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The perfect TV buying guide

The world of TVs is looking better every day, but also more confusing. Today, there's a ridiculously wide array of high-definition (HD) and 4K Ultra HD sets in stores, from bargain big screens to high-end displays that can cost as much as a car. We’re here to help you decide.

Screen Size

Whether you're looking for a basic or high-performance TV, the biggest factor in your decision will probably be screen size. Consider how many people in your family typically watch at once and where you're going to put your new set. Then pick the largest screen size that will fit comfortably into that space — and your budget. The sweet spot today, considering price, performance and the typical living room, is between 55 and 65 inches.

Screen Resolution: 4K or HD?

Resolution describes the sharpness of the TV picture, usually in terms of horizontal lines of pixels. They’re very rare at this point and should be avoided, but a bargain HD set may support only 720p, which means the set displays 720 lines scanned progressively (or in a single pass). Other HDTVs support the 1080p HD format, also called full HD, which has 1,080 lines of resolution. But at this stage, we’d skip 1080p sets, too.

HDR: Get It If You Want the Most Colors

HDR is a new feature of 4K Ultra HD sets and it stands for high dynamic range, a reference to its ability to deliver more colors, more contrast levels and increased brightness. HDR is essentially an upgrade of the 4K, or Ultra HD, format (it is not applicable to 1080p HD sets). For this new feature, TV makers are christening new moniters for the sets to distinguish them from standard 4K Ultra HD TVs.

Refresh Rate: Faster Is Better

The 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, to create a more solid picture, manufacturers doubled the refresh rate to 120 Hz (and in some cases up to 240 Hz).

HDMI and Connections: Go for More

It may seem like an afterthought, but pay attention to the number of HDMI inputs a set has. Manufacturers looking to shave costs may offer fewer HDMI plugs on the back. These ports can get used up quickly: Add a sound bar, a Roku or Chromecast and a game console, and you've used three ports already.

Smart TVs: Most Already Are

An increasing number of sets 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 or even posting to Facebook.

Audio: Get a Soundbar

Even the finest, most expensive HDTVs have an Achilles' heel: poor sound. It's a consequence of the svelte design of flat panels — there's not enough room for large speakers that produce full, rich sound. So, you have three choices: Use headphones (which can make you seem antisocial), buy a surround-sound system (which can be a hassle to set up and produces clutter), or get a soundbar.

Margaret Hirsch
Margaret Hirsch
Hirsch COO runs South Africa’s top independence appliance company that specialises in all appliances, electronics, furniture and bedding. They give the best deals and the best prices and everything is guaranteed.