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A Simple 4K TV Buying Guide for the Average Shopper

Shopping for a new 4K TV can feel confusing. Let us break it all down for you.

TVs have a come a long way over the past few years. They are now providing better, crispier, brighter and more beautiful images than ever while getting bigger and bigger.

In this way, TVs have gotten better with most of them integrating more and more features and services to help cut down the number of connections and extra devices you need for a flawless TV viewing experience.

Because of all these different additions, shopping for a TV can now feel confusing and frustrating. There are so many acronyms and technologies to decipher which can make differentiating between different models, or even choosing the best 4K TV, difficult.

To help sift through all the details, acronyms and other techno-speak, we have assembled a few tools to help you understand 4K TVs and make it easier to find the right TV.

Size

One of the most important things to consider is the size of the 4K TV. In addition to the price, the size of the TV you choose is more often than not dictated by how much space you have in your entertainment space.

It is important to keep two things in mind:

  1.  TV sizes are measured diagonally. When you see a 40-inch or 65 inch TV, this measurement is the diagonal length of the TV. The width and height might be shorter than this depending on the aspect ratio of the TV, which is a discussion for another day.
  2. The larger the TV, the better, especially when shopping for a 4K TV. Due to the sheer number of pixels on a 4K TV, the size of your TV can be as large as 60 inches and beyond. For most living rooms, 50 inches and above is often best while for the bedroom, 40-50 inches seem to be the sweet spot.

For those looking to use a TV stand, be sure to consider its dimensions before going out to buy a 4K TV. Most TVs are now being mounted on legs further and further from the centre so make sure that your TV stand can take that weight distribution.

Those looking to mount their TVs on the wall will be happy to know that size and weight should not be an issue. Most 4K TVs are very light, and there are wall mounts for most TV sizes and weights.

4K Tv wall mounts

Resolution

Although this guide is on buying the best 4K TV, it is always good to look at what other choices you have. A 1080p HD TV can be a good option seeing as they are becoming cheaper as more 4K TVs enter the market. That said, you will see a noticeable difference in picture quality; a better picture if you are coming from a 720p TV or a poorer picture if you are coming from a 4K one.

4K stands at the top of the TV resolution race compared to all other resolutions as it offers crispier, brighter pictures where finer details are clearly visible due to the massive number of visible pixels available. Because of this 4K TVs usually have better viewing angles than other TVs while allowing you to sit even closer to the TV without degradation in picture quality.

HDR

Now we will get into one of the first acronyms that you might have heard associated with 4K TVs. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which is a technology used to improve the contrast of a TV’s picture. This translates into more accurate brightness as well as finer colours which in turn means you get to enjoy more vibrant images on the TV.

When shopping for a 4K TV, you will encounter different HDR formats such as HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma. Although all of these are somewhat different technologies, the result is pretty much always the same. That said, there are some subtle differences in the quality of the image depending on what technology a particular TV uses.

Looking at different 4K TV reviews should help further explain these differences and show you visually what each of them is capable of.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs are all the rage these days with almost every manufacturer, from Samsung to Sony, touting their latest smart TVs.

But what is a smart TV?

In the simplest of terms, a Smart TV is a TV that can connect to the Internet, through ethernet, wifi or both, and comes with inbuilt applications. The most common of these applications include Youtube, Netflix, Hulu HBO Now and many others.

Smart TV

If you are looking to take things even further, you can get a 4K TV with inbuilt Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire or Roku capabilities. These allow for wireless connections between different devices such as laptops and phones while letting you stream content from these external devices.

Smart TVs offer capabilities such as streaming movies and shows from the Internet, playing games and even surfing the internet on top of their primary function of functioning as an outlet for your other audiovisual equipment.

The main advantage of smart TVs is their convenience. They offer everything or almost everything you may need in an entertainment centre in one package; external HDMI connections, USB connections, an internet connection plus inbuilt streaming apps and services.

Should you buy a 4K Tv that does not have smart capabilities, you can always upgrade it using the Roku Stick, the Amazon Fire Stick or a Nvidia Shield set-top box.

