Samsung, 8K tv, Q900R, review, ambient mode, upscalingDeciding to buy a new TV has an objective and emotional component to the decision. New models of TVs are constantly being launched and they keep getting bigger and better and the prices keep falling. Your emotional side can easily be “wowed” by the shiny new “bigger-screen” TVs that are full of great features like 4K or 8K resolution, Dolby Atmos, or lifestyle features like Ambient or Art Mode while your objective side obviously has to consider whether you’re in a position to be spending money. Though with many of us spending many more hours in the week at home, it does make sense to upgrade your entertainment or home theatre space.

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What kind of TV owner are you?

Industry experts say TVs are replaced on average every 7-8 years. We now see this number coming down as 4K TV prices have been falling and more households want to have multiple TVs. But average means there are a lot of people that replace more frequently while others hang on for a longer time. Personal preferences, budget or habits play big time into this decision. Some people wait until their TV breaks while others keep up with new technologies every couple of years.

How old is your TV?

There are two aspects of time that are important in deciding whether to buy a new TV. The first being how old is your TV? If your TV is more than 5 years old then you will see a massive improvement in picture quality of the new models. Obviously the older your current TV is, the bigger an improvement in overall video quality, resolution, colour and sharpness you will likely see. There is no magic formula for this because there are so many models. Even if you bought a new TV in the last few years, if it wasn’t a 4K TV model then you will see an improvement in quality by upgrading from an HDTV to 4K or even 8K resolution.

4K & 8K TV technology

Need a primer on these TV technologies? Resolution refers to the sharpness of the video picture, and it’s made up of pixels.

4K TV is ultra high definition TV; it’s four times more detailed than HDTVs, so it makes lines ultra sharp, and creates a video picture so real you’ll want to touch it.

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By the way, the ‘4’ part of the 4K TV name comes from the approximate number of horizontal pixels; there are about 4000 (hence 4K), while a regular HD TV has only about 2000 horizontal pixels. 4K TV resolution is 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which adds up to more than 8 million pixels in total. Do the math and it’s easy to see that 4K TVs give you four times the detail of current HDTVs, so with those eight million total pixels, 4K is able to show you more life-like colour, vivid brightness, amazing detail, plus an ultra sharp video picture.  Read All About 4K in our blog here.

While many of us are only just buying our first 4K TVs now, 8K TV has already arrived.

Samsung, 8K tv, Q900R, review, ambient mode, upscalingA quick 8K crash course…

What will you notice on an 8K video screen? 8K has four times more pixels than a 4K or Ultra High Definition TV and 16 times more than full HD TV. On an 8K TV there are more than 33 million total pixels and they’re now so small you’ll never see them. Read in detail All About 8K TV here.

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Should I upgrade my TV? How much use does it get?

The other aspect of time to consider is how much time you spend watching TV. If you don’t watch much, then you will likely not need to replace the TV as often. But if you spend a lot of time, more than 20 hours a week, then you will get a lot of value out of improving the overall experience.

Should I get a bigger TV?

One of the best ways to improve your overall TV viewing experience is by going bigger. If you have a 40” TV, a 60” screen will blow you away. A 60” screen has 225% more screen area than a 40” screen and that more than doubling in area will make a huge difference in your viewing pleasure.  Even going from a 50” screen to a 65” screen increases the viewing area by 80% – a huge difference. Getting a bigger screen is a fantastic reason to upgrade, and a nice way to add a TV to a room you have always wanted.

LG C9, OLED, TV review, 4K
Gallery mode artwork

TVs are becoming part of our home spaces with new features

These days TVs are getting lighter and thinner than ever and they are almost completely losing any bezel or frame around the TV, meaning they are much more immersive now than ever before. There are also TVs that are designed to hang on your wall like a painting, (like Samsung’s Frame TV) with invisible or hidden cables so all you see is the gorgeous screen.

Art Mode or Ambient Mode help TVs blend in

Art Mode, Gallery Mode or Ambient Mode can also further help TVs integrate into your space by displaying realistic gallery quality art, photography and paintings when the TV isn’t playing video, meaning it now becomes part of the room instead of sitting as a big black hole in your decor.

Architectural TVs

Something that’s developing now in TV technology is a line of what could be called architectural or sculptural TVs, where the TV isn’t just a plain flat box. Samsung’s Serif TV has an i-beam shape to it that’s designed to look like art on an easel; it completely changes the way we see TVs. Hisense announced a vertical TV at CES this year too.

Smarts & streaming: dumb TVs can’t cut it

If you have an older TV, it’s likley missing a key component: streaming. Smart TVs, as this genre used to be called before all new TVs got smart, often come with myriad streaming channels and services, plus the ability to connect to music services, surf the web, and even pop your social feeds up on part of the screen. Connected TVs are more than just a gimmick now, they’re a given.’t wait: now’s the time to upgrade

The time to upgrade a TV is really a personal preference, but my experience is that most people wait too long. They spend a lot of time watching TV, but are either waiting for technology to slow down evolving (that’s not happening), or they’re waiting for things to get cheaper. Truth is, you can get many 55″+ TVs right now for under a thousand bucks.

Getting a bigger size and a clearer more vibrant picture will make a big difference to your enjoyment! Then think about upgrading your sound experience, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.

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Editor TV and Home Theatre
Erin is a journalist, writer, and TV producer with a fascination for technology and a love of gadgets. Check out her blog