There are a plethora of televisions to choose from when looking to buy a new set. But as you probably know, not all televisions are created equally. So, while the latest Samsung TV has the newest technology, it might not fit into your budget.
But no matter your budget or technical specifications, there are three things that you shouldn’t waste your money on. We’re not talking about this $400K folding TV that hides in the floor when you’re not watching (which is obviously a necessity).
Rather, there are televisions on the market with “innovative” technical details or industry buzzwords that will do nothing to enhance your viewing. To get the most viewing pleasure for your money, stay away from these features.
The world marveled at 4K resolution when it first arrived in ultra-high definition televisions sets in the 2000s. Having roughly four times more pixels than standard high definition (HD), the clarity and crispness of the visuals seemed otherworldly.
The introduction of 8K, however, showed consumers what was possible with the latest technological breakthroughs. The highest resolution as defined by the HD standard measures 7680 × 4320 pixels.
It undoubtedly has the best picture quality, but there is a major drawback: lack of content. There isn’t enough 8K content available to justify the purchase of an 8K television. There is currently no streaming service that supports the format, and there doesn’t seem to be any plans in the works.
Even on YouTube, only a handful of 8K clips have been uploaded and most comprises of natures scenes, slow motion events or cityscapes. It’s definitely gorgeous to look at, but it’s not why you’d buy it. If you have the budget for an 8K TV, splurge on a high-end 4K set instead.
Refresh rates higher than 60Hz
In 2018 actor Tom Cruise famously called on film fans to turn off motion smoothing on their televisions. The setting, which has become known as the “soap opera effect,” alters content to have ultrasmooth motion.
The technology was developed to combat motion blur in movies and sports on LCD monitors and screens. But it made visuals worse. And it was predominantly a problem with systems that had a refresh rate higher than 60Hz. To correct the subsequent issue, screens with 120Hz and 240Hz were made.
But why is 60Hz bad? Well, it has to do with how televisions work and the content that is made for them. This is obviously not a problem for content that is shot in 30 or 60 frames per second. But Hollywood films and traditional television shows are shot at 24 frames per second.
On a 60Hz (or 60 frames per second) television, the internal processor needs to compensate for the “missing” frames, so it creates its own. Taking a bit of the previous frame and a bit from the next frame creates the smoothing (or the soap opera effect). Imagine watching “Game of Thrones” with a filter suited for “The Young and the Restless.” Yikes.
If you want to waste your money on something truly useless, fork out extra dollars for an extended warranty on your television. Retailers will often try to convince you that extending the warranty is a necessity in case it needs repairing beyond the original time frame.
The truth: if something happens, it will probably cost you less to have it repaired than the extended warranty price. In most cases, if your television breaks down in the original period, the manufacturer will give you a new set.
Even Consumer Reports agrees, calling an extended warranty “money down the drain.” In a blog post from 2018, Consumer Reports revealed that retailers keep a large portion of the warranty’s cost for themselves.
“Retailers may push hard to get you to buy these plans because they’re cash cows for them. Stores keep 50% or more of what they charge for these contracts. That’s much more than they can make selling products,” it explained.
You will be better off keeping the money aside if you are really that paranoid about repairs. And even so, it isn’t unheard of for manufacturers to cover out-of-warranty items either.