Televisions are a staple of every Indian household. I grew up watching my neighborhood aunts watching “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and other Ekta Kapoor produced TV shows. What a genius she is.
However it’s 2019 now, it’s the era of smart TV’s and 4K resolutions. While the “normal” TV with the set-up box still has it’s merits, there are many options for buyers these days. So what makes a good TV in 2019, what should you be looking for? I try to answer this very difficult question in this article.
First things first: Smart TV or Android TV or Normal TV?
What’s the difference between a smart tv and a android tv? And where does the old fashioned TV stand in comparison?
Putting it simply, smart TV is something that comes bundled with proprietary software that allows the user to stream from popular streaming services like netflix, amazon prime etc. In some cases, you need to subscribe to these streaming services and sometimes they come with free subscription. You would also need high speed internet access. Your TV would then connect to your WiFi and provide access to these services. In general, smart TV’s are more expensive that normal TV’s. There is also the added expenditure of subscribing to netflix etc.
Android TV is the interesting new comer in the television market. It is supported by Google, so you know you are in good hands. I’m not talking about the Android TV box but about televisions that come bundled with Android TV software. Many manufacturers like Sony, Sharp, Philips now ship with it. It is similar to a smart tv in most aspects but it also includes other nifty features like Google voice assistant, android games etc.
This is what we are used to I think. You already know how this works. What you might be interested is:
Can I convert Normal TV to Smart TV?
Yes you can, infact, it might be more cost effective convert a normal TV to a smart TV. It’s quite simple, you need to pay another Rs. 4-5k and buying something like Google Chromecast or Fire TV stick and connect it to your TV. All you need would be a HDMI port and WiFi connection.
So which to go for?
If your confused, I can share my personal opinion on this. Personally I prefer normal TV. I spend most of the day with my laptop and if I feel like streaming YouTube or watching some TV show, I just watch it on my laptop. Plus the normal TV is great for my older family members. And in my experience, the streaming services don’t have every TV show or movie and it’s quite frustrating to never find movies you want to watch.
3 Most Important Things When Buying A TV: Size, Picture Quality And Connectivity
Now that we have the whole Smart TV business out of the way, let’s get into the stuff that really matters. Most consumer electronics experts like to break things down to simple stuff, so that normal consumers know what to look for. When it comes to televisions, there are only three things that really matter: size, picture quality and price.
Size is the first thing your guests will notice. And it’s quite fun to watch movies on a large screen. Ideally I would suggest to go for the largest screen size you can afford. Anything smaller than 32 inches would greatly diminish the experience of watching TV.
If you can afford it, go for something even bigger. Make sure to have enough space for ventilation as large screen TV’s tend to get hot. You can also decide the screen size on the basis on the distance from your couch, use this image for reference (sourced from digit.in):
The picture quality on your television will depend on a number of things: type, resolution, contrast ratio, refresh rate. First let’s talk about the different types of display available these days:
LED TV’s are the most popular television display type in India. The reason being that they are cost effective and do a good job in terms of basic functionality. One of the main downsides to a LED TV is that the display angles are not that good. For example, if you watch a LED TV from the side, the colors might be blurred. It is advisable to go for side-lit LED’s.
Note about IPS Panels:
LED TV’s that come with IPS Panels can get rid of the issue of bad viewing angles. IPS LED TVs have wide viewing angles of up to 178 degree, which means you can view the TV from any part of the room, without any change in color or brightness.
When it comes to high quality televisions, QLED and OLED displays are considered very top-tier. Specially OLED TV’s where every pixel is individually lit. They will set you back by quite a lot though, as these new display types are quite expensive. But if you have the budget, go for it.
Older Types: CRT, LCD, Plasma:
These types of televisions don’t sell much anymore, I would suggest to avoid them.
While desktop resolutions can be tricky and break certain apps and games, television resolutions are fairly simple with only 3 types: HD Ready (720p), Full HD (1080p), 4K (2160p or UHD). The marketers will still try to confuse you by using terms like “4K Ready” for a 1080p TV. Don’t listen to them! Just remember that there are only 3 types. They are pretty self-explanatory too. In so far as, a higher resolution means higher picture quality and more clarity.
It is usually difficult for displays to create dark black color on screen. A higher contrast ratio allow a TV to display pictures clearer where every color is clearly visible.
Refresh rate is something very important in games, 144hz monitors are all the rage in the gaming industry. They are also important for TV’s, specially if you like to watch face paced content like sports, racing and of course gaming.
HDR is a new technology which great improves the colors you see in a standard resolution TV. It isn’t available in 1080p television sets, it’s only available for 4K or UHD TV’s. So basically it’s for people with a deep pocket, but it is great for sure.
The number of connectivity options you would need depends on the number of devices you own and want to connect at the same time. Ideally, you would want a TV with atleast 1 HDMI, 1 USB and Audio ports. That should be enough for most buyers.
Some televisions might also have an ethernet port, which is great for people who don’t use a WiFi router. But you kinda need a WiFi device if you wish to get most out of your smart TV.
Hopefully this TV buying guide gave you enough pointers to make an intelligent buying decision. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment!