Explanation: Choosing the right TV size based on your viewing distance helps you enjoy your TV. If your TV is too small, you might miss out on important details, while a TV that's too big can be overwhelming and cause eye fatigue. Many TV enthusiasts suggest getting a big TV, however, larger TVs are more expensive. TVs larger than 65 inches can become exponentially more expensive. TV size is measured from one corner to its opposite corner.
Explanation: TVs are available at various price points, ranging from budget-friendly options to high-end flagships. TV quality continually gets better, so if you haven’t bought a TV in a while, you may be impressed even by a relatively inexpensive TV. As you move up the price range, you can expect better picture quality, larger sizes, increased brightness, faster refresh rates, nicer materials, and additional features. You may need to allocate a significantly larger budget if you're looking for a big TV with high end features.
Explanation: PerfectRec’s TV picture quality score is based on multiple qualities, including: contrast, brightness, local dimming, color accuracy, and screen uniformity. If you aren’t that picky about picture quality or TVs generally look similar to you, you can save money or get a larger TV for your budget by choosing a lower picture quality.
Explanation: Different types of content benefit from different TV features. For instance, movies and TV series benefit from good contrast, accurate colors, and deep blacks. In contrast, sports viewers may prefer better viewing angles and black frame insertion (BFI) for smoother motion.
Modern gaming consoles, such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X, utilize features like HDMI 2.1, 120Hz refresh rate, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to deliver the best possible gaming experience.
Explanation: The ambient light in a room can greatly affect the visual quality of your TV content. Insufficient TV brightness can result in a washed-out appearance. In rooms with ample sunlight, we recommend going for a brighter TV. Some TVs also come with better antireflective coatings to avoid unwanted screen glare.
While OLED TVs are known for their superior picture quality, they typically have lower brightness levels. As a result, they may not be the ideal choice for very bright rooms. If you're considering a high-end TV, it's worth noting this limitation of OLED technology.
Explanation: As TV requirements vary among individuals, we offer customized recommendations based on your specific needs and preferences. Select the special features you require, and we'll ensure that your final recommendations include them. Selecting certain features may limit the available options on the list and remove potentially good options.
Choosing the right TV size based on your viewing distance helps you enjoy your TV. If your TV is too small, you might miss out on important details, while a TV that's too big can be overwhelming and cause eye fatigue. Many TV enthusiasts suggest getting a big TV, however, larger TVs are more expensive. TVs larger than 65 inches can become exponentially more expensive. TV size is measured from one corner to its opposite corner.
The two major panel families for modern TVs are LCD and OLED. OLED is the spiritual successor to Plasmas which were more popular about a decade ago.
LCD is a mature technology that has become very affordable. To display images, LCD screens require a backlight which can range from a simple LED strip along the edge to a complex miniLED matrix. This matrix can selectively turn on or off certain portions of the TV to enhance contrast, resulting in deeper blacks and brighter whites. LCDs are generally brighter than OLEDs and can be produced in larger sizes at lower costs.
OLED displays are usually considered superior to LCDs in almost every way. The reason is that they can turn on or off each individual pixel. They have a much higher contrast, perfect blacks, better colors and faster response time. The downsides of OLEDs are their increased cost, lower brightness compared to some LCDs, and more limited selection of TV models and sizes.
LCD panels are one of type sub-types, either IPS or VA. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. IPS technology has more accurate colors, excellent viewing angles, and a faster response time that is beneficial for gaming. VA technology offers superior contrast ratios, deeper blacks, and better screen uniformity, which are best for a home theater experience.
TVs lit by LEDs along the edge are the most basic forms of LCD TV, and are less expensive than alternatives. In contrast, FALD utilizes a LED panel behind the LCD screen, with the LEDs being individually turned on or off. This enables FALD TVs to excel at handling dark scenes by providing more lighting only to bright areas of the screen. The number of dimming zones increases with bigger and better TVs, thereby improving the performance in dark scenes even further. While these TVs are more expensive than regular LED LCD TVs, they are usually still cheaper than OLEDs. MiniLEDs are a further improvement to FALD technology found in high even TVs. They are exceptional at handling both dark and bright scenes with HDR content.
