What we need to know about the Monitor & TV market

The rapid development of technology has transformed television into a multipurpose device through which we can enjoy high-quality movies, video games, and music, as well as access to the Internet and various applications through our remote control. But how prepared are we to buy it so that we can choose the model that best suits our needs?

Dimension

First, we have to decide on the dimension of television. By dimension, we mean the diagonal of the television screen measured in inches (1 “= 2.54 cm). It should be emphasized that the diagonal calculation does not include the television frame except the screen in which the image is projected.

Although the dimension selection is based mainly on subjective criteria, and the indicative auxiliary table is followed, which correlates the screen dimension with the viewing distance.

Diagonal (inches)Minimum viewing distance (m)Maximum viewing distance (m)
321,22
371,42,3
401,52,5
421,62,7
461,752,9
501,93,1
522,03,3
602,33,8

The placement of the TV can guide us in the inches and resolution we need. For example, usually smaller rooms or bedrooms do not require devices that exceed 40 ”and Full HD resolution.

Accordingly, TVs between 40 ”and 55” are mainly mounted in living rooms or larger rooms, and it is proposed to incorporate 4K Ultra HD resolution to deliver maximum viewing distance. Finally, televisions over 55 ”are required for 4K Ultra HD resolution and are recommended for large lounges or viewing areas.

Monitor TV resolution (4K Ultra HD or Full HD)

Analyzing the image supported by our future television is the next feature that will interest us. By resolution, we refer to the number of separate pixels that compose the image. The resolution is usually represented by a “1920 x 1080” notation.

The first number “1920” refers to the number of pixels in width of the TV, and the second number “1080” in height. Now, the vast majority of models available on the market have a resolution equal to or greater than 1920 x 1080.

Televisions with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or more are characterized as Full HD and are the most widespread. In recent years, TVs that have 4x more resolution than Full HD, the so-called 4K Ultra HD, have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. Of course, this greater resolution makes sense in combination with 4K content and proper viewing distance.

In practice, from a long distance, it is a little difficult to discern the difference in the clarity of the projected image between a 4K Ultra HD and a Full HD display. Simply put, the pixels are too small to provide a distinct benefit, and we, need to sit at the proper distance depending on the size of our TV. However, it is important to remember that screen resolution should keep pace with or exceed source quality. For example, a movie in 4K Ultra HD resolution will not deliver the maximum on a Full HD TV, such as a game console that sends 4K images to a lower resolution TV and so on.

Image projection technology (LED, OLED, and QLED)

Coming to the size we prefer for our space, the next step in market research is the choice of image processing and projection technology. We can choose from 3 technologies: “LED”, “OLED” and “QLED”. Although all three technologies use LEDs as their primary focus, the way they approach image projection is different and produces different results, serving different needs.

As a general rule, LEDs are the most economical of the three and offer the widest range of options for each space, use, and size. Undoubtedly, OLED and QLED technologies are the “foam” in the field of television, which does not mean that “traditional” LEDs cannot achieve impressive results.

In addition, we have to calculate room lighting, as OLEDs perform better in darker rooms due to the absolutely black color they achieve, while the superior maximum brightness of LEDs and QLEDs allows them to perform better in rooms with brighter lighting.

LEDOLEDQLED
Image quality
From standard to very good Higher brightnessGreat image quality Unparalleled black performanceGreat picture quality Larger color palette
Brightness
Universal shiny panelBrilliant in some placesUniversal shiny panel
Black performance
Limited performance of blacksAlmost perfect black performanceSuperior LED performance
Contrast
Below OLEDTheoretically infiniteSuperior to most LEDs
Response time/Motion Blur
Longer response times Artificial motion reduction blurAlmost zero response times No motion blurBetter times than LED Advanced motion blur reduction techniques
Viewpoint
Worst performance at anglesUninterrupted performance at anglesStable angular performance
Power consumption
Depend on brightness More economical than OLEDDepending on brightness More energy-efficient than LED / QLEDDepend on brightness More economical than OLED

By Black Performance, we refer to the amount of light a screen emits for the darkest areas of an image. The point is to minimize light in dark areas so that they don’t look faded and blacks as close to reality as possible. We can easily control the black levels of our screen when it shows black in a dark room.

