TVs are not the type of thing where one size fits all. They definitely look similar when they’re turned off, but once you turn them on you’re going to see a big difference between the types of displays. Some of those differences are subtle, others are not, and they can make choosing a bit overwhelming for someone who has never bought a TV before. If you’ve been wondering how to buy a new TV, I’ve got a few tips you can use to make everything really easy.
How to buy a TV
Buying a new TV is pretty easy. The key is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by technical terms. Once you’ve mastered the basic knowledge, it will be easy to understand the unique differences between TVs, TV brands, and make an educated guess as to how the new TV you picked will fit in your home.
How do you know what size TV to buy?
Deciding on what size of TV to buy is your first step. Why? Because you can decide what size you’d like without leaving the house.
Rearrange your living room for your new TV
Take a look around your room. Notice how the furniture is placed or visualize how you’d like it to be placed when you bring home your new TV. Maybe you’ll be moving the couch to accommodate a larger TV or you’ve noticed that your small TV is overwhelmed by the size of the room. You can even draw your living room out and place your TV in different areas, just to see how different sizes of TV will work for you.
Measure your space for your new TV
Once you’ve decided where your TV will be placed, take a tape measure and measure out the distance between your main seating area and the TV. You’ll want to be comfortable while watching, so aim for a distance that’s far enough away so you won’t have to strain your neck to watch. You’ll want to be ‘sitting on the couch’ comfortable, not ‘front row of the movie theatre’ uncomfortable.
You can decide on that viewing distance in one of two ways. If you’re committed to your furniture and TV placement but you don’t know what size of TV will work for the room, you can calculate your viewing distance by doubling the screen size. So, for example, if the measurement between your couch and your TV is 100 inches, divide that in half and you’ll get 50 inches. That means you’re in a good viewing range if you choose a TV that’s 50 or 55 inches.
If you’d like to upgrade the size of your TV and you’re comfortable adjusting the room to fit your preferred screen size, you can use this quick chart to give you an idea of how far the TV should be from your couch.
|Size of TV
||Comfortable viewing distance from couch
|40 inch TV||60 inches|
|43 inch TV||65 inches to 70 inches|
|49 inch TV||75 inches – 80 inches|
|50 inch TV||75 inches – 80 inches|
|55 inch TV||80 inches – 90 inches|
|60 inch TV||90 inches to 100 inches|
|65 inch TV||105 inches to 115 inches|
|70 inch TV||115 inches to 120 inches|
|75 inch TV||120 inches to 130 inches|
|80 inch TV||130 inches to 140 inches|
|85 inch TV||Minimum 140 inches from couch|
When you buy a new TV, is bigger always better?
It’s true, it’s pretty amazing having a really big screen in your home. It makes watching movies and TV shows feel just like you’re in the theatre. The only situation where a bigger TV won’t be better is if your room is too small for it, so the best thing to do before committing to a large TV is to check your viewing distance.
How important is picture quality when you buy a new TV?
Beyond size, picture quality will be the one thing that determines how much you enjoy your TV. If the picture is not sharp, bright, and as real to life as possible, your favourite content won’t look its best.
In terms of picture quality, there has never been a better time to buy a new TV. You have your choice of the latest premium TVs built with the newest TV technology, and that technology has created TVs with such realism, detail, and depth, you’ll feel as though you’re staring out the window.
How do you choose picture quality without bringing home the TV first? You’ll need to lay eyes on a few different types of TVs. Before you do though, you’ll want a good idea of what you’re looking at.
Main TV types you can choose right now
There are a few main types of TV available for purchase right now. The first two things you’ll decide on are the TV resolution you’d like and the type of TV backlight you’d like.
Choose your resolution – 4K or 8K TV?
There are a few different resolutions you can choose when buying a new TV – 1080p, 4K, and 8K. Resolution refers to the number of pixels your TV has. Pixels define your picture quality, so the more pixels the better. You can read more about pixels and resolution on the 4K TV Buying Guide, but a general idea of the different resolution that a 1080p TV has two million pixels (1920 x 1080), a 4K Ultra HD TV has eight million pixels (3840 x 2160), and an 8K TV has approximately thirty-three million pixels (7,680 by 4,320).
4K is currently the most popular option for TVs. The picture quality is outstanding, there is a wide variety of choices for brand and TV type with 4K resolution, and you’ll find 4K content on all streaming services including Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and many more.
8K TVs are available, but online content hasn’t quite caught up to that level of resolution. If you’re looking for a TV you can enjoy for years to come, a 4K TV is a great choice.
Choose your TV type – LED, QLED, or OLED
There are a lot of different types of TV, but the main three terms you’ll hear the most right now are LED, QLED, and OLED. You can also take a look at this article on Full array TV.
How do I choose an LED TV?
LED TVs are a popular display choice. LED stands for light emitting diode, and TVs of this type use hundreds or thousands of LEDs are the light source for the display. You can find LED TVs in 1080p, 4K, and 8K, with 4K Ultra HD LED TVs being the most popular right now.