Get the Roku Stick, the Amazon Fire Stick or a Nvidia Shield set-top box

Refresh Rate

A 4K TV’s refresh rate refers to how many frames it can display per second. This measurement is often given in Hertz(Hz). Usually, the higher the refresh rate, the smoother the image on the screen is.

FYI:
If you are looking to use your 4k TV for gaming, it is best to get one with as high a refresh rate as possible. 120Hz should suffice for this use case.

Manufacturers usually refer to refresh rates in two different ways, effective and native refresh rates.

A native refresh rate means the actual refresh rate without any processing applied to the picture. Most 4K TVs have a native refresh rate of 60 or 120 HZ. Since 120HZ is becoming the standard, it better to get the 120HZ option. That said, there are some excellent 60HZ 4K TVs out there.

Effective refresh rates refer to the refresh rate after digital image processing. This term is most common on 4K TVs that boast refresh rates of over 120Hz.

Opinion is split on TVs that have a refresh rate of over 120HZ, but we advise that you stick with a 4K 60hz or 4K 120Hz native refresh rate TV for now to avoid any after-processing digital distortions.

FYI:

Effective refresh rates are usually just twice the native refresh rate. So a 120Hz 4K TV with an effective refresh rate is just a 60Hz native refresh rate TV with after-effects processing applied.

Inputs

Although most people shopping for a 4K TV usually don’t have inputs on their minds, they remain a very important factor to consider. You want a 4K TV that has a variety of input ports.

Here are the inputs you need, going down in importance and relevance:

  1. HDMI, 3-4 ports should suffice. Make sure your TV supports HDMI ARC (a simple way to pass audio back and forth between your speaker system/soundbar and your TV)
  2. USB, 2-3 ports will do. Be sure to get at least USB 2 if you cannot push for USB 3.
  3. Thunderbolt (very rare on TVs but very helpful if you go for a 4K monitor instead)
  4. Audio out
  5. Video in and audio in

All the different LEDs

There are four different LED TVs on the market right now; LCD(yes, that is correct. We will explain in a bit), LED, OLED and QLED.

Let’s start with LCDs as they are the older tech. In the past, LCD TVs came with a fluorescent backlight system to help illuminate the screen thereby creating the images. The reason for this is that LCD screens do not produce their own light, and they need a backlight to produce an image.

As LED technology matured, manufacturers discovered that illuminating the LCD screens using LEDs instead of fluorescent backlight systems made the TVs much more power efficient. That change from using fluorescent to LEDs as the backlight system is what makes the terms LCD and LED interchangeable when referring to TVs these days.

Next up, we have OLED TVs.
OLED TVs produce light without the need for any backlight. This makes them slimmer than LED and LCD TVs. They also deliver better blacks and contrasts due to their ability to dim or even switch off individual LEDs.

OLED TVs also offer better viewing angles than LED TVs.

What’s up with QLED TVs?
At their very core, QLED TVs are LED TVs too. The only difference is that the LED backlight system is shone through what is know as a Quantum Dot Matrix. Quantum dot is a technology that is used primarily by Samsung to correct the blue LED temperature to project purer white light.

This means that a QLED TV can deliver deeper, broader and more accurate colours.

In conclusion

Even though there is a lot to keep in mind when shopping for a 4K TV, shopping for one becomes much easier when you know what to look for and what all the different terms and technologies mean.

Below, we have added a selection of our favourite 4K TVs as well as some accessories to help set up your entertainment centre.

