How to Choose the Best TV – Ultimate TV Buying Guide

Unlike smartphones or other electrical gadgets, TV is not something that we buy frequently. Since TVs have a longer life cycle, you should be very careful while buying one for your house.

If you go to a store or check online, you will get to see a wide array of options available to meet every user’s requirements. There are HD (high definition), 4K Ultra HD, and even 8K models of TV available in different sizes.

However, even though it looks exciting to buy a new TV, in reality, it is a very confusing task. The customers are undoubtedly spoilt for choice. So, if you are in the same position too and wondering which TV should you buy, here is a buying guide that will help you select the right TV for you.

Some of the important factors that you should check for before buying a TV are as follows:

1. Screen Size:

screen size

You should select the size of the TV depending on the space available at your place which can be challenging.

TV sets are available in a wide range of sizes. With the help of the correct TV size, you can experience an immersive viewing experience.

If you are buying a very big TV but sitting too close to it, you might end up noticing a loss of clarity. You will also have to move your head from one side of the TV to the other. On the other hand, if you are buying a smaller TV, you will have to squint your eyes to check the smaller details on the display.

Some key pointers that you should be aware of before buying a TV for your home are:

  • Select an ideal place at your home where you can install the TV such as a living room or bedroom. You should also check the proximity to the TV screen.
  • Decide on the resolution that you prefer.

TV viewing distance & size

To understand the proximity, check if you can see individual pixels on the display. If the answer is yes, it means that you are sitting very close to the TV and you will have to move a bit back to enjoy the viewing experience.

A good rule of thumb that you can follow here is if you are buying an HD TV, always sit at such a distance from the screen that is about three times more than the total height of the screen. For 4K Ultra HD TV, maintain a distance of 1.5 times of the screen height. Hence, the bottom line, you should choose a screen size and resolution that goes well with the viewing distance at your place.

Mentioned below is a table that can give you an idea of the recommended TV size according to the viewing distance.

Viewing Distance (Feet)ResolutionScreen Size (Inches)
3 – 6HD Ready24”
4 – 8HD Ready32”
5 – 10Full HD40” – 43”
6 – 12Full HD or 4K49”
8 – 13Full HD or 4K55”
8 – 15 or above4K65” or Above

2. Screen Resolution:

Screen resolution

The resolution of the TV is the total number of pixels that are displayed on the TV. These pixels together form a picture that you get to see on the screen. If you want to have a good viewing experience, you can look for a TV with a higher resolution as it provides live and sharp images on the screen. Hence, the higher the resolution of the TV is, the better viewing experience you will get.

Screen resolution

Here are three commonly available options of the screen resolution:

  • HD Ready (1280 x 720)
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080)
  • 4K (3840 x 2160)

Some brands like Samsung and TCL are offering new 8K TVs for the users. Let’s learn more about these resolutions and see what impact do they have on the picture quality.

For your reference, here is a comparison table between all three types of resolutions namely HD, Full HD, and 4K.

 HDFull HD4K
Also known asHD, High-DefinitionFull HD, FHD, HD, High Definition4K, Ultra HD, Ultra-high Definition
No of Pixels1 Million2 Millions8 Millions
Suitable for contentsSD set top boxHD set-top box, streaming apps like Hotstar, Youtube4K players, 4K gaming with Xbox, One X, Ultra HD Blue-ray discs.
Starting Price7,000 for 32-inch20,000 for 43-inch25,000 for 43-inch
  • HD Ready or 720p:

If a television features a screen resolution of 1280 x 720, this means that there are 1 million pixels per square inch. The screen size of most of the HD ready TVs that are available in the market is usually less than 32 inch. We would suggest you to choose this option only if you watch channels on your TV using an SD Set Top Box. The price range of a 32-inch HD ready TV generally starts from around Rs. 7,000.

  • Full HD or 1080p:

If the TV has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, this means that there are 2 million pixels per square inch on the screen. This is helpful in providing you a refined viewing experience. Apart from providing a good viewing experience while watching channels from an HD set-top box, you can even watch content with great clarity from streaming apps like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, etc. on a full HD TV.

If you have decided to buy a Full HD TV, it will be better if you select a screen size of 43 inches or more for an amazing experience. The price of a 43-inch full HD TV starts from around Rs. 20,000.

  • 4K or Ultra HD:

The latest TV resolution available in the market these days is 4K Ultra HD. It allows you to see pictures and videos in great quality. A 4K TV creates an image by using about 8.3 million pixels. This is almost four times more pixels than used by a Full HD 1080p screen.

