Good news: You're about to get a brand new TV! Bad news: You have to sort through the jargon and the hype of actually buying a new TV. There are always new features and capabilities to contend with, from the industry's refusal to stop talking about 3D, to questions about 4K televisions and OLED screens. Some of the confusion is probably intentional – TV-manufacturers want to arm salespeople with new terminology to justify upgrades and higher prices for premiums choices. So let's cut to the chase and talk about the options and specs that really matter, and some that don't. Here's our no-nonsense advice for buying a great TV, minus the buyer's remorse.
Maybe Worry About 4K
Change is coming to televisions, and its name is 4K. Or maybe it's Ultra HD (UHD)? In fact, this upgraded level of image resolution is so new, the industry has yet to settle on official terminology. But the difference between standard HD content (at 1080p resolution) and 4K content is unmistakable – the latter has quadruple the resolution, and an exponentially larger range of colors, all of which adds up to remarkably detailed and life-like image quality. The leap from HD to UHD isn't as striking as going from standard definition to hi-def, but it's a noticeable hop. The problem with 4K TVs, however, is cost – they're twice (or more) the price of HD models. As for content, 4K shows and movies are basically limited to a small number of titles streamed via Netflix, Sony, or lesser-known services and companies for now. But unlike 3D, 4K video is a new standard, not a passing fad, and if you're the type who holds on to a TV for eight years or more, it might be worth the investment. Plentiful 4K content should arrive in a year or two, and, in the meantime, regular HD content looks even better on a 4K display.
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