TVs are a big investment since they cost thousands of dollars and won’t be changed often, so it only makes sense to choose the best one possible for your money. This guide will show you how.
What’s in a name?
Some TVs say 4K, some say UHD. But when it comes to TVs, 4K and Ultra High Definition are essentially the same thing – TVs with a resolution of 3840x2160. If you want to get technical though, true 4K is a cinema standard for recording and movie theatres, with a resolution of 4096x2160.
That means UHD TVs have four times the resolution and level of detail as your current Full HD telly, and that’s quite something to behold. It’s also the reason both broadcasters and TV manufacturers are investing heavily in the format. If you like the screen on your smartphone, you’ll love UHD TVs.
Since this is the entire reason to upgrade to a UHD in the first place, it’s also the most important thing to look out for. This is where each manufacturer’s display technologies would come into play, because it’ll be the main differentiating factor when choosing your UHD TV.
Some brands have chosen to use RGBW panels in their TVs, which may be cheaper, but come with tradeoffs in terms of image quality. That’s because in these panels, you also have White subpixels in addition to the standard Red, Green and Blue. On a UHD TV panel, these white subpixels would take up 25% of the screen, resulting in just 6.2 million coloured pixels on a RGBW panel instead of 8.3 million pixels on a standard RGB one. That results in less true resolution, colour brightness, and consistency, so bear that in mind in relation to your budget.
Samsung, on the other hand, has gone for full RGB colour with SUHD, its advanced display technology for their top-end UHD TVs – and no, the “S” doesn’t stand for “Super”. If anything, it’s open-ended to represent Samsung’s Sensational picture quality, Stylish design, and Seamless entertainment experience. It uses revolutionary Nano Crystal Colour Technology and its SUHD re-mastering engine to create brighter ultra-high definition images, a broader spectrum of vibrant colours, more detailed colour expression, deeper contrast, and high dynamic range when compared to regular UHD TVs. In fact, images on a TV like the Samsung Curved SUHD Smart TV JS9000 would be more lifelike than that of a regular UHD TV.
What to watch
Native UHD content may not be readily available in Singapore right now, but it’s a safe bet to say that’ll change in the near future. We’re limited to a growing number of UHD YouTube videos at the moment, but we’ll have the arrival of 4K Blu-Ray to look forward to later this year. What’s more, if you’ve got a VPN running, you could also get UHD content on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant.
However, you’ll need to make sure your UHD TV is equipped for the eventual arrival of these sources, as well as whatever comes beyond. In terms of software, your TV requires the latest HEVC video standard for high quality, low-bandwidth UHD video files and streams up to 60fps. Hardware-wise, it’s best to ensure you have HDMI 2.0 ports that have higher data capacity than today’s HDMI 1.4 for sharper quality and perhaps even higher resolutions in the future.
That doesn’t mean you need to wait to fully enjoy your new UHD TV though – models such as Samsung’s JS9000 also come with good upscaling technology for you to enjoy content in convincing, near-UHD quality. Of course, the end image depends greatly on your source.
It’s not just about watching regular content, as you’ll want a Smart TV that enhances your user experience with as many modern conveniences as possible. You’re already paying good money anyway, so might as well make the most of it.
For example, The Samsung JS9000 is fully Internet-capable with built-in Wireless LAN, has an Octa-Core Processor for speedy operation in all areas, and comes with Samsung Quick Connect to seamlessly share TV content to and from selected Samsung smart devices.
It’s new TIZEN Operating System also makes the user journey as simple as possible, whether it’s accessing online services or dozens of smart apps you’ll only find on a Samsung TV. With apps for news, education, social networking, and entertainment, you might even find yourself putting down those smartphones for a change and spending quality time in front of the TV with your family, just like you used to back in the day.
Flat or curved?
Lastly, you want to think carefully about the physical design of the TV. You’re going to be spending a lot of time looking at it, after all. With TV designs becoming so similar in recent years, the main concern is going to be whether to go for a curved screen or not.
The advantages of having a curved UHD TV are subtle, but believe us when we say it does make a difference. The edges of a curved screen are closer to you, adding more depth and immersion in what you’re watching. The curvature also means the screen is pretty much the same distance from your eye to all areas of the screen, making even the corners easier to see, leading to a more balanced image.
Samsung’s models also have technologies that go one step further, such as their Auto Depth Enhancer technology that tweaks the contrast of onscreen objects to add more depth and immersion to the image.
Reflections and glare from external objects would also be directed away from you, resulting in less fatigue for your eyes and reducing the chance that something will distract you from what you're watching.
Viewing aside, a curved TV definitely looks way more impressive in your living room than a flat-screened one, so it might be worth it based on that alone. However, you’ll need to ensure you get the size of your screen right to fully enjoy UHD in comfort. Samsung makes this easy by having the optimal curvature on each of their different screen sizes, so all you have to do is make your choice based on the required viewing distance.