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Looking for a new TV? Here's what to consider

If you've been wanting to upgrade the set in your living room, now is the best time of year.

Posted: Jan. 31, 2018 12:55 PM
Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 12:55 PM

Every year, TV manufacturers release their new models in January at CES. You may have seen reports of an 88" 4k television coming out of the show in Las Vegas that will cost in the neighborhood of $20,000.

You don't need (but may want) a set like that but it'll have to wait.

If you've been wanting to upgrade the set in your living room, now is the best time of year. Once those new models are released, stores will put older models on sale so they can rush to make room for the newer, more expensive TVs.

Walk in to one of those stores and you'll be met with dozens of TV sets which, on the surface look the same but they're not. QLED, OLED, UHD, SUHD, 4K signs are all over the store and you're asking "what does that all mean?"

I asked Terrance Cole from Best Buy to give us a clearer picture.

"The biggest thing is, is it 1080p or is it UHD which is also known as 4K. 4K is right now kind of the big thing," he said.

If you watch movies on Netflix or another source with 4K content you probably want to choose one of those sets. It will also future-proof your television as more 4K content is produced. This year's Super Bowl will be broadcast live in 4K by DirectTV.

4K is also most enjoyable on large televisions because it has 4 times the resolution of a 1080p set. If your television is 5 years old
or older, you will notice a huge difference.

QLED and OLED are sets with similar technology offered by the different brands.

"LG and Sony make OLED," explains Cole. "Basically all those really do is give you much brighter, vibrant white and much darker tone black. If you're a big movie person who watches a lot of movies, OLEDs are really good because in the really dark scenes (like Batman), those are going to stand out and pop."

Samsung on the other hand, sells QLED televisions. "You're getting a much larger color array on there," said Cole. "They're going to be much brighter, vibrant, they're not going to lose a lot of color."

Depending on the room itself you may prefer one to the other.

"Darker rooms are going to want more bright, vibrant. I'd recommend a QLED," said Cole. Brighter rooms would benefit from OLED or just a standard 4k with HDR.

Processor speed and refresh rate are other considerations. For those streaming Netflix or Amazon or other services from a smart TV (and most televisions today are smart), the higher the processor speed, the less lag you'll experience.

The refresh rate is also very important to anyone who watches a lot of sports or plays games on the set.

"It's going to look a lot smoother, more fluid," Cole told me.

And don't forget to look behind the TV. Most components such as cable boxes, streaming devices and gaming systems connect to the TV through HDMI cables. Count the number of devices you'll connect to the TV and make sure there are enough HDMI inputs for them.

And one more tip: when you're looking at the TVs in the store, stand about the same distance as you'll be watching it at home. Also start thinking about adding a soundbar for audio. Since all of the TVs you'll see now are thin, the speakers inside them are even thinner which means the sound won't be as good as you'd probably like to hear.

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