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How to Choose a TV (GUIDE)

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TVs these days can do much more than just project television broadcasts. With their large screens, high resolution, high-quality panels and speakers, modern TVs deliver an almost cinema-like experience. Smart features connect your TV to the world of the internet, smartphones and other devices in your home. Having a television that fits all your needs makes it easy to tune in to football matches or your favourite TV shows, such as Strictly Come Dancing or the North Water. The product spectrum is wide and the parameters are many. So let's take a look at how to choose a TV in 2021.

How to Choose a TV - CONTENTS

Tips on how to choose a TV

  1. First, you need to decide how large do you want your TV to be. It depends mainly on your preferences and budget, but you should also take the recommended viewing distance into account.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the benefits of various display technologies, as whether you choose an OLED, QLED, or LED TV will have a significant impact on your overall experience.
  3. Consider the other features and parameters of the TV. Do you want a TV with HDR? What operating system would you prefer for your SMART TV? Are you a gamer and do you require a high refresh rate for your device?
  4. Seek additional information. In this guide, we'll explain how to choose the right TV. Knowing the basic parameters and features can go a long way. At the end of the guide, we'll also give you some tips on specific models.
Jak vybrat televizi

What TV to buy and what parameters really matter?

Screen Size and Resolution

Diagonal size - How to choose the size of the TV?

When it comes to choosing a TV, the most important parameter is its diagonal size. However, make sure the TV of your choice will actually fit wherever you are planning to place it. Not only physically, but its size should also allow for the recommended viewing distance.

Modern smart TVs come in all sizes from large to small and compact, but if you want a TV for your living room, keep in mind that it shouldn't be smaller than 40" (100cm). At the other end of the price range, among the most expensive TVs, you'll find models with diagonals as large as 86", 88" or even 100" (254cm).

So, what diagonal size should you choose? The most popular and best-selling TVs are 50" (125cm), 55" (139cm), 60" (152cm) and 65" (164cm). But if you want to enjoy the luxury of a really big screen, you can also choose from TVs over 70" (177cm), and believe us, there is a lot of those.

Display resolution

The resolution determines how many pixels are on a screen, so it has a direct effect on how sharp the image will look. The resolution number tells you the number of columns (width) × number of rows (height). The higher the resolution, the more pixels = the sharper the image. If you want the sharpest and highest quality image possible, you should opt for the highest resolution you can afford

At present, the most widespread resolution options are:

  • Full HD - 1920 × 1080 pixels.
  • 4K Ultra HD - 3840 × 2160 pixels.
  • 8K Ultra HD - 7680 × 4320 pixels.

Full HD still works great for laptop displays, but for TVs, 4K Ultra HD clearly reigns supreme. HD Ready and lower are desperately outdated by now and shouldn't even be considered. 4K TVs are also available at very reasonable prices, so even those on a very tight budget can afford one. And finally, 8K content is still not as widespread as it probably should be, so 8K TVs sold today are mainly aimed at customers who are willing to pay extra to get the best tech they can.

Recommended viewing distance

The recommended viewing distance, i.e. the distance from which you should ideally watch your TV, is based on the relationship between the diagonal size and resolution. This is the distance that:

  1. allows you to watch TV without seeing the individual pixels and the underlying grid or turning your head to follow the events on the screen
  2. at the same time, is short enough that the TV takes up a large percentage of your field of view at any given time. This makes everything on the TV easy to see and improves the viewing experience.

The higher the resolution, the closer you can sit to your TV (pixel recognition limit). Conversely, the larger the diagonal size of the TV, the more space you need to put between yourself and the screen.

The relationship between the diagonal size, recommended viewing distance, and different resolutions is illustrated in the following diagram:

TV recommended viewing distance

If you are interested in the topic and would like to learn more about it, make sure to read our article Recommended Viewing Distance.

Image Technology / Display Technology

Modern TV use two main display technologies - either LCD with LED backlighting or OLED. Let's take a closer look at them both.

