TV buying guide: 10 Things to consider

If you're like most people, reading the specifications sheet of any TV will leave you feeling more confused than informed.

The good news is that you can safely ignore most of that specs sheet and instead focus on the following 10 things to consider in order to buy the best TV.

Screen Size
Screen size is probably the most important thing to consider when buying a TV. If this is your home’s primary TV and it’s going on display in a large room, then you will want to aim for a TV that is at least 55 inches in size. For a TV that is going in your kitchen or bedroom, then one around 40 inches would be best.

Price
Price is largely determined by screen size, with bigger sets costing more. However, be aware that prices can be inflated by gimmicks that you don’t need (which we’ll discuss below). A TV that seems like a bargain may be perfectly good for what you need and may only be lacking a few features that you probably wouldn’t have used anyway.

Picture Type
Most TV sets today are LED LCD, which are becoming more affordable, but still suffer from some drawbacks, including lack of shadow detail and image fading when viewed from the side. OLED screens address these problems and exhibit stunning contrast, but they are also more expensive.

Sound Quality
Because even the best TV sets today are so thin, they have little space for high-quality speakers. Instead of getting bogged down in your TV set’s audio quality, you’re better off investing in a sound bar or a surround-sound system.

4K/Ultra HD vs HDTV
Manufacturers are quickly moving away from HDTV to 4K TV (also called Ultra HD). 4K TV has four times as many pixels as HDTV, resulting in a more life-like picture. While 4K is more expensive, prices are coming down. However, if a 4K TV is out of your budget, don’t fret too much about getting an HDTV. For most people, it is actually extremely difficult to notice much difference in picture quality between 4K and HD. Both deliver sharp, clear, and vibrant images.

Refresh Rate
A TV set with a low refresh rate can suffer from blurred images if it is trying to display rapidly moving objects. The refresh rate is expressed in Hertz (Hz) and although 60 Hz is standard, you should aim for at least 120 Hz.

Smart TV
Smart TV means that your TV has built-in Internet connectivity. If you are a fan of Netflix and other online streaming sites then Smart TV is essential. While almost all newer models include Smart TV, some of the older ones do not.

Gimmicks
While 3D TV was all the rage a couple years ago, its time has passed and it’s no longer worth paying extra for. The latest gimmick is curved TV. While curved TV is advertised as offering an optimized viewing experience, the truth is it does nothing to improve the picture quality. It can actually make it harder to be viewed from offside and can cause unevenness in brightness.

Connectivity Ports
Simply put, the more HDMI ports a TV has, the better. If you plan on hooking up game consoles or a sound bar to your TV set, then you’re going to want at least 4 HDMI ports, at least one of which should be an HDMI 2 port.

Remotes
Don’t worry too much about the remote control and just buy a universal remote instead. It is more convenient and reduces clutter.

Don’t get stressed out by other TV buying guides that make buying a TV sound so complicated. Now that you know what the 10 most important things to consider when buying a TV are, you’ll be able to get the TV that is right for you.