Along with making the pictures on the screen of the TV, all of these additional pixels are also helpful in enhancing the brightness of colors, the sharpness of the pictures, and the overall quality of the images. Also, apart from providing a good viewing experience on HD TV channels from the set-top box and online streaming apps, a 4K screen is also great for gaming. You can even watch HD Blu-ray videos and high-speed sports with great clarity.

4K screen resolution works well for larger screen models like 43-inch TV or more as the images can be seen with more details. The price of a 43-inch Ultra HD TV starts from Rs. 25,000.

Even though the native 4K content is not available widely, users can find some related content using Blu-ray discs or streaming providers. Also, if you are not watching 4K content, the TV will start work hard to upscale the ongoing content. All 4K TVs feature an ability to upscale HD (1280 x 720) content or Full HD (1920 x 1080) content and display them at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels in order to enhance the overall picture quality.

3. Display Type:

The type of display used in a TV defines the quality of the picture along with contrast and viewing angle. Some of the popular display types available on TV are LCD/LED, QLED, and OLED. Let’s understand about each of them in detail.

FeaturesLEDQLEDOLED
TV depthThinThinnerThinnest
Source of LightEdge-lit/Backlit LEDsLEDs with Quantum Dot PanelsIndividually illumining pixels
BrightnessGreat in bright lightsGreat in any lighting conditionsGreat in dim lights
ColoursGreatGreat with perfect white balanceGreat with perfect black levels
Blur ReductionGoodGreatGreat
Viewing AngleOKWide angle ViewWide angle view
Price45,000 for 55”2,00,000 for 55”2,00,000 for 55”
  • LCD LED:

Most of the television sets feature an LCD LED display. These TV screens use LEDs to illuminate the entire LCD panel. Hence, they are called as LCD LED display. While buying an LCD LED TV, you must check how is the panel lit. Some models use edge-lit panels. Here, the LEDs are placed only on the edges of the TV screen.

There are some full-array LED sets available too. In such models, LEDs are placed directly behind the screen. This can either lighten up or darken certain zones on the screen to show light and dark areas clearly in a scene. This process is often called as local dimming or active dimming.

This technology is helpful in allowing the backlight to be more clear and precise so that the screen can produce a better quality image. Earlier, this technology was found only in high-end and premium models of TV set but these days, this technology is used even in mid-range TV sets.

  • QLED:

Another LCD technology that is found in a few TV sets is the quantum dots. These quantum dots add an additional layer on the nanocrystal dots that shows pictures with more colors and brightness.

Samsung was the brand that introduced its first QLED TV series in 2017. Quantum dots are nanocrystals that are capable of producing monochromatic red, blue, and green colors by themselves whenever they are hit by light.

The quantum dots are contained inside a film that is illuminated by using backlit. The backlit then pass through multiple layers inside a TV including the LED (Liquid Crystal Layer) before producing the final image. As a result, the picture produced is brighter and offers a better contrast ratio. The picture quality is also superior to a typical LED LCD TV.

Note:

The picture quality of the QLED screen is definitely better than the LED LCD screen but not as great as the OLED screen.

  • OLED:

In TVs with OLED screen, the backlight that is found in the LCD TVs is replaced with a layer of organic LEDs. With the help of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, each and every pixel on the screen is capable of emitting its own light while responding to an electric current.

Individual pixels can even be shut off completely. Hence, OLED TVs generate deep blacks, realistic colors, and high levels of contrast. As there is no need for an additional backlight, the OLED TVs are automatically thinner. The bezels in these TVs are narrower when compared to the models using other TV screen technologies.

The viewing angles that you get in OLED TVs are also amazing. The brands that manufacture high-quality OLED TVs are LG, Sony, Philips, and some other brands.

OLED panels are available exclusively in 4K sets. Hence, their cost is much higher than the standard LCD LED TVs. But, since the introduction of 8K panels in the market, the price of OLED panels has started declining.

However, one thing that you must note down is even though OLED panels offer the best contrast levels and deeper blacks, the panels can’t match the brightness offered by LCD sets. Another thing that you can find disturbing is the appearance of ghost images or burn-ins. It usually happens due to displaying a static image for a longer time period.

QLED technology that is often used in Samsung TVs features the quantum dot technology that we mentioned above. Even though they look vibrant, you can differentiate between OLED and QLED easily.

Talking about picture quality, OLED TVs are better than LED TV. Other advantages of OLED TVs are they are thin, lightweight, energy-efficient, and offer the best viewing angle. Even though they are a bit expensive, OLED is the most superior TV technology that is available in the market right now.

