How to choose the right TV
What is a Smart TV?
Smart TVs offer home internet connectivity through Wi-Fi or Ethernet, running on an operating system that’s easy to navigate. The main benefit of a smart TV is that it allows you to enjoy home entertainment features and on-demand content beyond the need for an antenna or cable/satellite.
Watch your favourite TV programs and movies, listen to music and play online videogames whenever you wish with your smart TV’s built-in apps. Most popular apps include: YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Spotify, and other gaming and streaming services.
Smart TV connectivity
Some smart TVs have other cool features to make connectivity even smoother. Try instant device recognition, perfect for when you are using a gaming console such as PlayStation or Xbox.
Modern smart TVs can even be operated through voice command or Google and Alexa-enabled smart speakers. In some cases, your TV can be connected to your existing or fledgling smart home devices for seamless integration.
Display technologies have evolved with time, meaning you can find multiple different options to shop for depending on the model and brand. In this buying guide we’ll focus on the latest and most popular ones – LED, OLED and QLED – and explain their main features and how they compare to each other.
The most affordable type of display technology, LED TVs use a combination of LED (light-emitting diode) backlighting and LCD (liquid-crystal display) technology to form a quality picture. While LED models may be thicker than other types of TVs, they perform well in most lighting situations and offer decent contrast.
LED TVs are typically quite energy efficient. Cheaper to purchase than OLED TVs, they may have limited viewing angles, depending on the model chosen. Black areas may not have the same depth as provided by OLED TVs.
OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, a newer technology that uses organic carbon-based material instead of conventional LED lighting. Unlike standard LCD, which relies on a separate backlight, OLED uses millions of pixels to emit its own light, allowing for generally thinner, more flexible and more efficient displays. Thanks to this technology, some innovative solutions are now available in the market, including curved TV displays.
When comparing OLED to LED, you will notice a general improvement in terms of image quality — deeper blacks, better contrast, sharp and rich colours, as well as a wider viewing angle and faster refresh rates for smoother output.
A name trademarked by Samsung, QLED or “Quantum dot Light Emitting Diodes”, are particles that absorb and redistribute light supplied by an LED panel as a much brighter and purer light source. Quantum Dots are luminous crystals that glow when light is shined on them.
In essence, QLED TVs work in the same way as a regular LED TV, however they use a quantum dot colour filter in front of its LCD backlight, which delivers increased brightness, accuracy, saturation and contrast.
LED x OLED
The main difference between LED and OLED screen displays is in how they present their images. LED uses LCD technology and an LED backlight, while OLED screens don’t require a backlight.
OLED displays are composed of an organic material which glows when activated by an electrical current. Each pixel is its own independent light source, which allows for utmost control of the display. More importantly, each pixel can turn off completely, presenting absolute blacks and incredible contrast.
QLED x OLED
QLED and OLED are two different TV display technologies, which each have their own pros and cons. QLED is an LCD TV which utilises quantum dots while an OLED TV isn’t an LCD TV.
As to which are better, QLED TVs generally tend to be brighter than their OLED and LED counterparts, making them great for brighter rooms. OLED TVs deliver superb contrast due to their ability to achieve absolute black. OLED TVs also tend to be more expensive than QLED TVs.
A very important aspect to consider when purchasing a new smart TV is the screen resolution. The resolution is defined by the amount of pixels that make up an image on your television. The higher the resolution, the better results you’ll see in terms of picture quality, allowing you to see finer details on screen.
Clearer than a standard HD TV, Full HD displays are made up of more than 2 million individual pixels. With a 1920 x 1080 resolution, they’re great for watching high definition videos and television shows, with a great range of content available in full HD.
Full HD TVs are usually less expensive compared to 4K and 8K models, but aren't as popular nowadays and will eventually become obsolete as newer technologies become widely available.
UHD stands for Ultra High Definition. With a resolution of 3840 x 2160, four times greater than a Full HD TV, 4K UHD offers incredibly sharp images with a full range of colour. They allow viewers to enjoy greater detail during general use and smoother transitions during fast-paced scenes.
4K Ultra HD displays are an ideal pairing for most smart TV features and on-demand content such as Netflix and YouTube, and work best on larger screens.
