Expert advice on TV buying, 2018 editionCNET's TV reviewer David Katzmaier answers some of the most common questions about what to look for in your next television.
[MUSIC] So reviewing a TV basically involves setting it up, which means putting it in a lineup with a bunch of other TVs, turning it on and calibrating. That's a function where I go in and adjust the picture quality to be pretty much equal to the other TVs. And create a level playing field for judging how good the image is. There's really only five major TV brands right now. Samsung, Visio, LG, Sony, and there's a new one called TCL out there that's making a lot of waves. So, those are the main ones to consider and they all offer a whole different range of TVs. The main thing to consider is how large of a TV you want. They range from 27 all the way up to 80 inches. You also want to consider how much, Priority placed on image quality. So different TV is getting more and more expensive, generally when they perform better. You really value the best image quality, you're gonna have to pay a little bit more. I would always say get an even larger TV than you think you need, unless you have Have the kinda cabinet that restricts your TV space. The bigger TV is generally gonna be better. If you're in a bedroom, I recommend you go to 50 or 55 inches if it's across the room. A living room situation, try to get to 55 or even 65 inches. Of course if you have a smaller room, or an apartment, you might wanna downsize a little bit, but again, especially with 4K TVs you can sit pretty close, get a nice immersive image, and it really does pay off. Today, you really should get a 4K TV, because they're really inexpensive and unless you're getting a really small TV your only choice might be 4K, and you're not going to get much of an image quality boost from 4K resolution, especially because 4K content is relatively rare right now. But at the end of the day, the TV that you're gonna wanna get is probably gonna be 4K just because they all are. And again, they're really cheap. HDR stands for high dynamic range, it's a new TV technology that, along with 4K, really does improve the image quality. HDR is available from services like Netflix and Amazon. It's also available on new 4K blu rays. It really does create a lot of pop and clarity to the image that you didn't get before. Course HTR looks better on better televisions. And if you want a really nice HDR image, again, you're gonna have to spend for the more expensive TV. Right now the best picture quality in the market in OLED televisions. Most are made by LG but Sony also sells a few. They deliver picture quality that's really about the LCD TVs out there by the most of the other manufacturers. They produce really good, image quality even to people who don't notice those sorts of things. Of course most TVs are LCD and those are very expensive. There's some very good performing LCD TVs out there, especially ones that have local dimming. So smart TV functions are built into most TVs these days, we still think people should use a media streamer instead of a smart TV. But a lot of people want the convenience so it's a single remote and using the built in app on their televisions. Some says it's better than others or really like local TVs these days because they build low constreamer functionality right in the television itself. Samsung and LG also do a pretty good job with their smart TV apps. TV styles also varies very widely. You can get some TVs look really nice, really thin and really blend with the room well And some that look relatively generic. TV remotes are also a little bit different from one to the other. If you have a remote that can control different devices, or operate without having to have line of sight to the TV, that's pretty cool. Room lighting does affect the picture quality of a lot of TVs, and some are brighter than others, but at the end of the day most TVs are gonna be bright enough for most rooms. One way to get around that is to select the picture mode that best accommodates the room lighting. A lot of TVs have a movie mode or a mode that's designed for a dark room. I actually like that mode for pretty much any room lighting situation. Set it to the movie mode and if it seems too dark, you can increase the backlight or other lighting adjustments on the television. That will preserve the most accurate picture and will also make up for those relatively dim settings. So some TVs these days are building in the ability to work with one of the smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home. Amazon Alexa is available as a beta function on some Sony TVs for example and you can do things like call up different apps and change channels. There's also the ability of the Google Home to work with Visio TVs directly to launch apps and, for example, search for YouTube videos. Google is also available on Sony TV's integrated assisted too. Some TV's also come with remote controls that allow you to talk into the clicker to get things to happen. You can launch apps and search TV and movies. Some also come with an integrated digital assistant that allow you to control different devices and appliances around the home.