LCD LED

The way LCD technology works is that we have a separate backlight layer covered by a layer of liquid crystals. These crystals are rotated by different voltage levels, making them either transmit or not transmit light. This modifies the displayed colours, but also changes the local brightness.

If the TV wants to display black somewhere, it will completely 'close' the liquid crystals at that point. These then let in only a minimum of light, causing the image to appear black at that location. But in reality it's only very dark grey or blue, because the LED backlight illuminates the whole screen with the same intensity, and even shuttered liquid crystals do let some light through.

That's why TV manufacturers have come up with so-called Local Dimming. This divides the LED backlight into larger segments, which the TV is able to individually brighten, dim, or switch off completely. As a result, LCD/LED TVs with Local Dimming have significantly higher contrast and can display true blacks. There are limits to this technology, however, as even the best LED TVs only have thousands of these zones, with millions of pixels. The quality of dimming in close-up scenes is therefore not as good as in OLED technology.

OLED

OLED uses so-called organic diodes, which can be so small that they can be used directly as pixels. This means that OLED TVs have no backlight. Instead, each pixel emits light independently, so each pixel can be individually lit or turned off as needed. With this solution, it is therefore easy to achieve deep flawless blacks even when displaying fine details. For this reason, OLED is considered to be the most advanced TV display technology currently available, not only because of its high contrast but also because of its beautifully saturated colours.

It has its drawbacks, of course. The biggest one is the price, because you simply have to pay extra for an OLED TV. The second disadvantage is the theoretical risk of pixel burn-in. Burn-in manifests itself in a permanent drop in contrast in places where the image remains static for a long time, typically on TV station logos. At present, however, there is no need to worry about burn-in too much as you are unlikely to encounter it if you use your TV normally.

Other terms related to television display technology:

QLED

Despite its similarities, QLED is nothing like OLED. It is an LCD technology with LED backlighting assisted by the so-called quantum dots. These are miniature particles that improve the TV's imaging properties in the colour field. A QLED television is capable of displaying more colours than a regular LED television. The picture is therefore more vivid and looks much better overall.

Mini LED

Mini LED is a technology that uses much smaller light emitting diodes than regular TVs. They should be no more than 0.2mm in size. If a TV boasts Mini LED technology, it's basically boasting about the quality of its backlighting. The smaller diodes make it possible to reduce the Local Dimming zones and more accurately backlight the image on the TV. The result should therefore be close to what OLED provides. But mini LED technology is still LCD with all it entails, except with a new type of backlighting.

Micro LED

Micro LED is probably the real technology of the future. Here, the diodes are even smaller than in Mini LEDs and can therefore be used not only as backlight elements, but as pixels themselves. Micro LEDs therefore work in a similar way to OLEDs. The pixels themselves glow, and each one can be switched off to achieve absolute, flawless black even in the smallest details. The key part is that Micro LED does not use organic diodes, which have a high power consumption and are theoretically at risk of burn-in.

Micro LED takes the best of both LCD and OLED. The only problem is the price. These TVs are currently exorbitantly expensive, as evidenced, for example, by the 110" Micro LED TV Samsung MNA110MS1A. However, we can expect the prices to drop in the future, which will bring Micro LED TVs into ordinary living rooms.

NEO QLED

As of 2021, Samsung-branded TVs that use a quantum dot layer along with Mini LED backlighting, a backlight that has a large number of local dimming zones, are referred to as NEO QLED.

Read more in our article Samsung Neo QLED: Next Gen TV Technology Has Arrived.

QNED

QNED is very similar to Samsung's QLED, but in this case it's LG. It is also a combination of quantum dot technology and Mini LED backlighting. The "N" in the QNED name refers to "NanoCell", which is the general marketing branding for LG's LED TVs.

Laser TV

Laser TV is not a traditional type of TV, as it uses a short-throw projector to display content, typically in conjunction with a special projection screen. This is tailored to better reflect light from the projector and, in turn, prevent ambient light glare. The main advantage of this solution is the ability to achieve huge diagonal image sizes, while maintaining high contrast even in daylight, as we are used to from conventional TVs.