Are you looking for a brighter panel? You can select a QLED TV. And, if the price is a concern for you, you can buy an LED backlight LCD TV.

4. Viewing Angle:

TV viewing angle

Viewing angle means the angle at which you can sit and watch the TV without noticing any drop in the picture quality.

To check the viewing angle, we suggest you to check it from the side, above, and below the main image on the TV. While you move a bit away from the center of the screen, you might notice the dimming of the image. It might lose color accuracy and contrast. Sometimes it looks washed away too.

OLED TVs offer unlimited viewing angles because of the individual lighting control over all the pixels.

Even after multiple improvements, most LCD screens offer a limited viewing angle to the users. This means that you can enjoy the picture quality only from dedicated sweet spots i.e. in front of the screen.

TVs featuring IPS LCD panels usually offer wider and better viewing angles for LCD sets. The average viewing angle offered by IPS LCD sets is up to 178 degrees.

5. High Dynamic Range (HDR):

HDR

HDR i.e. High Dynamic Range shows the ability of the TV to offer more colors with better brightness and contrast levels when compared to standard HDTVs.

HDR is mostly paired with a wide color gamut (WCG) which can help in displaying about a billion colors. Standard HDTVs on the other hand can display around 17 million colors.

To display HDR content, your TV should automatically detect the type of HDR that is being used in the content first and then choose the correct way to play it.

Any HDR TV comes with built-in support for either one or more HDR formats. There are five different varieties of HDR available currently: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision, and Advanced HDR by Technicolor. Dolby Vision and HDR10 (and to a little extent, HDR10+) are right now considered as the biggest technologies in HDR.

All five varieties of HDR technically do the same thing. The only difference lies in the way they use metadata. Metadata is the information that is required to convert a standard video file into an HDR video file.

Dynamic metadata adjusts the HDR on a scene-by-scene basis, depending on the brightness of the TV and the content that is being displayed. With static metadata, there are some chances of the detailing being lost, especially when the scenes are very dark or bright.

While HDR10 uses static metadata, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ use dynamic metadata. Technicolor can use both whereas HLG doesn’t use either of them.

contrast

Note:

If you want to view HDR content, both the TV and the source (set-top box) should be HDR compatible. In India, set-top boxes don’t usually support HDR content. Thus, HDR content is limited to streaming apps only including Hotstar, Netflix, etc.

Hence, opting for an Ultra HD TV with HDR technology is a better choice.

6. Refresh Rate:

Refresh rate

Refresh rate means the number of times per second an image is refreshed or flashed on the screen. The refresh rate is measured in Hertz. If the refresh rate of the screen is 60 Hz, it means that an image is refreshed 60 times per second. Premium television models feature a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

If you are more into gaming or you watch sports channels a lot, buying a TV with a 120 Hz refresh rate will be a better choice. A higher refresh rate lets the TV to display smoother pictures eliminating the blurriness.

Currently, there are only two refresh rates offered by the TVs: 60 Hz and 120 Hz. If any brand is offering a higher refresh rate, you should understand that it is nothing but a marketing gimmick so that you will buy the TV.

These increased refresh rates are the inflated numbers that can be understood only by the TV processing a picture. Every manufacturer has their own name for the processing:

  • Samsung – Motion Rate
  • Sony – Motion Flow XR
  • LG – TruMotion
  • Vizio – Effective Refresh Rate
  • Toshiba – Clear Frame
  • Sharp – AquoMotion
  • TCL – Clear Motion Index

Each of them generally claims to offer a higher refresh rate than the actual figure. For example, Samsung offers a motion rate of 120 for a 4K TV but the native refresh rate is 60 Hz only. A 4K Samsung TV with a motion rate of 240 will feature a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

Similarly, for LG TruMotion 240, it means a refresh rate of 120 Hz and TruMotion 120 means a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

7. Smart TV:

You can connect smart TVs to the internet using Wi-Fi. These TVs come with a pre-loaded operating system and can be used to watch content from streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, etc. You can even play games or download and install other apps.

Newer models of TVs even feature voice recognition tools like Google Assistant and Alexa. You can use them to search for programs or change channels. You can even control other connected gadgets too such as Alexa-compatible or Google Home compatible devices.

If you are planning to buy a smart TV, here are some features that you should check for:

Operating System:

The most common operating systems found in Smart TVs are:

  • Android-based Smart TVs: Most smart TVs use Android as the base OS and then add their own software layers and interface. These are not certified android OS though. Hence, they come with very few pre-loaded apps.
  • Google Certified Android TVs: They are considered the best as the OS gives you access to a number of apps and content that you can download from the Google Play Store.
  • TVs with their own OS: Tizen is Samsung’s own OS and LG runs on WebOS. Both these OS feature all the popular apps. Before buying, you can check if they offer all the apps that you prefer.

