How to Choose the Right LED TV

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Deciding what TV to buy can seem like a daunting task. With dozens of brands and sizes to choose from, as well as various technologies available, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by it all. Presuming that you’ve decided on an LED TV (as opposed to an OLED TV, covered here), this guide will help you narrow down your options, bringing you closer to finding the right LED TV for your home.

Wait… Why Not OLED?

Many people would argue that OLED technology is “better” than LED, and if you’re only comparing image quality, that may very well be true, but there are various other factors that would make one or the other better for you, with two particular points in favor of LED. First, all homes are different. Some people have dedicated theater rooms, or blackout curtains in their living rooms, so they can always watch everything in near-pitch blackness. That’d be the ideal viewing space for an OLED; with glass surfaces that are typically glossy, OLED TVs will reflect any light in the room. That’d be fine for some TV viewing, but not necessarily for watching anything with dark scenes.

LED TV (left) vs OLED TV (right)
LED TV (left) vs OLED TV (right)

The second point in favor of LED tech over OLED is that since it’s a relatively new technology, OLED TVs are typically quite a bit more expensive than LED TVs in the same size with similar features. This generally allows LED customers to get a TV with many more features at a noticeably lower price point than an OLED.

Screen Size

Now that you’ve decided you want the bang for your buck that LED offers, it’s time to figure out what size TV you’re getting. This guide suggests sitting at a distance of roughly 1.5 to 2 times the screen size away from the TV, so if you’re looking at the Sony 85" X900H, for example, you should be sitting somewhere between 10.5 and 14' away. Working backward, if you’ll be sitting 10' from where you plan on placing the TV, that means you should be looking for a TV somewhere between 60 and 80". If your space doesn’t accommodate the size you want or need, you’ll obviously have to find some compromise somewhere. Keep in mind that if you plan on wall-mounting the TV, you’ll need to know where the studs are in your wall; if they’re off-center from your viewing position, some wall mounts offer post-installation lateral shift, which will let you slide the TV along the wall plate.

Sony X900H 85" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart LED TV
Sony X900H 85" Class HDR 4K UHD Smart LED TV

Resolution

Now that you have an idea of what size TV you should be looking at, it’s time to discuss the TV’s resolution. 8K UHD is a highly discussed topic; its detractors point out that there’s not very much native 4K content available as of this writing, but the same was said about 4K UHD when it was new. Several 8K UHD TVs will upscale non-8K content to near-8K quality through various technological processes, enhancing even 4K UHD images. If you’re sitting close to your TV (such as 10' from an 80" screen, for example), you’d probably benefit most from an 8K TV because its smaller pixels would be harder to distinguish.

4K UHD still provides a very clear image, and one of the main benefits of 4K is how many more options there are than 8K at the moment. Additionally, 8K UHD TVs are typically more expensive than 4K models with similar feature sets. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide if you want an 8K TV because it’s more future-ready, or a 4K TV that’s less expensive and may have more features.

HDR

HDR compatibility is probably the most discussed and least understood features. There are a few different HDR technologies available, and you generally can’t get them all in one TV. Each HDR format is used with specific source types, so you’ll have to know which one works with which media source, and which sources you’ll be using, before you decide. I went into more detail in this article, but here’s a quick list of where you’ll find each format.

HDR10 & HDR10+: Blu-ray discs

Dolby Vision: Broadcast TV, streaming media, and some Blu-ray discs

HLG: Broadcast TV

Advanced HDR by Technicolor: Broadcast TV, pending the arrival of ATSC 3.0

HDR10 is open source, meaning it’s not linked to any specific TV or Blu-ray player brand, making it the most common format you’ll see when shopping for a TV. If physical media isn’t your “thing,” or if you watch mostly streaming content, you’ll want to focus on Dolby Vision and HLG. If you watch a lot of Blu-ray discs, look for HDR10+.

Features

Next come the other features you want in a TV. Almost all TVs are smart TVs now, meaning they’ll have an onboard operating system and enable you to download apps like Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, and more; you’ll find that many popular apps are already built into the TV. Some TV remotes even have buttons dedicated to launching specific apps for one-press access.

Many smart TVs support voice control via a virtual assistant, whether it’s built in or just controllable by another assistant-enabled device on the same network. Sony Smart TVs are built on the Android platform for Google Assistant functionality, while some LG and Samsung Smart TVs have their own virtual assistant software (ThinQ AI and Bixby, respectively) built into some of their TVs, though they may be compatible with other voice assistants, as well.

Whatever features you’re looking for, you can contact us by phone at 800-606-6969, chat, or email for friendly, knowledgeable advice.

Are you looking for a new TV? What specific features are you looking for? Join the conversation by letting us know in the Comments section, below!

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