BUYING a new TV and confused by the jargon? It’s enough to send your head spinning.
We’ve put together a handy guy to some of the key logos, symbols and phrases to look out for.
4K refers to the number of pixels on your TV screen – or the “image resolution”.
The pixels are the tiny dots of colour that make up the image you see on your telly.
A pixellated image is one where the pixels are really obvious, because there aren’t many.
But images with lots of pixels – like a 4K movie – generally look sharper and clearer.
A true 4K screen has 4096 x 2160 pixels. That means on your TV screen there are 3840 pixels across, and 2160 pixels vertically. That’s roughly 8.3 million pixels on the display in total.
4K gets it’s name because it’s got four times the number of pixels as a standard Full HD TV.
Full HD (or 1080p) screens have 1920 pixels across, and 1080 pixels going upwards – for around two million pixels in total.
So 4K just means your TV has many more pixels on the screen compared to a more common Full HD display.
Ultra HD / UHD
Ultra HD, or UHD, is basically the same as 4K.
If you buy a UHD telly in a shop, you’ll be able to watch 4K content on it with no bother.
But there is a small difference.
Almost every TV you ever buy has an aspect ratio of 16:9. That means for every 16 pixels horizontally, there are 9 vertically.
True 4K footage doesn’t quite fit in with that ratio, so you won’t often find TVs with 4096 x 2160 pixels.
Instead, to fit with the 16:9 ratio, most 4K TVs will have 3840 x 2160 pixels instead.
If it doesn’t make sense, grab a calculator and divide 2160 by 9. Then multiply it by 16, and you’ll get 3840. That’s the aspect ratio working its magic!
So when you see an Ultra HD TV, it just means it’s a 4K image with slightly fewer vertical pixels.
On a standard television or smartphone, you’ll have an LCD (or liquid-crystal display) screen.
This means your screen contains loads of tiny crystals, which are illuminated by a giant backlight at the back of your telly or phone. When the crystals light up, you see an image – and that’s television!
But OLED screens work in a slightly different way.
OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, and it’s a way of describing the type of screen on your TV or phone.
It’s basically an organic compound that emits light when you pass an electric current through it.
This means your OLED screen doesn’t need a big old backlight, because the pixels on your screen light up on their own.
OLED screens are generally better than conventional LED-backlit LCD displays.
For a start, they’re much more power-efficient. That’s because you’re not paying to power a huge backlight that sucks up loads of energy.
But the lack of backlight also means that OLED screens can be much thinner.
The big advantage of OLED is the picture quality improvement.
On a normal TV, you’re never really seeing true black, because there’s a backlight.
On OLED screens, individual pixels can be turned off completely, or dimmed significantly, so you’ll see much more accurate blacks during dark TV or movie scenes.
Generally, this means OLED screens offer a wider range of lights, darks, and colours overall.
HDR / HDR10 / HDR10+ / Dolby Vision
This stands for High Dynamic Range, and it simply means that a piece of video has improved contrast (so better lights and darks) and a wider range of colours.
Netflix and Amazon both offer lots of HDR content, but you’ll need to make sure you have a HDR TV to watch it – otherwise you won’t see any difference.
Not all HDR is the same – there are loads of different types.
But there are three main HDR formats you need to know about: HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
They each offer slightly different versions of HDR, some better than others.
Dolby Vision is general considered to be the best of the trio.
But if you’re tight on budget, having any of the main HDR formats is good.
8K TVs are the next step beyond 4K, bumping up the total number of pixels yet again.
With an 8K TV, the resolution is 7680 x 4320 pixels, or roughly 33million pixels in total.
Therefore if you have some 8K content to watch, you’ll see an extremely detailed picture.
There are loads of reasons why it’s silly to buy an 8K TV when they come out, but we’ve narrowed it down to three big ones.
The first is that it’s basically impossible to tell the difference in visuals with a living-room sized 8K television.
That’s because on small living room TVs, the pixels are packed so closely together that the human eye can’t detect improvements past a certain point.
With HD and Full HD TVs, you’d need a screen at least 42 inches in size to tell the difference – at a reasonable viewing distance.
And to see the benefit of a 4K TV, you’d need a 50-inch TV at five feet away, or an 80-inch TV at seven feet away, to tell the difference.
You’d need an absolutely enormous television – well over 100 inches – and an extremely short viewing distance to see any noticeable difference between a 4K and 8K TV.
The second problem is that there simply isn’t enough 8K content out there in the world.
Having an 8K TV is only half the battle – you also need movies and TV shows filmed in 8K, which is expensive and time-consuming to produce.
We’ve had 4K TVs for years, and there’s still a lack of quality 4K content around.
So why buy an expensive 8K TV if there won’t be any decent content available for it for years?
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