Smart TV is in every house now. It’s a must-have electronic instrument that every household posses.
A smart TV can connect to the internet, connect to BlueTooth, and work as a computer, although it can not match the functionalities of a computer.
When we shop around for a smart TV, we simply watch for the ” Smart” tag on a TV. Often we forget about other requirements.
The definition of smart TV varies based on your requirement also. Due to this, many people often buy a smart TV, but it does not match their requirements.
With the evolution of different technology, every company is now coming up with new technologies.
So it became more confusing and harder for people to make a choice. When we spend our hard earn money, we always want to spend it on the right product. Right?
So in this section of this article about TV Buying Guide, we will discuss different technologies and features used in smart TV nowadays.
After reading this article, you will be informed enough to judge which TV is good or which one is bad, and you can make the right purchase decision.
Factors To Consider While Buying A TV: TV Buying guide
Here are the key factors that you should consider while buying a smart TV.
1. Types of Display
Choosing the type of display is one of the most important aspects of choosing a smart TV. The type of display will decide how clear and vivid the colors will be on the TV, and it will decide the kind of energy the TV may consume.
In India, there are basically four types of display available on TVs.
- LCD ( Liquid Crystal Diode)
- LED ( Light Emitting Diode)
- OLED ( Organic Light Emitting Diode)
- QLED ( Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode)
LCDs use CCFL ( Cold-cathode fluorescent lamps) for backlighting. In earlier days, we used CRT (Cathode Ray Displays), which was very bulky. Compare to that, LCDs are slimmer and provide better picture quality.
However, since LCDs use a lamp for backlighting, they are not as slim as modern TVs. You will hardly find any LCD smart TVs nowadays as this display technology is very outdated.
As opposed to CCFL, LED displays use a light-emitting diode for backlighting. However, LED displays still use an LCD panel to control where the light should be displayed. Only the backlighting mechanism is different.
In contrast to LCDs, LED displays are slimmer, more energy-efficient, and provide better picture quality. LED displays are more widely used in televisions.
Unlike LCD and LED displays that use a light source to emit light on the screen, OLED does not need any light source. In fact, the pixels themselves emit light when an electric current passes through them.
This is one of the advantages of OLED displays where individual pixels can be turned off if not required.
You might have heard about OLED displays that produce perfect black in smartphones. Right? Do you know how OLED displays perfect black or perfect white?
In the case of LCD or LED, both use a light source. So even though it needs to be black, it always becomes a bit gray instead of black due to the backlight. In OLED displays, wherever black color needs to be shown, the pixel gets turned off automatically, and we get the perfect black color.
So you might have understood that OLED displays better color accuracy, a very high refresh rate, and better energy efficiency. Now you might be thinking about how OLED displays are more energy-efficient.
As I said that OLED displays turned off pixels wherever it is not required. So instead of keeping a backlight switched ON all the time, the OLED panel only switches ON pixels that are required.
Due to this, OLED panels consume less energy. That is the reason Dark Mode in OLED-based smartphones gives better battery life.
QLED is more of an advanced version of LED displays rather than a whole new technology. QLED displays use a metallic quantum dot filter.
The filter consists of numerous tiny semiconductor particles. Those particles can be controlled independently for their output.
Due to the independent filter, we get more accurate and vivid colors. We get more brightness. But QLED is still a LED display that solves the problem of old LED displays. OLED displays are still superior.
If you are buying the best smart TV in India, you should only go for OLED or QLED display. Otherwise, the actual fun of owning a smart TV won’t be encashed.
One more thing you need to know is that OLED displays are better for your eyes. OLED displays emit less blue light, which is good for our eyes.
That is why you may see that OLED displays are always more warm than other display types.
2. Size of the display
Before you decide on the display size of your TV, you need to figure out where you are going to install the TV. If it’s a living room, you can go for a much bigger size TV. But if it’s a bedroom, then it is preferable to go for small size TV.
The reason is that bedrooms are reasonably smaller than living rooms and if you install a bigger size TV, that will create a problem for your eyes.
You also need to figure out how you are gonna install the TV. If you do a wall mount, then you can buy a bigger size TV. However, if you choose to keep it on the top of a table or showcase, go for a small TV.
The reason is that if you keep a big size TV on a table, it won’t be stable at all, and there are chances that it may accidentally fall. But if the wall mounts a TV, it will be more stable even if it is a bigger size.
