How to Choose a TV – The Ultimate, Simple, COMPLETELY Jargon Free Guide

So, you’re ready to hand over your hard earned money in exchange for a swanky new TV. 


Excited to start binge watching your favourite show, you walk into the electronics store (or – more likely these days – have a scroll through their website), and…. now what?


You’re faced with a sea of OLED, QLED, UHD, HDR and countless other terms that you don’t fully understand.


We believe that an excellent viewing experience should be accessible to everyone, whether or not they’ve got a degree in television related acronyms!


Buying a TV can feel overwhelming. You want to be sure you’re getting good value for money, and that your new television will have all the features you need. But it can be hard to make an informed choice when you’re being bombarded with technical jargon.


Breaking down the TV jargon

We’ve found many lists during our research that claim to explain TV related terminology. However, most of these lists include several definitions that feature yet more frustrating jargon!


No one wants to spend time running every other word through a search engine. 


That’s why, in this blog, we’ve explained every single term you could possibly come across during your quest to purchase a new telly. And we’ve done it in words that even your nan could understand.


Read on, and by the end, you should feel much more confident in selecting a TV that’s right for you.


What size TV do I need?

The right size TV depends on your available space and how far away you’ll be sitting. TVs are measured in inches, diagonally from one corner of the screen to another.


Generally, bigger is better for a more immersive experience.But the larger the screen, the more you should expect to pay.

Do I need HD, UHD, 4K or 8K?

The resolution of a television just means how clear the image is. There are a few different types of resolution, which we’ll explain below:


• High-definition television (HDTV): HDTV is a clearer and sharper version of regular TV. 


It has more lines on the screen, which means the pictures look much more vivid, detailed, and crisp. 


Think of it as the difference between a photo you took yourself versus a professional one.


Full HDTV is sometimes written in product descriptions as ‘1080p’. Don’t let this confuse you, it’s the same thing.


• 4K/UHD (Ultra High Definition): These are two more terms that mean the same thing. 


Any TV that says it’s 4K or UHD is like a regular high definition (see above) but with four times as many tiny dots (called pixels). This makes the image super clear. 


In short, 4K/UHD is better than HDTV. And all of the above are better than just basic resolution.


• 8K: Like 4K but with double the amount of those tiny dots, so whatever you’re watching will be twice as detailed as on a 4K telly.


However, there aren’t many things that you can actually watch in 8K yet, even if you have an 8K TV. 


The industry may take a while to catch up with this fast-moving tech! For this reason, it’s probably more cost-effective to invest in a high-quality 4K TV than an 8K model at this time. 


Get Smart – Get Connected

• Smart TV: Most modern televisions are ‘smart TVs’. This means you’ll be able to connect your TV to WiFiand watch shows from Netflix, YouTube, Disney, Amazon Prime, etc.


Be aware that many of these platforms require you to pay a subscription to access their shows and movies.

OLEDs and QLED TV (different kinds of tiny dots!)


• OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes): Each tiny dot on the screen lights up by itself. This makes coloursreally vivid and the dark parts of the picture super dark.


OLED TVs are great for watching movies in dark rooms. However, they’re not quite as bright as QLED TVs (see below), and they can be more expensive.


• QLED (Quantum Dot LED): QLED TVs use a different kind of special tiny dots to make the colours on your TV super bright and lifelike.


They’re great for brighter rooms and are generally brighter than OLEDs. QLED TVs are also usually less expensive than OLEDs, but their black levels often aren’t as good.


In short, if you watch a lot of movies in a dark room and want the best picture quality, OLED might be better for you. 


However, if you usually watch TV in a well-lit room and want a screen that’s bright, colourful, and a bit easier on your wallet, then go with a QLED model.


More TV terms you’ll come across when comparing features

• NanoCell: A type of TV screen by television manufacturer, LG. It uses really tiny particles to make colours look very bright and pure.


• Dolby Vision: A special type of HDR (see above) that makes the colours and brightness levels appear even more real and lifelike.


• Aspect Ratio: Most modern TVs are wider than they are tall, and these days, the most common TV aspect ratio is 16:9. 


The number before the colon refers to the width of the screen and the second number relates to the height. This means that on a TV with an aspect ratio of 16:9, for every 16 units wide, the screen is 9 units high.


