Our last SealTV post detailed the raw essentials you need to look for when buying a new TV
. The idea is to keep things clear and simple and avoid the trap of buying into silly add-ons.
We say that but some add-ons are worth looking into, so if you want a little more to go on when you are browsing in store other than weight, price, size and picture quality here are six add-ons that are actually worth comparing when you are upgrading to a new TV.
1. UHD and HDR
Ultra High Definition UDH, (also known as 4K resolution), has as many as four times more pixels as a standard 1080p resolution TV. Now you’d expect that to mean four times the quality and sharpness, but actually it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between UHD and a high-quality HDTV.
So if there is no difference why bother? Simple, UHD are cheaper to buy because the components are faster and easier to build (and just as reliable). So you get the same HDTV quality for a much cheaper price tag.
The bigger the screen you are looking at the more likely it’s already a 4K resolution TV.
It might not be THE cheapest option however. As UHD becomes more the norm you might be able to find clearance discounts on 1080p standard TVs as ‘old stock’ so it’s a win-win window for buyers at the moment.
As for HDR, almost all new TV releases are HDR compatible, giving you a boost to the picture colour and contrast. To get the full benefits though you will need to be watching HDR material.
It’s not really a matter of whether you go looking for an HDR or UHD TV as much as, is this an added feature you care about, as it will most likely come with your TV if you are looking at a 2018 or onwards series.
2. Voice control
Heard of Amazon Alexa? Voice control gadgets are the new up and coming trend, basically thanks to people wanting to use their phones while driving and needing a clever hands-free option to manage that. Voice control technology is moving way outside phone search-and-call with smart houses and now TVs becoming voice control ready.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are currently leading the voice field and through these applications newer model TVs are offering open communication remotes to do everything from changing channel to ordering a pizza.
If you already have a Smart home (i.e. voice controlled speakers hooked to your entertainment system then a Voice controlled TV is a logical next step.
3. HDMI connections
In the SealTV previous post we listed picture quality as one of the must haves when purchasing a new TV. Part of getting that picture quality to work it’s magic is your connection.
HDMI is the only way to go and it needs to run through all your connected devices so make sure you have enough HDMI to handle your usage (so think set-top box, DVD player, A/V receiver, DTV and then the extras, laptop, phone, iPad and gaming consoles.) Basically you can never have too many HDMI ports. A few spare is always handy.
TIP: It doesn’t matter what quality of HDMI cable you use, they are all basically the same.
4. Smart TV
Any TV has the ability to be ‘Smart’ with Netflix and Foxtel able to connect online through apps, so a TV that is Smart is not really that necessary, however, you will be hard pressed to find a new TV on the shelf that isn’t Smart. In most cases you probably will prefer your known and trusted apps rather than the Smart ones so mostly they will go unused.
The one advantage you will find is better access to UHD and HDR content. If the TV you like best isn’t Smart you can still look at purchasing a 4K HDR streamer, although you might have slim pickings until the market catches up to the technology.
It’s another one of those, good to have but not essential type of extras.
Going wireless has lots of advantages, especially if you are going to be using your TV outside in a SealTV weatherproof enclosure. If this is your plan you can do yourself a favour by checking to see if your TV has a built in over the air tuner (Antenna Tuner). It can enable wireless high quality connection that can even top your cable ability.
If you are looking for a high-end TV chances are you will be buying a work of art that blends into the wall. TVs that don’t look like TVs are the new lounge room fashion item. Part of this streamlined look is hidden wiring, even going as far as a separate input box to keep things streamlined and paper-thin.
6. Remote controls
If you don’t already have a universal remote control you really need to get one. They outstrip even the fanciest touchscreen remotes in terms of practicality and quality.
If it’s not your thing it’s well worth checking the quality of the remote that comes with your TV before you buy. This is probably one of the biggest variables when it comes to a TV purchase and it can honestly make a difference to how much you like your TV.
Features such as backlit buttons, multi gear command are great ones to watch for as well as size and sensitivity (try out the one in store).
TV Extras You can Ignore
There used to be a war between LED and plasma screens but this has gone out the window now that LCD have become the stand-alone option. Same with rear projection TVs which have been phased out.
3D TV never took off as expected and isn’t worth looking into (if you can even find a 3D TV anymore).
As for those complex spec sheets, you can overlook anything QLED, SUHD, Super UHD, Triluminos, Quantum Dots, and UHD Alliance Premium Certified related, it’s just there to look good on paper and really makes no difference to your viewing experience.