Direct LED and Edge LED

Direct LED means that the LED backlighting of the TV is evenly distributed under the entire screen area. The main advantage is its uniform performance. In more expensive TVs, Direct LED backlighting also provides Local Dimming.

In Edge LED, on the other hand, we find the diodes placed only around the perimeter of the screen, from where the light is guided to the centre. This makes these TVs thinner, but it also increases the risk that the backlight will not be completely even.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate tells us how many times per second the TV can refresh the image on the screen. The more frames the TV is able to display in one second, the smoother the picture appears.

  • You can find TVs with a refresh rate of 50 or 100 Hz.
  • A 50Hz television can display 50 frames per second, a 100Hz television 100 frames per second.
  • 50 Hz and 100 Hz are both PAL standards, which has 25 frames per second as the absolute baseline.
  • All modern TVs are also compatible with the NTSC standard (30fps baseline), so 50Hz models can display up to 60fps and 100Hz ones up to 120fps.

High refresh rates are especially important for computer and console gamers. In fact, the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles support gaming at up to 120 frames per second, and high-end PCs have been supporting this refresh rate for quite some time already.

Even users who don't play games can feel the FPS boost. In fact, TV manufacturers use technologies that artificially increase the smoothness of TV broadcasts and movies. This feature can be turned on and off at will in the settings. You can tell when it's present if your TV has a parameter called Picture Quality Index, Picture Performance Index, Clear Motion Rate, or Motionflow XR. The name of the technology depends on the particular TV brand.

Apps and SMART Features

SMART TVs differ from conventional TVs primarily by the presence of an operating system similar to that found in smartphones or computers.

The operating system allows, above all, to connect the SMART TV to the internet and use apps. Some apps come pre-installed on the TV at the time of purchase, others can be installed additionally.

In addition to the internet browser, typical apps for smart TVs include apps for streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO GO, as well as other video services such as YouTube, Twitch or Stream. But you can also install apps like Skype, Weather or Google Drive.

SMART features on SMART TVs include new ways to connect and control, such as voice control, made possible by smart voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Want to change the channel or change the volume? Just tell the TV. Or, of course, you can use a good old-fashioned remote control - but these days, even those can be smart and offer a range of features that make controlling your TV easier. Wireless TV keyboards are also handy, allowing you to browse the internet or work just like you would on a PC.

You can connect a wireless keyboard not only through the USB connectors into which its receiver can be plugged, but using the built-in WiFi and Bluetooth technologies. These allow you to connect your TV wirelessly to a wide range of devices including mobile phones and computers. Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast or Miracast. If you want to play video or music from your phone on your TV, it's just a few clicks away.

Hybrid TV (HbbTV) is a combination of traditional TV and the internet. Through this service you can access TV content that is not currently being broadcast on the main channel (for example, sports matches taking place at the same time), but you can also access extended information in text form or a video archive.

There are several operating systems on the market, with most TV manufacturers using Android TV. But all systems offer a wide library of apps.

WebOS (LG)

My Home Screen (older Panasonic models)

Screen Brightness, Contrast and HDR Standards

Parameters such as screen brightness and contrast are not usually considered a primary factor when choosing a TV, even though they have a big impact on the TV's viewing performance. What you will definitely come across, however, are some of the HDR standards.

Maximum screen brightness

Maximum screen brightness doesn't just mean that the screen will glow more and therefore be easier to see on a sunny day. What's important about high brightness is that it contributes to the contrast quality of the TV (along with the minimum brightness).

Contrast/dynamic range

Contrast, more recently referred to as dynamic range in TVs, describes the difference between the lightest and darkest point that the television is capable of displaying. For contrast to be really high, the television must not only have a high maximum brightness, but it must also be able to display very deep blacks. Not all TVs can do this, because some TVs have, for example, LED backlights without Local Dimming and therefore cannot display real black, but only very dark blues or greys that appear as black.