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The contrast is the difference between the darkest and the brightest part of an image. Contrast is the most important factor in overall image quality. The image displayed on a low contrast screen appears faded and flat. On the contrary, with a high ratio of contrast, it seems more realistic and with greater depth.

OLED and QLED TVs are an evolution of LED TVs and their difference lies in lighting technology. LED TVs have back panel lighting and are inferior to OLED and QLED in terms of image quality and viewing angle. LED televisions are divided into “Edge-Lit”, “Direct-Lit” and “Full-Array”, depending on the placement of the LEDs that provide the illumination for the TV pixels.

Similarly, on OLED TVs, each pixel produces its own light, delivering the best possible black color and superior color contrast, resulting in superb natural images and high color accuracy. Finally, QLED TVs work almost like LEDs, with the difference being the use of the “quantum dot filter”, which allows for higher brightness than OLEDs, as well as purer colors as well as a wider color gamut than LEDs.

Full-Array

In Full-Array LED TVs, the LEDs are located behind the entire LCD panel. TVs in this subcategory provide better image quality than Edge-Lit and Direct Lit, due to the greater contrast they can achieve between dark and bright spots when viewing the image.

Edge-Lit

On Edge-Lit LED TVs the LEDs are mounted on the edges of the LCD panel. Televisions of this subcategory are usually thinner and lighter than Full Array LEDs, as the lamps operate from the side and do not add depth to the TV.

Direct-Lit

In Direct-Lit LED TVs, the LEDs are positioned behind the entire LCD panel, as in the Full Array, but consist of fewer components mounted more sparingly. This device limits the control of lighting to all components and does not support technologies such as Local Dimming, but it does involve more economical models.

Panel Technologies

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

This technology manages to deliver a wider dynamic range and richer colors. The result is that the detail is retained in dark and light areas at the same time with more natural color rendering. The standard for this technology is called High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a label attached to the TVs that support it.

Note that in order to enjoy the benefits of this technology, viewing content must be HDR-enabled, and there are multiple types of HDR, such as Dolby Vision, which can deliver even better color quality. HDR has also become almost a staple of the newer gaming consoles, so if you intend to get a TV for this use, it’s a good idea to opt for a model with HDR10 support.

IPS Panel

IPS Panel (In-Plane Switching) televisions have better color performance and viewing angles than those with VA or TN panels. In the same category as IPS are the PLS Panel (Plane-to-Line Switching), which are lighter and have a slightly larger viewing angle and are exclusively manufactured by specific manufacturers.

Local Dimming

On Full-Array LED TVs with Local Dimming feature, LED lighting is divided into zones that can be independently controlled. The result is better black performance locally and better contrast and QLED models now use Local Dimming for even more efficient lighting and color performance.

Black Frame Insertion (BFI)

It is a technology designed to reduce blur that can be observed in fast-moving images (Motion Blur). Its application consists essentially of inserting black frames between the normal ones, to “obliterate” the immediately preceding frames and to make the on-screen motion appear smoother.

Panel design

Curved Flat

Curved televisions impress at first glance, but it is a good idea to look at their advantages and disadvantages before buying.

Positive elements include the sense of depth they give to the image, as well as the feeling that they cover most of our field of vision. The above results in the world’s easiest absorption of the content we watch. As far as picture quality is concerned, they are better than Flat TVs, and paradoxically they offer a larger viewing angle without compromising image quality as they embrace our peripheral vision.

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To get the most out of the benefits of a Curved TV, we need to sit in the sweet spot and the TV is big enough.

On the other hand, their attractive shape makes them prone to reflections and matchless to hang on a wall. Finally, although image quality remains unchanged at larger viewing angles, the same is not true of its geometry, which renders viewing at angles greater than 35 degrees inconvenient.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate of a TV image refers to the number of frames it can display every second and is measured in Hertz (Hz). The high refresh rate indirectly addresses Motion Blur and allows the use of technologies, such as Black Frame Insertion (BFI), for the same purpose. Unfortunately, manufacturing companies use the refresh rate as a marketing tool and declare fictitious numbers under their own brand name, often grouping elements and technologies together with the refresh rate, making it virtually impossible to compare or even know the component between companies.

