Death of the small TV.
It’s time to review what we consider a small TV to be. Go back a few years and 32” was the norm and more than adequate for a living room. Something between 40 and 48 inches was a statement – a monolith that commanded attention. Anything bigger was an expensive extravagance.
According to the Which consumer magazine, only around 6% of the televisions produced in 2018 by the big 4 (Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic) were 32”. They just don’t seem to want to produce them anymore!
In my experience, the few that are made are generally poor with the brands putting their time and resources in to larger sets that can fully demonstrate the extra detail and crispness of 4K content. 32” TVs have been relegated from the living room focal point to glorified bedroom night light and there’s no sign that their fortunes will be reversed.
32 “was ideal when we were watching standard definition. Get too close to an SD channel and you’ll really notice the blocky, blurry nature of the image regardless of the screen size, but the problem is less pronounced on smaller TVs if you’re sitting the recommended distance from them.
Now that many channels are HD, and with 4K content becoming more widely available through streaming and UHD Blu-rays, those 32” TVs that hid the drawbacks of standard definition are hiding the benefits of HD and 4K. Another contributor to the disappearance of 32” TVs is price. Big TVs got cheap and suddenly anyone looking for a bargain wasn’t automatically priced out of something approaching 50 inches.
49” TVs can be bought for as little as £350, and it’s not just supermarket own-brands delivering these low prices. LG and Samsung are releasing low-cost sets that don’t sacrifice screen size.
Bigger screens, smaller TVs
Despite having a screen that’s 17 inches bigger, the Samsung QE49Q7F, released in 2018, is only 12 inches wider than the 32-inch Samsung UE32J4000 released in 2016.
Not having a colossal black or chrome frame surrounding the screen has the added benefit of making newer TVs less conspicuous. Stands too have become more stylish and understated. Also, modern TVs are thinner, making them easier to mount on a wall, which means you won’t need a big media unit to stand them on.
If you really can’t bear the thought of a TV approaching or exceeding 50 inches, then there’s always TVs such as the Samsung Frame. Designed to be wall-mounted, this TV mimics a work of art when it isn’t on. It can access collections from galleries around the world or you can just display your own family photos. Some of LG’s TVs do the same thing.
Sound quality is where small TVs really struggle. Good sound should wrap around you like a thick winter coat, but the audio on most small TVs is more like an anorak you get before you go on a log flume ride! Where all-round quality of the TV experience improves is when the screen size increases to 43”. If 32” is as big as you’re willing to go the head towards my previous blog on finding the best buy sound bar or sound base that will sort out that audio issue.
For more sound options to support your TV, check out the article for our buyers guide to soundbars and soundbases.
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