With Black Friday just three days away and Christmas just a month down the road, many shoppers will no doubt be looking to buy new TVs.
It seems like a simple enough process, but before you start shopping, you might want to do some research. A little education can save you a whole lot of time and a chunk of your money.
It’s much more than simply deciding what size screen you want.
“What it comes down to is there’s a lot of different things to consider. Where is it going? What are we looking for? What we watch on TV, because all these things go together and it could lead to a really confusing process,” explained Travis Stone, a Best Buy associate.
It’s confusing because there’s enough choices and acronyms to make your head spin.
Forget HD. That’s old school. Now there’s LED, LCD, Ultra HD or 4K, OLED, QLED, even something called quantum dot technology.
Even within all those models there’s good, better, and best.
So what should your basic starting point be?
“When it comes to that, we look at basic 4K technology, looking at 8.3 million pixels spread across an entire TV and from there we look at standard or premium 4K,” Stone said.
Put in more easily understandable terms, Stone says the premium 4K is like having that 124 box of crayons versus only having the 16-pack.
But whether you go premium or standard, he said 4K is the benchmark for many reasons.
“There are so many different ways to broadcast 4K. We’re looking at 4K Blu-ray players, an Xbox is can play 4K movies, and Playstations that can do 4K streaming, not to mention Netflix and Amazon Prime. They all offer 4K capabilities,” Stone said.
Beyond the 4K technology, LED TVs offer brightness, durability and affordability, but the trade-off is less vibrant color and limited viewing angles.
In OLED or QLED technology, the most basic difference is that each of those 8.3 million pixels provide their own illumination, while all of the pixels in an LED TV are illuminated through back lighting.
Put side by side, the difference is significant. But so is the price.
A 75-inch 4K LED can run anywhere from about $2,000 on up, while the same size QLED or OLED can be well over $10,000.
But whatever TV you choose regardless of size, style, technology, or brand, one thing is pretty certain. Even the most basic 4K TV these days is pretty darn good and prices are better than ever.
“There are no bad brands out there. We just have great TVs. It’s all about finding the right TV for them,” Stone said.
Aside from the picture, another thing to consider when buying a TV is the sound.
Most large screen TVs have either no or less-than-average speakers, so you might want to consider a sound bar or surround sound system to go with it.