The Top Display and TV Options for Your Home
Is it time for an upgrade to your TV or home theater display? Whether you are looking to replace an older HD set want to move up to the latest innovations in 4K or even 8K, there are more options available than ever. However, it can get a little complicated to understand the differences between the new technologies. What will work best for your space and budget and give you the best home entertainment experience?
To make your decision as simple as possible, we have broken down the most important factors to consider, including resolution, the technology of the display, and the pros and cons of different options.
Resolution – HD, UHD, 4K, and 8K
If it has been a while since you have purchased a TV, you might be overwhelmed with all of the resolution options. While HD sets are slowly being phased out to make room for higher-resolution units, they are still available and can be an excellent option for those looking for a smaller screen on something for a bedroom or patio. However, most people shopping for a new set are looking for at least UHD (Ultra High Definition) or 4K.
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. The resolution of UHD is 3840 x 2160, which is pretty impressive as it offers four times the resolution of HD. However, true 4K is 4,096 by 2,160. Still, most viewers won’t notice much of a difference.
Meanwhile, 8K sets are also becoming more widely available. In simple terms, 8K offers quadruple the resolution of 4K at 7,680 by 4,320. That is a fantastic resolution allowing for an unequaled level of detail. However, keep a couple of things in mind before making the jump to 8K. First of all, not everyone will notice a significant difference between 4K and 8K.
Whether or not you will notice the difference depends on your vision, the size of your screen, and how close you sit to it. The larger your screen and the closer you sit, the more you will likely notice. Also, keep in mind that while 4K content is increasingly available, 8K movies and shows are still harder to find. One last thing to keep in mind is that picture quality is more than just resolution. Next, we will cover some things that may have more impact on your viewing experience. TV Size to Distance
Whether you are shopping for 4K or 8K, HDR is a feature that will significantly improve the image on your display. HDR (High Dynamic Range) displays more color variation, increased contrast, and higher brightness levels. If you switch from an HD TV to a 4K display with HDR, much of the improvement in the picture you see can be credited to HDR. This is especially true when watching movies and programs delivered in HDR. While there are 4K sets without HDR, you will want to look for the HDR label if you are looking for improved picture quality. Still, you may not get the most out of your upgrade if the display technology in your new TV can’t effectively support the increased dynamic range HDR makes possible.
OLED, QLED, LED LCD?
Modern TVs and displays are certainly not created equally. Because manufacturers strive to market their options as the best, it can become overwhelming for consumers to know what to look for. The heart of a display lies in the panel technology. Among the latest options, there are three main types LED LCD (Light-Emitting Diode, Liquid Crystal Display), OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode), QLED (Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diode). The very latest, OLED, is the only option that produces its own light. The older LED LCD and QLED both resort to a backlight shining through the panel to form the image. If you are opting for one of these sets, be sure to pay attention to the type of backlighting being used. Some sets are edge-lit. That means the LED backlighting only comes from the top and bottom of the panel, with diffusers spreading it across the screen. While there are some limitations, modern versions allow for the top and bottom panels of LEDs to be dimmed independently, making HDR possible.
The other backlight options include direct lighting, which provides a more uniform picture since there are lights behind the entire panel. Note that this does make HDR more difficult due to all the extra light. However, newer sets now offer full-array with local dimming (FALD) that provides the same uniformity of light with local dimming control. This means that individual zones of backlight can be brightened or dimmed on command, giving more dynamic range to the image. The latest Mini-LED technology uses smaller lights, offering even smaller dimming zones.
Of course, if you want to avoid backlighting altogether, OLEDs produce their own light. With no backlighting whatsoever, every pixel can be controlled separately to provide the highest possible contrast and dynamic range. Currently, the only complaint these sets receive is they are not yet as bright as backlit alternatives and are therefore not the best option for locations with little or no ambient light control. The next display technology coming soon is Micro LED which promises even more light control and dynamic range without backlighting.
Which is Best for You?
Shopping for a TV is more complex than ever since there are so many TV options. Some people are happy with the move to 4K even with the older, backlit, LED LCD technology. Others will wish to spend more to get the increased dynamic range of OLED or wait for the promises of Micro LED. While many consumers are still upgrading to 4K, it won’t be long before the price of 8K sets comes down low enough for consumers to consider even high resolution. With a little better understanding of what goes into these sets, consumers will just need to find a set that matches their budget and expectations.