Buying a new TV? Here’s what to look for | Bot To News

But 8K TVs are relatively expensive, and you won’t find 8K content right now. Videos are mostly limited to a few YouTube channels, but this is the quality of video that new smartphones can record. Until 8K content becomes more readily available, these new televisions can “upscale” HD or 4K content to 8K resolution. But you might want to save your money and skip the 8K for now.

HDR delivers brighter whites and darker blacks

4K or 8K refers to the resolution of the television picture, not the whole story. The latest televisions also offer high dynamic range (HDR), which reproduces a wide range of brightness levels, has richer and more realistic colors, and has a greater contrast between bright whites and dark blacks.

When viewed side-by-side with non-HDR content, HDR-enhanced video looks incredibly bright and vibrant. You’ll also see many TVs branded with technologies called HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, which are two enhanced types of HDR.

Another feature to look for is local dimming. As the name suggests, local dimming dims a portion of the LED screen while keeping bright areas of the screen bright.

Thin OLED, vibrant QLED colors

Instead of a light-emitting diode (LED), backlit, liquid crystal display (LCD) television — the most popular panel type today — some televisions use OLED, pronounced “O-LED” screens for a better picture. LG, Sony and Vizio all make OLED TVs.

Televisions packed with organic light-emitting diodes are incredibly thin because each pixel is its own light source; So, no backlight is needed. With unprecedented contrasts with sharp color and super dark blacks, these TVs are more energy efficient than other TV panel types.

As you’d expect from new technology, expect to pay a premium for these TVs.

Other TV makers offer televisions powered by quantum dot technology, tiny microscopic dots one billionth of a meter apart that make up the picture. These TVs typically offer a wider, more realistic color palette than TVs without this technology.

Although not very thin, quantum dot TVs are generally not as expensive as OLED. Some TV makers may label their quantum dot TVs as QLED, such as models from Samsung, TCL, and Vizio.

Smart TVs are almost standard

Most new TVs today, even entry-level models, allow you to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. The smart TV’s label not only allows access to video streaming on services such as Amazon Video, Apple TV+ and Netflix, but also access to social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; music services such as Pandora and Spotify; Photo galleries you can keep in the cloud.

In most cases, unlike icons on a smartphone, you choose which apps to see on your screen. Some smart TVs give you a full web browser, so you can use a search engine, visit websites or play interactive games.

Also, many TV companies are integrating voice-activated personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing users to ask a question or issue a command by pressing a button on the remote. A voice request can be TV-related, such as “play”. Queen’s Gambit,” “Post cat videos on YouTube,” or “Who directed Nomads?” or something else like, “How’s the weather for the weekend?”

A voice-controlled remote makes switching between services much easier, says Dick DiBartolo, who reports on personal technology for ABC’s World News Now and goes by KissWiz.

“I’m a big train fan, and I can tell my TV, ‘Show me train videos on YouTube of carriages,'” he says. “It’ll search for them; it’ll change the input. It’ll take everything else off the screen and show me the video.

Other things to consider

Have a “dumb” TV? A streaming box or stick like Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or Roku can turn a regular TV into a smart TV and only cost $25.

The higher the better. A TV with a refresh rate of 120 Hz is better than 60 Hz, which indicates how smooth and fast motion your TV will provide. If you are into sports or video games, choose 120 Hz.

• Get more ports. Look for at least three or four HDMI ports on the side or back of the TV, as this will give you more options for connecting components like a cable box, DVD player, game console, and soundbar to your TV.

• Buy a soundbar. The thinner TVs get, the thinner the audio. A soundbar can boost audio significantly.

This story, originally published on January 19, 2021, has been updated to reflect new information.

Mark Saltzman is a contributing writer covering personal technology. His work also unfolds USA Today and other national publications. He hosts the podcast series Take It Out and is the author of several books Apple Watch for Dummies.

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