Winter is here and if that means nothing to you, then the first question you need to ask is; are you really into TV in the first place?
If you are thinking of buying a new TV to make the most of your binge viewing, before we get into how to stand tall in the face of your JB HI-FI geek and keep their sighs and tuts to a minimum, there are a couple of things we need to get straight.
Given that the amazing pictures they show on TV ads look pretty amazing on your old TV, what exactly are you buying? And the answer is pixels – the little dots of light that make up a picture – and you should be buying them by the truckload.
A 4K-television screen or panel, as the cool kids call it, displays 4000 pixels per square , making it Ultra Hi Definition. Its HD predecessor didn’t measure itself in pixels, sticking to the old cathode ray tube premise of lines, 1920 x 1080p. But 4k consumer TVs have 3840 x 2160 pixels so not quite 4K but it’s easier to say and four times those of the HD display.
And all you really need to know is that it’s four times the number of pixels on a 1080p display, and over 23 times the resolution of standard definition television.
That’s a lot more pixels for your buck and what you get for that is the ability to sit closer to the screen because you can’t see the individual pixels, plus a clearer, brighter, better colour picture.
The screen size you require does depend on your preferred viewing position and if you have space on your wall for something that makes the old home theatre look like a backlit puppet show. Screen sizes are measured diagonally in inches, presumably to keep Americans, Poms and decimal deniers happy, requiring you to convert. 25.4 mm is an inch, so a 65” screen is 1.65m.
You can sit within a range of 1.5 to 2.5 times the screen size so for above mentioned 1.65 metre screen, 3 to 4.5 metres will be good, further than that and you start to lose the benefit. Now you know what size you can accommodate, let’s go shopping.
Oh, why now, why not wait a bit longer? Good question, I can see you’ve been an early adopter before. You’ve got those his-and-hers Sony 3d spectacles in your TV cabinet too. 4K technology isn’t new and it’s going to be around for some time, as broadcasters provide more 4K programming (Netflix streams some of its original series in 4K) and in the meantime, the upscaled HD picture will keep you happy.
Plus our stubbornly strong dollar is keeping the costs achievable. Although if you’re not currently an apartment owner, maybe you should be saving for your deposit by eating breakfast at home, only going to see movies on Tuesday nights and using coupons from supermarket dockets to eat dinner on the cheap. I’m kidding, I’m not your parents, kick-arse TVs matter!
The basics you’re looking for is a set with screen resolution of 3840 x 2160, or 2160p.
It should have HDR, or “High-Dynamic Range” because the difference in how the picture looks is huge, and as important to the image as being 4k in the first place.
It should also have 10-bit color depth or higher, so you get 1024 shades of each primary colour.
Last bit or prep. An OLED is an organic light emitting diode screen and these are unarguably sharper with better contrast as they emit their own light and have blacker blacks than Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) but everybody has a price so it’s really down to getting the best you can afford.
So here are ten questions you really need to ask your retailer (you know, the spotty Saturday kid with the “employee of the week” badge and the smug smile of superior knowledge). Turn that smile into a frown by clicking on page 2.