If the TV has high contrast, the lightest point is almost blindingly bright, while the darkest point is perfectly black. OLED TVs and LED TVs with Local Dimming, which can turn off the backlight completely in black spots, can do this. A high-contrast picture is more vivid and clearer. Colours are more saturated and their individual tones are easier to distinguish. By contrast, a low-contrast image is washed out - it looks a bit like you're looking through a foggy window.

HDR

A high contrast/dynamic range TV can display so-called HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. These are movies, videos, and video games that are made with high-quality, High Dynamic Range screens in mind. This content therefore offers a greater amount of visual information and displays details even in places that would be impossible to see on a normal screen.

You can tell that your TV is capable of displaying HDR content by several standards. These are always linked to the minimum performance requirements of the TV.

  • HDR10 - the oldest HDR standard, which is met by virtually all TVs made by reputable manufacturers today. This means you'll be able to play HDR movies from streaming services and Blu-rays in basic HDR quality.
  • HDR10+ - this format uses so-called dynamic metadata that changes the way HDR is displayed individually for each scene, which is important because each scene is lit differently. HDR10+ is therefore able to deliver better results than HDR10, which uses static metadata and with it one setting for the entire movie.
  • HLG - HLG differs from other HDR formats in that it is not primarily intended for streamed and playback content, but for broadcast television. We don't have that in the Czech Republic yet, but if it does come here one day, you'll be ready for it if your TV supports HLG. The DVB-T2 standard technically allows broadcasting in HLG already.
  • Dolby Vision - Dolby Vision uses dynamic metadata in a similar way to HDR10+, however it currently has significantly wider support across movies and series. In addition, the Dolby Vision format is more technologically advanced but also more production intensive.

The mere presence of one of the HDR standards does not necessarily say much about the actual picture quality of a TV. The information about the standard is more indicative of the compatibility of the device; the actual HDR quality will depend more on the display technology and the price range of the TV.

Inputs and Outputs (Connectors)

All SMART TVs are equipped with enough connectors to meet the needs of the general user. However, if you know that your requirements are somehow specific, you should pay attention to the connectors when choosing a TV. For example, if you want to connect several devices to your TV at the same time.

What will you be connecting to your TV?

Examples of the devices most commonly connected to TVs:

Before you buy a TV, you should know how many HDMI ports you will need. Two to three ports are standard, but for the most demanding gamers who have two consoles, a computer, and then maybe a soundbar or home theater system, this might not be enough.

If you need to connect several devices to a TV that doesn't have enough HDMI connectors, and you don't want to keep plugging and unplugging cables manually, you can use an HDMI switch (take care that you don't buy a HDMI splitter by mistake, because that works the other way around, i.e. it splits HDMI signal from one source to multiple displays).

TV inputs and outputs

Today's TVs are commonly equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth, which means you can connect a wide range of devices wirelessly. This reduces the need for some connectors, such as Ethernet.

HDMI 2.1

If you are an owner of the new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series console or are planning to buy one in the future, you should make sure your TV has an HDMI 2.1 connector, because these next-generation consoles support 4K gaming at up to 120 frames per second. However, older HDMI standards can't handle that kind of image transfer, so if you want to take full advantage of your new consoles, make sure to keep an eye out for HDMI 2.1.

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You can also find a lot of information about connecting external devices to your TV in our article How to Connect a Laptop to a TV or Monitor (GUIDE).

Digital Tuner

A tuner is a basic part of every TV set, as it allows us to tune in to TV stations. All current televisions are already equipped with a DVB-T2 tuner. This second-generation digital broadcasting mainly supports the HEVC codec and the associated higher-resolution TV transmissions.

