The market, both offline and more so online, is flooded with LED televisions whose prices vary wildly for the same size. And it’s been an age-old practice for people (manufacturers, salesmen, and tech geeks on various portals) to bombard people with too much of tech jargon and lofty claims on picture quality and aesthetics to allure you into buying one. However, very few intend giving you a holistic picture of what a worthwhile LED television along with its associated ecosystem (read content) should actually be like.
This article intends to ease the process of sifting through the jargon in an easy and concise manner to help you feel confident when you try shortlist your next LED television.
1. Pay more emphasis on the specs sheet than the marketing brochure and do a one on one comparison based on features such as size, contrast ratio, smart capability, screen thickness, weight, etc.
2. Go for as big a screen as possible. While this was a costly proposition not too long back, now with the entry of newer players in the market, the prices of bigger screen LED televisions have come down. Also, with still very less 4K content available it always makes more sense to go big on screen than on features such as 4K, HDR, or even Smart TV. Initially you might be overwhelmed by the size of a big screen in your home but eventually you get used to it and won’t repent your decision. However, going big does not mean being unreasonable. We recommend a size of 32” and 40” for bedrooms while living rooms could make do with 42” and above.
3. 4K is soon going to replace full HD TVs. TVs with 4K resolution have four times as many pixels as 1080p resolution TVs, however, lack of 4K content prevents people from buying them. Prices are coming down so expect more and more manufacturers to come out with more models while full HD TVs start getting phased out.
Most high-end 4K models also offer HDR compatibility which means better contrast and colour but again you’ll be able to notice the difference when you actually watch HDR content. Since 4K shows are non-existent in India you’ll have to invest in a Blu-ray player, which supports HDR, and discs to play on it.
4. Do not compromise on picture quality at any cost. Watch a TV in real and do compare with others, and of course, trust your eyes alone. This might prove to be a little tricky initially, especially with competitively priced models jostling for attention. In case you do not place too high a premium on picture quality, then you might as well do a quick sort on TVs by price alongwith the screen size and choose the cheapest from amongst the shortlisted brands. OLED TVs offer the best picture quality but are far too expensive. Rest every TV uses LED LCD technology with the ones using local dimming and full-array LED backlights outperforming the ones with edge-lit LED backlights. However, most budget LED TVs come with edge-lit LED backlights only so if money is a constraint then there is hardly any choice. The ability to produce a deep shade of black or in other words a high contrast is the most important feature in a good picture. Color saturation, that is influenced by the contrast level, and color reproduction accuracy are other important factors. Also, for a bright room, matte screens are the best at reducing reflections. The choice between 4K and 1080p should come in next. However, do note that poor picture settings on a good TV would make it worse than well calibrated settings on an average TV.
5. No point investing in a Smart TV. You may as well connect any inexpensive HDMI stick such as Google Chromecast to make your dumb TV smart. Likewise, do not go for TVs with a limited apps packaged along when you can access the entire Net through your smartphone.
6. Curved is the latest fad, but could simply pass away. We have frankly not observed any urget to go with a curved TV as any good quality large screen TV does provide a quality viewing experience. The curved TV might actually prove to be a distraction. Plus, it occupies more space as compared to flat LED TVs hung up on the wall.
7. 3Ds are already dead so don’t even go out looking for one. Their fad started somewhere around 2010 with the release of some of the popular Sci-fi movies in Hollywood. However, they could not get mass acceptance as wearing special glasses and worse regularly charging them was a actually a pain.
8. This is one important aspect to consider before making the purchase decision. The more the inputs the better as you need to connect a lot of peripheral gadgets throughout the life of a TV. And with time some of the ports might actually go bust or their pins could simply wear off. As a thumb rule, just count the number of devices you’ll want to connect, and make sure your TV has at least that many HDMI and USB ports. And you might do as well with cheap HDMI cables; no need to look for the gold coating on connectors!
9. Go for a remote with as much functionality and controls as possible. A universal remote is always better but the ones with conventional buttons with a good tactile feedback always perform better. You might get allured initially by the touch-based remotes which might boost your internet surfing experience. However, do remember that internet is best surfed through a smartphone that streams to an LED television using an HDMI stick.
10. Watch out for thinner and aesthetically sleeker models. Yes, most manufacturers have set sights on making the LED television as thin as possible, with photo frame thin TVs gaining popularity. The ideas is to occupy as much or as less a space as a picture frame hanging from the wall. However, such the OLED TVs do better with lesser depths as compared to LED-backlit LCDs as they might suffer from picture contrast issues.