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BING LEE'S TV BUYING GUIDE

Television has really evolved since the 1950s. The technology has advanced so much that the base level TV is unrecognisable compared to the original tube television. Better technology gives us so many more options for entertainment. We are really spoilt in this day and age. But with more technology it can also be more confusing. Today, there is an extensive choice of high definition (HD) and 4K Ultra HD TVs in stores, from low-cost big screens to high-end, big-budget, cinema-style displays.

The important factors in shopping for a TV unit will be screen size and cost. The biggest variety, from 30 inches to up to 110 inches, is available in LED (light emitting diode) and LCD (liquid crystal display) standard HD models. Small screens (19-inch), which are great for small rooms such as bedrooms, start at around $190. For bigger rooms, you can get a 55-inch Smart LED for around $1,500.

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs offer more colour richness and a deeper black. Of course, with this higher picture quality comes a higher price tag. A 55-inch High Definition OLED TV is around $2,000. With the ever-growing number of brands introducing OLED TVs, you can expect prices to become more and more competitive.

But now manufacturers are introducing a new generation of TVs under labels such as Ultra HD Premium, Dolby Vision, and HDR. These advanced models offer more vibrant colour and brightness for the ultimate picture quality.

Quick Overview

All the acronyms and jargon can be difficult to follow, especially when new technology is constantly emerging. These quick tips will help you understand the 'Tech Speak' and guide you when buying a TV. For more in depth advice, see the detailed buyer’s guide below.

  • Adaptability – So that your TV is still usable in five years’ time, we recommend a 4K Ultra HD set.
  • Avoid fashion statements – If you want your TV to stay current for its lifespan, avoid trends in appearance and gimmicks that don’t necessarily offer better quality viewing. Technology like this often doesn't have staying power in the market and you may find it't gone just as fast as it came.
  • Budget for Sound – Because TVs tend to be getting thinner, there is less room for decent speakers. It is highly recommended that you purchase a soundbar with your TV for a better audio experience.
  • Compatibility - For state-of-the-art TVs, look for HDR-compatible models, which display more realistic colours.
  • Everyone is Getting ‘Smart’ – If the TV you are interested in is a ‘Smart TV’ and it is offered as an extra or “special” feature, don’t be fooled.
  • The Importance of Ports – It is recommended that you look for a model with at least 4 HDMI ports. And if you are in the market for 4K, look for HDCP compatibility.
  • OLED Vs. LED LCD - OLED models have a noticeably better quality picture than a typical LED LCD, but you will notice the higher price tag.
  • Refresh Rate – Consider a TV with a refresh rate of 120 Hz or more.
  • Resolution – We recommend a TV with no less than 1080p resolution. A TV with 1080p is also known as 'Full High Definition' (Full HD, or FHD). A TV with 2160p or 4320p are considered 'Ultra High Definition' (UHD) or, when using professional cinematic terms, '4K'.
  • Trust Your Eyes - Manufacturers will always claim the picture for a specific model of high quality. Don’t pay too much attention to ratio specs: your eyes will tell you if you prefer the picture. Ultimately it comes down to what you think looks better.

The Finer Details

Size and Fit

No matter whether you're after a basic model or high-performance television, the first detail you might consider is the screen size. How many in your family would usually watch TV at once? Where will your new TV be placed? It is recommended you go for the largest screen size (within your budget) that will comfortably fit in the space. The ideal screen size in today’s typical living room, factoring in price and performance, is from 55 to 65 inches.

It also depends on your proximity to the TV. If are so close to the screen you are seeing pixels, that’s too close. An easy guide for the seating distance from the TV is to measure roughly three times the height of the screen for HD and 1.5 times the height for 4K Ultra HD.

It is recommended that you visit a Bing Lee store (and why not bring your family) to have a look at the TVs. Bring also the measurement of the distance between where the TV will be situated and where you and your family will be seated. Have your family stand at the approximate distance that your lounge is from the TV. Make sure each family member is comfortable with the screen size in relation to the distance from where they will be seated.

Your Resolution: 4K or HD?

The resolution of TV screen refers to the sharpness of the picture. A basic HD TV may only support 720p, meaning the screen displays 720 lines scanned progressively (or in a single pass). It is recommended you go for an HDTV that supports the 1080p HD format, also known as Full HD, which has 1,080 lines of resolution. Even for the smaller screen sizes, we recommend 1080p models.

Manufacturers are swiftly moving from HDTVs to Ultra High Definition (UHD) sets, sometime referred to as 4K. The difference in the two is that UHD is used in terms of home TVs, whereas 4K is used at a professional level in cinematic terms. The 4K and UHD models have four times the pixels as current HDTV screens. That’s 2,160 horizontal lines, or 3840 x 2160 pixels. The 4K and UHD TV has more detail and you will notice that small objects on the screen are clearer and text is sharper. Colours are richer and more realistic than HDTV, although the difference may be subtle.

