The COVID-19 coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), with the Indian government also advising everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from the risk of infection. The dual mandates of preventing public gathering and maintaining social distance have created a butterfly effect across industries. Many state governments have ordered malls, theatres, gyms, and other places of mass gathering to remain closed until the threat subsides. A number of corporates have also started offering ‘work from home’ options to their employees, exponentially increasing the number of people confined to their homes.

If being confined to the home has not been enough, the cancellation of global entertainment events has further exacerbated the sense of isolation. If cancellations and postponement of multiple flagship sporting events were not bad enough, pushing back the start of IPL, India’s favourite sporting extravaganza, has severely affected the psyche of the entertainment-hungry Indian who is now making do with endless hours of streamed shows and movies.

In this dire situation, it doubly makes sense to ensure that you have best possible in-house entertainment arranged. Therefore, if you are looking forward to investing in a good television, it is imperative you understand the various aspects of buying a television, as detailed in this handy step-by-step TV buying guide. So, without further ado let us get going with it.

Step 1: Deciding on the screen size

One of the first things you need to decide while buying a new TV is the desired screen size. This is usually mentioned in inches and calculated by diagonally measuring the dimensions from one corner of the screen to the other. In general, the larger the screen, the better the viewing experience, though it’s worth noting that a large TV may not be ideal if you have a small space to fit it into. The size of the room where you intend to place the TV is one of the primary deciding factors and so is your budget, since larger screens cost more. However, with 55-inch TVs being available at modest prices nowadays, getting large-screen entertainment experience at home shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Here is a ready reckoner to decide on the screen size that you should choose.

Screen size and viewing distance

  • 33-inch and below <5 feet
  • 33-inch to 43-inch — 5-6 feet
  • 48-inch to 55-inch 6-8 feet
  • 60-inch and above 8 feet and more

Step 2: Selecting the perfect TV

The display type, resolution, and HDR support are some of the most critical factors that determine everything about a TV, ranging from the quality of visuals that it will offer to the sort of additional features you get with it. Let us look at the most important ones in detail.

Display type

In a very broad sense, modern TV displays are classified under two categories, namely Light-Emitting Diode (LED) and Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED). There is a third category that has recently emerged in the form of Quantum dot Light-Emitting Diode (QLED), which sits in the same family as LED technology. Generally speaking, LED displays are less expensive than OLEDs primarily because OLED panels offer superior picture quality and enhanced experience across a number of scenarios.

The first technical detail about LEDs that you should know is that they are backlit i.e. light actually shines through a panel of crystals to create the picture. As opposed to that, each pixel on the OLED panel will turn on or off individually to render the picture. As a result, when these panels need to display black colour, they completely turn those specific pixels off. This leads to enhanced contrast levels, significantly higher than what LED screens can offer. As for LED panels, since they are backlit, they cannot go completely dark, and this affects their contrast levels.

QLEDs are just like regular LEDs, but they use nanoparticles called quantum dots to super-charge the brightness and colour. Samsung is the most prominent among the brands pushing this technology these days. QLED TVs are better than those using LED screens in terms of contrast rendition, but they still are not able to beat OLED TVs in most departments. LED TVs are more affordable than OLED TVs, while QLED TVs are usually more expensive.

Display resolution

By definition, display resolution is the number of pixels that make up the picture on your television screen. This implies that the sharpness of visuals is directly proportional to the number of pixels i.e. the higher the better. The most basic television sets being sold in the market right now are being marketed as High Definition (HD) Ready. This stands for resolution that is either HD (1,280 x 720 pixels) or slightly more than that (1,366 x 768 pixels). While HD Ready resolutions are good for smaller TV sizes up to 32 inches, larger screens warrant at least full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). This is double the resolution of HD screens and leads to sharper images.

However, the market is being taken over by 4K screens right now and, frankly, that’s what you should also go for as well to future-proof your purchase. 4K resolution or 3,840 x 2,160 pixels is four times more than full HD, which should give you an idea of how well such a panel will be able to render your visuals. While broadcast TV services (what we usually get via set-top boxes) are yet to wholeheartedly take the 4K leap, a lot of content on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime can be viewed in the maxed-out 4K resolution. If you own a gaming console like the Sony PS4 or the Xbox One, a 4K TV will be able to provide you with the immersive gaming experience that you have been looking for. On the other hand, even 8K resolution TVs are now available in the market right now, but there is really a low amount of 8K content available to consume, apart from the fact that these TVs are priced quite high.