WOLED was the first OLED technology to enter the TV market, and its performance in terms of black scenes, contrast, color reproduction, and motion handling is significantly superior to most LCD TVs. WOLED TVs are more expensive than their LCD counterparts.
QD-OLED is the second technology to hit the TV market and is a direct competitor to WOLED. Colors are exceptionally vivid and arguably the best seen in any TV technology. Additionally, QD-OLED TVs can achieve high levels of brightness without appearing washed out. This newer technology comes at a price premium.
Modern TVs are equipped with an operating system that runs apps, similar to a laptop or smartphone. Each operating system offers slightly different apps and features. They all support all of the most popular video streaming apps. If you don’t already have a particular reason to prefer a specific operating system, this choice probably won’t matter for you.
NextGen broadcast ready means that a TV supports a new standard for over-the-air broadcasts received by antenna called ASTC 3.0. In North America, digital broadcast television follows the ATSC standard. The most common type of tuner in TVs is ATSC version 1.0, which was introduced when HD TV was first launched. However, version 3.0 is starting to appear in some of the more expensive TVs. Some locations already broadcast using this version. The benefits of ATSC version 3.0 over 1.0 are numerous, as 3.0 supports 4K resolution, High Dynamic Range, more efficient encoding algorithms for higher picture quality and interactive content. Very few ASTC 3.0 stations are actually broadcasting in 4K, but some might have higher video quality even when broadcasting at HD resolutions.
HDMI is a versatile video and audio port that enables you to connect a variety of devices to your TV, including home theaters, gaming consoles, and Blu-ray players. There are three main versions of HDMI, including the older HDMI 1.4, as well as the more common HDMI 2.0 and the latest HDMI 2.1. Each version of HDMI offers various improvements over the previous one, and the good news is that all ports are backward compatible, allowing older devices to function with newer TVs.
For those looking to enjoy 4K content on their television, HDMI 2.0 is more than sufficient. However, if you plan on using your TV as a monitor with 4:4:4 Chroma subsampling or want to connect a modern gaming console with 120Hz, you will need HDMI 2.1, which provides the necessary bandwidth for these features. For those who don't require these features, it is not necessary to be too concerned about the HDMI version, and focus on selecting a TV with enough ports to connect all your peripherals.
The screen refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), the number of frames of video per second. A higher rate results in smoother motion on the screen. Almost all TV and streaming content is at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second. A TV supporting more than a 60Hz refresh rate makes little difference for TV and movies.
The Sony PS5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X game consoles benefit from a higher refresh rate for smoother video. A 120hz+ screen makes a difference playing games on these systems (but not the Nintendo Switch). A TV with a 120hz+ refresh rate will have at least one HDMI 2.1 port which supports the higher refresh rate. Additionally, if you plan to use your TV as a monitor, an HDMI 2.1 port is necessary for clear and sharp text at 4K resolution.
VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, is a feature primarily used for gaming on the Sony PS5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X (but not the Nintendo Switch). If you’re not into gaming, you don’t need to worry about VRR. TV and movies always output the same number of frames per second to your TV. Video game consoles instead output more frames during less graphically intensive scenes. VRR technology enables a TV to dynamically sync the screen's refresh rate with the content being displayed, eliminating a common video artifact called screen tearing. That’s when a screen displays the top part of one frame, and the bottom part of another.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) enhances the visual experience by improving contrast, color accuracy, blacks, and bright highlights to provide a more cinematic viewing experience. By far the most popular and readily available HDR format is HDR10. All the TVs PerfectRec recommends support this format, except for some smaller ones.
Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are competing enhanced HDR standards that each further improves upon the benefits of HDR10. Dolby Vision is more popular, and is supported by Netflix, HBOX Max and Disney+. Amazon Prime Video, Youtube and Google Play Movies are the biggest streaming platforms that support HDR10+.
The previous HDR formats aren’t supported by typical broadcast or cable channels. HLG is a different approach to HDR supported by these formats. However, it doesn’t have as big of benefits as the other HDR formats.
