If you’re in the market for a new 4K TV, the options might seem endless and it can be hard to know where to start. To help, we’ve put together this 4K TV buying guide to walk you through the major things you’ll want to consider when you’re shopping for a new television.
Even if you’re in the market for a 4K TV, you might find yourself considering cheaper, lower resolution models in the 1080p range. The same can be said for higher resolutions like 8K. While tempting, you don’t want to go below 4K at this point because it’s the new standard, and 8K is overkill for most people. With 4K resolution there are more than twice the pixels of a standard 1080p TV, which means small details, text and other features will be crisp and clear.
A bigger TV is better, right? Not always. You want to make sure your new 4K TV is properly sized for your space. Televisions are measured diagonally from corner to corner. Be sure to measure the wall or area where you’ll place your TV to get an idea of how it fits into your space. The distance from where you’ll place it and your furniture is also a consideration. You don’t want to strain your eyes from repeated, close exposure. As a reference point, 55” is a popular and practical size. It’s big enough to show off the impressive picture but not so big that it overpowers a room.
High Dynamic Range
HDR, or high dynamic range, is a feature found on many 4K TVs and is a must if picture quality is important to you. HDR makes things look more lifelike by adding definition to dark and light areas of the picture. The difference between a TV with HDR and one without is quite literally night and day. However, not all sets with HDR are created equal. You’ll want to read up on the different models you’re considering and get real opinions on how their HDR settings stack up.
OLED vs. LED
LED TVs are made up of LED backlights, usually behind a LCD or liquid crystal display. The actual layout of the LEDs has changed over the years, but the general technology is the same. LCD screens are made up of liquid crystals, which are controlled by electrical currents to open or close and the LED acts as a backlight. OLED TVs on the other hand have no backlight. The screen is made up of individual pixels that are self-lit. What does that mean for you? Well, OLED TVs can generally get better picture quality and more intense colors thanks to the tightly packed and individually lit pixels, which can turn off completely for deep, rich blacks. If you’re in the market for a new 4K TV, we’d highly recommend an OLED option.
Smart TV functionality and integrations
If it’s been a while since you were in the market for a TV, they’ve come a long, long way in terms of onboard technology. Most 4K TVs are also smart TVs whether they have Roku or a manufacturer’s app technology built in. You’ll want to make sure you can access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ and other services directly from your TV if you’re a streamer. You can also buy add-on devices like Apple TV or Google TV to make your entertainment experience complete.
When should you buy a 4K TV?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generally the best times to save big on a new TV, but it’s not the only time of year that stores run sales. You can set price alerts in Google for the models you’re looking at and follow along or sign up for newsletters and updates from your favorite stores like Best Buy, Walmart or Target. You should also watch manufacturer releases of new TVs. When the new models start to hit shelves, the remaining previous models will go on sale at a deep discount.
Which option is right for you?
Now that we’ve covered a number of factors to consider when looking for a new 4K TV, here are a few options to help you create your short list.
The most affordable 4K TV
If you want the best bang-for-your-buck 4K TV, you can’t go wrong with the TCL 43S425. This 43” 4K TV has an LED display, built-in Wi-Fi and Roku onboard to help you stream all of your favorite shows. It’s one of the absolute best budget sets around.
The best quality 4K
If you’re looking for the best of the best but still want to be kind to your bank account, the LG Class C9 OLED 4K TV is one of the absolute best 4K TVs you can buy in the upper price range at the moment. Right now, it’s on sale for $3,500 ($1,000 off). This 77” 4K OLED TV features Apple Home Kit, which allows you to control your TV with your favorite apple device, Google Assistant and Alexa built-in and webOS, which consolidates popular streaming apps and provides more than 70 free channels out of the box.
The best all-around 4K TV
LG’s CX OLED 55” 4K HDR TV is one of the best all-around 4K TVs out there. It’s less than half the price of more premium models but doesn’t skimp on quality or features. It has LG’s webOS technology like the premium C9 model we mentioned above, and the picture quality is outstanding.
By now, you should have a great head start toward finding the right 4K for you. Don’t forget that you can earn Cash Back on your purchase by shopping any of the TVs above (and a huge selection of others for that matter) with Rakuten. It’s easy and free to sign up. Become a member now and start saving today.