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.