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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8 top tips to consider before buying a new TV
Don’t you know that Christmas is round the corner?? I bet an inordinate number of wish lists have TV’s firmly etched on them. So following on from my highly interesting and informative blog “A good time to buy a 4K TV” I thought it prudent to release to the world a checklist of things to consider when buying the said 4K TV or any other TV to that effect. These 8 top tips to choosing a new TV are what I advise my customers on a daily basis but also what I apply to my home TV and audio visual set up. I have factored in these 8 tips to be as honest and as open as possible.
- Choose the right screen size!
Start with the bleedin’ obvious as one can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Bigger may not always be better too. Always choose a screen size appropriate for the distance you’ll be sitting from it otherwise you may feel engulfed in the film that you’ve decided to watch on a Saturday evening in. Not nice if it’s 50 Shades of Grey.
2. Screen Resolution
This determines the sharpness of the image and vary between 720 pixels (p), 1080p or full HD. Manufacturers are largely moving towards HDTV’s, Ultra HD and 4K which are your best bet for future proofing
This refers to the number of times the screen image is refreshed per second. The rate is measured in hertz (Hz) and you may have come across 60Hz, 120Hz or even 144Hz. The greater the refresh rate the smoother the flow ad there is a reduction in motion blur.
4. HDMI Ports
I’ve recently overlooked the fact that the TV I bought only had 2 HDMI ports. D’oh! Ended up having to introduce a HDMI matrix, at some cost I might add, to increase the HDMI capacity. The more ports the merrier, starting with at least 3. Be aware to ensure that they support HDMI 2.0 to accommodate future Ultra HD sources
Speakers are a must as most TV sound quality is poor but may not necessarily be required in a small room. The siren of wonderful picture quality may draw you on to the rocks where you’ll be metaphorically smashed to smithereens by the dreadful tinny sound coming from the corner of the room. Don’t be frugal, get a sound bar/plinth/speakers etc.
6. Colour Depth
Most recognised manufacturers don’t disappoint in this department. Look out for TV’s that serve up 8 bits per channel (or more). This ensures the TV is able to create enough depth to satisfy the human eye and present a photo-realistic image.
7. Curved or flat TV?
I think that this really is a first world problem. An existential question such as “to be, or not to be”. Personally I think curved TV’s have run their gimmicky course. The theory was that the screen followed the shape of the eye making the curves of the picture look sharper than flat TV’s. But if you’re little Billy shoved to the end of the sofa and away from the optimal seating position the picture geometry/image may look distorted. So flat TV’s it is.
8. Smart TVs
In general, the Smart TVs can connect to the internet and can stream content that way. It comes with certain apps including Netflix, where some connect via Wi-Fi. If you don’t want wires and want a clutter-free life, a smart TV might be the best option.
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