RAM:

RAM is a very important feature as it allows your Smart TV to run smoothly and faster. If the RAM of the TV is low, you will notice lagging issues. It takes extra time to boot as well. You should settle for at least 1 GB RAM. Some brands even offer 2 GB or 2.5 GB RAM.

Internal Storage:

If you tend to record shows or download multiple applications, you should select a TV with better internal storage space. 8 GB storage is considered as a standard storage space. But if you wish to record shows, you can look for 16 GB internal storage or even more.

Screen Mirroring:

It allows you to mirror content from other devices like phones or tablets directly to the TV. Screen mirroring provides an easier way to project a video or picture and enjoy watching it on the bigger screen.

Voice Navigation:

With the help of a voice navigation feature, you will not have to press buttons to go to a channel. You can simply press the mic button on the remote and give your command. You will get your option right away.

For the voice recognition to work properly, the remote should feature good technology so that it recognizes your voice properly and deciphers accordingly.

Video Streaming:

One of the reasons users prefer buying a smart TV is it allows you to stream videos from different sources. However, not all smart TVs allow you to stream endless content. Some TVs let you use only pre-installed apps and limited content. You can’t download external apps here. Hence, if you are buying a smart TV to stream videos, check if it lets you download external apps or not.

Web Browser:

Some smart TVs even have internet browsers so that you can browse content on your TV itself.

8. Connection and Ports:

Make sure that you check the TV’s connections beforehand and see if it has all the inputs and outputs to support your gears.

Almost all the TVs have side input connections along with rear inputs. They provide flexibility to connect source components to the TV. If you are planning to mount the TV against a wall, inputs present on the bottom and the side will be helpful. While wall-mounting the TV, a shorter HDMI extender can make the connections easier to use.

Some of the connectivity options that you should check for are:

  • HDMI:

HDMI

HDMI is the most common technology that is used to connect Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles to the TV. However, many low or mid-range TV sets feature only one or two HDMI inputs. We suggest you to look for a TV with at least three HDMI connections.

While buying a UHD TV, make sure that it has the HDMI 2.0 version of HDMI as it can support 60 fps 4K video content and HDR.

  • HDMI ARC:

TV ports that are labeled as HDMI ARC or HDMI Audio Return Channel can both send and receive audio data. Tise input allows you to send the sound back out of the TV to the connected component like a soundbar speaker using a single HDMI cable.

  • USB

USB

A TV with one or more USB slots will allow you to connect a USB flash drive and watch a video or play music on the TV. Many TVs even have a slideshow feature so that you can view digital photos. You can even connect dongles, pen drives, or hard disks to the TV.

Most TVs these days offer a minimum of 1 port. However, if you want to connect two devices to the TV, you can look for models offering 2 or more USB ports.

  • Ethernet (LAN) Jack:

Almost all the internet-capable TVs feature an Ethernet jack, which is also called as a LAN (local area network) port. Even though smart TVs allow you to connect it to Wi-Fi, you might require a wired connection for a better streaming experience, especially with video services.

  • Headphone Jack or 3.5 mm Jack:

Headphone Jack or 3.5 mm Jack

Almost all the TVs have a headphone jack so that you can watch TV without disturbing other members in the same room. If the TV has Bluetooth capability, you can even connect a Bluetooth headphone wirelessly.

  • Component Video Inputs:

Before HDMI ports became popular, component video ports (red, blue, and green ports) were used to get high-quality videos.

If your TV is old and is not compatible with HDMI, you can use these ports to connect a DVR or other media players. Even if the TV supports HDMI, you can still use these ports to hook up previous generation gaming consoles like Xbox 360, PS2, or PS3.

  • RCA Audio Jacks:

Almost all the TVs feature familiar red/white RCA jacks that are used to send (output) or receive (input) stereo audio signals. They are usually labeled as “out” to output audio. For inputting audio, you will mostly find them beside the component or composite video ports.

9. Sound:

A good TV should provide a high-quality sound from its audio system. The quality of sound should not deteriorate if you are increasing the volume. Before buying a TV, check for the factors mentioned below:

Sound Output:

While analyzing the quality of sound, remember that the higher the wattage is, the louder the sound output is going to be. This is important if your house is big and spacious so that sound can travel to longer distances.

Here is a table to help you with the translation of watts to Decibels.

