing experience to the users.
The biggest downside of a curved monitor is its price. They are much more expensive compared to a flat screen.
So, as a user, you need to pick a screen that gives to the best experience at and does not charge for a style statement, unless you are willing to pay such premium.
Standard connectivity options are given by almost all the TV sets. The latest and the most common input connectivity options are:
Output connectivity that is available in the market is:
Sound technology and sound formats
Some of the most well known brands when it comes to sound technology are:
DOLBY DIGITAL is a sound solution expert. It played a key role in developing the HDR system. From bringing theatre like sound effects at home to providing professional sound systems, Dolby digital has got it all. The two products attuned for the use of television are:
The biggest advantage of Dolby Vision HDR is the addition of dynamic metadata to the core HDR image data.
Metadata is the data that provides information about the data in question. It carries scene-by-scene instructions that Dolby Vision-capable display can use to make sure it depicts the content as precisely as possible.
Dolby Vision-capable TVs combines the scene-by-scene information received from the source with their own capabilities in terms of brightness, contrast and colour performance.
This is said to be the future surround sound. Developed in 2012, Atmos are placed around a room to create an all-enveloping “3D” sound experience.
Previously, sounds were constrained to specific channels – portions of the audio would get routed to a particular speaker. But with Dolby Atmos, the hindrance of a specific channel has been addressed.
Here the system identifies the source of the sound and the movement of it, construes the same and play it in a 3-D space. All of this makes the user feel that he is amidst the subject in vision and not in a room.
Itis one of the giants in the world of surround sound systems. In the past, DTS was mostly used in the theatre but in the recent times, it has been used in television sets and home theatres.
DTS has improved the quality of the sound track as it in a way works as a filter that assists the Field Application Engineers to tune TVs and sound bars. DTS utilizes psychoacoustic principles to give the best audio experience to the audience.
Dolby Digital Vs Digital Theatre System
Superficially it may look like DTS has an upper hand over Dolby, but only upon hearing and comparing the two can you decide what caters to your liking.
A picture engine is basically a processor that develops better picture on the display screen by increasing the number of pixels, this produces higher resolution images.
It is a system on a chip that deals with visual data on a real time basis. It can be said that raising the count of the pixel is the core activity of a picture engine. But it also performs other functions such as:
- Read: TV Picture Engine Explained!
Photodiodes can only record hues of grey as they are colour blind. In order to fill the image with the colours it naturally has a Bayer filter, which is a colour filter by nature is added.
This process gives the right amount of colour and brightness to a pixel by evaluating and comparing the data from the adjacent pixels. This gives the perfect contrast and good tonal quality to the image making the output much more realistic.
Noise is a phenomenon that occurs in digital pictures that makes coloured grainy spots appear on the picture distorting the smooth surface of the image. The picture engine corrects the noise and makes the pictures velvety.
Making the corrections and changes as mentioned above, the picture is often found to be out of shape and colour in comparison with the actual.
To preserve the minute details and the depth of colours, the image processor sharpens the colour and contours.
So, for a person who is monopolized by the thought of have the finest picture quality, ensure that the television comes with a picture engine.
Smart TV: the fad that’s going to stay
To make it plain and simple, a smart TV comes with the ability to connect to the internet as it has a built in wifi. It’s wire-free, making the TV unit look clean and aesthetically more pleasing.
Apart from facilitating the service of a conventional television set, it provides for activities like: Internet TV, interactive media on a real time basis, on demand streaming media etc.
For streaming video and movies, smart TVs host Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBCiplayer app and alike. For tech savvy users who are looking for the most fresh technology and obstruction free entertainment, then a smart TV is the pick for you.
Points to consider when purchasing a smart TV:
- Check the operating system of the smart TV and ensure it suits your liking and is easy to operate
- Opt for a TV with higher RAM as that gives higher processing speed
- If you have a tendency to record shows, then decide on the one with a big storage.
- If you are looking to use the smart TV as a projector then see that the TV offers screen mirroring
- For faster navigation ensure that the TV has voice navigation, gesture control.
Types of Operating system in television sets
An operating system is a software that allows the basic functions of a computer to take place. A smart TV has operating software in itself that enables it to perform functions like a computer.
Like computers have multiple options for an operating system, even a TV’s operating system comes with varied options that meet various needs of the customers, like:
WebOS by LG
LG revolutionised the world of smart TV by starting webOS by making the interface simple and user friendly. The app support provided by WebOS is par-excellence.