Wall Mounts, Streaming and Smart Accessories, Sound Bars, 4K TVs and Smart TVs

Best Online Offers

VideoSecu ML531BE TV Wall Mount

$23.99
3 new from $23.99
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Heavy guage steel supports screens up to 88 lbs. compatible with VESA (mounting hole pattern) 400x400mm/400x300mm/400x200mm/300x300mm/300x200mm/200x200mm/200x100mm/100x100mm (16"x16"/16"x12"/16"x8"/12"x12"/12"x8"/8"x8"/8"x4"/4"x4")
  • Post-installation level adjustment allows the TV to perfectly level
  • Tilt+15°/-5°, swivel 180 degrees and rotate for maximum viewing flexibility; VESA plate can be taken off for easy installation by one person
  • Low Profile mount retracts to 2.2" to save space, Extends 20" from the wall
  • Standard mounting hardware,10 ft HDMI Cable and 6" 3-Axis Magnetic Bubble Level included

for most 25"-55" LED LCD Plasma Flat Screen Monitor up to 88 lb VESA 400x400 with Full Motion Swivel Articulating 20 in Extension Arm, HDMI Cable & Bubble Level WP5

PERLESMITH TV Wall Mount Bracket

$129.99
$49.99
1 new from $49.99
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Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • UNIVERSAL DESIGN: Full-motion wall mount for 37" - 70" flat-panel TVs up to 132lbs, VESA(mounting hole pattern) - compatible faceplate fits VESA 200X100mm (8"x4") 200X200mm(8"x8") 300X200mm (12"x8") 300X300mm (12"x12") 400X300mm (16"x12") 400X400mm (16"x16") 600X400mm (24"x16"), wall mounting studs distance up to 16" only.
  • ADJUSTABLE OPTIMAL VIEWING: +5°/-15° Tilt, +/-90°Swivel (Maximum swivel angle depends on TV size) and +/-3°rotation for maximum viewing flexibility. Choose the perfect angle to view the screen from anywhere in the room. Post-installation level adjustment allows the TV to level perfectly.
  • SAFE TO USE: Rest assured that your TV is in safe hands. This heavy-gauge TV mount has high standards, holding 37" - 70" TVs weighing up to 132lbs, which are tested to hold 4 times the weight they're rated to based on UL standard.
  • SAVE SPACE: Dual Articulating arms that retract 2.8" from the wall in home position to save space and also extend to a maximum 16" from the wall. Therefore saving you some valuable space and adding a nice, neat appearance to your household.
  • PRODUCT INCLUDES: Standard mounting hardware, 6 ft HDMI cable, 3-Axis magnetic bubble level, 5 pieces pack of cable ties, and our incredible 5-year warranty and friendly customer service. We provide what you need to make installation as easy and convenient as possible!

Full Motion Dual Articulating Arm for most 37-70 Inch LED, LCD, OLED, Flat Screen,Plasma TVs up to 132lbs VESA 600x400mm with Tilt, Swivel and Rotation HDMI Cable

VideoSecu Mounts Tilt TV Wall Mount Bracket

$20.99
6 new from $20.11
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Fits 23" to 75" TV with VESA from 200x100 to 600x400 (mounting hole pattern up to 24" Horizontal by 16" Vertical)
  • Low profile display your TV with stylish appearance ; Strong and durable dual steel frames
  • Durable construction supports up to 165 lbs; Fits up to 24" studs
  • 15 degrees forward or backward easy one-touch tilt to reduce glare, easy install
  • Bonus 6" 3-axis Magnetic Bubble level, 10 ft HDMI cable and standard hardware included; assembly required

for Most 23"- 75" Samsung, Sony, Vizio, LG, Sharp LCD LED Plasma TV with VESA 200x100 400x400 to 600x400mm, Bonus HDMI Cable and Bubble Level MF608B BBM

Roku 4 | HD and 4K UHD Streaming Media Player

$129.99
$99.00
10 new from $99.00
17 used from $ 62.50
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • 2,500+ streaming channels. Choose from the biggest selection of streaming entertainment, including movies, TV shows, music, sports, news, international, kids programming and more.
  • Captivating clarity. Brilliant picture quality for 4K Ultra HD TVs, with 4X the resolution of full HD and the next generation of streaming technology.
  • Advanced up-scaling of 720p for HD TVs and 1080p HD streams to brilliant 4K Ultra HD on 4K TVs.
  • Voice search. Just say what you're looking for into the enhanced remote and get fast and comprehensive search results by title, actor, or director. The Roku Feed. Follow your favorite entertainment and always know where it's ready to stream and at what price.
  • Roku 4 works with virtually any TV with an HDMI® connection. You can plug your Roku 4 directly into your TV or receiver depending on your preference. To view 4K content, you will need a compatible 4K UHD television.

