How to buy a new tv - what to look for

Our definitive recommendations just one year ago on buying a new TV excluded any mention of 4-K Ultra HD screens – there was no programming to watch. That’s all changing rapidly as you read.

20th Century Fox has announced their entire 2014 summer line up of Blu-Ray discs will be made available in 4-K. Sony and others have announced also but without specific release dates. With the rapid move with 4-K programming we are now recommending you consider your next TV with the extremely sharp, crystal clear 4-K resolution.

For the curved screens, however, we do not recommend for home applications as these TVs require seating more in the center line of viewing – not good for many Family and Living Room seating arrangements. Also, if mounted on-a-wall or over-the-fireplace the curved ends reveal the messy wiring and wall mount apparatus. But OK if on a media table.

How to Buy a new TV – Here’s our list of the most impor­tant items in a new TV:

1.  Screen Size:  Go with a 42” class TV (diag­o­nal size of view­ing screen) for a Bed Room, 52” for an aver­age Liv­ing – Fam­ily Room or 60” for larger rooms. Seat­ing dis­tance from the TV should be about 3-times the TV size; that’s about 10-feet away for a 42”,  13-feet for a 52-inch and up to 15-feet for a large 60-inch. If the TVs too big, it’s like sit­ting in the front rows at the movies.

2.  Screen Type:  An LED pro­vides the bright­est screen and with “edge-light LED” the thinnest cab­i­net; an LCD is run­ner up as both screens limit reflected light found in rooms with a lot of win­dows. Skip the Plasma unless your room is win­dow­less and dark.

3.  Bezel:  The lat­est inno­va­tion is the almost bor­der­less view­ing screen with a nar­row ½-inch or less edge around the screen. Allows a larger screen size for a given over­all size which is espe­cially impor­tant when mount­ing the TV on-the-wall or over-the-fireplace. Looks great too, like a picture-on-the-wall.

4.  Screen Res­o­lu­tion:  Dou­ble check your new TV has 1080p res­o­lu­tion for the clear­est pic­ture and 120 cycles or more refresh rate to keep fast mov­ing sports or a James Bond chase from flick­er­ing. Some lesser mod­els may still have 720p res­o­lu­tion or 60-cycle refresh rate – either would be throw­ing your money away.

5.  Smart TV:  If you are think­ing about on-line move stream­ing from Net­flix, Pan­dora and Hulu or quick con­nec­tions to your Face­book or Twit­ter accounts, TV’s with a smart TV option is a must. Will add up to $200.00 to the cost but makes the TV really ver­sa­tile. These TVs also work with your home WiFi so you are ready to go out-of-the-box.

6.  Brands:  There is lit­tle dif­fer­ence in TV per­for­mance between brands with man­dated indus­try and FCC stan­dards; how­ever, we have our pref­er­ences. Top lines: Sam­sung, LG and Sharp.  Best value: Vizio and West­ing­house. Avoid buy­ing on-line unless your reseller has local out­lets; return­ing a large TV for exchange or refund can be a night­mare with an on-line vir­tual store.  Store pref­er­ences based on pric­ing and return poli­cies: Costco, Best Buy and Sam’s club.

After select­ing your new TV, you will want to have installed on-the-wall or over-the-fireplace with con­nec­tions to all your media devices.