This practice makes the comparison only meaningful between the models of the same company.

BrandModelRefresh rateReal Refresh Rate
LGUF7600Other 4KTruMotion 120TruMotion 24060Hz120Hz
PanasonicCX600CX650 /CX800CX850Image Motion 120HzImage Motion 240Hz2400 BLS 4K IFC Pro60Hz120Hz120Hz
SharpAll 4KAs marked
SamsungAll 4KMotion Rate indicated / 2
SonyAll 4K120Hz

Connectivity (HDMI, USB, SD Card Slot, etc.)

Looking at the back of the TV we can see a multitude of input and output ports, which allow us to connect it to other devices. But what are the inputs and outputs that will be needed and are the selection criteria?

In order to enjoy the highest quality image and sound possible, the connection must be digital. Given that most devices that we usually connect to a TV (eg Blu-Ray Player, Game, Receivers, Decoders, Laptops, Digital Cameras) are equipped with HDMI ports, our TV should have a capable HDMI number Doors.

It is recommended that their number be as large as possible, starting with at least three. Additionally, the optical output is suggested, so that we can connect the TV digitally to an amplifier and enjoy the sound of the movie or broadcast from our audio system.

To use the TV to connect to a home cinema system via HDMI, it is necessary to support ARC (Audio Return Channel) technology in one of the HDMI ports so that multi-channel audio can be returned directly from the HDMI cable without the need for additional equipment.

Other useful ports for a TV are USB and SD Card Slots. Card Reader Presence is a great and easy way to view the photos we have taken with our camera or mobile phone. By connecting an external hard drive or USB stick, USB ports can be used for viewing or recording media, which supports USB Media Player and USB PVR respectively.

In addition, they can also be used for charging devices such as mobile phones, etc. All you need to pay attention to is the presence of analog ports (eg VGA) in case we want to connect older technology devices to our TV.

Additional Features

Smart TV

Smart TVs are a breakthrough in television technology, since they integrate Internet features, allowing web browsing and the use of web applications (eg Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, etc.). They are, for example, an example of technological convergence between computers and televisions.

The newer Smart TVs have full internet navigation, while the older ones only support access to popular websites (eg YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) through appropriate applications.

Television makers have created custom digital stores that allow them to add new applications to their Smart TV models. The newer Smart TVs come equipped with even more user-friendly remote controls or keyboards, and some feature touch screens to facilitate typing and, by extension, web navigation.

Android TV

As its name implies, an Android TV is based on the well known Android software. One very powerful advantage is that the apps on our smartphone or tablet can also run on Android TV. These TVs have access to the Google Play Store to download Android applications, including media streaming services (such as Netflix, Hulu) and gaming.

The platform emphasizes voice search so that the device can quickly find content or answer our queries, such as “Which movies were nominated for an Oscar in 2017”. We can also navigate the TV menu using a remote control, a game controller or even our mobile phone through the Android TV mobile app. Android TV also supports Google Cast, allowing a portable device to play media on the TV.

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Ethernet & Wifi

Now, more and more television models are supporting their Internet connection, whether wireless or wired. Wireless networking is achieved through Wi-Fi technology. Televisions with built-in Wi-Fi do not require any additional equipment for their wireless connection and can be directly connected to the wireless network in their area.

Televisions with LAN (Ethernet cable) ports have the option of a wired connection to our network. This works when the wireless connection is impracticable, the signal is weak, or we prefer the benefits of a wired connection (such as more stable and superior quality over the wireless connection).

Satellite & Ground Receiver (DVB-S / T / T2)

The DVB-S receiver is essential for monitoring satellite channels, which are digital channels transmitted via satellite. Of course, a satellite dish is also necessary to monitor them.