with Enhanced Remote (Voice Search, Lost Remote Finder, and Headphone), Quad-Core Processor, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB Port

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (Pendant Design) | Streaming Media Player

$69.99
1 new from $69.99
Free shipping
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Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Experience true-to-life picture quality in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.
  • 40% more powerful than Fire TV Stick-an ultra-fast quad-core processor delivers an even smoother, more responsive experience.
  • Now supports Dolby Atmos audio-feel scenes come to life in three dimensions.
  • Access 500,000+ movies and TV episodes from popular channels and apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC, and more.
  • Do more with Alexa-find and control content, play music, check movie showtimes, order a pizza, and more. Just press and ask using your Alexa Voice Remote or pair an Echo device for hands-free control.

NVIDIA SHIELD TV | Streaming Media Player

$199.99
$179.99
15 new from $179.99
2 used from $ 183.99
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as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Home Theater Experience -Enjoy the ultimate visual experience with 4K HDR quality and the most immersive sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS-X surround sound pass-through.
  • Cut the Cord -Apps like YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue give you access to live TV and sports without the mess and stress of a cable box.
  • Smart Home Ready -Use your voice to dim lights, turn up the temperature, view your Nest cam on the TV, and more. Add SmartThings Link to turn your SHIELD into a Zigbee and Z-wave smart home hub.
  • NVIDIA-Powered Gaming -Stream games from your GeForce-powered PC to your TV in 4K HDR at 60 FPS. You can even get NVIDIA-powered cloud gaming on demand with GeForce NOW and explore SHIELD-exclusive Android games.

with Remote & Game Controller

TCL 55S405 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

$599.99
$379.99
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Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 49.1" x 28.5" x 3", TV with stand: 49.1" x 30.8" x 8.7"
  • Smart functionality offers access to over 4,000 streaming channels featuring more than 450,000 movies and TV episodes via Roku TV
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for the most lifelike picture
  • Direct-lit LED produces great picture quality
  • 120Hz refresh rate allows fast moving action scenes to be seen with virtually no motion blur

TCL 55S517 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2018 Model)

$475.19
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as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (w x H x D): TV without stand: 49" x 28.3" x 3", TV with stand: 49" x 30.1" x 8.3"
  • Smart Functionality offers access to thousands of streaming channels featuring more than 500, 000 movies and TV episodes via Roku TV
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) for the most lifelike picture
  • Edge LED backlighting with dynamic contrast control produces Deep blacks and excellent picture quality
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 (one with HDMI ARC), 1 USB (media player), RF, Composite, Headphone Jack, Optical audio Out, Ethernet

Samsung 43-Inch 4K Smart LED TV UN43MU6300FXZA (2017)

$599.99
Too low to display
5 new
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as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • 4X more pixels than Full HD means you're getting 4X the resolution, so you'll clearly see the difference.
  • See vibrant and pure color for a realistic experience, smooth action on fast-moving content with Motion Rate 120
  • OneRemote automatically detects and controls all your connected devices and content with no manual programming required
  • Product size (W x H x D) 38.4 x 22.4 x 2.5 inches without stand
  • Please note the differences between the MU6300 and the MU630D. MU6300: Black cabinet, 450 nits HDR sustained brightness, Mega Dynamic Contrast MU630D: Dark Titan cabinet, 430 nits HDR sustained brightness, Ultra Dynamic Contrast

Samsung 40NU7100 Flat 40" 4K UHD 7 Series Smart LED TV (2018)

