With holiday shopping season and the potential for big discounts right around the corner, now is the perfect time to research what TV tech is hitting the market. Keep reading our TV buying guide to find out:
What types of new TV choices are available?
Since TV quality has advanced rapidly over the last decade, it can be hard to keep up with the changes and what each new term means. The last thing you want to do is overspend for features you don’t need, or come away with a TV that doesn’t actually perform as you were expecting.
What is 4K TV?
The ‘4’ in 4K stands for four times the amount of pixels you are getting versus older-generation TVs. However, four times the amount of pixels is equal to twice the resolution. This is great marketing, but just know that you are seeing a visual product that is technically ‘twice’ as good, as opposed to four times better.
Price range: The quality of 4K TVs can vary greatly. You can purchase one for $220 and up.
Key Features: Clear picture quality that can have a life-like appearance. There are tons of options for viewing content in 4K and more are being added every day.
What is 8K TV?
The 8K boasts eight times the amount of pixels as 4K (and 16 times as many as older-gen TVs). Remember though, you are still seeing twice the resolution of 4k.
Price range: 8K TVs are still relatively new to the market. They start at $4,000 and up.
Key Features: These pixel powerhouses have super-detailed sharpness and a broad, realistic color range.
What is QLED (quantum dot LED)?
According to PCMAG.com, QLED uses quantum dots to emit light. Quantum dots are tiny particles that contain optical and electronic properties.
Price range: $1000 for a 49” 4K TV up to $15,000 for a 85” 8K TV.
Key Features: QLEDs are known for their truer and vibrant colors. They have a longer product lifespan of about 7-10 years, compared to the 6-7 years of an average TV.
What is OLED TV (organic LED)?
OLED is an LED (light emitting diode) with thin sheets of electroluminescent material. Fun fact: LEDs were invented in the ‘60s by a 33-year-old General Electric scientist.
Price range: As of this writing, you can get a 50” 4K OLED for around $300 or an 88” 8K OLED for more than 10x that amount at $34,000.
Key Features: Since OLED pixels emit their own light, they use less power. OLEDs also offer deeper blacks and better viewing angles, so you are more likely to see a quality picture no matter where you are sitting in relation to the TV set.
Let’s avoid any confusion by breaking down a few popular terms. It’s important to note that not all OLED and QLED come in 4K or 8K. Some OLED TVs may come in standard HD, while QLED only comes in either 4K or 8K.
What are the pros and cons of each option?
|Type of Display||Pros ||Cons
|4K||✔ Twice the resolution |
✔ Streaming and gaming 4K content available
|✘ Broadcast TV not in 4K
|8K||✔ Max amount of resolution currently on the market||✘ No content yet
|OLED||✔ Inexpensive options|
|✘ Screen can get burn-in effect
|QLED||✔ Higher starting price point|
✔ Performs better in a bright room or in sunlight
|✘ Not susceptible to burn-in
✘ Requires a backlight unit
How do you pick the best tech based on your needs and budget?
Now that you know what you’re buying, let’s figure out what level of tech fits your needs.
Is it worth it to purchase one of these TVs?
- If you’re on a budget, stick with a 4K OLED TV. It’s easy to find deals on these sets and they offer a superb viewing quality for the average household.
- If you don’t have a ton of space or appreciate a minimalist style, OLED TVs will fit the bill here as well. Since OLEDs do not need an LED backlight, they can be built super-thin and more lightweight.
- OLEDs are known for their dark room performance, so these are perfect if you’re a gamer or a movie-watcher that likes to sit in the dark.
- If you want a bigger screen and price is not a huge factor, 4K QLED is the way to go. OLED screens stop at 88,” but QLEDs are currently produced with up to 100” screens.
- If you watch the same channels all the time, consider this: QLED screens are not vulnerable to the burn-in effect of OLED TVs, in which a static image gets permanently scarred on the TV screen. (think station logos that stay in the corner of your favorite channel throughout the program).
- If you like to have the latest and greatest technology, then 8K is a fine choice. Just know that for now, the amount of available 8K content is minimal, and the price tag is high.
- And lastly, if you only watch regular cable TV, don’t worry too much about 4K or 8K. Most cable TV providers don’t broadcast in 4K, much less 8K, so the difference in higher resolution will not be noticeable.
Have an idea of the screen for you? Read up on the five steps for getting a quality picture from your TV and check out our resource center for streaming options.