Typically people don’t buy TVs that are less than 32 inches in size. 24 inches TVs are almost obsolete nowadays. The sweet spot is between 42 and 55 inches, and more than 70% of TVs are sold in this size range.
One more thing that you should consider is the distance between the TV and you. If you sit closer to your TV, it may harm your eyes.
Not only that, if you keep a proper distance from the TV, you can enjoy the color, contrast, and picture accuracy.
So a considerable distance you should always maintain. But how much distance? Let’s list that data in the below table.
|Screen Size (Inch)
|Minimum Distance (Feet)
|Maximum Distance (Feet)
3. Types Of Display Panel
We discussed about various display technologies, but ultimately all those display technologies will give the output to the LCD screen that we see.
So it is equally important to know about display panel types so that we don’t make a wrong purchase decision.
Types of display panels are based on the alignment of molecules within the LCD and how they change alignment when current passes through them.
The color accuracy, contrast, viewing angle, and many other things depend on how those molecules change the alignment.
There are basically three types of display panels available in the market. However, only IPS and VA panels are widely used in televisions.
- Twisted Nematic ( TN)
- In-Plane Switching ( IPS)
- Vertical Alignment (VA)
TN Panel ( Twisted Nematic) is the oldest type of display panel. Although these are still used for monitors, and TVs it is almost obsolete. And there is a reason for that.
TN panels offer the worst viewing angle. So if you watch your TV from a different angle, you may see all together different colors. Also, TN panels can not show 24 bits of color and do not cover the full sRGB spectrum.
We know that when we watch TV, we need good color, contrast, and viewing angle. TN panel does not offer that, and that is why it is not used in TV anymore.
However, TN panels are good at the refresh rate. It can go up to 240 Hz. Also, the response time is about 1 millisecond, which is one of the lowest among all the panels.
Due to this, TN panels are excellent for gaming monitors, and gamers do not care about viewing angle, color accuracy, or contrast.
IPS solves the biggest problem of the TN panel. The viewing angle. You will get an excellent viewing angle on the IPS panel. That is why most TVs use IPS panels. However, the response time is more than the TN panels. Response time is usually 4 milliseconds.
One of the other issues with IPS panels is the refresh rate. Apart from a few high-end IPS panels, most of the normal IPS panels offer a 60-120 Hz refresh rate. But it can go up to 240 Hz in some TV models.
So if you are bothered about viewing angle and perfect color reproduction, then the IPS panel is the best.
VA panel is the compromise between the TN panel and the IPS panel. You will get an excellent contrast ratio and perfect color preproduction in VA panels.
In fact, color accuracy can go up to 125% sRGB. But in terms of viewing angle, it is not as good as IPS.
One of the other issues with VA panels is the response time of about 4-5 milliseconds. The refresh rate is also not that great compared to TN panels.
So here is the deal. If you are concerned about viewing angle and better color accuracy, and moderate contrast ratio, then the IPS panel is for you.
However, if you want the best color reproduction at the cost of a poor viewing angle, then the VA panel is better.
4. Screen Resolution
Screen resolution will decide how crisp and clear your display will be. No matter what type of display mechanism or display panel you use, everything is in vain if your TV screen resolution is not good.
Screen resolution means the total number of pixels on the screen, the more the number of pixels, the more dense the light will be, and the clear the picture will be because each pixel contributes to your TV screen clarity.
Here are the different screen resolutions available in the market.
Out of all those, HD TVs are the cheapest and offer poor picture quality. However, most people buy full HD or QHD TVs as those are relatively cheaper than 4K TV, and the picture quality is not that bad. UK UHD offers the best picture quality, but those are costly too.
Recently Samsung has launched an 8K TV on the market. However, due to the very high cost, it is still out of reach of wide audiences. In the coming years, only 4K UHD and 8K will dominate the market.
5. HDR ( High Dynamic Range)
HDR stands for high dynamic range, and it is one of the most important factors that you should consider before buying a TV.
Some people assume that a 4K TV is an HDR TV. But that may not be true. Not all 4K TVs are HDR TV.
We all know that color accuracy, contrast, and wide color gamut (WCG) are the three essential requirements of having a crystal clear, vivid, and accurate picture.
Obviously, you need a higher resolution screen too. HDR enhances luminance, increases the contrast ratio, and produces a wide range of the color spectrum.
