fined by utilizing locally-dimmed backlights, which again split the screen into zones. Whereas edgelit backlights controlled the lights emanating from the sides of the TV, locally dimmed backlights split the TV into blocks within the TV. Each of the resulting backlights is individually addressable and can vary its brightness for its specific sub-image. Vizio Canada, which recently launched in Canada on September 12th, uses a 36-zone locallydimmed backlight in their M-Series HDTVs. This backlight consists of 4 rows split into 9 columns each, allowing each individual subsection to be controlled, resulting in better quality. This precise control is especially apparent with ultra-widescreen content as the empty top and bottom horizontal black bars are pitch black.
Many HDTVs are also coming pre-calibrated from the factory, ensuring viewers get the best picture quality possible. While many bigbox stores will switch to a harsh, unnatural screen mode to make the TV stand out against a wall of other brightly lit TVs, the inclusion of calibrated or movie/film modes is
putting quality over quantity. HDTVs offer two native picture resolutions - 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) or 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels). If you’re purchasing a TV under 50”, there is no discernible visual difference between 720p and 1080p for viewers with normal eyesight sitting at an appropriate distance – it is only when purchasing larger sets (over 50”) that a difference can be seen. So if budget is a constraint, consumers can save with a 720p set without worrying that they’re missing out on resolution.
Stepping up to larger HDTVs over 55”, which many consumers are now upgrading to, after making the switch to flat panels, 1080p is the resolution available on the majority of HDTVs under $3,000 CAD. 1080p displays are available from across all manufacturers’ ranges, from their entry-level sets all the way through their high-end sets. Pricing differences come into effect for differentiating features such as refresh rate (120 Hz, 240 Hz, etc.), smart/connected TV functionality (such as WiFi mirroring, built-in Netflix, YouTube, etc.), backlight technology (local dimming, edgelit), size, and even shape (more below).
4K or UltraHD
The next step up from 1080p is 4K, or UltraHD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). 4K televisions offer four times the resolution of 1080p (8,294,400 pixels versus 2,073,600 pixels) and change the line count from horizontal (1,080 lines) to vertical (3,840 lines). This change was also made so that empty black horizontal lines wouldn’t be counted in ultra-widescreen content (e.g. 21:9), instead only counting vertical lines which always have content. 4K televisions, with their increased pixel density, are typically only advantageous on very large sets (65” and larger) but are also useful in small sets for a different reason: the ability to sit closer to your television without losing image detail. As you move closer to your television, the individual pixels on a 1080p TV become more apparent, causing the image to lose detail, but with a 4K television, the higher pixel density due to the smaller pixels compen-