Netflix streams 4K with HDR and Dolby Vision, as well as Dolby Atmos audio when available. You can also find Amazon with UHD HDR and YouTube in 4K. Other options comprise of Now TV, Sky Store, plus all the main channel catch-up services.
These streaming apps remain open and live even when you switch to doing something else.
My home screen 2.0 by Panasonic
Listed among the top 5 Operating system for television, My home screen 2.0 gives a wide ranged customization options. Although the platform looks plain but it offers the flexibility to tailor it to you liking by adding pins, folders etc.
The app provision is good. Netflix streams in 4K with HDR, Amazon Video and YouTube also offer 4K support. Catch-up TV service support is integrated through Freeview Play. It includes iPlayer, ITVHub, Demand 5 and All4.
Moreover, the usability of the board is immense.
Android TV by Sony
The one thing that sets an Android TV apart from the rest of the smart TVs is standardization in terms of its operations.
Android layers the screen with various content related to the user’s interest. Once you press the Home button on the remote, you will find a full-screen page pop which is dominated by a bunch of videos from YouTube and from Google Video.
There’s also a row of content selected specifically by Sony, followed by apps for Netflix, Amazon Video, links to the Google Play Store, Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, YouTube.
The coolest feature offered by android TV is that the user can operate the TV using any other android device he owns like a phone or tab.
Smart hub and Tizen OS by Samsung
Similar to WebOs by LG, the Smart hub and Tizen OS provides the users with various shortcuts, apps and icons to access content and to top it all, it also has a ‘Recent box’ that lists down all the freshly opened apps and channels. It offers access to BBC iPlayer, ITVhub, All4, Demand 5, Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube.
Tizen Smart hub gives the option to split the screen for multi tasking.
The OS cuts down on clutter to keep things simple, although this sometimes works against navigation as there are many instances where the operator has to fetch the desired apps.
But that’s when Smart hub comes to the rescue that divides the content from apps and from your own USB sticks/home network, making it easier to locate the needed app.
Roku TV by TCL
Roku is said to be the most sought after second division smart OS in television.
Roku TV borrows the interface and feature set from the company’s popular media streamers, like the Roku Streaming Stick, this means that you’ll find a universal search function that can scan over 30 different apps like Netflix, Google Play TV and Movies, Amazon, VUDU and more to get you the most inexpensive quote on the TV show or movie that you want to watch, as well as around 4,500 channels of content to watch.
RAM and storage in TV
Screen mirroring and casting in smart TV
Simply put, screen mirroring means to emulate exactly what is happening on your mobile device on the TV screen.
Screen mirroring requires the source device to be connected to a common network to display the same content on the display screen, which in our case is a TV.
Screen mirroring technology has undergone substantial changes over the recent years and the best method to mirror your screen differs due to various factors like the age of the model, model and manufacturer of your smart phone, tablet and TV.
There are two screen mirroring dongle options currently available to the masses, namely- Chromecast and Miracast.
It is a simple dongle that needs to be plugged to a receiver’s HDMI port and needs to be connected to the Internet via a WiFi network. chromcast needs an app in order to be used.
Once chromecast is on the run, the user can stream the content of his choice from the source device to the television.
Brands that support chromecast on their smart TV are:-
it’s a dongle device that reproduces the content on the portable device to another device and then to the TV. It establishes establish a device to device connection instead of connecting via internet, making it independent of internet connection.
Brands that support Miracast on their smart TV are:-
With the rise in the demand of smart TVs and advanced features comes the question of control and navigation that can be by the use of remote, voice, gestures etc.
For a long time, the ability to navigate was a key issue that the smart TV world had to face. But with the development of features like Home screen, universal search, cable guide integration navigation has become a lot smoother and easier.
Moreover, smart TVs come with built in Bluetooth, keyboards (mostly used for wen surfing) and some also allow for voice and gesture and motion control over the functions of the TV.
Some of the high end smart TVs have built-in cameras that identify the person sitting in front by using facial recognition and then shows the personalised home screen for easy navigation and selection of apps.
Navigation system among the top performers:
Latest technologies to look out for in 2019
Understand the above mentioned points and follow the little tips and find yourself landing the best entertainment and productivity set that endures the course of time. Happy shopping!
Aporna is the numbers girl. A chartered accountant by profession, her real love lies in tech. Read her for some great insights into the world of gizmos and gadgets.