The main intention of having HDR is to have a more realistic picture with high brightness, high contrast, and color accuracy.
There are three types of HDR ranges available in the market as of now. The best bet is to get a TV with Dolby Vision.
- HDR 10
- HDR 10+
- Dolby Vision
- HLG ( Hybrid Log-Gamma)
6. Refresh Rate
Do you plan to watch more high-speed dynamic content like action movies or racing car shows, etc?
Obviously, when we buy a TV, we watch those kinds of dynamic content. So it’s better to go for a TV with a high refresh rate. With a high refresh rate, you will get better clarity of the video.
We all know that videos consist of tons of frames. How frequently those frames get refreshed impacts video quality when you watch that on the TV screen.
For example, if you have a 60 Hz refresh rate TV, each frame will be refreshed 60 times per second. If it is 120 Hz, then the frame will be refreshed 120 times per second.
Nowadays, most TVs have a minimum of 120 Hz, with few high-end TVs going as high as 240 Hz. Although the concept is the same but different manufacturer uses another term for the refresh rate. For example, LG uses the term ” True Motion.” Samsung uses the term “Motion Rate.”
7. High Contrast Ratio
Many of us ignore this important aspect of TV. The reason is that many of us may not even know what contrast ratio is. In mathematical terms, the contrast ratio is the ratio between the intensity of white color to the black color in a TV.
Better the contrast ratio, the clear the picture will be, and the TV will show the more actual color. For example, a high contrast ratio will show black color as pure black and white color as pure white and everything in between.
If you buy a TV with HDR technology, you don’t need to worry about the contrast ratio as HDR will boost the contrast ratio.
8. Operating System
TV’s are more or less like a computer, and every computer needs an operating system. Unlike computers where we have only Windows and Linux, TVs have many proprietary operating systems. What that means is that every manufacturer comes with its own operating systems.
Apart from that, there are third-party vendors Like Google Chrome Cast, Amazon Fire Stick, and Apple TV that can make your TV smart with their own device loaded with their operating systems.
Web OS ( LG)
Web OS is a proprietary operating system by LG used in almost all LG smart TVs. It comes loaded with many apps, and in fact, it has an app store from where you can download apps. It supports Voice support through Google Assistant.
The navigation is butter smooth, but the interface is really boring. Also, connectivity options are limited. Also, you may not see frequent updates in the Web OS.
Taizen is an open-source mobile operating system developed by the Linux Foundation, but Samsung TV has widely used it for the last couple of years.
Compared to Web OS, Tizen looks very fresh, and more refined, and has an intuitive interface. The functionality is more or less similar but lacks the availability of the app.
Trust me, this is the best operating system that you can get for your TV. Apple TV does not come inbuilt with any TV. You need to buy the device separately. Apple TV devices cost us a bit high but considering the kind of service, it is simply great.
Apple TV offers 4K level picture clarity, supports Dolby Vision, and more HDR content. On top of that, it has millions of apps that you can install.
Amazon Fire Stick
Like Apple TV, you need to buy Amazon Fire Stick to activate the features on your TV. Comparatively, Amazon Fire Stick is damn cheap. You can always use Alexa with an Amazon fire stick which is a plus.
You also get access to amazon music and other programs that amazon supports. You can also control other smart devices with this Amazon Fire Stick.
Android TV OS is an open-source operating system offered by Google. It comes inbuilt with many TVs, and for that, you don’t need to buy a separate device like Apple TV or Fire Stick.
Most of the apps in the Google Play Store will work on Android TV as well. And you know that Google Play Store has millions of apps. So with Android TV, you will have more apps and more features.
Ruku TV comes inbuilt with many TVs, and you can also buy the Ruku stick if your TV does not come with it.
The interface is similar to Android TV or Fire Stick, but Ruku TV lacks a wide range of app availabilities. One of the other issues with Ruku TV is that it does not support Dobly Vision HDR.
9. Picture Engine
We already realized that having a high-resolution screen, a better display mechanism, and a good display panel enhances your TV’s picture and video quality. But is that all you need?
Picture Engine comes into play to address the shortcoming of your hardware. Like if you want to upscale resolution or enhance the pixel count artificially, the picture Engine plays a big role. It also enhances the color quality, contrast, and brightness of the picture.