WattsDecibels
293
496
899
16102
32105
64108
128111
256114
512117
1024120

Sound Quality:

As most of the TVs these days feature an ultra-slim profile, there is not much space left for the speaker to produce rich and high-quality sound, especially while watching action or dialogue-heavy scenes.

To get the best viewing experience, we suggest you to buy a TV with a speaker setup that uses DTS audio, Dolby Digital, or both of them as they provide high-quality audio to the users.

Or else, you can even connect the TV to home theatre or soundbars. Most of the home theaters and soundbars support DTS and Dolby Digital.

Frequently Asked Questions on TV

1. Should I buy a full HD TV or 4K TV?

A 4K TV has double the resolution of Full HD TV. It will project clearer, sharper, and more detailed images. If you are going for a screen size over 50 inches, buying a TV with a 4K resolution is a better idea. An ordinary SD resolution will look pixelated on larger screens. Even HD ready TV will be far from giving satisfactory image quality.  However, you can opt for Full HD resolution as they tend to cost lesser than TVs with 4K resolution. Also, full HD images do not look pixelated on larger screens. But the image quality of a 4k TV is always better.
Note: If your set-top box or any other source device is SD, then the video will not be in HD. To enjoy Full HD or Ultra HD videos, upgrade the source.

2. What TV screen size should I buy?

The size of the TV you should buy depends on the size of your room. If you have a small room, a huge TV will look out of place and vice versa. This decision also depends on the distance between you and your TV. If you like to see it from a short distance, you can opt for a smaller TV, but if the distance is more, you will need a larger TV screen for immersive experience.

3. TV Size and Distance Guide for Full HD TV

Screen Size (in inches) Recommended Distance
40 6.7 feet
42 7 feet
48 8 feet
50 8.3 feet
54 9 feet
60 10 feet
65 10.8 feet
72 12 feet
NOTE: The viewing distance for a 4K TV is half of what it is for the full HD TVs.

4. What is Smart TV and why should I buy a Smart TV?

A smart TV differs from a regular TV in the way that it can connect to the internet and comes loaded with various features.
You need a smart TV if you want to do more than just watch regular channels broadcasted by your service provider on your TV. It enables you to watch Netflix, YouTube, amazon prime, and other entertaining contents from various sources on your Smart TV.  You can as well browse the internet on a smart TV if it comes with a browser. Some smart TVs also allow the user to command it with voice. Overall, if you want to experience a wide range of contents and avail several other features, you should buy a smart TV.

5. How to select a TV with a good image quality?

A good display is perhaps the most sought-after thing by buyers while buying a TV. Check the following points while selecting a TV for better image quality.
* The TV should have a wide viewing angle. The pictures must not look distorted if you watch it from a corner. Flat TVs with 178 degrees viewing angles is the best in this field.
* Look for natural tones on a TV. The colors of the displayed images should be closer to real life.
* Look for image settings, such as sports, vivid, standard, etc.
* Settle for a TV with higher resolution.

6. Is a curved TV better than a Flat TV?

A curved TV reflects the shape of the human eye, and hence it tends to give a more immersive experience as compared to the flat TV. But there is a major drawback of the curved TVs. These TVs have a very limited viewing angle, and so, if a person watches from the corner, he or she will see distorted images.

7. Which is Better, wall mounting a TV or Table-Mounting?

Wall mounting a TV keeps it more secure and stable. It will not topple over with a slight push. However, reaching the ports becomes a headache. Table mounting, on the other hand, can be risky but offers more ease in connecting and disconnecting the wires as compared to the wall-mount.

8. Which is better an LED TV or an LCD?

An LED TV is any day better than an LCD. An LED Tv is brighter, gives crisper images, consumes lesser power, and is more durable as compared to an LCD.

9. What is a processor in a Smart TV? Which processor is faster?

A processor in a smart TV acts similar to how it acts in a computer. Simplistically it processes the instructions and commands that you give to your TV via the remote. We recommend TVs with quad-core processors for smooth and fast speed.

Conclusion

Buying a TV is a real deal. While buying a TV you are choosing a gadget for your home that is going to stay with you for almost a decade. So, you should weigh the pros and cons of a TV thoroughly before buying it. These days, Smart TVs are creating a buzz with their power-packed features and unending options for entertainment; they have become the new favorite of the mass. If you want access to countless hours of contents with advanced technology, we recommend you buy a good quality smart TV.

However, in case you are happy with the regular channels that you see on the non-smart TV, opt for television with decent audio and suitable screen size as per your requirement.

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