The holidays are upon us, which means crazy TV deals abound. If you’re in the market for a new set, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t overspend, underpower, or miss out on important features.
55 inches is the price-to-size sweet spot
If you’re just looking for the biggest bang for your buck, turn your attention to 55-inch TVs.
Example: A quick search on Best Buy turns up a 55-inch Hisense 4K smart TV for $240, while a 43-inch LG 4K smart TV costs $10 more.
Comparing the two models shows that apart from size, they have almost identical features. Even stepping down two inches to a 50-inch Hisense will only save you $10.
Buy the right size TV for your room
Now that I’ve tempted you with cheap 55-inchers, I’m sorry to inform you that you should not place a 55-inch TV in the kitchen. Well, unless you have a huge kitchen, in which case congratulations!
There are different opinions on the “right” size for a TV, but a good general rule of thumb is to measure the distance from the TV in feet and then shave off 30% (or multiply by 0.7). Then add a zero to the result.
So for a viewing distance of 10 feet, we get 7, which means you’d be fine with a 70-inch TV.
Here’s how things would look based on common TV formats.
|Viewing distance||Screen size|
|3 feet||24 inches|
|4 feet||27 inches|
|5 feet||32 inches|
|6 feet||43 inches|
|7 feet||50 inches|
|8 feet||55 inches|
|9 feet||65 inches|
|10 feet||70 inches|
|11 feet||75 inches|
|12 feet||85 inches|
Refresh rate and resolution
When shopping for TV, pay attention to the screen resolution. There are three main ones: 720p, 1080p and 4K.
The good news is that if you buy a big enough TV, you probably don’t have to worry about the resolution, as it’s nearly impossible to get a non-4K TV in the 43-inch or higher range. to buy.
However, during the Black Friday and holiday sales, keep an eye out for those really, really cheap sets. It’s possible they’ll be 720p resolution, which is fine for small sets if you’re really on a budget.
But 720p can make its way into 32-inch sets, at which point the difference between 720p and 1080p is noticeable.
A good rule of thumb: go from 720p to at least 1080p if you can, and future-proof yourself with 4K if this TV is going to be used a lot. A 1080p set has 1.5 times the resolution of a 720p set, but a 4K set has twice the resolution of 1080p.
As for the refresh rate, that is the number of times the image is displayed on the screen per second. Most low to mid-range TVs have a 60 Hz refresh rate, while more expensive sets have a 120 Hz refresh rate.
The 120 Hz refresh rate provides a smoother picture, especially when watching sports or playing video games, but the content provider or game console must support 120 Hz.
Right now, that’s basically zero streaming services. However, the current generation Xbox Series X and S and PlayStation 5 support it, so go for 120Hz to get the most out of your consoles. That will also future-proof you for when 120Hz content becomes more mainstream.