The most advanced TV technology to date, 8K UHD displays feature four times as many pixels as their 4K counterparts. With more than 33 million pixels, you can expect incredible detail, even sharper definition and a greater amount of depth to every image.
As they are still quite new to the scene, there is a lack of content created for them, as well as not many models available on the market. This means they will be harder to shop for and more costly compared to HD, FHD and 4K UHD options.
Many factors can contribute to overall picture quality when it comes to Smart TVs, including the source material you are watching — whether it is 4K or FHD, for instance — and your TV actual specs. If you are looking for sharp detail and bright image, be mindful of these features before making your next purchase.
Refresh rates indicate how often the images shown on a TV screen are refreshed in just one second. A higher refresh rate produces clearer image and smoother transition between frames, which is very important to overall picture quality —especially if you are watching sports, gaming or you just want an immersive cinematic experience at home. Measured in hertz (Hz) per second, a refresh rate of at least 120Hz is ideal for today’s standards.
Picture modes are a selection of picture settings available on most Smart TVs, acting as predefined “optimal” settings for specific viewing purposes. What that means is, upon choosing a picture mode from the available presets, it will “calibrate” the colours and image you see on your TV based on your viewing needs. For example, a filmmaker mode is best for preserving authentic visual elements in a film or TV show as intended by the director. A sports mode is perfect for watching a football match at home, boosting brightness and contrast while making fast-paced action appear smooth.
HDR or high dynamic range heightens the colour accuracy and contrast ratio (range between the lightest and darkest images) of the picture displayed on the TV. HDR allows images to become more lifelike, however it is a feature mostly supported by 4K Smart TVs. It is often paired with WCG technology or wide colour gamut, which reproduces a wider range of colours with more vivid hues for an even more realistic picture. Make sure to check if your TV model is HDR compatible and whether it is turned on by default or needs to be selected manually.
Amongst the options available in the market, there are various types of TV screen sizes to choose from. To understand which is best suited for your home, follow our guidelines below on how to measure the recommended viewing distance and your TV’s overall dimensions.
It is no secret that, the bigger the screen, the closest you will get to a cinematic experience at home. However, you do need to be mindful of the actual space where the TV will be located within your home and its safe viewing distance.
An ideal viewing angle for most people would be 40 degrees, which is how much of your field of view is taken up by the screen. To avoid any future problems, it is important to consider not only the screen size of your TV but it’s actual dimensions, including stand and bezel, as well as its placement.
A smart TV screen size is usually expressed by inches, ranging from 32 to 98 inches in most cases. A TV's size refers to its diagonal length, measured from the upper left hand corner of the actual TV screen to the lower right hand corner.
Be sure to calculate the distance between your TV and where you are seated, as there is a recommended distance and angle for each screen size, as well as an ideal height. Refer to the below table as a guide to help you purchase your new TV for your home.
When shopping for a new TV, you might want to consider whether the standard TV audio output is sufficient or if you would like an upgraded sound experience by adding an external audio source. Learn more about which options are available and what works for your living space and budget.
When shopping for a new TV, it’s important to look at the power of the speaker, which is indicated by the number of Watts. The higher it is, the more powerful the sound. This means that the TV can reach a higher volume and that the sound will also be clearer at a high volume.
The speaker power from an average TV ranges from 6 to 20W. This will do just fine for standard TV use, such as watching YouTube, a TV show or the news. If you are looking for an intense game sound experience or an at-home cinema feel, you can opt for adding a sound bar, subwoofer or home theatre system to your TV.
Current smart TV models offer special location-based or object-based sound technology which let individual sounds be heard relative to their on-screen location.
The most popular one is Dolby Atmos, a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. It expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects with neither horizontal nor vertical limitation. This immersive sound adds a brand new level of realism to the viewing experience.
Soundbars are the most affordable option and very simple to set up (only 1-2 pieces of equipment), having a minimal design that fits neatly under your TV.
A home theatre system is more time consuming to set up but delivers a more immersive sound experience as it has the power to fill larger rooms, particularly as you increase the amount of channels. It provides a fuller, broader range of sound compared to a sound bar.