Old Television Set

How to Buy a New TV: The Complete Guide

Are you looking to buy a new TV but not sure which model or brand to get? Well you’ve come to the right place!

There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she stops simply buying the cheapest TV on the market and starts to look for real, solid features. If you’ve reached that time, welcome! This article is for you.

In this article, we’ll break down every single thing you need to know about buying your new TV. We’ll also give you options at multiple price points, as well as pointers for what to do if you’re short on cash or good credit.

Let’s dive in.

What to Look for When Buying a New TV

There are tons of features to consider when buying your new TV. These are what we consider the 10 most important.

#1: Panel Size and Type

Let’s start with the basics: the first thing you’ll notice about a TV (even before picture quality) is its size. A TV’s size isn’t measured lengthwise or widthwise; it’s measured diagonally from one corner of the screen to its opposite. TVs typically start around 32 inches and run all the way up to 75 or more inches. Depending on the brand, the specific size measurements may vary.

But size does not equal amazing quality. Quality comes from the TV’s image panel.

Most televisions use a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel that has LED backlights. Not all LCD panels are created equal: the number and quality of backlights a television has all affect its picture. Basically, the more expensive the TV is, the higher the quality of its backlights.

The most expensive televisions use OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screens. These screens are similar to the screen in your phone. OLEDs are typically more vibrant and color-saturated.

#2: 4K Resolution

Today, most televisions have 4K resolution, even though this feature was rare just a few years ago. 4K resolution basically means that the TV’s video quality is four times 1080P. 1080P used to be the standard for HD video so 4K is… really good.

These days, your TV is most likely 4K, especially if it’s more than 40 inches.

#3: Contrast Ratio

Your television’s contrast ratio determines how it expresses the difference between darks and lights. The higher the contrast, the more rich your picture will be.

Basically, if your television has a good contrast ratio, you were able to watch the “Battle of Winterfell” episode of Game of Thrones. If not, you spent 90 minutes squinting at darkness.

Unfortunately, while contrast ratios are super important, they aren’t standardized, which makes it difficult to compare specs. The best way is to watch two identical clips to compare the performance of both televisions. Take a trip to the TV wall of your local Target for this.

TV amongst bookshelves
For the aesthetic-conscious, there are many TVs that are slim and blend into their surroundings.

#4: Refresh Rate

Your television’s refresh rate states how many images it can display per second. Most modern TVs have a refresh rate of at least 60 Hertz. Some higher end models can go up to 240 Hertz.

If your TV has a refresh rate of 120 Hertz or higher, you’ll get what’s known as the soap opera effect. This effect makes motions appear smoother on your TV’s screen.

Some people don’t like the soap opera effect, especially if they’re just using their TV to watch programming. If, however, you’re a gamer, you might opt for a TV with a higher refresh rate so that you get a smoother, more exciting gaming experience.

#5: Inputs

Your television is only as capable as the tools you give it. Inputs are everything that you can plug into a TV, including things like HDMI cords or RCA cords.

These days, most TVs have a least two HDMI ports. More expensive TVs can have four or more. If you intend to plug something into your TV (be it a Blu-ray player, surround sound receiver, or something else), you’ll want to take note of the inputs you can use.

If you have a number of devices to plug into your TV, you’ll have to do some searching to find a model that can handle it. A higher number of HDMI ports typically means a higher price point, so consider how important your external devices are before pulling the trigger on a pricey TV.

#6: Input Lag

If you’re a gamer, input lag is incredibly important for you. Input lag is, like it sounds, the lag time it takes for an image to go from a TV’s processor to its screen.

If you’re just watching TV for fun, it might not matter that you saw the ending of the Super Bowl one-hundredth of a second slower than your neighbor. But if you’re a gamer in a winner-take-all shooting match, that one-hundredth of a second can mean the difference between taking home the prize and going home empty-handed.

#7: Smart Software

Who has cable these days? With the advent of smart software, many TVs are built for programming. Just not the traditional, multi-channel type of programming.

Smart TVs come pre-loaded with software and apps like Hulu, Netflix, and HBOGo. You can load them up with more apps and channels based on your preferences. Some TVs even hook up home assistants like Alexa. (“Alexa, play Money Heist!”)

While it’s great to have features built into your television, you can also buy standalone smart TV devices to plug in through one of those inputs we spoke about earlier. Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Fire TV all have stand-alone devices you can purchase for a small fee.

Smart TV
These days, many TVs are Smart TVs, meaning you have access to thousands of shows and movies with the click of a button.

#8: Speakers

A television is only as good as its sound. A TV might have the best picture in the world, but if its sound is crackling or distorted, your viewing experience will be a nightmare.

That being said, speaker quality on TVs is actually getting worse these days as TVs themselves get thinner and thinner. There simply isn’t enough room to put the solid, old school speakers in today’s TVs.

Some people choose to get around this by adding a sound bar or surround sound system to their television set up. If you decide that’s necessary (and, if you do, what you decide to purchase) is totally up to you. We recommend testing out a TV first to see its sound quality before buying.

#9: How It Looks

You’ll want to consider how the TV looks. Not its picture-quality, mind you, but how the actual TV itself looks.

While most TVs just look like big black rectangles, you can find more stylish options. Some televisions, for instance, are designed to look like an oversized digital picture frame: perfect for the aesthetic-conscious minimalist.

#10: Your Budget

Finally, you’ll need to consider your budget when purchasing your TV. What can you realistically afford? Can you qualify for a loan if you don’t have the cash on hand to buy the TV of your dreams?

If you’re worried about qualifying for a good TV, don’t worry! We’re here to help. Here at InstantFinance24.com, we help people with all types of credit buy the electronic devices of their dreams. Our easy, no-credit-check process makes it simple for you to lease to own your dream TV… no matter what your credit history!

Head over to our shop page to start browsing.