PerfectRec developed this proprietary score designed to provide an overall assessment of a display's visual performance. It is a comprehensive metric that takes into account eight quantitative measures of picture quality, including: contrast ratio, color gamut, color volume, local dimming, gray uniformity, black uniformity, viewing angle, reflections (glare) and color calibration. By combining multiple factors, this score offers a more nuanced and comprehensive evaluation of a display's capabilities than a single factor.
Contrast is crucial to our visual experience since humans are better at distinguishing bright and dark scenes than color hues. Color Gamut and Color Volume measure color accuracy and how well colors can be maintained throughout the brightness range. Local dimming and black uniformity are essential for inky blacks and black scenes, while gray uniformity, viewing angles, and reflections for certain content like sports.
PerfectRec’s bright room score is a proprietary score of a television's performance in a bright environment, taking into account the following factors: screen brightness, contrast, reflections, color gamut, and color volume. A higher score indicates better TV performance in bright conditions, minimizing glare and producing a more pleasant viewing experience.
Brightness is crucial in how well the image displays in direct sunlight, while contrast helps distinguish objects in bright environments, and low reflections reduce glare. Color gamut and color volume contribute to color vibrancy and depth, which are vital in a bright environment.
PerfectRec’s gaming score measures a TV's performance when it comes to playing video games. It is based on several factors that can significantly impact the quality of the gaming experience, including screen response time (30%), input lag (30%), and refresh rate (30%). Screen response time is a critical factor that determines how quickly the TV can transition from one frame to the next, while input lag measures the delay between the gaming console output and the TV display. Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second that the TV displays a new frame, which can impact the smoothness of the gaming experience. The gaming score also takes into account two other features: local dimming in gaming mode (7%), which can enhance contrast and picture quality, and black frame insertion (3%), which can reduce screen brightness and create a smoother gaming experience.
PerfectRec’s movies & cinematic TV score takes into account the most important TV features for cinematic content. Our score considers the following factors: color accuracy (including color gamut, color volume, and out-of-the-box colors), as well as local dimming and black uniformity. We also factor in gray uniformity and viewing angles to a lesser degree.
PerfectRec’s sports score prioritizes response time as the most important factor to ensure clear images of fast-moving scenes. In addition, we consider gray uniformity, which ensures that the turf looks the same across the whole screen, reflections, to avoid distracting ambient light from the action, and viewing angles, to avoid color distortion and washed-out images, especially when not seated directly in front of the TV.
PerfectRec’s news, talk, & other TV score prioritizes upscaling, brightness, contrast, colors out of the box, and screen uniformity. This is because almost all news and talk shows are created using Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) with lower resolutions, such as 720P and 1080P. The purpose of this prioritization is to ensure that lower resolution content looks good on a 4K display and to help you identify which TV will perform best when watching live TV via Cable, Satellite, or Antenna.
PerfectRec’s cartoons & animation score places great importance on several crucial aspects of TV picture quality, such as color gamut, color volume, and out-of-the-box colors, in addition to good gray uniformity and contrast, to ensure that you can fully enjoy your favorite animated content. Cartoons and animation are characterized by vibrant and colorful imagery, however, accurately displaying this type of content can pose a challenge for TVs, particularly during scenes with complex lighting or subtle color variations.
OLED displays are usually considered superior to LCDs in almost every way. They have a much higher contrast, perfect blacks, better colors and faster response time. The downsides of OLEDs are their increased cost, lower brightness compared to some LCDs, and more limited selection of TV models and sizes.
Sound quality is a critical component of the TV viewing experience, particularly for movies with surround sound effects. To evaluate the quality of a TV's built-in speakers, we use two metrics: Total Harmonic Distortion and Frequency Response. Total Harmonic Distortion measures how well a speaker performs at high volume levels. Low-quality speakers often introduce distortion in such situations. A larger frequency response indicates that the speakers can produce lower frequency bass rumbles and higher pitched notes. However, it's important to note that larger TVs often have more powerful speakers, which can deliver better audio quality. For the best audio experience, external speakers are the way to go.