As innovative technologies develop, not only computer or phone, but also television capabilities have become almost infinite. Television have long not just been a device to watch what’s written in the TV program. However, when buying a new television, many people make their choices based on screen size or brand, without appreciating the extensive options offered by the choice of other parameters.
From 32 to 85 inches – these are not just numbers that designate the size of the television screen diagonally, but a statement of the appliance owner’s status and style. A 50 inch or bigger status symbol in the middle of the room will have you feeling as if you’re in a private movie theatre. But is bigger always better? This depends on the size of the room you’re planning to watch the television in.
The optimal distance to the television depends on its size and the screen type. For televisions with the traditional 1080p resolution, the optimal viewing distance is about 1.5–2.5 times bigger than the diagonal width of the screen. However for a 50 inch (approximately 1.27 m) screen, it will be 6.5–10.5 feet (approximately 2–3.2 m). In turn you can watch 4K Ultra HD televisions from a closer distance, which is about 1–1.5 times greater than the diagonal width of the screen or 4–6.5 feet for a 50 inch screen (approximately 1.20–2 m).
Of course, a bigger screen will allow you to enjoy the image, but the effect will be quite the opposite and your eyes quickly tire if we watch from a distance that is too close. Therefore, unless there is a distance of 3.5 m in the room from which to watch television, it’s best to leave the 85 inch technological miracle on a shop shelf.
The resolution of a television means the number of pixels that form the image on screen. Older televisions and most 32 inch models have about a million pixels, which is known as a 720p or high-definition TV screen. Newer and slightly bigger televisions (usually up to 49 inches) have just over 2 million pixels (1080p or Full HD). Big televisions (usually 50 inches and above) have 8 million (4K or Ultra HD). The latest, biggest and most expensive televisions can boast over 33 million pixels (8K).
Resolution is one of the main television specification elements. However the fact that one screen has a higher resolution than another does not always mean that the quality of the image will be better. What’s relevant here is the High Dynamic Range or HDR, which is the video content standard that makes it possible to increase brightness and contrast and to expand the gamma of colors. Televisions with better HDR performance provide a better image than those that just have more pixels.
Screen frequency or screen refresh rate denotes how many times a second the image is “redrawn” or how many images a television can show a second. The faster the image is refreshed, the more consistent it will appear, the less it will glimmer and following it will place less strain on the human eye. These days the maximum refresh rate of a flat screen television is 100 or 120 Hz depending on which part of the world it was made in. This means that in can display 120 images a second. To show a video clip filmed with 60p on a 120 Hz screen, each frame is repeated twice: 60 frames a second x 2 = 120 frames a second. Therefore a 120 Hz television shows the same frames, which you could also seen on a 60 Hz television. It’s not that it’s not worth buying a television with a higher screen frequency, but the benefits of doing so will not be as great as you’d like.
Unless you’re planning to buy a very expensive device, most likely, screen technology won’t matter to you, but it’s worth knowing what makes sets it apart.
Plasma televisions use a separate plasma cell sheet that shows the image when it comes into contact with an electric charge. In contrast, LCD televisions use liquid crystals, which are compressed between two glass plates; the image is formed through the transmission of electricity to these crystals.
LED televisions also use liquid crystals, but unlike standard LCD televisions, instead of a daylight bulb they use rear lighting, which is made from hundreds of LED light diodes. In LED televisions, the process can be managed pixel by pixel, which makes it possible to reproduce a broader gamma of colors and clearer brightness.
QLED televisions are a slightly higher degree of television screen technology – ultra high class LED LCD screens. In turn what separates OLED screens from standard LCD LED screens is the fact that OLED pixels is self-illuminating. As a result, the screen provides deeper black tones, because individual pixels can be “switched off” as necessary.
Compatibility with other devices
When you choose a television, you should take such parameters into account as the number of HDMI and USB ports, LAN availability and positioning and Wi-Fi parameters. Just like smartphones and smart home devices, smart televisions have an Internet connection and support for various applications. This opens new entertainment options, starting from video streaming to gaming, browsing social media and compatibility with Alexa or Google Home devices. Top class LG, Samsung and Sony models offer even more options, starting from motion control to voice interaction and smart home integration. However to make a television compatible with other devices, you need the appropriate connection options, which small manufacturers do not always provide.
Samsung and LG have gone a step further – the latest models of these televisions have the new AirPlay function, which allow you to conveniently connect Apple devices with the television, screen doubling and content presentation. This option has been available for about 2–3 years. Before the AirPlay era Apple device users had practically no means of connecting to televisions without the help of auxiliary devices.
Smart television function
Most modern televisions support the smart television function. Whereas old televisions can only show content from a HDTV antenna, cable or another A/V source, these days televisions have also become smarter and can now boast powerful processors, Internet compatibility, applications intended for streaming and smart home functions, as well as easy to control software, thus making them more like a smartphone or computer than a television.
Most new televisions use the Internet to access online services – for films, streaming services, weather information, news updates, social media, etc. Although a wireless network connection is built into many contemporary television models, you will still need an active broadband Internet connect and router, as well as Wi-Fi.
In choosing a Samsung television, the Smart Things application will help you to control it without your phone. You won’t be surprised to learn that Samsung televisions are highly compatible with Samsung smartphones, but if you lose your TV remote control, an iPhone will do the job just as well. The newest television models are highly compatible with so-called sound bands or soundbars, which have now become a must have accessory for those who demand good or even outstanding sound.
Is the brand important?
The biggest modern smart television manufacturers are LG, Philips, Samsung, Sony, etc., although many brands of televisions are available on the market. There is no better or worse brands – it is largely a matter of taste. Not every smart television platform or operating system will support one and the same applications and functions. In their smart televisions, some manufacturers rely on patented operating systems, e.g. Samsung offers Tizen smart TV software while LG has webOS. Other manufacturers like Sony use third party software or Android TV. Every operating system has its own selection of applications, functions and compatibility with other devices, as well as user interface. The bottom part of some manufacturers’ screen uses a scrolling application icon ribbon, which will allow you to view several options at the same time. Negotiating these menus will vary from brand to brand, because each television manufacturer has its own unique remote control design.
Philips televisions have the Ambilight function, which illuminates the background in various colors and even in line with the content being shown on the screen. Only Philips televisions have this added value. In contrast, Samsung offers lines such as The Frame, Serif and Sero TV, which belong to the television design category and are not just being black rectangles, but interior elements. Here The Frame really stands out. In Standby mode, its models turn into an image gallery, which is a great way to conceal a television on a wall.