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What TV Did I Buy?

What TV did I buy?  Cause I am confused

Having been to the big-box store or surfed the web for the latest TV for you and your family, you will almost certainly have looked at 4k TV’s and UHD TV’s as well as TV’s that have HDR.

I am going to assume that as you are reading this you bought one of these, if not this might help clear some of the confusion up for you.

That new great looking TV is in your home but, what exactly did you buy and how can I see this amazing content that will showcase why I spent a little bit more to get this bad boy in my house?  It says it is UHD but everyone keeps telling me about 4k and the person I bought the TV from said they are the exact same thing!

Well, let’s start with the easy stuff.  Whether it says UHD or 4k on the box, it essentially the same thing for you but, they are different.  The difference between UHD and 4k is in essence something you do not need to worry about and has more to do with the difference in Cinema standards, 4k.  And broadcast/ TV displays, UHD.  It has become apparent throughout the world that 4k is looking like the standard word that we will use for Ultra High Definition and 4k, so from here on out let’s just say CONGRATULATIONS you have a 4k TV.  I will cover HDR at a later time.

Now there is a lot of technical stuff that I could go into but, I am guessing that if you really wanted a history lesson on this subject you would have already done so and I want to get to the stuff that is more interesting;-).


“My 4k TV is up and running”. Is it?

The 4k TV is up on the wall and I want to start watching 4k content so I can show all my friends how cool this thing is.  I plugged in my cable cable box, connected it via HDMI and look my cable service looks great, I can’t believe the difference in picture quality WOW!!!!!!!  I feel like I am actually there with the actors, this is so cool. Sadly, unless you have a cable company that offers 4k content and they have supplied you a 4k compatible Set-top-box you are not getting 4k you are getting a better picture but you have not even started to see what real 4k looks like.

Let’s start with the easy stuff that people just forget to tell you.

Did you get a 4k compatible HDMI cable?  If you are like the vast majority of people I have spoken to the answer is no.  Back to the store and make sure the HDMI says it is 4k, quick tip for you, I buy mine at Sam’s or Costco they are cheaper and they work fine plus having a spare is never a bad idea.

I have the 4k HDMI cable and now I am ready………..right?

You are getting there but make sure you read the TV Manufacturers booklet, many TV’s have a specific HDMI port for 4k and that should be shown in the getting started section of the pamphlet.  If you threw it away because you already knew how to plug a TV in (that’s the kinda thing I do) look at where the HDMI ports are and if the HDMI cable needs to be in a specific port it usually has a label next to that port.  Don’t panic if it does not have a specific port, more and more TV’s are being made where you can plug that cable into any port.  Now you are all plugged in the TV is ready, all you need is to find the content 😉

Next time we will discuss where to get your 4k content and touch on HDR.

Reading Retailer Tags

When you’re shopping for a TV, some of the biggest obstacles to overcome are the product specification tags on the shelves.  There are all kinds of confusing jargon on them, from “Smart TV” to “High Dynamic Range” and even something called “Motion Rate.”  So how do you tell whether the TV you’re getting is better or worse than the one sitting two spots down that has a higher price tag?  Well, the good news is that there are only a few things that really matter when it comes to selecting the right TV for you.

Generally, the name of the TV itself is going to be a little incomprehensible, filled with seemingly random numbers and phrases.  Let’s take a fictional tag for example:

Supreme-o-vision’s 60” Class LED 2160p Smart HDR 4K Ultra HD TV

You might think that there’s an awful lot of important information there, but most of it is redundant or useless.  Translated, they are, in order:

  1. The brand of the television (Supreme-o-vision);
  2. The screen size (60” Class, meaning that it’s approximately 60”);
  3. The type of screen (LED);
  4. The TV’s resolution (2160p);
  5. The fact that the TV has an internal computer and WiFi connectivity (Smart);
  6. The range of colors on the TV (HDR);
  7. The resolution again (4K); and
  8. The resolution yet again (Ultra HD).

On that fictional tag, the resolution is mentioned three times in the name alone, no doubt in order to sound flashier than its neighbor (which probably has the exact same resolution mentioned three times in its name, too).  Also like its neighbor, it advertises that it is a Smart TV—and most televisions you can buy these days are.  So, if the name of the TV is not extremely helpful in differentiating between products what other information is on the tag is important?

Beneath the name, a given tag will have most, if not all of this information available on it: resolution, type of tuner, screen size (measured diagonally), display type, whether the TV is HDR or not, the number and type of inputs on the TV, warranty information, dimensions of the TV itself, energy consumption information, what types of audio are supported, and refresh rate.  While it is certainly helpful to know what all of those bits of information mean, they are not always important when deciding what TV is for you.  To that end, there are a few things you need to pay close attention to.