16:9 is considered the ideal ratio for watching movies and TV shows, as it matches their original format. But for fans of old movies, 4:3 is often considered more suitable, as older screens were more square-shaped.


• Local Dimming: This means that different parts of the screen can change how bright or dark they are on their own. 


This feature comes into play when some parts of what you’re watching should be really dark and others should be really bright. It’s like having lots of little dimmer switches for different parts of your TV screen.


• HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface): A type of cable you use to connect your TV to other things like DVD players or game consoles.


Some TVs have more HDMI ports (places you can plug the cables in) than others. 

If you’re planning to connect a lot of equipment using HDMI cables, check your chosen telly has enough HDMI ports before you buy.


• HDMI 2.1: This means the TV has the latest version of HDMI. It will support higher quality video and audio, so it’s ideal for new games and movies.


As with regular HDMI, be sure to check that the television has enough ports to plug in all your tech at the same time.


All things LED

LED TVs are a modern and common option. They are bright and don’t use as much electricity as their predecessors. There are a few different LED related terms you’ll come across, which we will cover below:


• MicroLED vs. Mini LED: MicroLED TVs use lots of tiny lights to create the picture, offering fantastic colours and being energy-efficient. 


Mini LED TVs also use small lights, they’re just a bit bigger than MicroLEDs. 


Mini LEDs are great at controlling light in different parts of the screen, giving you a picture with deeper blacks and brighter whites. 


But which one to choose?


Put simply, if you want the very best in colour and energy savings, opt for MicroLED. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, Mini LEDis a quality compromise.


• Edge-Lit LED vs. Direct-Lit LED: Edge-Lit LED TVs have lights only around the edges, which allows them to be thinner. However, this can sometimes make the lighting across the screen a bit uneven. 


Direct-Lit LED TVs have lights behind the whole screen, making the lighting more consistent and often a bit brighter than Edge-Lit models. 


If you prefer a slimmer TV and don’t mind a little unevenness in lighting, an Edge-Lit LED is fine. But if you want more even lighting across your screen, Direct-Lit LED is a better option.


TV Refresh Rates – Blink and you’ll miss it!

• Refresh Rate: Think of the refresh rate as how often your TV blinks to show a new picture. This “blink rate” is measured in Hertz (Hz). 

Most modern TVs blink 60 times a second (60 Hz), which is good for regular shows and movies. 


However, some TVs can blink 120 times a second (120 Hz). This faster blink rate is great for things that move quickly on the screen. 


So, if you’ll be using your TV to watch sports matches or video games, it may be worth spending a little extra on a model that has a refresh rate of 120Hz. Everything will just look a bit smoother and clearer.


There are TVs on the market with even higher refresh rates. However, the human eye can’t perceive any difference over 120Hz, resulting in a rather pointless, gimmicky, and often very expensive feature. Save your money!



A few more mind-boggling acronyms for good measure

• HFR (High Frame Rate): Makes things moving on your TV look smoother, like in action movies or sports.


• ATSC 3.0: A new standard that lets your TV show super clear pictures and great sound.


• HDR (High Dynamic Range): This means that the bright parts of your TV picture will be brighter, and the dark parts will be darker, making the image more similar to real life.


• VRR (Variable Refresh Rate): This one is more important for serious gamers than it is for Netflix bingers. It will make your game appear smoother, without any weird lines or pauses.


• eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel): Lets your TV send really good quality sound to your speakers. If you’re not using separate speakers, disregard this feature.


So many features! Which ones are important when choosing a TV?

Overall, the best TV for you is the one that fits your space, needs, and budget. Try not to get too caught up in the specs. 


Think about what you love to watch and how you like to watch it. Then consult the points above to determine what features you’ll need to look out for.


So, if you’re now feeling fully clued up and ready to choose the television of your dreams, check out the extensive selection at Martin Dawes. They’ve got something for everyrequirement and cater to a wide range of budgets.


If you need any further advice, don’t hesitate to give them a call on 01925 938999. They’re extremely knowledgeable and are always happy to help.



Don’t forget to bookmark this blog, so you’ll have it on hand for help with terminology when comparing models.



Happy TV hunting!


Last Updated on 6 months by Lavania Oluban

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