$479.99
$427.99
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as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • PurColor: Enjoy millions of shades of color, fine tuned to create an incredibly vibrant picture
  • Motion Rate 120: Smooth action on fast-moving content
  • HDR: View stunning high dynamic range content with a TV designed to support HDR10+
  • Slim Design: An elegant slim design for a modern look you'll admire
  • Smart TV: Access your streaming services all in one place using the Samsung Remote Control

LG Electronics 49UJ6300 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

$649.99
Too low to display
13 new from $398.58
1 used from $ 388.98
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 43.7" x 25.6" x 3.2", TV with stand: 43.7" x 27.8" x 9.3"
  • Smart functionality gives you access to your favorite apps and content using webOS 3.5. CONNECTIVITY : Wi-Fi® Built In 802.11ac
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for the most lifelike picture
  • Direct-lit LED produces great picture quality
  • TruMotion 120 (Refresh Rate 60Hz) allows fast moving action scenes to be seen with minimal motion blur

Samsung Electronics UN55MU6500 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

$999.99
Too low to display
1 new from $749.95
7 used from $ 599.00
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • 4X more pixels than Full HD means you're getting 4X the resolution, so you'll clearly see the difference.
  • See vibrant and pure color for a realistic experience.
  • OneRemote automatically detects and controls all your connected devices and content with no manual programming required*.
  • Smooth action on fast-moving content with Motion Rate 120. Multiroom Link present

TCL 75C807 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

$1,781.95
5 new from $1,781.95
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (w x H x D): TV without stand: 65.9" x 39.8" x 2.6", TV with stand: 65.9" x 41.7" x14.3"
  • Roku TV Smart Functionality offers access to over 4, 000 streaming channels featuring more than 450, 000 movies and TV episodes
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range) for the most lifelike picture
  • Edge LED backlighting with dynamic contrast produces Deep blacks and excellent picture quality
  • 120Hz refresh rate allows fast moving action scenes to be seen with virtually no motion blur

LG 43UK6300PUE 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018 Model)

$499.99
$319.99
6 new from $319.99
2 used from $ 0.00
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (Wx H x D): TV without stand 38.5" x 22.6" x 3.2", TV with stand: 38.5" x 24.8" x 8.5"
  • LG UHD TVs with AI (Artificial Intelligence) ThinQ become the hub for your connected smart devices. Beyond apps and entertainment, LG AI TV uses intelligent voice control to create a hub for the smart home and beyond.
  • The multi-format 4K high dynamic range support includes HDR10 and HLG, both with LG's advanced tone mapping technology that provides scene-by-scene optimization.
  • The IPS technology in LG TV uses in-plane switching to deliver rich colors and a strong contrast Ratio that remain Consistent at wide viewing angles
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI, 2 USB, 1 RF, 1 Composite in shared with component, 1 Ethernet, 1 Optical and Audio Return Channel Support via HDMI.

Sharp P5000U 43-inch Full HD Smart TV with built-in apps for Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, Facebook and more

$315.00
5 new from $264.99
1 used from $ 280.00
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • A full-HD panel provides crystal clear picture with deep, vivid colors, striking detail, a breathtaking 1080p display and slim design
  • With breakthrough picture technologies like AquoMotion, youll be amazed at the crystal-clear images during fast-motion scenes
  • Equipped with built-in apps for Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, Facebook and more
  • With award-winning dbx-tv sound technology built in, youll experience full, rich sound without additional audio equipment

Sony KD60X690E 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

$798.00
$698.00
5 new from $698.00
3 used from $ 699.99
Free shipping
Get it on Amazon
Amazon.com
as of July 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Features

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): TV without stand: 53.5" x 31" x 3.5", TV with stand: 53.5" x 32.9" x 12.2"
  • Smart functionality gives you access to your favorite apps and content. With YouTube and Netflix buttons built into the remote, you are one click away from endless entertainment.
  • Pairs 4K Ultra HD picture clarity with the contrast, color, and detail of High Dynamic Range (HDR) for the most lifelike picture.
  • Direct LED produces great picture quality
  • 60Hz native refresh rate plus Motionflow XR gives you great motion for all types of content
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