Think of Picture Engine as a post-processing software. It just enhances the quality of raw pictures and videos before it is displayed on the screen.
Below is a couple of picture Engine offered by TV manufacturers.
- X Reality Pro Engine
- Tripple XD Engine
- Hyperreal Engine
- 4K Fine Remaster Engine
X Reality Pro Engine
X Reality Pro is owned by Sony and used in most Sony TVs. X really Pro is known for upscaling content without damaging its quality. Apart from that, it also helps in improving contrast ratio, color accuracy, and brightness.
Triple XD Engine
Triple XD engine is a proprietary image processing mechanism owned by LG for use in their smart TV lineup. Like the X reality Pro engine, it can do upscaling, but it also has a couple of other key features like XD color, XD contrast, and XD noise reduction. All these mechanisms help in getting a better-quality picture.
Hyper Real Engine
The hyperreal engine is the brain of most Samsung 3D TV. It enhances the color, contrast, and motion of already excellent Samsung displays. The result is a vibrant and crystal-clear picture.
4K Fine Remaster Engine
The 4K Fine Remaster engine is specific to Panasonic and specific to its 4K resolution. The working principle and advantages are the same as other picture engines. Only the name is different.
10. Connectivity Ports
Although your TV is smart, sometimes you may need it to connect to your soundbars or your computer or connect to a Bluetooth device. For that, you need to have a wide array of connectivity ports.
Usually, following ports are now more or less mandatory for even a basic smart TV.
- USB 3.0 Ports: Make sure you have at least two USB 3.0 ports. Don’t buy a smart TV if it still offers USB 2.0 ports. This is a must-have port for a smart TV.
- HDMI Port: Make sure you have a minimum of 2-3 HDMI ports. These are essential if you want to connect your laptop or any other display
- Display Port ( or Mini Display Port): This can be an optional port. If it’s there it’s good.
- USB C Port (PD): The world is moving towards USB C. So if your TV has one, it’s better.
- RJ45 Ethernet Port: If you want to connect your TV to the internet through cable, then an ethernet port is a must.
- Traditional Audio / Video Ports: These ports usually come by default with all TVs. Those are the ports shown in different colors in the above picture. Although we hardly use those ports but if we have that it’s good.
Usually, most consumers prefer to connect their smart TV to an external sound system. The reason is that no matter how good your TV is, it just can not match the sound quality of an external soundbar.
If you still want to stick to a TV speaker, make sure your TV has a minimum of two 10W speakers. Better if you get a 20-25 W speaker, and if it supports Dolby Atoms, then it is the best.
12. Remote Control
Although remote control should not be a factor in your TV buying decision, it is good for navigation if you have a better remote. Nowadays, almost all TVs support navigation through a mobile app.
Traditional remote controls use infrared. But current generation remotes use Bluetooth technology. It is preferable to choose a Bluetooth remote control so that you can control your TV effectively.
That’s all we have in this article. I hope we have covered almost everything about smart TVs so that you can take a smart call on which smart TV to buy.
However, if you have some queries left with you, just drop a comment below in the comment box. We will be happy to resolve your queries.
FAQ | TV Buying Guide
How can I connect my Smart TV to the internet?
There are two ways to connect your TV to the internet. You can use WiFi to connect the TV wirelessly.
If the WiFi facility is not available, then you can directly use the ethernet port to connect the TV to the internet router using a cable.
What is the difference between a traditional remote and a Bluetooth remote?
Traditional remote use infrared technology. So you need to be very close to your TV, and the remote need to be at a certain angle range to work. On the other hand, Bluetooth remotes can be operated from up to 6-10 feet distance without any angle.
Can I watch local cable channels on a smart TV?
Absolutely. Why not. Every smart TV has an option for attaching an antenna. Just connect your cable TV antenna to that port, and you are good to watch all your cable TV programs.
Dolby Vision or HDR 10? Which one is the best?
Dolby’s vision is far better than HDR 10 or even HDR 10+. The amount of clarity and color perfection that Dolby’s vision offers is far better than HDR10+. However, TVs with Dolby vision cost a lot.
What is the difference between HD ready and full HD resolution?
HD ready means that your TV can show up to 720P images or videos. That does not mean that you can not watch 4K videos. But anything above 720P will be downscaled to 720P.
On the other hand, Full HD resolution TV shows pictures and videos of up to 1080P.