What Hi-Fi (UK) - - How To... Choose A Tv -

What con­nec­tions will I need?

Con­nec­tions don’t dif­fer on TVS as much as they used to, with most sport­ing at least three (o en four) HDMI in­puts – enough for a Blu-ray player, set-top box, games con­sole and me­dia streamer, for ex­am­ple.

4K TVS will have at least one HDMI port that’s 2.0- and HDCP 2.2-cer­ti­fied for na­tive 4K and HDR passthrough, but we’d check com­pat­i­bil­ity if you plan to plug in sev­eral 4K sources.

Plan­ning to boost your TV’S sound with a sound­bar or sound­base? You’ll need to plug it into the TV’S HDMI ARC (Au­dio Re­turn Chan­nel) in­put – this takes the au­dio sig­nal di­rectly from TV to sound­bar. Al­ter­na­tively, make sure your TV has op­ti­cal dig­i­tal or ana­logue out­puts for the con­nec­tion.

End of an era

While some TVS fea­ture com­pos­ite in­puts, most – even at the bud­get end – have phased out legacy con­nec­tions such as SCART. So those cling­ing on to video cas­sette recorders, for ex­am­ple, should be aware of that. 48 An op­ti­cal out­put can feed your TV sound to a sound­bar, if you don’t choose to con­nect via HDMI. 2 Nearly all smart TVS have built-in wi-fi, al­though eth­er­net pro­vides a more sta­ble con­nec­tion and is rec­om­mended for 4K stream­ing. 3 At least one HDMI socket will ac­cept a 4K sig­nal, so save this for your 4K Blu-ray player or 4K me­dia streamer.

Smart TV apps

Smarts are even more com­mon than 4K screens now, with al­most ev­ery new model boast­ing built-in wi-fi and an eth­er­net con­nec­tion, and host­ing at least Net­flix and BBC iplayer apps. Most add Ama­zon Prime Video and the rest of the UK catch-up ser­vices (ITV Hub, All4 and My5) to that list, too.

Net­flix and Ama­zon have a grow­ing con­tent of 4K HDR con­tent avail­able, so it’s al­ways worth check­ing that the TV you buy sup­ports it.

And as the BBC con­tin­ues its 4K HDR tri­als through its iplayer ser­vice, we’d check for 4K and HLG sup­port through a TV’S iplayer app, too. Re­mem­ber, just be­cause a TV’S hard­ware sup­ports a cer­tain tech­nol­ogy, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean all its soft­ware does.

Which TV screen size?

There’s more fo­cus on big­ger screens than ever be­fore, with fewer 32in and 40in mod­els ap­pear­ing in new tele­vi­sion line-ups thanks to the rise of big-screen-jus­ti­fy­ing Ul­tra HD 4K res­o­lu­tion.

But while it might be tempt­ing to think that big­ger is bet­ter, the size of set that’s right for you is closely de­pen­dent on how close to the screen you’ll be sit­ting, and the res­o­lu­tion of the source ma­te­rial you’re watch­ing.

Luck­ily, an or­gan­i­sa­tion called SMPTE (which stands for the So­ci­ety of Mo­tion Pic­ture and Tele­vi­sion Engi­neers) has pub­lished de­tailed guide­lines on ex­actly how far you should sit in or­der to op­ti­mise the re­la­tion­ship of the per­for­mance of your TV and what your eyes can dis­cern.

If you’re sit­ting the cor­rect dis­tance from your TV, you’ll see lots of de­tail, good edge def­i­ni­tion and smooth, clean mo­tion, but if you’re sit­ting too close to the screen, then you’re go­ing to see more pic­ture noise and arte­facts. On the other hand, sit too far away from the TV and you’ll strug­gle to pick up all the pic­ture de­tail your TV has to of­fer.

The SMPTE rule for watch­ing Full HD TV (1080p) is that you should be sit­ting a min­i­mum of 1.5 to 2 times the di­ag­o­nal size of your TV away from the screen.

You can sit closer to the screen if you have a 4K TV – about one to 1.5 times the screen size – as you’ll no­tice fewer arte­facts thanks to the higher res­o­lu­tion.

You’ve bought your new TV, now what?

Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’ve clearly fol­lowed our ex­pert advice and cho­sen well. But be­fore you give your­self over to Net­flix un­til the sun comes up, you’ll want to con­sider what else you’ll need to ac­com­pany your brand new pur­chase.

From im­prov­ing your TV’S typ­i­cally flimsy sound – whether that’s by adding a sound­bar or a fully fledged sur­round speaker pack­age – to pick­ing a source (4K Blu-ray player, Sky Q box), we’ve put to­gether some com­plete sys­tems that will guide you on your way to en­joy­ing your new tele­vi­sion as part of a home en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem (see page 58 for de­tails).

And then, when all that is set up, you’re good to go. Happy watch­ing!

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