Types of LED TV
When looking at LED TV you’ll want to keep in mind that the term LED describes the type of backlight, so it’s been an easy technology for manufactures to enhance. There are currently a few popular choices in LED TVs including QLED and Mini-LED.
Why you’ll want a QLED TV
QLED TVs use LEDs as the backlight, but a QLED adds a layer of quantum dots over a standard LED backlight. These dots are really tiny, and each one lights up as an individual colour when the backlight shines on them.
The layer of quantum dots enhances an LED TV, but your picture quality will be even better if you choose a QLED TV with Mini-LED.
Why you’ll want a Mini-LED TV
Mini-LED is a new technology that’s taking the LED world by storm. Mini-LEDs are a type of LED, but they are so tiny that if you put one side by side with a standard LED, you’d think the LED was massive. Mini-LEDs are an amazing backlight for a display because you can pack thousands and thousands of them into the same space you could only fit hundreds of LEDs. The more lights your TV has, the better control for colour, contrast, and detail.
You can find out more about Mini-LED TVs and MicroLED TVs, another emerging TV technology, by reading Jason’s articles on the topic – Why you should consider a Mini-LED TV and The bright future of MicroLED.
Mini-LEDs provide the backlight for QLED TVs, so if you choose a Mini-LED you’ll have a TV with a layer of quantum dots to enhance the colour even further. LG also has their own take on QLED with Mini-LED called Quantum Dot NanoCell.
As I mentioned before, the difference between a 4K LED TV and a QLED TV is striking. If you put a 4K QLED Mini LED TV beside a 4K Ultra HD LED TV, you’d notice the difference immediately. The picture will appear brighter and sharper, and tiny detail will be very noticeable. Colours will be very vivid, and when the screen goes black, you’ll notice it’s a deep, dark black and not grey-ish.
Mini-LED TVs create such a spectacular display that they run second only to OLED in terms of picture quality.
How do I choose an OLED TV?
OLED TVs and LED TVs are very different. OLED stands for organic light emitting diode, and an OLED TV does not have a backlight like there is with LED. Instead, there are thousands of diodes that are self-illuminating, and each diode can turn off and on individually. You can learn more about how OLED works by reading OLED vs QLED – What should your next TV be?
4K OLED TVs and 8K OLED TVs have a first in class picture and colour you have to see to believe. Not only can they display millions of colour variations, but an OLED TV is also the only TV that can display ‘true black.’ OLEDs can do that because the diodes can turn completely off or on. Stand in front of a 4K OLED TV and you’ll be blown away by the colour of every image, how dark the blacks are in a night scene with stars, and how everything looks vivid and better than real life.
Features to look for when you buy a new TV
Now that you have narrowed down your TV choices and have an idea of what you’re interested in, you’ll want to take a look at the options on different TVs.
What’s a Smart TV?
Most LED, QLED with Mini-LED, and OLED TVs are also smart TVs. That means they connect to your Wi-Fi and have pre-loaded apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+ already pre-installed. Some smart TVs have voice control too, so you can just say “OK Google, open up YouTube.”
You can learn more about the different types of smart TVs and how they work by reading Learning about smart TV operating systems.
60Hz vs 120Hz refresh rate – which is better?
Refresh rate refers to how often your screen refreshes. If you have a 60Hz refresh rate, it will refresh 60 times every second. If you have a 120Hz refresh rate, your TV will refresh 120 times per second.
If you have a gamer in the house or you watch fast-paced sports, you’ll love how smooth action is when you have a TV with 120Hz. If you’re just watching movies or TV, the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz won’t be that noticeable to you. Many of the latest TVs offer 120Hz refresh rate as a standard feature.
If you do have a gamer in the house you may want to take a look at the best gaming TVs of 2021.
HDMI ports and USB connections
When you buy a TV you’ll want to take a look at the different connections it has. If you have a lot of external devices like cable boxes, Blu-ray players, or gaming consoles, you’ll want to make sure your new TV has enough spots to hold all of those connections. Most new TVs have three HDMI ports, one HDMI ARC port for a soundbar or home receiver, and one or two USB ports.
HDMI has evolved to HDMI 2.1, and this upgrade supports higher resolution video and 4K refresh rates at 120Hz. If you have a gamer in the house, you’ll want to look for HDMI 2.1.
Do I need a sound bar when I buy a new TV?
When you’re only thinking about how to buy a new TV you might be a little surprised to find out that a lot of people are buying both a new TV and a sound bar at the same time. Why do you need a sound bar on a brand new TV?
Because TVs are designed to be so thin, there isn’t as much room for speakers or the speakers have to be placed in odd areas.
While new TVs do have good sound, to get the most out of your new display you’ll want to add a sound bar. You can find sound bars at various price points, some have additional speakers like subwoofers, and many offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi so you can stream your playlists too.
A sound bar will enhance the audio of your TV, making dialogue crisp and clear and enhancing the special effects you hear in movies. It’s one thin, long speaker but it has the power to amplify sound all around the room, and it’s a worthwhile add-on when you’re bringing home a new TV.
Are you ready to bring home your new TV? Buy a new TV now by shopping Best Buy.