If it’s time to upgrade your TV, as always STACK has got you covered.

As much as you keep telling yourself that the 15-year-old plasma precariously perched on the cabinet in the loungeroom “works a treat”, it’s not until you feast your eyes on a new TV in JB that you realise just exactly what you’re missing out on.

Of course it doesn’t have to be an old energy-sapping plasma TV that prompts the upgrade conversation. Even if you’ve been out of the buying cycle for four or five years, 4K – and now 8K – television technology has come on in leaps and bounds. Affordability has brought the best in tech within reach of all fingertips, so if you enjoy your home entertainment you shouldn’t have to compromise. In fact, there really hasn’t been a better time to upgrade.

The price is right

Can you remember when plasma TVs first hit the market? The $25k price tags kept most other than the affluent out of the picture and left us all hugging our flat screen CRTs until the price tag finally dropped significantly. Today you can pretty much enter the smart TV market with $400 in your paw. However, while a smaller unit is good for a secondary TV in a bedroom or a holiday home, you’ll definitely want something bigger for the lounge/entertainment area in your house.

Know what your budget is before you start shopping. Yes, you’re likely to get a TV with more features and a better display if you’re aiming at the higher end of the market, but that’s not to say if you’re shopping for an entry level model, you’ll have to compromise on everything. Check out the range in-store and you’ll probably be surprised at what the budget end of the scale can deliver.

Size matters

In 2020, size really does matter as we increasingly look to the home as our very own theatre experiences. As a rule of thumb, always aim for the biggest TV that a) fits the space in your home and b) that your budget allows. While 65” TVs are by and large the most popular size in Australia, stand beside a 75 or 85” model and be awe-inspired by the grandiosity on show. Again, you’ll be surprised just how far your dollar will go in the size stakes.

So how will you know what size TV will fit in your room? There’s a plethora of material available to suggest correct distances, but if you stick to the chart below, you won’t be far off.

If you want that home theatre experience to watch your 4K movies or play your PS4 on, aim for the biggest TV you can get; you won’t regret it.

Screen dream - updating your TV

Getting smart

Smart TVs first debuted way back in 2008, delivering a very clunky user experience. But the touchpaper was lit on what would become the most important development in television history since the introduction of colour. Since ’08, the connected TV has come a very long way.

While the concept of connecting your TV to the internet may seem daunting for the less tech-literate amongst us, it really couldn’t be easier. All you need to know is the name of your home network and the password and the TV will do the rest. Once connected you’ll have the internet at your fingertips and a whole host of in-built apps, too. At the push of a button, you can browse streaming apps for TV and music, access your social media or work with your settings to get the perfect set up. Operating systems do vary, but navigating them is a breeze. If you can use a smartphone, you’ll have no issues with a smart TV.

Picture this

If you’re a keen cinephile, gamer or sports disciple, alongside size the primary reason you’ll move to upgrade your TV is for an increase in picture quality. You’ll want to shoot for the best that your budget will stretch to. Shaving a few hundred bucks off the ticket price might seem like a good idea, but when the TV is hung on your wall you can’t swap it if you’re not happy with the picture (and we’re talking from personal experience here). A library of Blu-ray and 4K movies, and indeed video games, deserve the best.

4K is the current standard now and delivers a jaw-dropping picture but 8K TVs are penetrating the market and these won’t just drop your jaw, they’ll send it into orbit. HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is now your new best friend. This feature revolutionises picture quality, bringing a wider range of colours, brighter whites and deeper blacks, producing a natural, more detailed picture closer to what the naked eye can see. The difference in watching a TV with HDR as opposed to without it is startling.

Full-array local dimming is also a neat bit of tech for LED TVs. This is beneficial when trying to determine the detail in the dark scenes of a movie or video game. In short, different zones of LEDs are placed at the rear of the screen so that certain areas of the screen where it needs to be darker are dimmed without compromising the parts of the screen that need to be bright. The result is a greater contrast and better picture quality.

Glossary

Aspect Ratio Width and height ratio of the screen. TVs today have an aspect ratio of 16.9 – this means the width of the picture is 16 equal parts and the height nine.

Contrast Ratio In a nutshell, the amount of onscreen detail in blacks or dark colours.

Full-array local dimming A system that uses different zones of LEDs at the back of the screen to control the picture contrast.

HD High definition

Ultra HD TV At a consumer level, this refers to 4K and 8K televisions.

HDMI A cable that transmits high quality video and audio streams between devices.

HDR High Dynamic Range is the pursuit to recreate an image as close to that seen by a human eye.

LED Light Emitting Diode.

LCD Liquid Crystal Display.

OLED Organic Light Emitting Diode.

QLED Quantum Light-Emitting Diode.

Refresh Rate The number of times a TV refreshes its frame rate every second written as hertz (HZ).

Smart TV A TV that connects to the internet.

Viewing Angle Getting an effective viewing angle is dependent on where you sit in relation to where the TV is positioned. Some TV manufacturers fare better in this area than others.

Upscaling In simple terms, upscaling takes lower-resolution content and transforms it into a much better picture.

1080P A picture resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.

4K A picture resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels.

8K A picture resolution of 7680 by 4320 pixels.