Simplify your next TV purchase

From the days of the single Doordarshan T.V. channel to the current day onslaught of innumerable cable channels, televisions have arguably been an Indian household’s favorite appliance. Today numerous television brands are fiercely competing with each other to become the viewing appliance of choice in the Indian consumer’s homes. The availability of plethora of televisions in various screen sizes and mind boggling specifications and display technologies is an indication of how radically times have changed in India over the past 30 years. In this day when T.V technology changes so rapidly that a T.V launched a year or two back seems old fashioned, how does a consumer decide on which television to choose? Let us help you find out.

There are six criteria to keep in mind when selecting the right T.V – Size, Screen Resolution, Display technology, Sound, 3D –T.V.’s and Accessories.

Size: Televisions screen sizes range from 19 inches to 84 inches .They are measured diagonally across from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner. T.V size should be selected based on two factors –The space available for the T.V. in the room and how far you will be sitting from the T.V.  Normally a viewing distance that is 1.5 to 2.5 times the screen size is recommended for comfortably watching a T.V without causing excessive strain to your eyes. For example, if you are buying a 55 inch T.V, your ideal seating position would be approximately between 7 feet (84 inches) to 11 feet (132 inches) based on your viewing angle. We would recommend buying the T.V with the largest screen size that fits in your budget and in your room assuming availability of an appropriate viewing distance.

Screen resolution: 720p or 1080p HD, or 4K Ultra HD
Screen resolution impacts the clarity of images displayed on the screen. Higher screen resolutions display sharper images. Screen resolution determines the number of pixels on screen and greater the number of pixels available in a screen the more detailed the picture is. This does not mean that you should always buy the TV with the highest resolution. Factors like screen size and viewing distance determine whether a higher resolution screen really makes a difference in viewing experience or not.

Smart TV

Smart TV


The most common HDTV screen resolutions are 720p, 1080p and 4K. A 720p TV screen refers to a 1280 pixel width and a 720 pixel height for a total 921,600 (1280 x 720) pixels on screen. A 1080p TV screen refers to a 1920 pixel width and a 1080 pixel height for a total of 2,073,600 pixels. Ultra High Definition televisions commonly called 4K have a 3840 pixel width and 2160 pixel height for a total of 8,294,400 pixels. A 1080p TV has more than twice the number of pixels as a 720p TV and therefore has the ability to display images in much finer detail than 720p. A 4K TV has roughly 4 times the number of pixels of a 720P TV and can display even sharper images than 1080P.

We have created a chart below using various calculators that provide viewing distance at which a resolution makes a difference in viewing experience for a given screen size. For example, for a screen size of  40 inches, image clarity of a 720P HDTV is normally just as good as a TV with higher screen resolution for viewing distances greater than 7.8 feet. So, in a situation when you know that you would normally be watching TV from greater than 7.8 feet, overpaying for a higher resolution 40 inch TV may not make sense. This information should provide some clues about the TV screen resolution that will be right for you.

Resolution
Screen Size (in inches) 4K 1080P 720P
20″ 1.3 ft – 2.6 ft 2.6 ft – 3.9 ft 3.9 ft – 6.5 ft
30″ 1.9 ft – 3.9 ft 3.9 ft – 5.8 ft 5.8 ft – 9.9 ft
40″ 2.5 ft – 5.1 ft 5.1 ft – 7.8 ft 7.8 ft – 13.2 ft
50″ 3.2 ft – 6.5 ft 6.5 ft – 9.8ft 9.8 ft – 16.5 ft
60″ 3.9 ft –7.9 ft 7.9 ft – 11.7 ft 11.7 ft – 19.8 ft
70″ 4.6ft – 9.0 ft 9.0 ft – 13.7ft 13.7ft – 23.0ft
80″ 5.1ft – 10.4 ft 10.4ft – 15.5ft 15.5ft – 26.4ft
90″ 5.9ft – 11.7ft 11.7ft – 17.5ft 17.5ft – 29.8ft
100″ 6.5 ft – 13.0 ft 13.0 ft – 19.4ft 19.4ft – 32.9ft
Viewing Distance in feet

