The Ultimate Guide to Buying a New TV

April 2020

Shopping for a new TV comes with many choices and options. The world of television technology has come a long way since the days of watching Gunsmoke on an old black-and-white box. Here is a buying guide to help you find the best new TV for your needs.

Stay With 4K

As you check out TVs, go for ones with 4K resolution which is a level of high-definition display. Don’t bother with 8K which is even higher because it is still very expensive, and most shows and movies don’t run in 8K resolution yet anyway. In addition, HD TVs or 1080p TVs are not as good as 4K, so 4K is ideal in today’s market. Price-wise you’re looking at around $500 or more for a 55-inch and around $1,000 for a 65-inch 4K television.¹

The Truth Hertz

Another thing to watch out for that is not commonly known is to find out what a TVs Hertz refresh rate is. If it is lower than 120 Hz the TV could very well have issues of flicker and motion blur especially during fast-moving scenes on the screen. So make sure you’re getting 120Hz or up.² You’re also going to want to look out for a high-dynamic range imaging TV (HDR) or one that works with HDR as they generally have better coloring and lighting.³

Choosing The Right HDR

HDR TVs vary quite a bit in terms of quality, so it is important to know a few distinctions about them which you can ask salespeople about when in the store or look for when shopping online. Firstly, a TV has to be bright enough for the HDR feature to really “pop” or have much impact in terms of quality. Brightness is considered in what are called nits, and a good HDR system will generally perform best at 1,000 nits or higher. A lot of HDR TVs are not nearly this high, so it can be an important key thing to look out for and it is recommended to have at least 600 nits.⁴

Look For OLED

The best TVs on the market today use organic light-emitting diodes, and are thus known as OLED TVs. They are of superior image quality to LCD TVs, but if you are looking for a more cost-effective option the QLED TVs can also provide good quality at a lower price than OLED TVs.⁵

Sound System

Because TVs nowadays are so slim the sound systems will not usually blow you away and leave you impressed. For that reason you are better off buying a sound bar to hook up so you can have that high-definition, surround-sound experience and the amazing visual quality of the TV screen.⁶

The Importance of Screen Size

As much as quality should be your number one focus when shopping for a TV, screen size is also important. What size is best? That depends on your situation: is the TV going to be far away from the couch in a large room or right on the mantle in your bedroom five feet away? In general a nice, large-sized television generally ranges between 55 to 65 inches in terms of its size, although there is no law against going up to 100 inches or more if you want a home cinema experience.⁷ If you want to get more specific, there are even free online tools to calculate the size of your room and the corresponding TV screen size that would be best for that size room, to ensure that you’re not sitting right in front of the TV staring at pixels.⁸