These days you need a trans­la­tor just to un­der­stand all the jar­gon that mod­ern TVs throw at you. To be blunt, you can ig­nore most of it. But there are a few things you should look for…

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For out-and-out pic­ture qual­ity, OLEDs pro­vide the great­est fidelity. These TV pan­els rely on or­ganic crys­tals which, when they meet elec­tric­ity, light up. This re­moves the need for a back­light – these are re­quired in LED or LCD sets, but they bleach away some of the more del­i­cate colours and con­trasts. No back­light also means the panel can be thin­ner. The only draw­back to an OLED is its price, cost­ing around two times more than other pan­els.


High Dy­namic Range (HDR) makes a big dif­fer­ence to pic­ture qual­ity. On an LED or LCD tele­vi­sion it means that the back­light can be dark­ened or bright­ened where needed, for ex­am­ple be­hind blacks and greys. HDR mode will typ­i­cally make brighter parts of the pic­ture look, well, brighter, and blacker ar­eas look darker. Blues and greens will come out richer and more life­like, while greys and shad­owy im­ages will look more nu­anced. HDR TV works best with con­tent made for it, which is pri­mar­ily be­ing re­leased on the likes of Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime, but most sets will try to use it to im­prove stan­dard con­tent.


All TVs now come with ‘smart’ fea­tures, but not all are made equal. Each brand will have its own TV op­er­at­ing sys­tem. None are per­fect, and all come with their own quirks, so it’s worth vis­it­ing a shop and hav­ing a play with the in­ter­faces be­fore com­mit­ting. It’s also im­por­tant to check a TV is com­pat­i­ble with the ser­vices you subscribe to and like to use most. That said, if you have a set-top box and a games con­sole, you’re un­likely to need most of these set­tings, and should there­fore pri­ori­tise raw im­age qual­ity.


Most stream­ing ser­vices are now putting out their lat­est films and series in 4K qual­ity. Broad­cast TV is slower to catch up, but SKY Q and Vir­gin both of­fer box sets and films in 4K, as well as sport like For­mula 1 and the Cham­pi­ons League. The World Cup this year is be­ing filmed in 4K, but no UK chan­nel has yet con­firmed that it’ll ac­tu­ally be broad­cast­ing games in 4K. The BBC was tri­alling 4K iPlayer ear­lier in the year, so we’re hold­ing out our hopes for that.

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