Various studies have shown how much time we watch TV, and it is more than I thought—about 4 ½ hours per day! North Americans are quite the couch potatoes (US and Canadian studies are similar). That’s over 1,600 hours a year. If you are spending that much time watching TV, why not seriously upgrade your viewing experience? I will tell you the three things to consider in taking your TV experience to the next level.
Of course the next level depends on what level you are starting with. However, regardless of what level you are starting at the three things to consider moving up are the same. In order to move your home theatre to the next level, those three basic things are screen size, picture quality, and sound.
When I reflect on my own home entertainment level upgrades, each time I have made a noticeable increase in screen size while improving the picture quality. I haven’t jacked up the sound quality each time but I definitely have done it a few times, as it has been an important part of the entire experience. I remember each time I watch my upgraded system, I am sorry I didn’t do it sooner. I think we just get used to what we have, and think it is just fine and we miss out on what it could be.
So here is how to build more viewing enjoyment in your life. After all, you do spend a lot of time watching your TV so let’s make it noticeably better.
To me this is the most important element, because most TVs these days already have a pretty good picture. So if you were to do only one thing to take your TV to the next level make it bigger. I would suggest take it up not just a notch but increase the surface area of the screen by at least 20%. It will create that “wow” moment that you want. What this means is go up by at least 10 inches in diagonal—let me explain.
An increase in diagonal will create an even bigger increase in surface area. For instance, going from a 40” diagonal to a 50” diagonal is a 20% increase in diagonal but is a 56% increase in screen surface area as it goes from 769 sq. inches to 1,201 sq. inches. Similarly, going from a 65” to 75” diagonal represents a 15% increase in diagonal and a 33% increase in screen area. That’s a third bigger screen, which will make your home entertainment system really pop! To see how much surface area increase with a 10” increase in diagonal, check out the table on the right (it assumes an aspect ratio of 4:3).
If you search the Internet you will find a lot of formulas for screen size and viewing distance, which may be preventing you from getting a bigger screen for fear going out of the formula boundaries. Well, don’t worry about it. I don’t know anyone that has said that their TV is too big. The reason for these formulas is they say you don’t want to be too close to a big TV or you will lose see some pixilation and lose clarity. With most TVs you have to be only a few feet away for that to happen. Plus if you also upgrade your picture quality, then you can get even closer to a big screen without any negative effect.
If you have a high definition TV, then your picture clarity is likely already very good. If you don’t have a high definition TV, then you should move up to at least an HD TV and join the rest of the planet. The upgrade in picture quality will be dramatic and really make you wonder why you haven’t done it earlier.
Most of us have HD, but with the advent of both OLED and 4K technologies it is now easy to take this picture up a level, especially since these new technologies have now become much more affordable. 4K Ultra High Definition has four times the pixel resolution of HD so the clarity improvement is considerable. OLED technology not only provides a crystal clear picture but also provides vivid realistic colours. In fact, the TV the critics declared that the best picture last year was LG’s OLED TV (55EC9300), which is still available today.
OLED and 4K technology is clearly where the TV market is heading, especially this year. So if you want to go to the next level it makes senses upgrading to these technologies. Your picture quality will boost up to a whole new “wow” factor, and you won’t have to worry about it becoming obsolete as 4K and OLED will likely be the new standard for a while.
The LG 55EC9300 is a great choice because the picture quality is so good, but if you are also taking the size of your TV to the next level the problem is the biggest size you can get in this model is 55”. Going higher than 55,” which you likely want to do means looking at 4K UHD TVs. The good news is that there a number of good choices like the Samsung 65” UN65HU7250FXZC or the Visio 70” P702UI-B3. These are just a couple of great choices in a variety of very excellent picture quality 4K TVs.
Sound is important to your home theatre experience as it can add a whole new dimension to the visual experience when the sound travels through the room in synch with the picture. I am a big proponent of separated speakers so a true surround sound system is what will create that “wow” moment. Getting a decent quality surround system like the Onkyo 670 Watt 5.1 Channel (HTS5700) will make you wonder how you lived without it.
If you already have a decent surround system, then moving it up to the latest Dolby Atmos technology will intensify the surround experience that much more. You will need to get a Dolby Atmos receiver along with special Atmos speakers. To learn more about how Dolby Atmos works look at my previous post on it.
Now if you have been relying on the sound from your TV, you could move it up to the next level with a good sound bar. TVs are so thin these days it is hard to put decent speakers in them, so a sound bar can definitely upgrade what you are listening to. I still recommend a good surround system as it will provide a better immersive experience since the speakers are separated and the engineering can literally make the sound go right across your room in sych with the action on the picture.
Considering how much time you watch TV, seriously consider taking your home theatre system to the next level. Just focus on the three basic things to make it happen—picture size and quality, and sound. If you could only do one, definitely go for size first, then it is a toss up between sound and picture quality. If your quality is already pretty good, then go for sound but it depends on your personal preferences because 4K and OLED pictures are pretty sweet. Check them out.