It’s Time to Buy a 4K TV

4K TVs have come a long way. Previously, they were expensive, there was nothing to look at, and it was better to buy less than 1080p. This is no longer the case: there is a lot to see, the new 4K panels are packed with features and they are now affordable for everyone. If you’ve been waiting, you can now safely begin your search.

We last reviewed 4K displays over two years ago. At the time, 4K monitors and TVs were much more expensive than regular 1080p HD displays. This is no longer the case today. They also had no content to watch, but 2016 was a very good year for 4K. Netflix has thrown in a ton of 4K shows , Microsoft and Sony are launching 4K game consoles soon , and UHD Blu-ray players are as cheap as their HD counterparts. If you decide to dive, you don’t end up paying big bucks for a little benefit after all.

4K TV for every budget

What qualifies as a “low” price for a TV is highly subjective, but it’s safe to say that there are decent 4K TVs in almost every price point. While I was shopping for my TV, I found several at different prices. These aren’t necessarily the best kits for every price range, and we don’t recommend buying them, but they show that whatever your needs, 4K TV is within your budget:

  • Sharp 43 “LC43N6100U ($ 349): This refurbished model from NewEgg is one of the cheapest 4K TVs I’ve ever come across. If your TV breaks and you need to replace it urgently or you can’t save money to getting a New TV, 4K TVs started to go over your budget. I even found it a little cheaper at NewEgg for $ 284 .
  • VIZIO 43 “M43-C1 ($ 529): If you are on a budget but still want a better TV, this VIZIO model offers great pictures with high contrast and excellent backlighting (good for viewing in dark rooms) for just a little. over $ 500. It’s also highly recommended by The Wirecutter. For the average family just looking for something decent to upgrade without much hesitation, this is perfect.
  • Sony 50-inch X800D ($ 798): If you care a lot about image quality but don’t want to splash your budget, the Sony X800D lineup offers a 50-inch set for $ 800. This model includes advanced features such as HDR and 10-bit color gamut that combine to deliver more lifelike images with richer colors. Both of these features are important for the future of TVs, and we’ll talk about them a little later. Personally, I bought the X850D, which was slightly larger and had better scaling compared to the X800D.
  • Samsung 55-inch U7100 ($ 1,800): If you really want to give it your all, this model has a high refresh rate (which means smoother motion), rich colors, and even 3D movie support for those who still think it’s a thing. … At $ 1,800, this is an investment, but there will always be someone willing to spend the money.

Since 4K is no longer limited to big sponsors or early adopters, it is likely to remain. Eventually, TV makers will simply ditch HDTVs and make 4K the norm. In fact, in 2015, an alliance of TV manufacturers, movie studios and Netflix agreed to promote 4K as the next standard in video production. The only thing that could prevent this is whether consumers can afford it the next time they need to replace their TV, but it is now clear that almost everyone can.

Some 4K TVs offer more important upgrades than just higher resolution

When you buy a TV, remember that resolution is just one aspect of overall picture quality . Buying a 4K TV doesn’t automatically mean it will look better than your regular HD TV. It will probably look better just because it’s newer , but there are several important areas in which the best TV can differ:

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR): HDR is the biggest new feature in your TV’s picture quality right now. It increases the range between very dark and very light colors, providing a much higher contrast ratio than most TVs can display. More importantly, HDR TVs have pixels that are physically capable of emitting more light, which makes the brighter parts of your TV truly brighter and not just brighter. The main drawback here is that not all 4K TVs support HDR, but this is the future of television .
  • Wide Color Gamut (WCG): WCG is a subset of features commonly associated with HDR that allow your TV to display a much wider range of colors than usual (as the name suggests). Most TVs use an 8-bit display that can display up to 256 shades of red, green and blue, combining them to produce up to 16.7 million distinct colors. WCG TVs use a 10-bit display that can display 1,024 shades of each color for over a billion individual colors. It’s unlikely that the TV will have HDR without WCG, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
  • OLED : Plasma TVs died out in 2014 , leaving LCD TVs and OLED TVs to dominate the market. While LCDs are cheaper, OLEDs tend to have richer colors because they don’t use backlighting. Each pixel emits its own light, which means they can be as close to pure black as possible, resulting in contrast ratios not available for LCDs. If you want the best possible picture, go for OLED.

All of these features will cost more than 4K TVs without them, but they are also unnecessary . You may not care about ultra-high contrast ratios or color ranges. If that’s you, feel free to buy whatever 4K TV you like best. We’re also not sure which HDR standards will win in the future, or if TV manufacturers will add them to all their TVs in the future, as they plan to do with 4K. If you’re waiting for HDR to hit a $ 200 TV, you can wait a very long time. Until then, don’t assume a 4K TV means it’s the best. Just assume 4K is the standard.

4K content isn’t everywhere yet, but it’s enough

Of course, what’s the point of buying a 4K TV if you can’t watch 4K content on it? Until recently, it was quite difficult to find enough content to warrant an upgrade. This dynamic has changed. You can stream 4K Netflix videos, get a cheap 4K Blu-ray player (and tons of 4K Blu-ray discs ), or wait for the 4K PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles to come out .

If you own a 4K TV, here’s a collection of different places to find 4K content and what’s available on them:

  • What’s on Netflix : This site brings together the Netflix 4K library in one place for easy browsing. You can also search Netflix for “4K” (or “HDR”) to find content that looks great on your TV. Some of the site’s biggest shows, like Daredevil , Jessica Jones, and Marco Polo, support 4K and HDR video.
  • Amazon Instant Video : If you have Amazon Prime, you can get a ton of 4K content by searching or using filters on the Amazon website. The results are pretty meager, but you can find a few 4K movies that look great, like Interstellar or The Martian .
  • Blu-Ray.com : If you take the Blu-ray 4K player, this site has a huge list of movies that you can burn to a disc, to fully take advantage of their new fashion TV. While some publishers (Disney in particular) haven’t joined us, there are hundreds of movies already available on disc, with more being added every week. Blu-ray.com is a great way to keep up with them.
  • RealorFake4K: This site we talked about earlier will help you find movies that unleash the full potential of 4K. Some films are shot at a lower resolution and then “upscaled” later, which may not always give the best quality. If you’re ever unsure if a movie really lives up to the 4K label, or you just want to find something new that looks good, visit this site.

As studios and networks look more closely at 4K, we’re likely to see an increase in the amount of content available for your ultra-high definition TV. Netflix in particular is making a much bigger push for 4K content this year. YouTube promotes 4K video , you can rent movies in the store PlayStation Video or in UHD- format VUDU , plus AT & T and Xfinity offer several options 4K On Demand.

Unfortunately, cable and broadcast networks are lagging a bit behind due to the infrastructure upgrades required to promote 4K. However, most 4K TVs have some form of upscaling that can take regular 1080p video and improve its on-screen appearance . Overall, you may not be able to find everything you want in 4K just yet, but you can probably find enough to make a TV purchase worthwhile.

If you are looking to buy a TV right now, chances are you will want to keep it for a few years. There is enough content available right now and TVs are cheap enough that it is safe to buy a 4K TV and get your money back straight away. It will last long enough not to be out of date anytime soon, and by the time it wears out and you need a new one, we’ll probably be on to what the next big deal will be.

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