Smart TVs have become very popular in recent years, offering features that traditional TVs cannot offer or even approach some of their features. But if you’re not versed in such devices, you can easily end up buying a smart TV that doesn’t live up to your expectations. So here are the most important specs to check before buying a smart TV.
1. HDMI and other connection ports
Each TV has its own set of connection ports, but some may not have the exact ports you need to install the relevant hardware. The most important part to check is the HDMI port (or High Definition Multimedia Interface). It’s a versatile port that can connect all types of devices, including dedicated game consoles, laptops, speakers, and more.
However, HDMI ports don’t come in just one form. You get an HDMI port in 2.0a, 2.0b, and 4.0 formats. Most smart TVs should have the standard HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 port, which you probably have on your current TV if you’ve bought it in the last XNUMX years or more.
Most Smart TVs support the standard HDMI types (2.0 and 2.1) compatible with most devices. So check these ports when looking for a smart TV. Also, keep in mind that if you want a TV with a screen resolution of 4K or higher, you’ll need a High-Speed HDMI cable.
On top of the HDMI ports, you should check the USB ports, specifically the USB 2.0 port (considering data transfer speed compared to USB 1.0). However, some newer smart TVs support USB 3.0, which is faster than 2.0. We know the importance of USB ports for laptops, and the same goes for Smart TVs.
You can use the Smart TV’s USB port to connect to a laptop, hard drive, or even your phone to charge it. Given the versatility of USB, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your smart TV supports this type of connection.
2. Screen resolution
This also applies to conventional televisions. You should always check the screen resolution of any smart TV before buying it, as this setting determines the picture quality, which is a big aspect of TVs in general. These days, it’s rare to find a smart TV with less than full HD resolution (1980 x 1080), so make sure the product you’re looking for meets this minimum. You’ll also get an 8K TV, like Samsung’s 8” 75K QLED Smart TV.
But 8K resolution will be expensive. Standard 8K TVs cost around $4000, and some cost two or three times as much, depending on screen size. Some larger Smart TVs cost more than a new car. If you’re in the market to buy such a TV, there’s no reason not to invest in a resolution upgrade like this. However, hundreds of smart TVs can deliver stunning 4K picture quality.
3. OLED, LCD, and LED
What is the difference between all these types of screens? Well, OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is fast becoming the newest and brightest alternative to LEDs and LCDs in the TV industry because it can produce vibrant colors, higher contrast, and a more pleasant viewing experience for general customers.
LED screens cannot provide this level of quality and are quickly being replaced by newer TVs, while LCD screens tend to have a plain or “opaque” look, which doesn’t make for an amazing viewing experience.
So if you want a smart TV that can deliver a truly amazing viewing experience, use an OLED screen instead of an LED or LCD screen. Although OLED screens are generally more expensive than LED and LCD screens, you will certainly notice the difference in your TV’s picture quality if you pay some extra money for an OLED screen.
It’s also important to note that there are now QLED screens on the market, providing great picture quality with a longer lifetime. However, some QLED TVs are quite expensive, especially from big brands. So keep in mind that you can still get amazing picture quality when using an OLED screen.
4. Refresh rate
Simply put, the refresh rate is related to the number of times the TV can refresh the display image (frame) per second. While it may seem like all TVs do a good job of updating images quickly, it’s important to look at any smart TV refresh rate, and here’s why.
The higher the TV’s refresh rate, the less distortion you’ll notice in quick camera shots. You may have noticed the blur effect when watching action scenes, sporting events, or the like, and a TV with a low refresh rate will produce clearly blurry videos.
The standard refresh rate for modern TVs is between 60 and 120 frames per second (FPS). Remember that you won’t see much difference between a TV with a refresh rate of 100 fps, for example, and a TV with a refresh rate of 120 fps. So you don’t need to spend more on TV at a slightly higher rate. However, try to avoid drastically low refresh rates as this can result in lower overall viewing quality.
5. HDR Compatibility
HDR (or High Dynamic Range) is a technology that can increase the dynamic range of an image between the light and dark parts of the image (i.e., the contrast). An HDR-compatible TV will generally produce a better quality picture, but you can tell this isn’t a vital feature. However, if you’re looking for a high-quality TV, HDR compatibility definitely won’t hurt.
There are several different types of HDR on the market today, including HDR10, HDR10, HLG, Technicolor’s Advanced HDR, and Dolby Vision. You’ll notice that most TVs support HDR10 as it’s the most popular type at the moment, so check this out when looking for your new smart TV.
6. Screen Size
This is the most obvious choice compared to what was checked on this list, but it can be tricky if not checked. While it may be tempting to research the largest size a Smart TV will allow, you must first ensure that it fits in the space it will occupy in your home. Trust us; this is not an uncommon mistake!
Also, consider the size of the room you would like to place the TV in, as a 60-inch screen in a small room can damage your eyes and interfere with the viewing experience. So first, make sure you measure the space you have and consider the area where your Smart TV will be.
7. Ability to switch between smart and traditional mode
While there is literally no such thing as a “dumb” TV, this is the term for traditional TVs that cannot offer the features that smart TVs do (especially the ability to access streaming services through an internet connection). And most, if not all, Smart TVs can be converted back to traditional TVs. Although most people never do this, it’s important to note whether you want it or need it.
But why should you care about this feature? Well, sometimes smart TVs can be a big intrusion on privacy. For example, there have been several reports of smart TVs possibly recording people’s conversations, which is worrisome, to say the least.
So if this is a concern for you, don’t worry! Normal tv can transform a smart TV into a normal TV by slightly adjusting the TV settings. This is usually done by turning off the TV’s ACR settings, which is very simple. However, this can vary slightly depending on your TV model, so check your user manual or do a quick internet search to find out exactly how to do this.
Smart TVs are the next step in entertainment, but you need to be on the lookout!
While the idea of buying a smart TV is certainly exciting, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you want first and check the specs above to make sure you’re not wasting money on something that isn’t right for you. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go out and buy the perfect Smart TV.