What Should You Look for When Buying a Smart TV?
A smart TV was once seen as a device of the future, now, it is clearly the device of today. All the features your phone has, your TV now has too.
When it comes to shopping for a smart TV though, things can get tricky. Maybe the features confuse you and the price point is off-putting. Therefore, we felt it best to guide you through the process so that you can get the best experience for you and anybody else putting themselves in front of your TV.
What is a smart TV?
Perhaps you are considering the purchase of one but aren’t sure if it is what you need. Maybe you don’t know what a smart TV is.
To put it simply, a smart TV is a television that allows the streaming of content and access to online sources without needing any form of external device. The TV, connected to your home broadband, features all of the apps for various streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
What features should I look for on a smart TV?
There are a few things worth looking at before committing to a purchase. Such as screen size, resolution, and cost. There are, in fact, many other things you should also factor into your decision on what make and model you should buy. Overall, those three tend to be the ones people look out for most. If though, you are planning to go all out, then you should check out the information relating to the following features too:
- Refresh rates
- Sound quality
Below, we will cover each of the key features, so you know just what you are looking for.
What screen size smart TV should I buy?
The size of the room will determine the best screen size for you. Look at the options for where the TV could go, how many people will tend to be around it, and how close you are likely to be sitting to it. A standard rule is that if you can see the pixels on the screen, then you are too close. You should aim to sit a distance of 3 times the height of the screen to get the best experience and protect your eyes. However, now that we are benefitting from 4K tech, you can half this to just 1.5 times the height when using a 4K UHD TV.
Typically, the optimum screen size for a standard living room is estimated to be between 55” and 65”.
Shall I get HD, 4K or even 8K for my smart TV?
We all love a crystal-clear picture and when HD programming first hit our screens, everyone was in awe of the quality. Now though, the 4K revolution has meant that manufacturers are putting their skills towards this quality of picture resolution. Most 4k tends to be for films or pre-recorded programming with live TV not quite yet at its best for the 4k experience, however, that is changing gradually. 8K is an emerging force and with it boasting quadruple the quality of 4k and therefore many times higher resolution than standard HD. 8k is still in relative infancy though and as a result, there is not a lot of content available utilising this capability.
How much should I spend on a smart TV?
Cost can be largely subjective. What some people class as expensive, is seen as relatively cheap by others and what some people perceive as cheap is seen as very expensive by many.
Prices are largely variable depending on the manufacturer. Spending around £2000 could land you a 4K HDR TV with a 55” screen but for around £500 you could pick up a 55” 4K HDR set that supports the capabilities but doesn’t have all the internal features that make the 4k stand out.
Do I need HDR?
HDR is a picture-enhancing technology that brings out a higher level of detail in the darker and lighter areas of the picture. It will also increase the range of colours available to you. You may also see HDR listed in other formats such as HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision and more. Overall, any HDR is good and whichever variant is advertised, they are much the same.
Is refresh rate important on a smart TV?
Refresh rate is what allows the picture to stay clearer for longer and most smart TVs will show these at 60Hz or 120Hz. You may think that the higher setting gives a better experience but this is not always the case. For example, sporting events look great at a higher rate, films look better at 60Hz. Therefore, the suggestion is to watch everything at 60Hz.
Do I need lots of Apps on a smart TV?
Chances are you will never use all the apps that come by default on a smart TV. However, there are some really useful ones. Things like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime are often pre-installed but should they not be, Smart TVs come with an app store available. From here you can find all of your favourites plus some additional apps that might be of interest. Before buying a new TV, you could consult the manufacturer’s website for details of their app store to see if it matches what you require. In addition, the HDMI ports in the system would allow for a device such as a Fire Stick to be applied which will add further apps should you need them.
What integrations should my smart TV support?
Much like other smart tech, a smart TV can communicate with other smart devices. This can come in handy should you want to alter volume, change channels, listen to something else or perhaps record a programme.
You can link your TV to Amazon Echo units for example which can enable multi-room uses if necessary. Alternatively, if your TV supports Android, then your Google home devices can be connected to your TV.
Do smart TVs have good sound?
Many do, however with the thinner design it can be a little tinnier than you might expect. This is why many people recommend a sound bar. The sound created has more bass, and more volume and immerses you in the experience much more. Good soundbars are easy to come by but shop around as there are lots available.
How many HDMIs do I need on a smart TV?
There seem to be more and more HDMI ports appearing on everything and with consoles, TVs and more all requiring them, you want to make sure your TV has plenty of options to connect your tech. The common thought is, the more the merrier. We would say that 4 should be plenty to give you what you need.
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