3D, 4K/Ultra HD, Smart TV, OLED, LCD, Plasma etc. The TV world is looking better and more confusing every day with a ridiculously wide array of features and technologies to choose from.
If you're planning to buy your first TV or you simply want an upgrade, you can save time and money by understanding some of these confusing TV jargons.
Let's take a look at 5 different types of TVs: CRT, LCD, Plasma, LED and OLED.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)
This is the oldest commercial model of a television. They are the huge, heavy and bulky televisions we love back in the days. Manufacturers eventually stopped production of CRTs despite its excellent picture quality because their customers' preferences changed: from bulky TVs to thin and flat TVs.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
LCDs (unlike CRTs) do not emit any light. They have to be backlit with CCFLs (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps) in order to produce bright colours. LCDs are the first set of lightweight TVs with thinner displays that produce good image quality.
Plasma TVs use the same technology as fluorescent lights to light up the television. Plasma screens produce some of the best picture qualities a TV can produce but unfortunately, they consume a lot of energy.
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
They are simply LCD TVs backlit with Light Emitting Diodes instead of CCFLs. LED lights are extremely energy efficient producers of very bright lights. For this reason manufacturers produce and offer LED TVs to consumers as energy-saving alternatives to traditional LCDs and Plasma TVs. LED displays cannot compete with the high contrast ratio and colours plasma displays can create.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)
The OLED display is based on an organic substance used as a semiconductor material in light-emitting diodes. With the OLED technology, impossibly thin TVs have been created with better picture quality than any other flat TV and they are extremely energy efficient. The OLED technology is still evolving. An OLED TV is usually very expensive and not very popular in Nigeria.
Some years back, TV manufacturers stopped the production of CRT, LCD and Plasma TVs; so if you're TV shopping, you don't really have a choice. You have to buy an LED TV or the really expensive OLED TV.
Other TV jargons like UHD, Smart, Curved, 3D etc are simply features/design of a TV. If you're buying an LED TV for example, you'll have several options to choose from. You could buy an HD LED TV or a UHD LED TV or a Smart LED TV or a Smart UHD LED TV or a Curved Smart UHD LED TV etc.
Do you really need any of these high-tech features? Well, it depends.
Some TV Features Explained: UHD, Smart, 3D, Curved
UHD (Ultra High Definition)
A UHD or 4k TV is simply an upgrade from the normal High-Definition (HD) and Full HD TV. A UHD display has at least 8 million active pixels with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (for a normal TV). It has 4 times the number of pixels in a Full HD display (1920 x 1080). In simple English, images on a UHD screen look sharper and brighter than that of an HD screen assuming you have UHD videos to watch. If you don't have UHD videos - that's OK. All UHD TVs have an up-converter they can use to display low resolution videos. If the up-converter works well, images will look sharper and brighter; if not, they'll look a bit blotchy.
The extra sharpness and clarity you'll get from a UHD TV comes at a price. A 43-inch UHD TV sells for about N190,000.
Bottom Line: A UHD display is the future of TV displays. If you want your TV to be acceptable 4 years from now, you should consider buying a UHD TV.
3D (3 Dimensional)
A 3D TV is a TV with a display technology that enables a three-dimensional effect so that viewers think that an image has depth as well as width and height. With a 3D TV and a 3D glass, objects on the TV screen look real and life like.
3D TVs (and 3D movies) work by presenting 2 separate images - one for the left eye and the other for the right eye. The images are incorporated through the use of a 3D glass. Another technology (auto-stereoscopic imaging) is screen based and does not require viewers to wear a 3D glass.
To actually see the effect of a 3D TV, you need 3D videos. Since 3D videos are very uncommon today, you may never use the 3D feature of your TV. A 3D TV is also not a cheap accessory to have in your living room. The price of a 47-inch 3D Smart TV can be up to N270,000.
Bottom Line: Buying a 3D TV right now may not be the best option simply because we do not have enough 3D content out there.
A smart TV is simply a TV that offers a host of internet connected services that a normal TV can't offer. It has the equivalent of a computer built into it. Typically, smart TVs support WiFi, Ethernet, Memory card, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI and other audio-video connections. With a smart TV, you can browse the web, watch YouTube and catch up on social media; but do you really want to browse the web or update your social media profile on a TV?
The best part of a smart TV is (probably) the fact that you can watch videos on demand from sites like Netflix, iRokoTV (for Nigerian movies) etc. However, terribly slow internet connection and expensive data bundles in Nigeria are some of the many challenges Smart TV owners must face.
Make no mistake - Smart TVs are not cheap. A 43-inch LG Smart TV is about N204,000.
Bottom Line: If you just love video-streaming on a big screen, you have super-fast internet connection and a deep pocket - you should probably get a smart TV.
A Curved TV is a TV with a slightly curved screen. According to manufacturers, the idea is to make the TV-watching experience more immersive but in reality, Curved TVs are a fashion statement. They have some distinct disadvantages and no technical advantage over the normal flat TV. They are less likely to produce uniform brightness across the screen and the slightly curved area distorts images and reduces the available side-viewing angles.
Most Curved TVs are OLED TVs. For this reason, they are usually very expensive and the picture quality, colour contrast and sharpness of the TV cannot be compared to any other type of TV. A curved TV is usually more expensive than its flat relative with the same features. A 55-inch Curved OLED TV can cost as much as N600,000.
Bottom Line: A Curved TV can be a beautiful and classy addition to your home but they do not have any technical advantage over a flat screen TV.
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