Holiday promotions make December the perfect time to upgrade your home theater. The only question: Which TV is right for you? Tap or click for five of the best budget TVs on our radar.
The quality of streaming, sports and your weekend movie marathon all depend on the right device. There’s a lot to choose from, so we’re here to set the record straight.
Ready to buy? Before shopping, check out these five tips when buying a new TV.
1. Be price-savvy
Some manufacturers put certain features in the spotlight when branding lower-end smart TVs. For example, an ultra-wide screen at a low price is attractive — until you realize that color depth and image clarity suffer significantly. You might even miss out on advanced features like picture-in-picture or automatic device integration.
What is the best defense against this? Knowledge. Understanding what you want and some inquiry whenever you see a stellar deal that feels too good to be true. Sometimes a hefty price tag isn’t worth it, but in many cases, you’ll be paying for a much higher standard.
2. Go for 4K, not 8K
One harsh industry truth: The maximum resolution of a smart TV actually exceeds the production standard that your favorite content streams to you. While the footage may have been shot in 8K, this figure is reduced when delivered and broadcast.
While 8K is technically a more immersive image, spending more in this area isn’t the wisest use of your TV budget, at least for now. You’ll get a better bang for your buck with a 4K set.
RELATED: Simple steps to improve your new or old TV’s picture quality
3. Invest in good HDR
Resolution is one thing, and image quality, bit depth and color gamut are another. HDR (high dynamic range) is no joke in this regard and can make your favorite shows and movies shine like never before.
HDR imaging optimizes an image by choosing the right tones for dark, mid-range and light elements of whatever you see on-screen. Shadows feel richer and deeper, and highlights come alive without exceeding a comfortable viewing threshold. It’s especially suited for those streaming web content such as YouTube videos.
4. Opt for a QLED screen
Pioneered by both Sony and Samsung over the last decade, many regard QLEDs as superior in quality.
Full-scale brightness, excellent motion control for sports and gaming and depth of color all come standard. If you can afford it, go for a Neo QLED, as these are the latest generation sold by Samsung.
RELATED: Need a new TV? Three big options to watch the big game
5. Prioritize app selection
Finally, and this is a big one: Before you commit, be sure that the TV you’re about to buy can support the apps you use to stream most frequently. Services like Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu are givens, but we recommend confirming this, or you’ll run the risk of being very disappointed on day one.
Samsung’s Tizen platform and LG TVs are the top-tier to many experts, especially if you’re not using something like an Amazon Fire TV Stick or a Roku device. Depending on your home theater set-up, you may want to stream from your smart TV.
You may also like: 3 clever ways to use your hotel or rental’s TV