Display Technology: OLED, LCD LED, IPS LED, Plasma
The revolution in display technologies is responsible for the current day TV’s outstanding picture quality. Most TV’s available today are based on Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology. Light Emitting Diode (LED) TV’s are actually LCD TV’s that use backlighting technology to improve the clarity of images generated using basic LCD. In-Plane Switching (IPS -LED) TV’s are a further improvement on traditional LCD TV’s providing even better picture quality and consistent accurate color from all viewing angles. Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TV’s differ from IPS-LED, LCD LED and Plasma TV’s as they do not need an additional lighting source and have materials that generate their own light. OLED TV’s are thinner, provide better color contrasts and consume less power. Plasma TV’s are excellent TV’s and while still available in the market today may not be available for long as major manufacturers are moving away from this technology. The chart below attempts a generalized “rule of thumb” comparison of average OLED, LED LCD and Plasma TV’s. We strongly recommend however checking a TV out at a showroom under different light conditions if possible prior to your purchase.

OLED LED LCD Plasma
Brightness Excellent Excellent Very Good
Black Level Excellent Good Very Good
Picture Contrast Excellent Good Very Good
Resolution Very Good Excellent Good
Video Motion Very Good Good to Very Good Excellent
Screen Size Very limited for now Multiple screen sizes available Limited
Refresh Rate Excellent Excellent Excellent
Viewing Angle Very Good Good Excellent
Power Consumption Good Excellent Good
Cost Very Expensive Competitive Competitive

Sound: For a complete and enjoyable T.V viewing experience, clear sound is just as important as visual clarity. Almost all TV’s today come with built in speakers, but it would be wise to pay attention to built-in speaker specifications to ensure that they are adequate for your needs. The metrics that you need to look for are speaker size and power rating. Bigger and heavier speakers almost always provide better sound than small light weight speakers. The higher the power rating of the speaker the louder the sound it can support. Please bear in mind, loudness does not always equate to better sound but more often than not you will need a power rating of 8 -10 watts  for the sound to be robust enough to be clearly audible in a large room. If the speakers available with-in T.V’s are not sufficient for your needs, you can also amplify external sound using Sound bar speakers or more sophisticated home audio equipment.

2D or 3D?
Introduction of 3D technology was supposed to revolutionize the TV industry and viewer experience. This technology though has not gained much traction with consumers or with media content creators. While there are plenty of 3D TV’s available, there is not much quality 3D content. Our recommendation at this time is to pay little attention to the 3D features available in a television unless you have a specific need for 3D technology. We would recommend buying a TV with 3D features only if this feature is being thrown in for free and the rest of the television’s features match your buying criteria.

Accessories /Additional features

HDMI Inputs: You will normally need HDMI inputs to connect Blu-ray disk players, gaming systems, cable set top boxes etc. So look for a minimum 2, HDMI inputs in your TV.

Inputs and ports in a TV

Inputs and ports in a TV


USB Ports: Having a couple of USB ports is handy if you plan to watch photos or images captured in your cameras. You could charge your cell phones too using a TV’s USB port in some cases if you so desire.

Composite and Component ports: These ports allow the TV to receive audio and video signals in standard (SD) and High definition (HD).  You can connect devices such as video cameras, laptops, tablets etc  to your TV for displaying content to a larger audience.

Voltage Stabilizers: If you are investing in a high end TV, investing in a voltage stabilizer is a good idea to help protect your appliance.

Smart TV’s have inbuilt apps that connect to the internet and stream audio and video content. They are handy as the built in WiFi allows you to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos on YouTube or other video and audio sharing services.  Typically, you will need to pay a premium for a Smart TV. If you do desire smart TV features and do not want to pay extra, you could buy external devices such as ROKU, Google Chromecast etc that allow traditional HDTV’s to stream media content.

We hope that some of the above tips will ease your TV search and will help you buy a TV that you can enjoy for a number of years regardless of the next disruptive technology introduced by the electronics and media industries. Televisions have become increasingly expensive over the past few years and it is wise to have a budget in mind before shopping for a television. There is also no sense in paying for features that you will not use. To explore the best TV’s available in the Indian market today and compare their features and prices, please continue your research at Conzumr.com

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