IN this report we’ll give you a simple and easy way to figure out which Ultra HD / 4K TV or OLED TV to buy. There are way too many technologies and too many brands. Too many acronyms as well. We have 4K Tv’s , OLED TV’s , Ultra HDs, SUHD TV’s. Then we have TV’s with Slim Back-light, with Full Array dimming, TV’s with HDR and TV’s with Ultra Premium HD Certification. What does all this mean for you ? We’ll cover all of this, but let’s start with our original question.
How to Decide which Ultra HD TV to Buy ?
We have compared and reviewed some of the best mid and premium range Ultra HD 4 TV’s of 2017 in our blog. However, before going there, the first step is to decide what you are looking for in your ideal 4K TV. When choosing a TV, our team suggests that you follow these steps:
1. Analyse Your Usage Habits
The TV you buy has to match your usage habits. All UHD 4k TV’s are not equal. Even if they meet the 4K standard – which means that can play a resolution of up to 3840 X 2160 pixels.
Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your TV usage Habits.
a) Are you a gamer ? What consoles do you use in gaming?
Most mid and high end TV’s do take into account gaming usage. They would displease a lot of people if they didn’t . The main parameter used to measure gaming acceptability is the input lag and the second factor being motion blur. But keep in mind that gaming can be HDR or SDR itself and the lag would change. For example LG OLED’s of 2016 did not perform very well in HDR gaming leading to many displeased users. This they consequently corrected in the 2017 range with low lags of 21 ms even in HDR gaming. Typically a lag of up-to 35 ms – 40 ms can be considered decent and anything below 25 ms is really good. As per rtings.com P series Vizio is pretty good for gaming and the same can be said for Samsung KS such as Samsung KS8000 , Samsung KS8500 in their Gaming Mode. Keep in mind if your console is of the older variety which does not support HDR then ‘up-scaling’ of the game content would also be required so the TV should be good in doing that as well.
b) What kind of content will you be watching ?
For all the HDR and brightness and ‘true black indicators’ which talk about 4K content, you also need to consider what kind of content you will be watching. Will you be watching blue-rays, DVD’s , SD content from the net? 4K content is being readily available and it is a given that your 4k TV should be able to display 4K content well. But what about the other content. Your TV should be able to ‘up-scale’ Standard Definition content so that it doesn’t look too blown or grainy. Samsung KS series, Sony X900E and above etc. series up-scale content remarkably well. Even Samsung MU8000 onwards and in the newer M series Vizio, up-scaling is quite comparable.
Secondly, are you a sports fan? Then your should probably check how well the model renders fast action content. LG’s 2017 OLED C7, LG OLED B6, Sony X850E, Sony X900E and Samsung KS series all handle sports content extremely well.
c) Where will your TV be placed ?
Well this kind of decides on the size you would want to go for, whether your TV would have a wall mount or be stand based. The room’s brightness also has some impact on how well the TV should be able to handle bright scenes, reflection and glare. TV’s with peak brightness of at-least 500 nits are recommended in living room with direct sun-light access. Most medium and even budget end 4k TV’s meet the 500 nits specification these days.
d) Do you often watch the TV as family together?
If you watch TV with the family then you should definitely check up how well the TV handles low viewing angles. So that everyone is able to experience great picture quality. This was one of the issue with KS series of Samsung which was great on almost every other parameter but the picture quality and contrast would drop when viewed off direct centre. In supporting such viewing angles it is is generally seen that OLED’s will fare much better.
e) Will you want to watch over the air broadcast content ?
For some that’s a no brainer. Duh..! we bought a TV. That means we want to watch broadcast content, but it so happens that some of Budget, Mid range models don’t have a Tuner. This includes the P series, M series and even the E series in Vizio. So you can watch cable, Blue Ray, 4k Content etc. but for receiving broadcast signal you would need to buy an external compatible tuner. This is something to be aware of – but not a deal breaker in my opinion.
f) Should you be getting a 4K TV now ?
This may well have been the first question to begin with a couple of years ago. At that time 4k was much more expensive than full HD TV and almost non existent 4k content. But now, 4K content is emerging, upscaling of SDR and HD content happens really well in most models. Additionally, the new models are not just about 4K – sound, picture quality, slim styling, multiple format playback and smart features make them must have upgrades. Short answer: considering the narrow price difference – yes you should go for a 4K TV than just a full HD.
2. Decide the Must Have Features you need in your TV
Every TV today comes with loads of alien sounding technology tidbits. Features are given interesting , even exotic names. The truth is: You can ignore most of the specifications and focus on your MUST HAVE FEATURES once your usage habits clear.
