Ready to buy your next TV? This TV buying guide will explain the essential types, technologies and features you need to know before making that important purchase.
There are basically two types of TVs in production on the market: LED-backlit LCDs and OLED TVs. Plasma TVs, like Samsung's PNF8500, are going out of production.
LED-backlit LCDs, like Sharp's UB30U, uses light-emitting diode (LED) to light up the LCD (Liquid-crystal display) panel. Most modern TVs on the Ghanaian market will most likely be of this type. There are different LED-backlit technology implementations, each producing different levels of quality. As a result, TVs produced using full-array backlighting or quantum dot LED technology may look better than Edge-lit LED TVs. Bright screens work well on these TVs even in brightly lit rooms. However, pictures blurs on LCD TVs when viewing rapid motion video scenes. LED-backlit LCD also have limited viewing angles. They are best viewed when sitting directly in front. Some LED-backlit LCD also suffer colour uniformity across the TV screen in dark picture scenes. LCD TVs have the widest variety of choice and features.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs emit light when electric current passes through a carbon based material located behind the glass screen. This is unlike LCD screens which require a backlight to illuminate the LCD. OLED TVs, like LG's Signature G6, have several advantages over LED-backlit LCD screens such as better display quality on fast moving scenes, darker black scenes, enhanced contrast pictures, thinner and lighter TVs, and wider viewing angles.
The size of the room can be considered when choosing an ideal TV size. For a small bedroom, 24 to 32 inches may be suitable. For a living room, 50 to 66 inches may be the ideal size. Provision should also be made so the TV gets good ventilation around it. The number of people who will typically be watching the TV at once should be factored in to ensure each person has a good viewing angle. The TV size can also be determined by how close to sit to get the best picture sharpness. For a Full HD TV, your sitting distance should be about 1.6 times the TV size. Example, with a 50 inch Full HD TV such as the Philips 50PFL3707/F7, your sitting distance should be about 80 inches. For a UHD TV, the distance from the TV can be as wide as the diagonal size of the TV. This notwithstanding, adjust the sitting distance to the TV as appropriate.
Screen Resolution is the number of distinct pixels (aka dots or picture elements) that form an image on a TV screen. It defines the sharpness of pictures on your screen. Three types of screen resolutions matter most when deciding on a TV to buy: Standard-Definition (SD), High-Definition (HD) and Ultra High Definition (UHD). In North America for instance, SD is 720x480 (720 pixels across and 480 pixels tall) and HD is at best 1920x1080 (1920 pixels across and 1080 pixels tall). The another way to understand the difference between SD and HD is the Aspect Ratio, the proportional relationship of the image width and image height, or "width:height". HD has 16:9 aspect ratio, while SD can be both 4:3 and 16:9. As Ghana is migrating from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting, it is best you buy an HD TV, or you connect your existing analog TV to a Set-top box (or a decorder) such as DSTV or Multi TV. The best HD TVs to buy are Full HD (aka 1080p) TVs, as they deliver the smoothest HD pictures. UHD (aka 4k) TVs such as the Panasonic DX802 range produce even sharper pictures as they have four times the number of pixels as a HD TV. At minimum a UHD TV resolution is 3840x2160 (3840 pixels across and 2160 pixels tall). Although UHD digital broadcasting in Ghana might happen some way off in the future, it will be good to get a 4k TV now as future-proof or for playing UHD movies and video games. Other screen resolutions like LG's UH9800 8k (7,680x4,320 pixels) TVs are making their way to the TV market.
It is good to check the number and types of connection at the back, the side and the bottom of the Tv, taking into consideration whether the TV will be mounted or put on a stand. Confirm if the number of HDMI inputs are sufficient for the devices (game consoles, soundbars, personal computers, etc) you will connect. If you will be connecting older devices check if the TV has analog ports. If the TV is an UHD TV, check if it supports HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2 and HEVC decoding.
Curved TVs are becoming more widely available on the market. Currently, the difference between a curved and a flat TV is mostly cosmetic.
These are TVs with an integrated Wi-Fi/ethernet port and can be used for video streaming, web browsing, downloading/installing apps and giving voice commands. A TV can also be made "Smart" by attaching a Set-top box to it.
Contrast Ratio is the ratio of the intensity of light, from white to black, that the TV is capable of producing. A high contrast ratio produces better picture quality. There is no universally standard way of measuring contrast ratio across different TV manufacturers.
The speaker that comes with a TV may not be enough to produce your desired sound level. Audio devices such as home theatre systems or soundbars are good substitutes.
Your TVs Refresh Rate is how many times per second an image (or frame) is changed on your screen. It is measured in Hertz (Hz). Faster Refresh Rates are better because images do not blur in fast movie scenes. Common Refresh Rate standards are 60Hz, 120Hz and 240Hz.
They are "normal" TVs that can also display images in 3D, or with a perception of depth. Depending of the type of TV you may or may not work have to wear 3D lenses to see in 3D.
TVs with HDR (High Dynamic Range) present images and scenes with a better intensity of light than TVs without this feature. The images have a richer and wider range of colour and look better.
Having your TV properly calibrated will result in the best pictures and may even make it draw less power. It involves things like setting the best contrast, brightness and colour temperature for the TV. A poorly calibrated TV can produce poor images.
Other independent factors can affect the overall viewing experience of a TV such as the quality of the incoming broadcast feed and the lighting/shading in the room. It pays to have a live demonstration of a TV before purchasing it and also setting it up properly in your home.
LED-backlit LCD TVs fit the budget of most consumers, as OLED TVs are currently much more expensive. Very few Manufactures, like LG, produce OLED TVs. But there is a wide variety of LCD TV manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, TCL, Nasco, Bruhm and Grundig. LED-backlit LCD TVs cover the bigger price range compared to OLEDs. UHD LCD TVs are becoming more affordable as more brands and quantities than previous are being produced. Also, for any type of TV, prices vary across different TV manufactures, the type of display technology being used, and the features that come with the TV.