In summary, Full HD 1080p is currently the most common screen resolution, however you may consider 4K as an investment for the future, moving towards more 4K format availability.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR is a new feature of 4K and Ultra HD TV. High Dynamic Range, refers to its ability to display more colours, contrast levels and brightness. HDR is an upgrade of the 4K or Ultra HD format only and is not applicable to 1080p HD TV. For this new feature, manufacturers are creating new names for the models to set them apart from standard 4K Ultra HD TVs.

"Ultra HD Premium" is the name increasingly being used on TVs this year.

Dolby Vision is an advanced version of HDR, created and licensed by the company that introduced Dolby noise reduction and surround sound. A Dolby Vision TV needs to meet more strict criteria to display HDR content. It is a very new technology and the jury is out on whether it provides higher visible performance. Again, use your own eyes to judge whether this model will provide a better viewing experience for you.

This year there is potential for HDR confusion. Some models are Ultra HD Premium-compatible, such as Samsung. Others are Dolby Vision-compatible, such as Vizio, and some are compatible with both, such as LG. To add further confusion, Sony is abandoning the option of both the Ultra HD Premium label and Dolby Vision licensing. So it is labeling its TVs "HDR" Ultra HD.

In Summary, we suggest you don't choose a set just for its HDR support, as the ‘standard’ is not yet set. But if your budget allows, by all means buy a set that is Dolby Vision compatible.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate, in Hertz (Hz), is how many times per second a picture is refreshed on the screen. The standard refresh rate is or 60 Hz (60 times per second). But in scenes with fast moving objects, a 60 Hz refresh rate can make things look blurred, especially on LCD. So for a more solid-looking picture, manufacturers increased the refresh rate to 120 Hz, and in some cases 240 Hz.

In Summary, we recommend buying a TV with no less than a 120 Hz refresh rate.

HDMI Connections

It worthwhile looking at the number of HDMI inputs a set has. These ports can get used up quickly. By adding the basics - a sound bar and a game console, you've used two ports already.

If you have opted for a 4K Ultra HD (2160p or 4320p), ensure its ports support HDMI 2.0 to make way for future Ultra HD sources.

In summary we recommend at least 4 HDMI ports.

LCD, LED LCD, OLED - What’s the Difference?

Projection sets aside, LCD and OLED are basically the only two types of TVs on the market, LCDs being the more affordable of the two.

LED and LCD TVs

The majority of TVs today are LED LCD. These HD and Ultra HD televisions use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to light the LCD screen. Many of these TVs can illuminate specific areas of the screen and darken other parts to highlight light and dark areas in a scene — known as active or local dimming. Cheaper LED LCD models priced at around $200 for a 32-inch screen, while a top-of-the-range 90-inch set is around $8,000.

OLED TVs

OLED sets are a step ahead of full-array LED-LCDs, featuring many more lighting zones. OLEDs use additional LEDs, controlled at pixel level, to display the blackest blacks and brilliant contrasts.

OLEDs boast the best TV picture of all. Its colours are noticeably more vibrant and blacks are deeper. Contrast and shadow detail are superior what LCD TVs achieve and it maintains image quality when viewed from the side.

3D, or Not 3D

The 3D TV can provide a great cinematic experience in the comfort of your lounge room. There are two types - active and passive. They both require different 3D glasses, which by the way, you have to wear if you want to watch 3D TV. Keep in mind the size of your lounge room. To realise its full potential, the TV should be viewed with ample distance from the screen. See the manufacturer's guide for the optimal distance. Also be aware that Australian TV does not broadcast in 3D, so you will most likely be watching in 2D more often than 3D.

What You Should Know About Smart TVs

Smart TVs have integrated internet and web 2.0 features. Once upon a time you could buy an inexpensive "un-Smart" TV and make it Smart with a streaming stick. These days it's hard to come by a TV that isn't "Smart", even if you're going for a small, inexpensive model.

In summary, Smart capability is becoming a standard feature in TVs nowadays, so it may not necessarily be a factor in your buying decision.

Sound Bars

Due to the limited space available in their flat, slender casing, even the top-of-the-line HDTVs struggle to produce good quality sound. There isn’t room for powerful speakers, for fuller, richer sound. There are three options: Invest in some good quality headphones (which makes it difficult for more than one person to watch), a surround-sound system (which can be complicated to set up) or purchase a sound Bar with your TV.

Sound bars are easy to install, and for around $300, they can really enhance your viewing experience. Current models are thin enough to fit under a TV stand without obscuring the bottom of the TV. Most sound bars can also be installed under a wall-mounted TV. Some manufacturers also offer boxes or stands that slide under your TV.

In summary, your cinematic and sports spectating experience will be greatly enhanced by your investment in a sound bar.

Your Choice

As we have mentioned, the important factors in shopping for a TV unit will be screen size and cost, based on such considerations as the intended location of the TV, your individual tastes and requirements, and your budget. Why not have a look at the range of TVs available at your local Bing Lee store to gauge for yourself what features matter to you?

Still Need Help?

Can't decide which product is right for you? If you are still unsure about what you need, chat with our our friendly customer service, or to find the closest Bing Lee to you, visit our Store Locator

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