Tuner types:

  • DVB-T2 - the current and most advanced standard for terrestrial broadcasting ("antenna" type). It brings a more efficient encoding that allows higher image quality transmission. Czech Television launched DVB-T2 broadcasting of all its programmes on 1 April 2018 and today virtually the whole Czech Republic is covered by this broadcast standard. For the latest information, read our article Switching to DVB-T2 (DETAILS).
  • DVB-T - the old, now inactive generation of digital terrestrial broadcasting. It has already been replaced by DVB-T2.
  • DVB-S2 - satellite reception. To fully use the tuner, you still need a suitable signal source, a decoding module, and a card for viewing pay-TV stations.
  • DVB-C - cable reception; to fully use the tuner, you will need the appropriate signal source and a card to watch pay channels.

Power Consumption

Consumption of SMART TVs starts around 40 to 50 kWh/year for smaller sizes around 40". A typical SMART TV in the popular 55" size consumes around 100 kWh/year, and if you have a huge TV measuring between 75" and 85", it can consume up to around 200 kWh/year.

If the power consumption of your TV, and therefore the cost of operating it, is important to you, you should make sure to check the energy label in addition to the diagonal size. Some TVs have lower power consumption than others despite being equally large.

Consumption can also be influenced by the display mode. Dynamic or HDR mode will provide good brightness and high contrast, but on the other hand it will consume more power than the power saving/ECO mode.

Each TV comes with an energy label that makes it easy to determine the energy efficiency of the TV. As of 2021, these labels have a new look, and you can find out how to navigate them in our article New Energy Labels From March 2021: What Is Changing?

Chytré televize – SMART TV

SMART TVs

  • Pre-installed and user installable apps
  • Browse the internet like on a computer
  • Direct access to TV station archives, streaming services (e.g. Netflix, HBO GO) and other videos (YouTube, Twitch, etc)
  • Easily connect to the internet and to various devices (computer, phone, etc.)
  • Smart voice assistants (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, etc.)
  • Gaming directly on your TV

SMART TVs are equipped with an operating system just like your computer or smartphone. You don't need to connect any other devices to watch a movie, and you certainly don't need to rely on the TV broadcasting to watch it. You simply find the movie or show in your favourite online video library and watch it right on your TV.

4K / 8K ULTRA HD TV

4K / 8K ULTRA HD TVs

  • High resolution 3840×2160 px (4K) or up to 7,680×4,320 px (8K
  • The resolution is significantly higher than that of a conventional PC or laptop display
  • High pixel density and perfectly sharp image even on very large screens
  • 100/120 Hz models can display a much smoother picture than conventional TVs
  • Upscaling feature enhances the image quality of lower resolution content to make it look good even on 4K/8K TVs. Sometimes it uses artificial intelligence to do this.

Almost all modern SMART TVs have at least 4K resolution, including those in the mid-range price category. A really sharp picture is therefore more affordable today than ever before. But the cheapest 4K TV may not be the best choice. More expensive models will offer better display technology and, of course, larger diagonals.

Those who want the very best can pay extra for 8K resolution, which will offer four times more pixels and therefore an even better picture than 4K. There's no need to worry about a lack of 4K or 8K content. 4K videos and movies are plentiful, 8K content also exists, and in case you can't get it, upscaling, which boosts the resolution using advanced algorithms, can help.

OLED, QLED and Mini LED TV

OLED, QLED and Mini LED TVs

  • These TVs have much better colours and higher contrast
  • OLED uses organic diodes as pixels and is able to individually control any of them, and of course turn them off. It can therefore display pure blacks as well as a wide array of rich colours
  • QLED is an LED technology with a layer of so-called quantum dots that dramatically improves the colour rendering of the TV
  • Mini LED is a backlight technology that delivers a large number of local dimming zones, and also a higher maximum. As a result, it displays very deep blacks in selected areas, and very bright whites in others
  • QLED (Quantum dot) and Mini LED are often combined to achieve similar results to OLEDs

All truly high-end TVs use either OLED technology or LED technology with multi-zone Local Dimming. In fact, conventional LED TVs use the same backlight brightness for the entire screen area, i.e. for both the bright and dark areas. The brightness rendering in this case is taken care of by the LCD layer, which has its limits in this respect.

