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Everything you need to know when buying a new TV in 2017

We normally keep our TVs for eight to 10 years so if you’re in the market for a new TV you’re going to find there’s been a lot of changes since the last time you made that big purchase.

While you’ve been out of the market TVs have become bigger, sharper, smarter and more connected than ever before.

There are a number of technologies and new features to look out for including the screen type, screen size, 4K Ultra High Definition, HDR (high dynamic range), Dolby Vision, Quantum Dot, QLED, ULED, refresh rates and curved screens.

Here’s what you need to look out for:

SCREEN SIZE

The new normal when it comes to screen sizes is now around the 55-inch mark and getting bigger.

We can now buy up to 85-inches thanks to more competitive prices and the trend of setting up a home theatre or media room in our homes.

So customers now have a new saying – “go big or go home”.

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Some of the new Chinese brands like TCL and Hisense are offering comparable quality to the major brands but at a more competitive price.

It’s now possible to buy a much larger TV from these brands for the same price as a smaller TV from one of the larger well-known brands.

4K UHD

Most of the new TVs that are larger than 50-inch are now available in ultra high definition which is also known as 4K because there are almost 4000 pixels across the top of the screen.

4K UHD resolution is actually 3840 x 2180 – that’s more than 8 million pixels and four times clearer than full high definition TVs.

It’s worth paying that little bit extra for a 4K TV to future proof your purchase.

Now there is a lot more 4K content to enjoy through subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

OLED

LG is the only manufacturer of OLED (organic light emitting diode) TVs which, while being slightly more expensive, offers superior black levels, colours and ultra thin designs.

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Because OLED is self-illuminating when a charge is passed through it, you don’t need a backlight. So, a pixel is either on or off. And when it’s off – it’s completely black.

And with no backlight, the OLED TV is going to be super thin.

LG’s latest Signature OLED W OLED which was unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is just 2.57mm thick and can be mounted like wallpaper.

A pen next to the LG OLED wallpaper TV dwarfs the 4mm screen
A pen next to the LG OLED wallpaper TV dwarfs the 4mm screen

Even with the mount, the LG wallpaper OLED TV extends just 4mm from the wall.

QLED

This is the latest version of Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology. QLED has new alloy quantum dot nano particles that can change light into a billion colours and reproduce everything the human eye can see while being energy efficient.

ULED

Hisense, one of the rising brands in the Australian market, introduced ULED technology last year and it will also be under the hood of the 2017 models.

The Hisense ULED Series 9
The Hisense ULED Series 9

ULED is covered by 17 patents. U stands for Ultra – ultra wide colour gamut, ultra local dimming, ultra smooth motion rate and Ultra High Definition 4K resolution.

HDR

HDR – short for High Dynamic Range – is the feature you’ll find onboard the latest 2017 model TVs.

HDR TVs can display HDR content like movies on 4K UHD discs and streaming services and reveal brighter whites, blacker blacks and lots more detail and contrast in those sections of the screen.

DOLBY VISION

Dolby Vision is a type of HDR – it’s actually HDR on steroids because it can adjust your picture settings in real time so that each scene is optimised on the fly.

REFRESH RATES

One specification on the latest television is refresh rate – that’s the number of times the TV screen is refreshed pre second – and it’s measured in hertz (Hz).

The higher this figure the smoother picture you’re going to see. The top of the line TVs offer 200hz which is more suitable for viewers who like to watch sports and other fast onscreen motion like action films.

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CONNECTIVITY

Today’s TVs are all smart which means they can connect to the internet through your home’s broadband connection.

This connectivity allows your TV to access more content, run apps and browse the web.

CURVED SCREENS

Curved TVs have been around for the last few years and provide a number of benefits along with a great look in your home.

A larger curved screen delivers a more immersive viewing experience because the edges of the screen are the same distance from the viewers as the centre of the picture.

You’ll also see greater picture depth so it feels like you can you look even further into the image.

The only downside with curved displays is that they may exaggerate reflections when viewed in a bright room.

 

 

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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