Connectivity

You would have come across the term Smart TV. In fact, smart TVs are now dominating the market, and why shouldn’t they? After all, many people are increasingly opting for OTT platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, and Prime Video, instead of watching traditional cable programming. Smart TVs come with Wi-Fi or Ethernet (mostly both) support so that you can connect them to your home’s internet connection. They also usually have their own operating system or platform to let you easily install apps and access them. Some TVs also come with Google Chromecast built-in, so you can stream content from your smartphone to the big screen wirelessly. Brands such as LG and Samsung also have their own operating systems (on some models) to provide access to apps, while many others make use of Android to offer services. In addition, smart TVs also come with Bluetooth built-in, allowing you to connect accessories like external speakers, headphones, even keyboards.

Even non-smart TVs can easily get access to streaming apps by adding a media player like Apple TV or the Amazon Fire TV Stick. These devices enable you to consume OTT content and get access to all your favourite apps, from Netflix and Hotstar to YouTube and Prime Video, without shelling out too much extra.

While on the subject of connecting external media players to a TV, you should also take a look at the number of HDMI ports available, as this will decide how many video sources can be connected to your TV without the need to unplug existing ones. The availability of at least three HDMI ports will mean you can connect a media player and a gaming console, and leave one port free for when you need to connect something else. Similarly, you should also take a look at the number of USB ports available, and other connectivity options such as optical out for audio etc, as per your requirements.

Refresh rate

Refresh rate is the number of times per second a screen refreshes its image. 60Hz is the most common refresh rate, but many modern TVs can boast of refresh rates as high as 120Hz right now. The higher this number, the smoother the picture, making such panels great for watching sports events such as IPL as well as for playing console games. The higher refresh rates effectively reduce motion blur to produce smoother visuals and result in a more enjoyable user experience. But if you’re not big on sports and games, and are looking for a TV just for watching movies and regular content, a 60Hz panel is actually better, since a lot of motion smoothening actually takes the content miles away from how it was intended to be seen.

Contrast ratio

A screen with a good contrast ratio renders shadows and hues with much more detail. If observed carefully, it is the primary factor that makes two TV screens look different when they’re playing content side by side. The best test for checking if your TV has a good contrast ratio is playing a movie with dark images, and seeing how well the details in the shadows are rendered.

HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. For TVs, possessing this feature means they are able to generate higher contrast within the existing pixels, thus enhancing the overall contrast and colour for more depth. Without HDR, a TV just isn’t able to produce particular colours, and this makes a significant difference to the viewing experience.

Step 3: Finalise on the brand

Now that you have gone through all the technical but essential features that your next TV should have, the next step should be deciding the brand. If you have loyalty towards a particular brand and have decided the size of your new TV, then your decision should be simple enough. But, if you’re confused about what brand to go for, there’s still a lot of thinking to do given how so many of them are vying for your attention.

If you are on a tight budget, companies like Xiaomi, TCL, Micromax, Vu, and others have really great options available out there in all popular screen sizes. All these brands also have 4K options in their large screen sizes, so you can opt for these without spending a lot of money. But, if you trust older legacy brands, the likes of Samsung, LG, and Sony are the way to go. These might tilt towards the expensive side, but they do boast better display standards and overall quality.

Step 4: Shopping options

Where to buy?

Like almost anything these days, you can buy TVs online as well as offline. While making an appliance purchase, always make sure that you are buying from the authorised sellers. This will ensure that you get the original product.

Nowadays, online is the route to go for more people, especially because of the competitive prices, offers, and add-ons that you can avail, while getting free delivery of the product of your choice. A great platform to consider while buying a new TV is Finserv MARKETS, a techno analytics-driven e-commerce platform that offers a wide range of TVs across both, screen sizes as well as brands. The best part about Finserv MARKETS is that you can easily convert your purchases into no-cost EMIs right away. Many of the products available on the platform do not even need any down payment. That means you can get your favourite TV home at affordable monthly installments without taking a major hit on your savings. And, that’s not all, Finserv MARKETS also features exchange offers and discounts throughout the year, apart from free Netflix subscriptions that are offered to customers.

How it works is quite simple too while purchasing the TV, you will get a number of EMI options. You just need to decide how long you wish to extend the financing and enter your Bajaj Finserv EMI Card details. Enter the delivery address and other details and you are done. There really is no better way to easily buy a TV on EMIs, that too online.

Closing thoughts

If you have read this entire guide, you are now well equipped to choose the best TV for your needs. So go ahead, and make your purchase right away, as there is a high chance that the coronavirus outbreak might force you to stay at home for a longer time. Schools and colleges are being closed, sports events are taking the closed doors route, and offices are asking employees to work from home. At such times, indoor entertainment becomes even more important, so why not make it the best possible.