If you’re thinking about buying a new television, now is the perfect time. Tech that was once the preserve of TVs costing upwards of £10,000 is now within reach for those of us without a footballer’s salary, especially with retailers like AO.com, which offer free next day delivery on select TVs. But how do you know what to look for when shopping around for the best set?
Some new tech is simple. Take 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD). This refers to the resolution of a TV, where a higher resolution results in a sharper picture. In the case of 4K, that means a picture with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, which is four times as many pixels as a typical Full HD 1080p TV. Other tech is buried beneath acronyms.
Where there’s 4K there’s also HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR refers to the difference between brightness levels, from the deepest blacks to brightest whites. A wider dynamic range results in a more engaging and more lifelike picture that’s far closer to the cinematic experience. TVs get better at HDR all the time, thanks in part to vast backlight systems that can dim various parts of the screen individually to create deeper blacks.
Besides brighter whites and darker blacks, HDR also creates richer colours. With a wider palette of colours to choose from, HDR content—which includes films and TV shows from the likes of Netflix and World Cup matches on BBC iPlayer—is far superior to standard Full HD and even 4K content. Look out for a TV with a “4K UHD Certified” badge to make sure it’s compatible with HDR content.
The technology behind a TV is important too. Most commonly, you’ll hear about LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and LED (Light Emitting Diode) technologies, which power the vast majority of TVs, although the likes of Hisense have recently introduced ULED, a variation of LCD screens and the strong LED backlights that power them.
ULED isn’t a single technology, but rather a collection of patented technologies that make LCD TVs even better. That includes Ultra Wide Colour Gamut, Ultra Local Dimming, Ultra 4K Resolution and Ultra Smooth Motion Rate, all of which result in an ultra-vibrant image.
Of particular note for football fans is Ultra Smooth Motion Rate, which removes the judder and blurring that afflicts lesser TVs during fast-action during matches. Sports Picture Mode, a feature found on the Hisense H55U7AUK, optimising the image for the smoothest motion at the press of a button. Look out for good upscaling features too, which can make DVDs, Blu-Rays and broadcast TV look sharper.
But what to watch? Regular Freeview digital television has been around since the early 2000s, before being replaced by sharper Freeview HD. Some TVs, like those from Hisense, also include Freeview Play, which seamlessly integrates catch-up services like All4 and iPlayer alongside 70 digital channels and 15 HD channels. Netflix and Amazon Prime both offer 4K HDR content, while BBC iPlayer is broadcasting certain World Cup matches in 4K HDR, letting you get the most out of your new TV.
Make sure you buy your new TV from an established, trusted retailer. AO.com sells the excellent Hisense H55U7AUK, a 55-inch 4K ULED TV with Freeview Play, for an astonishing £599. It comes complete a four-year warranty and free next-day delivery. Click here to learn more.