I’m one of those guys that still cling on 32 inch HDTV Sony Bravia, yeap, it’s been serving my entertainment for more than 8 years now, although I’m not a movie buff and avid console gamers but when planning to upgrade my TV for future usage, I’m all technical and want the best, well 2nd to the best because we all know the best is way way out of reach for some.
Even though I usually spend maybe few hours a day on average in front of the television to watch the news, few movies and tv series on Netflix (using the android box) and on my local television network Astro (Malaysia tv cable network), I still want to choose tv that maybe last as long as my previous one. Hence I’m writing this to share my thought and experience on choosing TV according to my need, usage and of course my wallet.
Here are things to consider when purchasing new tv.
- 4K or HDTV
- OLED, QLED or LED
- Usage and Environment
4K or HDTV
You must be thinking, come on, its 2020, 4K is the new standard in TV, everyone should get 4K tv instead. Before you decide, you should know 4K TVs are more expensive than normal HDTV, and with most tv streaming content optimize to 720p or 1080p only, what’s the point of getting 4K tv. I’m not gonna lie, 4K TVs have clearer details than HDTV, even playing 720p and 1080p content.
Read also: 4k vs 1080p and upscaling
How is that possible? simple, most 4K TV now have what you call a CPU or hardware scaling capability, they make 1080p looks like true 4K content, well almost true 4K, you won’t be able to tell the difference unless nose distance between you and the 4K tv. My choice would be getting a 4K tv.
OLED, QLED or LED
Every time I have a discussion offline with friends or online get advice from TV enthusiasts, all of them always said “get OLED, its the best!”.
I always shout out “screw you”, well in my mind only 🙂
Not everyone can afford high-end tv with OLED display, it’s like if you want to buy a car and everyone suggest go get Ferrari, I’m not saying its a bad thing, it’s just considering the price point on OLED display tv, I’m not willing to cough up that much for TV that I will only use for few hours a day.
On the other hand, for those TV enthusiasts that always looking for the perfect view, color, and black depth, and can afford it and will use the TV often for movies or gaming, especially gaming, yeah, some people games for 10+ hours per day, I know, a friend of mine also does the same. Sure, go for it.
Also there’s the most common issue on OLED display, the burn-in. Of course, unless you leave your TV on for days or weeks showing the same channel with a non-moveable logo or picture, this would not be a problem for everyday users. This issue would be trouble for digital ads that used OLED display which you might see often on a billboard or digital ads platform that showcasing their logo or brand repeatably on the same position on the display.
However, the latest LG CX OLED has a feature call Pixel refresher that supposedly refreshes the display every few hours to prevent burn-in.
An OLED TV by LG or Sony will cost you around $2000 and more according to their tv size. The new LG OLED CX 55 inch is around $1800 (not sure if this is a promo price) and newly release LG OLED CX 48 inch is $1500.
If the burn-in issue can be eliminated in new LG OLED CX, along with the features such as Variable refresh rate, HDMI 2.1 and the pixel refresher, I would say the 48 inch at $1500 is tempting, on the other hand, $1500 can get me a bigger size tv, maybe a 65 inch but not OLED, ahhhh…the dilemma.
One point down…
Second best option for better display would be much cheaper QLED TVs.
Read also: What Is QLED, And Why Does It Matter?
How much cheaper? well around $300-$600 on various sizes.
However, the Samsung latest flagship QLED Q90T have the same price point with LG OLED CX, both on 55-inch size, price around $1800, make you wonder should you go with OLED or QLED since they have the same price and one thing for sure, you will not be worried about burn-in on QLED tv, now that’s a reassurance.
Sacrificing like 10% color accuracy and maybe a little bit perfect black seems worth it to me. Heck, if I’m buying a $2000+ TV, I do not want to worry every minute, every hour, and check the screen from time to time.
One point up…
Last and the cheapest option would be normal LED TV. Don’t worry, 4K or HD LED TVs still the most common household TV use. The truth is you do not need OLED or QLED to enjoy movies with family or play console games. Its always that one thing in mind, “can it be better?”, we should change the way we think like “start the movie already” or “let’s play some games”, yeah I know it’s sound absurd and ridiculous but I’ve seen many friends do all the research on the electronic product and after they bought and used it, they always have some complaint and have the thought of “maybe I should buy that instead”
Ok, for LED 4K TVs, here are my personal best choices
- Sony X950H
- Sony X900H
- Hisense H9F
- Samsung TU8000 series
HDR10, HDR10+, HLG Support and low latency for gaming – around $500 only for 55 inch
- LG NanoCell AI series
Usage and Environment
Most people neglected this when choosing a TV. Where would you put the new tv? living room? bedroom? your custom theater room? One thing that you need to consider is the room lighting. Here’s my conclusion on the best tv according to room environment:
- OLED not quite good in a bright room but have high contrast level, best and perfect black in a dark room
- QLED great in a bright room due to its higher brightness level, also good in a dark room but some models have slight blooming in a darkroom, you know that greyish, not true black when watching the dark scene.
- LED sometimes has a bit reflection on a bright room, it had an obvious reflection when watching from an angle. The blooming effect in the darkroom. However new innovation of full-array local dimming LED display make this better, few LED TVs model have this features and if they did, its more expensive, some equal to QLED TVs pricing, here’s few example.
In my case, it’s a small room with open windows right and bright so my choice would be either QLED or LED with full array depends on pricing difference. OLED would be my last choice since I’m not going to watch movies on darkroom, even on the night time, I have a bright light in a room and watching horror movies with light turn off (some people like this) is just not my thing 🙂
For gaming…let’s face it, almost 70% of people buying high-end TVs are for gaming purposes. Unlike computer monitor, television lack the refresh rate and latency of a great gaming tv/monitor unless you’re willing to cough up $4000+ for a good verse, great 120hz refresh rate, less than 0.5 pixel movement response time, OLED display and built for gaming and entertainment such as 55 inches Alienware AW5520QF. That’s a monster monitor but as Linus points out, playing games, especially First Person Shooting games is quite difficult on this monster display monitor.
Nether-less to say, something lacks on TVs tense to better on a monitor, vice versa. You can’t get the best of two worlds or…could you? Here’s a hint, LG CX series said to be the best so far for both next-gen gaming console or PC gaming (48-inch option) and movie entertainment so those who binge Netflix can enjoy the best 4K display possible.
My choice is easy, after all the consideration on price point, usage, and environment, I’ve boiled down to 3 options.
Hisense H9F – Best value (hard to find)
or if I have the budget and I’m Lil bit drunk, maybe this.
Samsung QLED Q80t
Unfortunately above first 2 models still not available in Malaysia, the latest price for Sony x950h 55 inch is $1199 (RM5200) and Hisense H9F last I’ve seen is Best buy with $550 (RM2400) and the last one Samsung QLED Q80T price at $1500 (RM6499) – however, you can get much cheaper older Sony OLED, B8 or C9 model with this price point, hence the dilemma I mentioned earlier, this is why your preference usage and room environment will be your decision point.
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com