As a result, these televisions are able to display much higher contrast, and it is this contrast that has a major impact not only on colour quality but also on the overall "awesomeness" of the picture. When a TV has a high maximum brightness and is also able to display very dark blacks, the picture has a visual depth that is impossible to appreciate unless you see it in person. This is one of the reasons why these TVs are among the cream of the crop in HDR imaging.

What TV should you buy and what to look for when choosing one?

Samsung

Samsung MICRO LED

A range of the most advanced televisions Samsung has to offer. This range uses a new and possibly revolutionary Micro LED technology that combines the best of QLED and LED TVs. However, the prices of these new TVs are astronomical for now.

Models: MNA110MS1

Samsung NEO QLED

The NEO QLED is a new Samsung model range launched in 2021, based not only on QLED technology, which greatly improves the quality and vibrancy of the colours displayed, but also on Mini LED backlighting. This allows for a greater number of Local Dimming zones, as well as a higher maximum brightness, which substantially increases contrast. This is the most advanced range that Samsung has to offer across multiple price points.

Models: QN900A, QN800A, QN95A, QN90A, QN85A

Samsung QLED

Samsung's QLED TVs use a layer of so-called quantum dots that increase the number of colours the TV is able to display. The picture is therefore more vivid and saturated. Models with Local Dimming are also available, but without Mini LEDs, making them less advanced than what the NEO QLED range offers. A slightly lower contrast can thus be expected from Samsung's "regular" QLED TVs. However, their price is also lower.

Models: Q80A, Q70A, Q60A

Samsung The Terrace

A special type of TV whose main advantage is dust and water resistance. They can be placed outdoors or in other environments with harsh conditions without fear of damage. In addition, The Terrace range offers QLED technology and a high quality anti-glare screen treatment.

Samsung The Frame & The Serif

The Frame and The Serif are the so-called lifestyle TV ranges under the Samsung umbrella. This means they target customers who want a cool, unorthodox design in addition to a high-quality picture. And that's what these TVs offer.

The Frame televisions are wall-mounted only, much like the picture frame they are modelled after. When you're not looking at the TV, you can display photos or artwork on it and it will be almost indistinguishable from the real thing. The Serif range is very similar, but instead of a picture, these TVs resemble a free-standing board or panel.

Samsung UHD / Crystal UHD

In the Crystal UHD range we find the most affordable TVs Samsung offers. All have 4K resolution and SMART features, and a solid picture quality for their price range. But they lack the really premium image technologies, such as the Quantum dot layer or Mini LED backlight. Therefore, they won't offer as high-end a picture as some other model series, but on the other hand, they remain affordable even in large diagonal sizes.

Models: AU9082, AU9072, AU9002, AU8072, AU8002, AU7172, AU7102

LG

LG OLED TVs

At the very top of LG's TV offer we find the OLED TV range. These are models that use organic diode display technology, which allows these TVs to produce not only very vivid colours, but also extreme contrast thanks to the high maximum brightness and the OLED panel's ability to display pure black. In short, the LG OLED TV range offers picture quality at the cutting edge of today's technology.

Models: Z1, G1, C11, B1, A1

LG QNED TVs

In the LG QNED range, we find TVs that use Mini LED backlighting, whose typical features include high maximum brightness and a large number of Local Dimming zones. QNED TVs owe their contrast and deep blacks to this technology, but their other important feature is the quantum dot layer, which ensures richer colour reproduction. The technologies offered by LG QNED TVs are the absolute best that today's LCD TVs have to offer.

Models: QNED99, QNED90

LG NanoCell TVs

LG NanoCell TVs can be found in virtually every price range. NanoCell technology, which gives this line its name, takes care of filtering out certain unwanted light wavelengths. This should increase the purity of green and red colours, and with it the overall quality of colour rendering. The more expensive models are also equipped with Local Dimming. Neither of these features are offered by more conventional UHD TVs.

Models: NANO96P9, NANO923P, NANO88P, NANO86P, NANO85P, NANO81P, NANO80P, NANO75P

LG UHD TVs

People who are particularly budget-conscious should consider this basic LG UHD TV range. These are affordable 4K models, all with Direct LED backlighting, built-in DVB-T2 tuner, standard SMART TV features and a basic range of connectors. But don't expect Local Dimming or other premium technologies.

