10 things to consider before buying a smart television

In the market for a smart TV? Make sure you check out our list before you make your final decision.
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Smart TV

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Most of us watch TV as part of our everyday lives. A TV is a must in most homes, whether you love Netflix and lounging or just keeping up with current events. Whatever you're watching, when in the market for a new television, it is essential to know what you want so you can spend your money wisely and get your best fit.

You may have heard that smart TVs are the way to go when purchasing a new television. However, it's crucial to do your research before you make your big purchase. Like any technology, buying a smart TV might be challenging, especially if you're not tech-savvy. Fortunately, we know everything you'll need to help you select the ideal smart TV for you and your living space. We've prepared a list of the 10 most important things to consider before buying a smart TV.

1. Size

There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this query. The smart TV screen size that matches your living space and budget is ultimately the best choice for you. There are three most popular sizes for smart TVs – 65, 55, and 43 inches and the price decreases with decreasing screen size. A 55-inch TV is a better option if you want a big screen with excellent picture quality at a reasonable price. A huge screen is appropriate for a large room, whereas a smaller screen size is preferable for a smaller space. Generally speaking, the golden guideline is to see if you can comfortably view the TV from a distance.

2. Picture quality

You might have heard the terms QLED, LED, or OLED thrown around a lot regarding TVs, but what do they mean? And which one is right for you? LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. Millions of tiny lights that can be individually switched on or off make up an LED TV. On your screen, the light from these LEDs creates an image. QLED means Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. The only difference between this technology and LED is that quantum dots are used instead of conventional LEDs. These very tiny dots provide a brighter image than standard LEDs.

OLED translates to Organic Light-Emitting Diode. The QLED technology is comparable to this one. It also creates a picture using small dots known as sub-pixels. Still, unlike QLED, each sub-pixel generates its light independently rather than relying on surrounding sub-pixels to make it shine brightly enough for human eyes to perceive it.

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Which is the best, then? Well, that depends on your definition of "best" and what you're looking for. Do you desire a product with excellent contrast and a great appearance? Something at a reasonable price? Or perhaps something in between? Compared to LED or QLED displays, OLED displays often offer greater contrast ratios, but they can also be more costly and less energy-efficient. Compared to OLED or QLED displays, LEDs are often less expensive, but the picture quality isn't as good. QLEDs often provide the best visual quality/price balance.

3. Sound

Sound quality is crucial when choosing a smart TV, especially if you don't want to utilize an external sound source. The baseline sound quality that most TVs come with is typically not all that. However, it is generally worth it to spend money on a TV with strong sound to elevate your entertainment experience. For instance, the LG OLED Evo TV has Dolby Atmos, which produces surround sound with several dimensions.

10 things to consider before buying a smart television
Woman and children watching the TV

4. Refresh rate

An important element of a smart TV's visual quality is the refresh rate. It refers to the rate at which the TV can update its presentation of new information and refresh its image. Refresh rotation is measured in Hertz (Hz), and a standard refresh rate for 4K Smart TVs is 60Hz, which means the image is refreshed sixty times every second. Your viewing experience will be enhanced by smoother visuals on your screen, resulting in a greater refresh rate. Many Smart TVs have a refresh rate of 60Hz; however, some more recent models provide 120Hz or even 240Hz. As a result, if you're watching sports or action movies on TV, you'll be able to notice finer details in each frame than you would with a refresh rate of 30Hz or 40Hz. In general, you should look for a smart TV with a refresh rate of at least 60Hz. If you intend to play video games on a more recent gaming console, you might want to think about a smart TV with a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher, as most new games are optimized for higher refresh rates.

5. HDR support

High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is a new standard that has gained popularity over the past several years. When you use HDR, there is a more pronounced contrast between the bright and dark portions of a picture. Additionally, it implies that you will perceive less detail in shadows and more detail in bright regions, such as the sun or flames. Another advantage of HDR is that it produces colors at a broader range, which are more vivid and lifelike. Because the colors are brighter than what you would see on a typical TV, your eyes don't have to work as hard to adjust when you want them to focus on something.

6. HDMI and other ports

Knowing what ports to look for when purchasing a new smart TV is critical. There should be at least one HDMI port on the TV, usually found on the side or back of the device. This connector can connect your TV to other devices like streaming boxes and game consoles. You might also want to check your new television for an extra USB port to connect external hard drives or other USB accessories like flash drives. If your smart TV lacks USB connections, you may connect these external storage or media players via an HDMI port using an adaptor. It's also possible to connect external speakers to some smart TVs through digital audio output connectors. However, not all models come with this function, so keep that in mind when comparing models.

10 things to consider before buying a smart television
The right smart TV for you

7. SmartTV OS

Every smart TV operating system has advantages and disadvantages, and every user will want different options.

  • Roku may be the best fit for you if you're searching for a straightforward, quick, and user-friendly smart TV platform that doesn't need a lot of technical expertise. Since its launch in 2008, Roku has been steadily enhancing its content selection. Roku is less expensive than some other smart TV OSs, so if you're on a tight budget or don't want to blow a lot of cash on a new television, that could be the best option for you.
  • Android TV could be the right choice if you're looking for something that's more adjustable and enables you to customize every part of your TV experience exactly how you like it. Android TV gives consumers simple access to material from various sources like YouTube or Netflix and complete access to apps from their devices.
  • Tizen is a LInux-based system and is arguably the best option if you're searching for a smart TV platform that delivers the best of both worlds. As the operating system is adaptable and lightweight, you can locate what you need and leave it alone when you don't. However, the system is not as intelligent as other systems, and some feel it needs to be more high-quality for their needs.

8. Screen resolution

This also applies to conventional televisions and refers to the number of pixels. Before making a purchase, you should always verify the screen resolution of any smart TV since it affects the picture quality – a crucial component of televisions in general. The resolution is defined by the amount of horizontal and vertical pixels; 4k and 8k mean a screen has nearly 4,000 and 8,000 horizontal pixels, respectively. Make sure the smart TV you're considering has a resolution of at least Full HD (1980x1080), although it's uncommon to find one below this today. 8K TVs are also available. However, 8K resolution TVs come at a pretty hefty price. Standard 8K televisions cost roughly $4,000, but depending on the screen size, some may cost twice that. Larger smart TVs might cost almost as much as a new car. However, thousands of smart TVs can deliver stunning picture quality at 4K resolution at a lot less. And keep in mind that there is not yet much to watch in 8K.

9. Price

This will depend on the size, brand, and feature options available and is unquestionably a key factor. The type and size of TV you buy mainly depend on how much money you want to spend. Always have a ballpark estimate of how much you intend to spend and look for the best option for that price. This being said, you will save a lot of money and still receive a great smart TV if you shop wisely and are knowledgeable before making a purchase. There are also different TV brands in the market. While heavyweights like Samsung, LG, and Sony dominate the market and often have pricier TV models, if you are on a budget, you can opt for newcomers or contender brands like Hisense and Vizio.

10. Warranty

Most TVs typically have a warranty of at least one year. While paying upfront for a manufacturer's warranty extension may seem foolish, you will save a lot of money if something goes wrong with your TV, including the replacement cost. If you're spending a lot of money on your new TV, it may make sense to pay more to extend the warranty. However, it may not be as important if your TV is priced in the middle or lower range. For someone shopping for a new smart TV, a model with an extended warranty already built-in may be the model they choose.

Buying a new smart TV is an expensive investment. As a result, you want to ensure that you choose the type that absolutely fits your space, matches your specifications, and is within budget.