For instance – whether a Sony Triluminos display or Samsung 4k Color Drive or LG’s ‘Perfect Blacks’ is important for you isn’t the point. The point is what impact they have on your usage habits. Point no. 1 above will help you decide on the must have features in your TV choice. Here are some such features we can think of in a simple language without any acronyms:
a) Great picture quality and contrast
Thumb Rule: If you can spare the bucks and are comfortable with OLED’s, go for an OLED, an updated OLED like a 2017 model C7 still beats almost all other’s in contrast and overall picture quality. All the colors are beautifully visible and the TV work’s well in low lighting as well as brighter lit rooms. For more information on OLEDs, you can check out our post about the best LG OLED 4k TV’s out in 2017. Another aspect of picture quality is the range and vividness of colour it provides. If you are a serious 4K fan do check out that your TV supports 10 bit colour because 4K content really comes to life with 10 bit colors with Wide Color Gamut processing.
b) Great in viewing SDR content, DVD movies, Blue Ray, Internet content, 4K content & even 3D
Always check whether the TV does a decent job of up-scaling Standard Definition content, Blue Ray movies, DVD movies (which can produce judder and reduce smoothness in many high end TV’s). Most of us will use
We do find quite a lot of users complaining the lack of model’s with 3d compatibility in the newer models. I would generally think 3d should not be a deal-breaker but if it is then the obvious choice would be LG 2016 E6 /C6 models (as 2017 OLED models do not have 3d).
c) Great for Family viewing on the couch
IF you are likely to be viewing the TV in the living room with the wife and kids (or your husband and kids) , then how well the TV handles the viewing angle makes a difference.
LG’s 2016 – 2017 OLEDs, Sony X900+ and even Vizio P series handle this aspect well although OLED’s handle it better than the others.
d) Should not give me any lag and problems with my gaming
We’ve already discussed this in point 1 a) which i think cover’s it pretty much.
e) Sound quality should not be below par
I would frankly not call this as a ‘must have feature’ but for some of us the sound quality does matter. Ofcourse, you could spring for a great sound bar / sound system if your TV has an average one, rather than going for a very high end model just because of sound. For example in the LG OLED 2017 range , all of the TV’s have nearly the same picture quality as they have essentially the same Flat panels and the main difference between
f) Should be an updated model
It always makes sense to go for a current model unless the quality of the older model is considerably different and better over the newer one. When the new model comes in , the difference in price is typically few hundred dollars but within 3-5 month , the price difference for the same size, drops a lot.
g) Should be a reliable brand and model
I do advice checking over for stats on reliability. As an example we found that the reliability metrics from reviews for Vizio D series didn’t show a very favourable picture in some top e-commerce websites. More so than their being defects, there were a lot of reviews which showed that there was lack of support.
That however seems to have lessened with the 2016 / 17 M series and P series who are considered better in quality as well. Samsung , LG and Sony are of-course 3 most reliable of brands so if you can spare a bit of extra cash, it’d make sense to stick to them.
3. Decide the Size and Form Factor
For 4K TV’s, most experts recommend a size of at-least 40 inches for bedroom TV. At-least 55″ is recommended for the living room one – although 65” is best in most situations.
Interestingly, the difference between a 4K resolution TV vs. HD or HD ready becomes clearer only when you are closer to it. But that of-course would not be the reason to sit extremely close to considering eye strain and other factors. Typically in large living room you are 8-9 feet away from your TV. For such a range, a TV over 55 inch should be purchased, ideally 65” or 70”. CNET, THX and other’s have recommended various thumb rules to get the ideal size. We can do this by converting viewing distance to inches (1 feet = 12 inches) and multiply by 0.65 to get the closest TV size.
4. Decide what you’re willing to Pay
Last but not the least, price is an important factor and as a rule of thumb I would pay a premium for a model not for style quotient or form factor but only if the model scores in a) Reliability or b) Measurable and Obvious Quality Difference or c) Has my ‘must have features’ which the other doesn’t.
The second point I would make is that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. As an example LG OLED’s 2017 range vs. Sony A1E OLED – even the C7 compares equally favourably to the A1E despite being less expensive. OLED’s are generally more expensive than the conventional LED/LCD 4K TV’s but even there – we have a huge range. In budget and mid-range TV’s: Vizio and TCL should be compared against the Samsung MU series. In high end, the LG OLED vs. Sony X930+ , Samsung KS can be compared. I do not think there is a need to go for QLED’s as they are more expensive than even the latest OLED’s by LG and do not offer any groundbreaking difference in picture to the OLED’s as far as what has been reported.