If our TV does not have a DVB-S receiver, then we can use a satellite decoder. There are numerous satellite channels that we can watch, both freely (eg CNBC, Sky News, Fashion TV) and at an additional cost, in addition to those already provided by DIGEA (Eurosport, BBC, etc.).

The DVB-T2 receiver is essential for the monitoring of terrestrial transmission channels as provided in our country by DIGEA. To monitor terrestrial channels, even a DVB-T receiver is required, as the DVB-T2 receiver is an upgraded version of it.

The differences are in the number of programs each supports, and the DVB-T2 also offers superior image quality. DIGEA has announced that the transition to the DVB-T2 standard will be gradual, while it is already supported, so it is useful to keep in mind future requirements as well as existing ones.

Support based on VESA standard

The evolution in the field of television has not only affected their purely technical characteristics but also their shape/size. The bulky and particularly heavy models of TVs have been replaced by lighter “table” formats.

Because of this change, we now have the option of fixing them to the wall in addition to mounting them on the TV with the help of a suitable TV stand. The vast majority of televisions follow the VESA standard for calculating the compatible stand. According to the standard, the TVs have 4 holes on the back, as shown in the figure below:

The vertical and horizontal distance (measured in millimeters) between these holes determine the measurement with respect to the VESA standard. Therefore if the aforementioned distances are equal to 75mm, then the base we choose must be VESA 75 x 75.

Finally, the VESA standard is not necessarily common to same-inch televisions, that is, a 49 ”TV does not have to use the same VESA standard as another 49” TV. We always have to consult the manufacturer’s instructions when choosing the base on which to install our new TV.

Peripherals

Television is an essential part of modern home entertainment and, of course, there are plenty of products that can enrich the experience.

First of all, security, so it is wise to protect our investment with a safety net. Having covered part of the picture, the biggest room for improvement in our experience lies in the audio field. In most cases, the TV’s speakers find it difficult to get a good picture.

The solution to a complete audiovisual experience is to combine our TV with a soundbar or a home cinema system.

The same goes for gamers or music lovers. The newest game consoles feature fiber optic audio output in addition to HDMI output, making them easy to connect to home cinema systems and amplifiers.

If you’re a movie fan and want to experience the ultimate cinema-watching experience in your living room, then read what you need to set up your own home cinema!

Lastly, let’s not forget the most basic accessory you need to enjoy everyday broadcasting, which is, of course, an indoor or outdoor antenna.

Gaming

With the latest gaming consoles supporting 4K Ultra HD and HDR resolution, buying a TV that will be required to meet the requirements of a gamer is a special case. First, we need to consider the maximum resolution of our console supports.

PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Slim, Xbox One, Xbox One S and Nintendo Switch deliver Full HD resolution in games and movies (with the exception of the Xbox One S which delivers up to 4K Ultra HD in movies), while the strongest PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X consoles deliver up to 4K Ultra HD resolution. In addition, PlayStation 4 Slim, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S and Xbox One X support HDR technology.

This means that for most consoles a Full HD resolution TV will be the ideal choice as it will probably be a cheaper solution. Of course, we have to keep in mind that the vast majority of TVs now available in 4K Ultra HD resolution even in their smallest sizes.

Therefore, a 4K Ultra HD resolution TV with HDR support is probably the best investment over time, as models with these features are available at affordable prices.

Teenager (15 years) sitting in chair shot from behind in studio playing a video game on flat-screen TV New York USA.

Correspondingly, a console that supports 4K Ultra HD resolution should be accompanied by a corresponding TV capability, in order to enjoy the crisp image it offers. The majority of 4K Ultra HD TVs support HDR technology, making the choice of such a one-way TV. Let’s not forget that applications like Netflix or movies on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray can take advantage of the highest resolution and HDR technology.

When choosing an HDR TV, pay attention to the standard support it provides, as the HDR10 standard is the minimum required by the top consoles and their supported content.

Finally, a TV with low response time and a high refresh rate are ideal for gaming, as many games are judged in detail. Most televisions incorporate a “Game Mode” setting that maximizes the TV’s response by disabling picture or motion-enhancing functions for the sake of responsiveness, as their usefulness is not so much in video games as in movies or sports.

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