Guide to Future-Proofing Your Smart TV [2021]

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It’s 2021. If your TV can’t play Netflix, are you even living in 2021? Compared to the basic function of playing TV channels such as Channel 5 in Singapore, the features of TVs have evolved rapidly over the years. We can now use TVs as an extended monitor, or use it to surf the net, stream our favourite shows on Netflix and Youtube. 

There are also tons of different TV models – LCD, LED, OLED etc. Instead of walking into the store and listening to the salesman droning away about the latest screen technology or boasting about having the biggest resolution it has on the market, do your research before purchasing! 

Half of the time, we as consumers have no idea what those specifications really mean! Buying a TV should not be as confusing as it seems – know what you’re looking for and it will be much easier to decide if it’s the TV for you. 


#1. Screen size

Bigger screens don’t necessarily mean that it’ll be better for your home. First and foremost, take into consideration the size of your living room, especially the distance between the sofa seat and the wall where the TV will be situated. 

 

Choose a size that is comfortable for viewing. Too large and it will end up being too close for comfort; remember that time when you’re left with the first few rows of seats in the cinema and still decided to go ahead with the movie? 

 

On the other hand, if the screen size is not large enough, it will affect your TV experience. As a benchmark, 55 inches are recommended for the living room. If you’re going to use a TV console instead of mounting it on the wall, do take the dimensions of it into consideration as well. 

 

Another factor that affects the screen size is also the number of people in the house. If you live with a large family, naturally a larger screen would be for better viewing. How about newer TVs with curved screens you say? Curved TVs are marketed to give users a more immersive experience while viewing. But to fully experience the benefits of a curved TV, the TV has to be big and one has to sit at the ‘sweet spot’ – which is right smacked in the middle of the screen. This is rarely the case as you will most likely be seated around the living room, viewing the TV from different sides unless you live alone or just with your spouse. 

 

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#2. Screen resolution

In terms of resolution, you want the numbers to be as high as possible. 720p? Well, you can still find it in today’s market but if you ever see it, skip it. 1080p HD? That was the standard screen resolution but you can give it a pass as well. TV manufacturers have moved on from HD resolutions, Ultra HD resolutions (which are the 4K TVs) to Ultra-ultra HD! These are the 8K sets, where smaller images are much sharper when viewed on the screen. 

 

Though these 8K sets are still pretty new on the market, we can see quite a number of 8K sets being pushed out by manufacturers to stay ahead of the game. Images produced look a lot more life-like with its increase in brightness and contrast compared to the normal TVs. However, there’s little difference viewing on 4K and 8K.

 

Besides, there are currently no media ready for 8K viewing yet, so there’s little reason to consider splurging money for an 8K TV set. While an 8K TV set might replace a 4K TV set, it won’t be happening anytime soon. So unless you have a budget for an 8K TV set, a 4K TV set is enough to futureproof your TV. 


#3. Smart TVs and Android TVs

Having Smart TVs allows direct connection to the internet via Wi-fi or Ethernet cable. With built-in streaming apps such as Youtube, Netflix etc, it’s easy and convenient to play games, surf the web and stream your favourite shows. For instance, you can directly stream your favourite Youtube playlist on your Smart TV from your phone. 

 

With this feature, it also frees up your HDMI ports. You no longer have to deal with all the wires while trying to plug your laptop into the ports of the TV to stream videos.  

 

However, TVs manufacturers are equipping TVs with Android systems. Besides having the ability to download applications from Google store, Android TVs have the edge over Smart TVs as it can be updated to support the latest version of apps. 

 

The verdict: Whether you go with Android or Smart TVs, it really depends on your usage of the TV.

 


#4. Refresh rates

A refresh rate shows how many frames a TV can display per second. If you want a smooth display motion, look for TVs with 120Hz refresh rate. That being said, there are still some pretty good TV sets out there in the current market with 60Hz. So, does that mean the higher the number the better? Theoretically speaking, yes. However, there is no 240Hz TV, only 60Hz and 120Hz as of now. Any numbers higher than 120Hz will probably end with a ‘Soap Opera Effect’ which made the videos look hyper-realistic which is uncomfortable for viewing.

 


#5. Connections

 If you connect your TV to your devices such as cameras, laptops and USB drives, you need to look for HDMI that would give you the widest compatibility with these devices. Get a TV with v2.0 HDMIs that offers at least 3 ports. Some even allow your devices to connect to the TV via Bluetooth. 

 

With this information, make a checklist and you would roughly have in mind what TV models you’re looking for. Head out to test your shortlisted models. To test if the TV is as good as it sounds on the paper, these are the two things which you can do. 

    1. Don’t just stand directly in front of the TV; look at the screen from all sides! When we visit the store, we would usually stop directly in front of the TV and view it. However, that’s not the only angle we would view our TV as we tend to sit around the TV. The images produced on the TV would definitely look good when we view it straight on but the quality of the image might change when we view from the sides. Thus, it is important to walk around the TV to ensure that the quality remains the same no matter which angle you are viewing the TV from. 
    2. The display quality of the TV is great! But how about the quality of the sound? The sound is important for an immersive viewing experience. Imagine watching a horror flick without sound; it does not seem as scary now, right? Besides that blockbuster film the TV is playing when you visit the store, ask for them to play other kinds of programs as well, such as a documentary or TV dramas to get a better idea of its sound quality.

With these tips and tricks, be a smarter consumer the next time you purchase a new TV set! Psst…To get the best bargain, wait for IT shows that are held periodically throughout the year! (Though there’ll be unlikely by any IT fairs or show this year due to COVID-19.) You might come across some good deals if you’re up for the wait.

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