Models: UP8100, UP8000, UP7700, UP7500

Sony

8K LED TVs (Master Series)

The most premium range in Sony's TV offer is the 8K LED TV series. As its name suggests, it features only 8K resolution TVs. These models have Full Array LED backlighting and therefore multi-zone Local Dimming, delivering extremely high contrast. The Master Series label informs the customer that these models meet the stringent requirements of Hollywood directors. They show the picture exactly as the filmmakers intended it to be.

Models: Z9J, ZH8 (2020)

4K OLED TVs (Master Series)

Master Series TVs are also available in 4K resolution. These are models that do not have to rely on Local Dimming as they use OLED technology with individually dimmable pixels. These models are also packed with top-of-the-line technology, feature rich and accurate colour reproduction, and high contrast to display movies and TV shows exactly as their creators intended.

Models: A90J, AG9 (2020)

4K OLED TVs

Sony also offers 4K OLED TVs at more affordable prices than the absolute top of the range Master Series. Of course, we're still in the premium category, which is something you need to prepare your wallet for. In addition to the cutting-edge OLED technology, providing excellent contrast and vivid colours, these TVs also offer a 120Hz refresh rate, for example, making them great not only for watching movies but also for playing PC and console games.

Models: all non-Master Series Sony OLED TVs

Full Array 4K LED TVs

These premium Sony LED TVs are distinguished from the cheaper ones primarily by the presence of Local Dimming. By being able to adjust different backlight brightness in different parts of the screen, they have much better contrast, and therefore overall higher picture quality. They are also the latest (cheapest) range of BRAVIA CORE compatible TVs equipped with the cutting-edge Cognitive Processor XR.

Models: X95J, X90J

4K LED TVs

Sony's most affordable 4K LED TVs don't have Local Dimming or a Cognitive Processor, but they have everything else a modern SMART TV should have. From 2021, all Sony TVs come with the new Google TV operating system (the successor to Android TV), and some 4K LED models also have a 120Hz refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 to take full advantage of the potential of the new game consoles.

Models: X85J, X81J, X80J

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What is BRAVIA CORE and BRAVIA XR?

BRAVIA CORE is a movie streaming service run by Sony that promises, first and foremost, an absolutely superb 4K picture comparable to Blu-ray. BRAVIA CORE's movie lineup should be quite extensive, and it promises regular additions of the latest blockbusters. On top of that, it's completely free for now, but only for owners of Sony BRAVIA XR TVs.

The BRAVIA XR designation is given to televisions equipped with the new Cognitive Processor XR. It processes images and sound to better reflect real human perception. The result should be a much more realistic cinematic experience.

Panasonic

OLED TVs

Panasonic's OLED TVs promise a picture like a Hollywood cinema. In fact, they offer an optional Filmmaker mode that adjusts the image processing to look exactly as the filmmakers intended. It is therefore recommended by leading Hollywood directors, including multiple Oscar winners, and Panasonic OLED TVs are also used as reference screens by leading Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld, for example. These televisions are mostly divided into four model series. In 2021, these models are JZ2000, JZ1500, JZ1000, and JZ980.

LED TVs

Panasonic also regularly launches two to three LED TV models in different diagonal sizes. In 2021, these are the JX940, JX850, and JX800 series. Although all these models can be described as cheaper alternatives to OLED TVs, they still offer very interesting features and great picture quality. The higher-end series has Local Dimming, 120Hz refresh rate and modern HDMI 2.1. It should not only provide a superior picture for watching movies, but also serve well for gaming on next-generation consoles.

Philips

OLED TVs

Traditionally, OLED models have been at the top of the Philips TV range, providing the highest contrast and most vivid colours. All models offer 4K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and HDMI 2.1 starting from 2021, so you can also take full advantage of the new PlayStation or Xbox consoles. The Ambilight feature, exclusive to Philips, is represented here by its premium 4-sided variant. The only exception are the most budget-priced OLED TVs, where Ambilight is 3-sided.

