The Ultimate Smart TV Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right One

The Ultimate Smart TV Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right One

TV is one of the leading home appliances in every generation. Boomers use it to watch live broadcasts, Gen X use it to watch cable shows, and modern generations use that device to browse the web, watch online cinema, and play games. So the latest SmartTV should combine features of multiple devices. It’s easy to get lost in the diversity that the market gives to you.

We asked Howly tech experts about troubleshooting TV problems and how to choose a device that will work for decades. They told us which specs to focus on today, so the device can serve you for years without glitches. 

Checklist of Crucial Characteristics

It’s a short checklist of the most important specs of SmartTV. Stick to those recommendations, and you will easily find the right one:

  1. Look for 4K resolution. It’s a new golden standard of content that is rapidly replacing FullHD. Thousands of movies, series, and shows are shot in UltraHD resolution. Most modern (released after 2017) games had a 4K support.
  2. Find a reasonable screen size. It should match the room. If you sit closer than 2-3 feet to the TV, 28-32 inches will be enough. Consider buying a 55-65 inch screen TV if you have a big room.
  3. Look for a 60 Hz or 120 Hz refresh rate. A higher refresh rate provides smoother motion. If you try to watch content made at 120 Hz on a 30 Hz screen, it may look blurry.
  4. Find an optimal panel type. Select an OLED if you like vibrant colors. Look for IPS panels if you prefer natural soft shades.
  5. Look for at least 3-4 HDMI ports, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It will be great if the TV still has a 3.5 mm Mini Jack socket. The more ports you have, the better.
  6. Select HDR-compatible TV. Look for HDR10 or Dolby Vision support. It will give better contrast and vivid yet realistic colors. 

How to Choose the SmartTV: Extended Recommendations

We’ve given you a checklist that helps you to identify what you should pay special attention to. Now, let’s focus on details that will help you to find that one TV that perfectly suits your needs.

Screen size

There are dozens of screen size variations. So finding a sweet spot becomes a task with the star. It mainly depends on the size of your room and how close you sit to the TV. We’ve gathered an optimal distance from the TV to the viewer, so it would be easier for you to find the perfect size.

Screen Size, InchesDistance to Couch, Feet

If you put the TV too close, you see individual pixels. If you put it too far, you have to squint to watch TV. Both options may hurt your eyes. That’s why you need to plan where you mount the TV in advance.

Screen Resolution

This term expresses the number of pixels that creates the picture on display. For more than 10 years, FullHD was the golden standard for computer displays and TV. But starting from 2016-17, more content gets released in 4K (UltraHD) resolution.

The most significant benefit of 4K is increased detailing. You can see the tiniest details of someone’s appearance. Also, texts get sharper, so it will be easier to read them. You can already find thousands of movies, shows, and games shot in UltraHD. 

Don’t rush to buy an expensive 8K TV. There is still not enough content for this resolution. You won’t find 8K movies on streaming services; only a few bloggers shoot in this resolution. Moreover, there are still no 8K games. Even the PS5 and Xbox Series S support only UltraHD resolution.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

It’s a new feature that drastically improves video quality. It adds more contrast between the darkest and lightest colors of the screen. It makes the image sharper and more saturated. However, it remains natural.

The most common variation of HDR is HDR10. It uses “static” metadata, setting the same brightness for the whole show. HDR10+ and Dolby Vision work with “dynamic” metadata and automatically adjust brightness scene by scene.

Operation System

Like smartphones, SmartTV also runs on various operating systems. Most of them run on Android TV, so you will get access to all streaming apps that are available for Android. You can log into Google Play and sync subscriptions with your Google Account.

Some brands create their TV OS. Samsung has Tizen, LG runs on WebOS, and some Toshiba has FireTV. They have access to all common streaming services.

Android TV and Tizen even had games optimized for playing with the remote controller. Usually, it’s casual, like solitaire or three in a row. You won’t find action, RPG, or shooter here. SmartTV doesn’t have enough RAM to launch it. Consider buying a console if you want to play games like GTA, RDR2, or Minecraft.

Final Thoughts

TV is one of the most long-lived home appliances: usually, people buy it every 8-10 years. So focus on the characteristics more than on the price. A good choice will pay off.

First, measure the distance from the couch to the TV stand. If it’s less than 5-6 feet, consider a small SmartTV: up to 45 inches. If you have more space between the screen and the viewer, buy a middle (45-55”) or large-size option (55”+). 

Look for the best available resolution. 4K (UltraHD) will be a perfect choice for any size. Pay close attention to the picture quality.  Look for SmartTV with HDR10 or DolbyVision compliance: it will make the picture more vivid and sharp. And don’t forget about interfaces: it should have at least 2-3 HDMI sockets, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

We hope that our recommendations help you to find SmartTV that will suit your needs and will work for years. And of course, we wish you happy shopping!

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