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Breaking Down Those TV Terms

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

You're buying a new television because your old one went out. You search the internet to see there are hundreds of options for indoor TVs. 4K, 8K, OLED, QLED, Lmnop. What? You want the best picture without spending thousands of dollars. I get it.

Let's quickly break down what all these TV terms mean so you can make the best purchasing decision.

What is HDR?

HDR (high dynamic range) has to do with color/brightness range. Brights look brighter and darks look darker. It's not exclusive to any one resolution (HD, 4K, 8K). However, it does look better on higher resolution TVs. Overall, HDR improves video quality all around.

What is 4K?

4K (regularly referred to as Ultra HD/UHD) is an upgraded resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels. To compare, Full HD, the most recent pre-4K TV resolution, is 1920 x 1080 pixels. There are nearly eight million pixels, about four times more than Full HD. The going consensus of tech blogs is that 4K looks better on TVs 50" or bigger. Overall, 4K is just more pixels making your viewing experience a lot crisper.

Sidenote: Not everything is filmed in 4K. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't upgrade. It makes Full HD look better and you'll be ready for when everything is finally in 4K. Games, movies, TV shows, and sports are all working on 4K for you.

What is 8K?

8K (also known as Full Ultra HD) is another resolution upgrade at 7680 x 4320 pixels. That's equal to 33,177,600 pixels on screen!!! These are the high-end TVs. Why? Because anything less than 85 inches renders 8K essentially useless. The picture would still be amazing but you wouldn't get the full feel (just like any 4K TV should be 50" or more).

8K is used now, but you've got plenty of time to enjoy your 4K TV before it becomes a thing of the past.

What is LCD?

LCD (liquid crystal display) is a type of display and it uses CCFLs (cathode fluorescent lights) to backlight the display. It uses a lot less power than its predecessor, the plasma display. LCD TVs are the most common and most sold type of display.

What is LED?

LED (light-emitting diode) is a version of LCD, but better. It uses LED lights rather than CCFLs. All LCD TVs now use LED lights, so are now just LED TVs.

What is OLED?

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) is another type of display. It's much different that the original LCD. Each pixel on the screen emits its own light rather than a backlight (like all other LCD/LED TVs). OLED has the darkest of darks, but more muted brightness level. This is the best type of TV display for those who enjoy movies and/or cinematic TV shows because of how it shows darks/blacks and mutes its brightness.

What is QLED?

QLED (quantum dot light-emitting diode) is a display more similar to LCD/LED than OLED. It uses a backlight, making brights much brighter but darks much less so. However, eventually QLEDs will be self-emitting and be the better option over OLEDs.

Sidenote: Neo QLED is better than regular QLED with how they cluster LED lights for the backlighting. It is an improvement, and if you're going with the quantum dots - this is the best option.

All in all, as of October 2021, the best options for a normal TV viewing experience is a 50+ inch 4K HDR OLED. They're pretty mainstream now so you can find them in all price ranges. If you have questions about any of these or have a different viewing experience you need a TV for, give us a call. We'll help you choose the best one for you.


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