Televisions with high-definition picture quality are what viewers expect at the least today. Having smart features added to them makes TV viewing experience even more enjoyable. All TV manufacturers have their own smart interface, each having significant differences. These smart TV platforms enhance your viewing experience. This article takes you through the list of features you should look for while buying a new smart TV.
Screen matters the most
The screen is a major factor in deciding the cost of a smart TV. When you enter a consumer electronics store, a bigger screen might seem better, but you must decide smartly. The ideal distance of viewing a TV is at least five times the width of the screen. If you are sitting too close to the TV, it can cause neck strain and eye fatigue.
For a small room, a 76.2cm to 101.6cm (30-inch to 40-inch) TV screen (size measured diagonally) is a good choice. But if you want it for your drawing hall or a bigger room, go beyond 101.6cm—up to the maximum available size, whichever suits your pocket and the size of the room.
Talking about screen resolution, do not buy a TV less than full-HD (1920p×1080p). A full-HD screen is good for a good video experience; but if you want a big screen (above 101.6cm), go for ultra-HD (UHD) or 4K (3840p×2160p) resolution.
Do not go for 8K TVs because broadcasting compatible with 8K resolution does not exist yet. So take your time, let the technology develop to its fullest; you may get low-cost options by then.
A flat screen provides a better experience when watching in a group, as compared to a curved one. For a curved screen you need to be at its focal point for best experience.
Wireless connectivity, a feature that must be smart
You cannot say that your TV is smart, unless it can wirelessly connect to the Internet and your mobile devices. You need a good Internet speed for most purposes, but if you plan on streaming games or 4K content, you will need a wired Ethernet connection or a very-high-speed Wi-Fi connection to ensure you have the required bandwidth to pull it off.
You can download different apps on your TV, log onto them, and enjoy your favourite music, shows and movies. For apps like Netflix or Amazon Prime, you will need to buy a subscription to explore the content.
Many smart TVs have integrated social networking apps like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These devices can also help children with their studies through various interactive learning apps.
Split-screen option allows watching live TV while browsing an app.
Wireless pairing with your mobile device will enable you to see images and videos from your mobile device on the big screen. Android TVs have built-in Chromecast, which makes it easy to see content or stream from a compatible cellphone.
iPhone users can download AirBuddy app to see content on an Android TV.
A digital assistant, like Alexa and Google, or other voice search integration technology is an advanced feature available in some high-end TVs. There is also an enhanced voice recognition or control system that provides access both to the TVs’ features and effective voice search feature. It is totally up to you whether you want to opt for this feature, as it can increase the price of the TV.
There is another advanced feature available for those living in smart homes, where the TV provides an on-screen hub for monitoring and controlling smart devices like smart fridges, thermostats, washing machines, lights and so on, on a network via platforms like ThinQ or Samsung’s SmartThings.
Display technologies for the best experience
High dynamic range (HDR) content gives much more information to the display and a spectacular HDR picture quality. However, this is not applicable to 1080p HD sets, where the resolution is the same as UHD but range of colour and amount of light each pixel can produce is more.
HDR is still a developing technology. There are two major commercially-available HDR standards for content: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. HDR10 is an open platform that uses 10-bit colour values, while Dolby Vision is a closed standard used by Dolby, which supports 12-bit colour.
HDR10+ is an advanced version of HDR10. It changes the range of brightness and darkness that a video can display from scene to scene.
High-end televisions with light-emitting diode (LED) and organic LED (OLED) technologies can display wider colour gamuts and finer gradients of light and dark. OLED and quantum-dot LED (QLED) TVs look much better than typical LED TVs, but these are considerably more expensive.
OLED sets do not require a separate backlight like LEDs, and this makes them lighter and thinner. OLED has many advantages over QLED, such as faster refresh rate, better contrast (true blacks) and colour reproduction, much thinner panel, better viewing angle (almost 180 degrees), higher efficiency, ability to be flexible or transparent. QLED technology is better than OLED in terms of ultra-brightness (1500 nits), variable screen size and greater life span, among other things.
Built-in sound technology
A private listening mode via headphones that plug into the remote is available in some smart TVs. This feature is great if you want to watch the TV without disturbing the whole house. A two-way audio connection helps connect audio with the TV using Bluetooth, and at the same time you can connect your cellphone with a sound system via Bluetooth.
Built-in screen audio technology has revolutionised the audio sounds of TVs. For example, Bravia OLED series from Sony has made the whole screen resonate to produce sound. Sony Bravia OLED master series A9F is the world’s-first acoustic surface sound system. It lets sound emanate directly from the screen itself, providing sound and image synchronisation.
Basic specifications to watch out for
Everyone wants the smart TV to be easy to use. In a smart TV, there are three available options when you press the home button on the remote: Live TV, Apps and Devices. This makes it easy to navigate and find things by helpfully storing all the apps in a single location. You can pin your favourite apps to the home page for quicker access.
You can also get hour-by-hour recommendations for TV shows and movies. This can help you keep track of upcoming movies and TV shows.
A few basic specifications to watch out for are:
It is the pace at which the TV screen changes images without any motion blur. For a good experience, do not go for a TV with less than 120Hz refresh rate.
A contrast ratio of 3000:1 is advised. Lower contrast ratio results in lower clarity.
At least four ports should be available, including USB, HDMI, audio/video and VGA. For USB port, make sure it supports all hard disks and pen drives to play videos.
HDMI is the most important input that supports all major forms of digital video sources, including set-top boxes, Blu-Ray players, cameras, game consoles, cellphones, camcorders, tablets and PCs through a single cable. Make sure at least one of the HDMI ports is HDMI 2.0 or HDCP 2.2 if you are buying a 4K screen, as it supports 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps).
A smart TV should have a high operating speed to run online content like videos and music. There are five main smart operating systems, namely, Android TV, Tizen, webOS, SmartCast and Roku TV.
A smart TV having at least 1GB RAM and 4GB ROM will give a seamless performance.
If you want the best TV for gaming, you need to look for short lag times (28.2 milliseconds), at least 120Hz refresh rate, plenty of HDMI ports and robust HDR support.
There are a number of brands and TVs available in the market. We are sure there will be one that will fit your needs and budget. All you need to do is make a list of features you want in your new TV and visit a consumer electronics store.