Models: OLED856, OLED806, OLED706

Mini LED TVs

Alongside the premium OLED models, the Phillips TV range also includes premium LCD TVs with thousand zone Mini LED backlighting and exceptional maximum brightness. These are high-quality televisions with powerful Local Dimming. Other parameters and features are very similar to OLED TVs. In more concrete terms, it means 120Hz, HDMI 2.1, and 4-sided or 3-sided Ambilight.

Models: MiniLED 9636, MiniLED 9506

LCD TVs

Those who want to save money will also find basic LCD/LED models in the Philips TV range. Not all of these TVs can be described as downright "affordable" though, as the higher-end models in this family come with all the premium features of OLED/Mini LED TVs, just with a more conventional screen. Of note is definitely the model that has been referred to as "The One" for several years now. It is a mid-range TV that Philips believes should meet the expectations of all mainstream users. So if you don't want to spend too much time choosing, 'The One' is the obvious way to go.

Models: LCD 9206, LCD 8506, LCD 7906, LCD 7506

TOP 3: What TV to buy if you want the best of the best?

If you're wondering what TV to choose if you're on a generous budget and want the best, we've put together a short selection of what are considered to be among the absolute best TVs available today.

Samsung QN900A (Neo QLED 8K)

Samsung QN900A (Neo QLED 8K)

  • 8K resolution and unrivalled picture quality
  • Neo QLED / Mini LED / superior Local Dimming
  • Powerful and efficient upscaling

8K TVs are here to stay and it's no surprise that they represent the best you can buy today. If you think that 8K resolution is a waste due to the lack of video content in such high quality, the Samsung QN900A will quickly convice you otherwise. Its AI-powered upscaling can upscale the resolution so well that you'll always enjoy your 8K to the fullest. Neo QLED technology ensures high brightness, pitch-black dark tones, perfect colours, and HDMI 2.1 with 120Hz 4K gaming support is just the icing on the cake.

Samsung QN900A Samsung TVs
LG G1 OLED

LG G1 OLED - Gallery Series

  • Unique elegant design
  • Exceptionally high contrast thanks to OLED Evo
  • Great choice for gamers (low input lag)

LG's Gallery Series TVs tend to dominate any space you put them in. This is not only due to their ultra-thin design, but also to their absolutely superb picture quality. In terms of contrast, the LG G1 OLED doesn't have much competition. This is mainly due to the new OLED Evo technology, which produces high brightness without increasing the risk of burn-in. Gamers will be particularly pleased by HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz refresh rate, but above all the input lag of less than 10ms, which is the lowest value we can find among today's 4K TVs.

LG G1 OLED LG TVs
Sony BRAVIA A90J (Master Series)

Sony BRAVIA A90J (Master Series)

  • High maximum brightness (HDR quality)
  • Very wide colour space coverage
  • Premium sound straight from the TV

If you want rich colours, you should check out Sony's Master Series TV range. Independent reviews have measured some of the highest coverage of the most important colour spaces, meaning the Sony A90J displays more colour than the competition. This results in a more saturated and vibrant picture. Maximum brightness is also extremely high, making the TV excel at displaying HDR content. And because it's a BRAVIA XR TV, you'll get access to the BRAVIA CORE premium movie library for two years free with your purchase.

Sony BRAVIA A90J Sony TVs
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Samsung Micro LED: What TV to Choose if You Have Money to Burn?

A high-end OLED TV is clearly the best thing you can buy today. And it will be for a long time to come. But one day that may change, and Micro LED technology will take over the place now occupied by OLEDs. This type uses miniature LEDs directly instead of pixels, which can produce a higher maximum brightness, but can still be individually dimmed.

We currently sell only one Micro LED TV, namely the Samsung MNA110MS1A with a massive 110" diagonal. If you are interested, get ready for a truly hefty price tag.

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