Hyperreal is the new real. As our lives become ever more virtual, televisions become increasingly vital tools required to provide a richer, more exhilarating viewing experience. It doesn't matter if you're streaming videos, watching network TV, playing the latest game, mirroring your laptop, or displaying your favorite family photos--the more vivid the picture, the better. That is why those HD TVs that were once thought of as a luxury are now considered essential home tech.
It can be hard to know exactly what you should be looking for in an HD TV. Don't worry; this quick guide will walk you through the essentials, so you can make an informed purchasing decision and feel confident in your choice. Our favorite choice isn't the biggest model (although you can get a bigger size), but it has some of the best graphics we've seen.
Considerations when choosing HD TVs
When you are looking at purchasing an HD TV, you can quickly find yourself buried beneath an overwhelming volume of tech jargon. The trick is not to let yourself be misled by trendy words and big numbers.
Size is important. If you're spending money on a television that has a beautiful picture, you want that picture to be large enough to been seen and appreciated. And, you want to be able to mount that TV in a place where you can easily see it. If you do not have available wall space, you'll need an HD TV with a stand.
The other area you'll want to look at is your TV's connectivity. Does it have the necessary inputs and outputs to do what you want? Does it have a USB port to accept other devices? Can you install apps from the internet? How many HDMI inputs do you need? Can you send the sound to an external surround sound system? These are all items you want to confirm before you purchase your HD TV.
It's possible to get a 24-inch HD TV for about $100. It's also possible to get a 75-inch 4K LED for $6,000. Fortunately, if you stay in the $200 to $800 range, you'll be able to find a high-quality HD TV because that's where the bulk of the value resides.
Q. What is backlighting?
A. Backlighting is a technology that lets you see a more vivid picture with less eye strain, no matter what your lighting situation is. In other words, it allows you to see the image on your HD TV screen in all of its splendor, whether it's a bright and sunny afternoon or a dark and stormy night.
Q. Does 4K (ultra HD) really look that much different from 1080p (HD) TV?
A. There are some studies that reveal the benefits of 4K diminish rapidly as screen size decreases or viewing distance increases. If you sit a good distance away from your television, your money would be more wisely spent on an HD TV.
HD TVs we recommend
Best of the Best: VIZIO: 43" Class FHD Smart LED TV
Our take: A comfortably priced HD TV that offers features and connectivity usually only found on pricier models.
What we like: This digital-broadcast-ready HD TV has built-in WiFi and can function as a smart TV. The LED backlight provides a uniformity to the overall picture and helps create higher levels of contrast for more vivid pictures.
What we dislike: Like many HD TVs, you may need to connect it to an external sound system to have the best audio experience.
Best bang for your buck: SAMSUNG 32-Inch 720p LED TV
Our take: An exceptional deal for an HD Samsung, though it's smaller than some other choices on the market right now.
What we like: Rich, vibrant colors and exceptional sound. The price is highly persuasive, too.
What we dislike: Occasional durability concerns are reported by owners after about six months.
Choice 3: LG Electronics 24-Inch Smart LED TV
Our take: A bright, clear 24-inch smart TV for a great price.
What we like: It's an affordable choice for a gaming room or guest room.
What we dislike: Although it's a smart TV, some consumers have no interest in the smaller screen size.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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