State of the TV, 2017: What Buyers Need to Know
Resolution & ContrastAn increasing number of manufacturers are offering High-Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities in their TVs, which massively improves contrast and allows content to take full advantage of the resolution offered by 4k Ultra HD TVs.
Sony and other brands are pushing HDR to places it's never been before in terms of the quality of whites, blacks, and expanded color gamut. Just months ago, Sony introduced Blacklight Master Drive, a proprietary technology which enables standard content to be played at never-before-seen HD quality, as well as white and black ranges that exceed what can be offered even by LCD and OLED displays.
Two groups are also looking to standardize HDR specifications. The Consumer Technology Association and the UHD Alliance have both published standards regarding HDR, which is exciting for the TV consumer because you'll be able to purchase an HDR enabled 4k Ultra HD TV knowing that it will deliver a picture consistent with what your favorite director or content creators had in mind.
HDR offers benefits for both the video connoisseur and casual home viewers. People already experienced with high definition TVs will appreciate the improvement in resolution, while everyone will be wowed by the color gamut enabled by HDR on a 4k Ultra HD TV.
Refresh RatesInflated refresh rates are still a common marketing gimmick. No matter what the salesperson or website says, your TV won't exceed a refresh rate of 120hz. This is simply as high as native refresh rates go. Anything higher than that is a ploy by the manufacture, and refers to a refresh rate artificially enhanced by proprietary technology. This won't necessarily make your content look better, and isn't worth spending significantly more money.
Since most content plays at a rate of 60 hz, a 4k Ultra HD TV with a 120 hz native refresh rate will work just fine. An Ultra HD TV that has a refresh rate of 120 hz handles factors like motion blur and judder with ease, so we do recommend going with 120 hz over 60 hz. Beyond that, there's little to be gained with higher refresh rates.
Placement and Shape
When purchasing a TV, it's vital to consider the space in which it's being placed, both in terms of the shape, size and viewing distance of the TV.
Curved TVs advertise a more immersive experience, but the reality is that until you reach 75” and 85”, that immersion factor isn't in play, and a distorted look is more than likely. You'll also have to contend with the fact that it won't lie flush against the wall.
Your viewing distance is the key factor in the size of TV you're looking to purchase. You'll want to purchase the largest screen you can afford in order to get the most out of your TV, but check the below specifications to make sure you've got the viewing distance to accommodate it:
Viewing distance range for 4K Ultra HD TVs
|40" ||3.3-5.0 feet |
|43" ||3.6-5.4 feet |
|50" ||4.2-6.3 feet |
|55" ||4.6-6.9 feet |
|60" ||5.0-7.5 feet |
|65" ||5.4-8.1 feet |
|70" ||5.8-8.75 feet |
|75" ||6.3-9.4 feet |
|80" ||6.7-10.0 feet |
|85" ||7.1-10.6 feet|