5 Things to Consider Before Buying a New TV
It’s the Christmas buying season and you want to get the best deal you can on a new TV. Just imagine the looks on the kids’ faces as they open the family gift. There are sales everywhere, but are they the best deals for you? How do you navigate through all of the different makes and models on offer? What kind of decisions have to be made? What research should you do before going out to the stores? We can help you before you go about buying a new TV!
1. How big of a TV should you buy?
Is there such a thing as too big? As with so many other things, it depends. We have a wonderful article that compares your home TV experience to a movie theater visit. The research behind that article would indicate that you may not want to go big. There comes a point when watching the TV in your home could feel like watching a movie from the first couple of rows of a movie theater. Also remember that if you have a 40” screen now, a 55” screen will seem enormous in your family room. Then there is the space designated for the TV in your home. Will that 90” flat screen fit there? Take a few measurements before heading out to the big box store to buy. Now, if it fits, and you are of the "bigger is better" school of thought. Go for it!
2. How much should you spend?
It is easy to look at the deals that are on offer and fall into a buying frenzy. Take a breath before blindly putting that discounted TV into your cart. A little research and a budget that you are comfortable with can make all of the difference in the world. If the special sale price is outside of your budget, you might want to look at a slightly smaller screen size (see the first item above). Also, take a look at the price of the TV that is advertised as 40% off. Compare the starting price on that model TV to regular retail prices or what it was a couple of weeks ago. Most retailers don’t inflate the starting price to show a bigger discount, but it happens.
3. Know your model #’s.
Most manufacturers have a good-better-best lineup of TV’s. Often, retailers will discount the lower end TV’s from a manufacturer’s line. They may also offer the deepest discounts to last year’s models. If you don’t check the model #, you may not be buying the TV that you thought you were. Writing down the model number of the TV you want before you head out to the store is a really good idea. Often a single letter in the model number can make a big difference in what you are bringing home.
4. Know your features
4K, Smart Technology, Quantum Dot, SmartCast, Ultra HD, OLED, Curved Screen, Flat Screen, etc. It’s a veritable alphabet soup! What does it all mean and which is best for you? Great questions! Let me answer by asking yet more questions (I know, I HATE it when someone does that to me too!!).
How will you be using your TV? Are you using this TV as an everyday, jack-of-all-trades TV? Is this set going to broadcast sports? Movies? When will this TV get the heaviest use – nighttime, weekends? The answers to the above will help you narrow down what kind of TV is best for you.
For me, I truly love watching movies at home. More specifically, Sci-Fi and adventure movies. This usually occurs after the workday is done and the world is dark. A football game on Sunday isn’t out of the question either. My primary TV has an OLED screen.
Let’s start with the basics. Pretty much every commercially available TV today is going to handle 4K, unless you are looking at the very bottom of the price range. Most of the mid to upper range TV’s will also be smart TV’s. This means that they will stream Netflix, You Tube, Amazon, etc. These features are becoming universal, so they shouldn’t play too much into your decision. Chances are pretty good that your choice will include them.
Are you planning on this new TV to handle it all? LED may be the way to go. Is your world more dominated by Sunday sports? You may want to consider an LED screen that has better brightness. LED, QLED, and XLED are all manufacturer’s monikers for LED screens. The good-better-best scenario mentioned above comes into play here. Often the different names are there to help distinguish levels within a manufacturer’s offerings. Is one better than the other? Take a look at them all at the store and decide. There are some pretty amazing displays out there!
For me, I truly love watching movies at home. More specifically, Sci-Fi and adventure movies. This usually occurs after the workday is done and the world is dark. A football game on Sunday isn’t out of the question either. My primary TV has an OLED screen. I chose this technology specifically for the infinite contrast ratio that makes sci-fi movies POP! It has a little less brightness than a traditional LED screen, so on a very sunny day it can look a little washed out. This is a compromise I was willing to make. I also own a more traditional LED flat screen for watching sports. Different TV’s in different rooms for different uses. See what I mean?
5. Don’t get stuck on a brand
I know. You have had brand X for years, and it has worked great for you! Brand quality changes, maybe your loyalty needs to change too. The best of the best from 10 years ago may not be so now. Is it really worth the premium asking price to get the brand you remember? Also consider that some TV’s or parts of the TV are actually made by a different manufacturer and then re-branded to the name on the box. For example, The OLED screens used by Philips and some other brands are made by LG. There can be differences in TVs that use the same screen – One manufacturer’s TV might appear brighter than another manufacturer’s TV due to software differences in the TV.
LED technology has improved tremendously and is largely universal. In side by side comparisons there are often only minute differences in the quality of the picture from one manufacturer to another. By switching brands you can often save significant money. Your other option is to get more features, or a larger TV, for the same money.
Take a look online at both the good and bad customer reviews for the brands you are considering. There should be more of the former and fewer of the latter for the brand you wish to buy. If the ratio is reversed, you may want to reconsider your brand choice. The reviews can often be very revealing.
Now that you have a better idea of what to buy, the only thing left to do is go buy it! Keep in mind that if you’re in our service area, Next Step delivers and will take away the shipping materials for the products we sell. We’ll also install almost any product you buy from us, a store or online. Let the shopping commence!
About Brian Hill
Brian Hill is a home theater enthusiast who has an extensive background in sales. His interests include music & movies, F1 & NASCAR auto racing, hot rods (he has a '56 Nomad) and hockey — Go Sharks!
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