So it’s time. You have looked at the shiny pictures, examined the latest graphics and news stories, and perhaps even stood before one of the latest screens to behold the next leap in big screen graphics — the move from older HD formats to 4K TVs. As the manufacturers have been quick to point out, the 4K TV, or Ultra HD TV, has several times as many pixels as the typical HDTV that you probably have in your living room.
This can add up to a lot of extra clarity when it comes to the right kind of video, and after falling from astronomical heights, the prices are now within reach, starting at around $3,000 or less for the basic models. However, you need to pick out the right features in your 4K TV to fully realize its latest technology — otherwise, a lot of that cost will not actually increase your entertainment value.
4 Important Features for 4K TVs
Don’t worry — we’ve narrowed down the most important features to look for on a 4K TV right here.
1. A Bigger Screen
Some buyers are likely to say, “But my screen is already huge! I have a 56-inch HDTV, and it can barely fit on the wall!” And while your current TV may have been very large several years ago, we are talking about a different issue when it comes to 4K. You see, extra pixels are only useful if you can actually see them. The old school HDTV is already very, very clear, with resolution about as detailed as the human eye can perceive on a typical screen size.
If you buy a 4K TV that is around 50 inches wide diagonally, you probably won’t be able to tell much difference, because your eyes just cannot process that extra information when it is so small.
The best solution here is a larger screen, which is why it is recommended that you buy a 4K TV with a screen that measures around 60-80 inches diagonally to appreciate the effect. Yes, this leads to greater costs and may encourage you to rearrange your living room. But at sizes smaller than this, the returns diminish so rapidly, there isn’t much point to buying a 4K at all — unless you are willing to sit within only several feet of the TV, so you can catch all those extra pixels without a headache. On the other hand, you could look into 4K projectors to help get a bigger picture if the projector setup works better for you.
2. A Not-Curved Screen
Plenty of manufacturers are pushing curved screens these days — mostly because new, shiny, curved things tend to sell well. But there is a major problem with a curved 4K screen, which you can probably spot immediately. The point of a curved screen is to provide a brighter, more immersive experience that allows the benefits of the new resolution to be experienced — for the person sitting directly in front of the screen. But for anyone sitting anywhere but the very center, a curved screen limits their viewing and decreases the optimum viewing angle drastically. Curved screens are not great for family and friends, so choose a flat screen.
3. HDMI 2.0
The rise of 4K has led to a lot of discussion about HDMI 2.0, the latest version of the HDMI standard. These new HDMI cables look just like their predecessors, but they can handle 4K more deftly.
Older HDMI cables will show 4K in 30fps or 30 frames per second, while the 2.0 version will show 4K up to 60fps. The 60fps may be a minor change, but it will also help create smooth sports and action scenes — if your movies or cable channels support 4K.
4. OLED … If You Dare!
Take a deep breath for this one. OLED TVS use individual diodes for their pixels, solving all the lighting options televisions suffer from in one stroke and providing an unparalleled, vivid picture much better than LED, LCD, plasma or anything else.
They are the perfect accompaniment for 4K. The only problem is that the market is not quite ready for OLED TVs — they are tough to find, with many still in the product stage. When you can find models, they are often curved and set to prices like $30,000 (no, really).
But if you want the best of the best, it may be worthwhile to sit back and wait a bit for 4K OLED screens to get more affordable, hopefully, something that will occur in the near future.
As you go shopping for 4K TVs, keep these four features in mind and you’ll end up getting the most for your money!
Photo Credit: LGEPR