Blockbuster movies. The Big Game. Playoffs or preseason. Your favorite shows (now in HD!). There’s plenty of good reasons to get a newer, bigger, fancier television, including the dreaded ‘Uh-oh!’ of a TV on the fritz. You might have seen the ads for the newest televisions, heard the buzz about all the latest advances in 4k and curved displays and quad-pixeling…but is it all worth it? Before you get your wallet out, let’s take a look and see about saving you some money by buying pre-owned.
4k: The Higher Hi-Def
4k displays are billing hyped as ‘The Next Standard’ for displays. You may remember from previous blog-posts here that current high definition(HD) displays come in two standards, 720 & 1080, with those numbers representing the number of rows of pixels in the display…generally speaking, the more pixels, the sharper your picture, with regular ‘Standard Definition’ being 480. Well, there’s a new kid in town: UltraHD, or sometimes more commonly called ‘4k’…however, calling it ‘4k’ is a bit misleading, since it’s really only 2160 rows of pixels…twice as many rows as 1080HD, but far short of 4000 that the name suggests.
So should you go out and get one of these 4k TVs? Probably not now, or at any time soon. Whether you call it UltraHD or 4k, the fact is that there isn’t much of it out there right now…there’s even less 4k programming being broadcast at this time than there was of HD programming at the same time after it’s commercial introduction. Just as a color TV isn’t going to make an old B&W movie magically in color, a 4kTV won’t turn a standard show or even a regular HD show into UltraHD.
Yellow: It’s What You’re Missing
Nearly all color TVs (and computer monitors, too) use a combination of three colors for their display: Red, Green and Blue. The reason we don’t need other colors for the pixels or for the color blend has to do with the spectrum of light and how our brains perceive it. Without getting too technical, we can pretty much create any shade or hue with a combination (or absence) of these three colors. Think about it…when was the last time you were watching something on TV and they couldn’t show the color of something. It would be different if, say, we couldn’t create purple. Seems a bit strange to think of it like that, doesn’t it?
There is a new series of televisions that have four colors of pixels: Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. The most famous of these manufacturers correctly states that this adds to the color gamut, increasing the colors that can be displayed into the trillions, and allowing for ‘more sparkling golds, Caribbean blues, and sunflower yellows’. Sounds really nice, right? While that is all technically true, you are still looking at the limits of what is broadcast onto your TV, and the fact is that most signals are limited down for broadcast, losing most of the extra color info that isn’t necessary for most televisions. Add to that the fact that human vision is somewhat limited in recognizing the difference in color-detail beyond a certain range, and you find that 98% of the time, you won’t see a difference with these 4-color TVs.
3D and Curve is the Word!
Ah, the great debate here! 3D television was going to be a game-changer, bringing true cinema experiences to the home with breath-taking, feel-like-you-are-there picture. So what happened? For starters, it’s still expensive. We’ve yet to see the price drop on the consumer level the way we did with HD TVs when they were introduced into the market. Next, there’s the process of 3D, which requires special glasses that sync to the signal from the TV, allowing for that stereoscopic picture, meaning a slightly different image for each eye, giving the illusion of a 3-dimensional object or display, also giving a lot of people headaches when worn for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. There’s also a very limited amount of programming available in 3D, so you are buying a fancy set with fancy glasses for the very-occasional change to wear them, and the programming that is available is usually not shot in 3D. Instead, it’s made in 3D in post-production, where a scene is digitally cut apart into ‘layers’, with certain layers made out-of-focus with each other…however, a lot of times, especially on larger displays, this leaves the scenes looking like ‘flat’ layers, or like a diorama.
Curve TVs are supposed to change that, giving you a somewhat 3D display without the need for annoying glasses. The slight-curving of the display is meant to ‘envelop’ your field of vision and give a sense of immersion in the scene. The problem with this style is that it’s very limited on where the ‘sweet spot’ is to watch the television. You are not going to get the full benefit of the display if you are sitting too far back or too close…and you have to sit directly in line with the TV, which may be great for you, but not so much for your buddies sitting next to you. The further out of that prime spot, the more distorted the edges of the display will look.
What To Do? I want a TV!
Buying pre-owned is the smartest choice, even if you are just looking to upgrade in a couple of years. A standard LED or LCD TV for a fraction of the price of a new one is a smart investment all around, and there are a few things you can get to dress-up that budget TV and that will carry over to your new one. The biggest add-on bang for your buck is getting some external speakers. Since manufacturers try to make flat-screen TVs…well, flat, there’s generally not a lot of room for good speakers in there. A good soundbar and a powered subwoofer will make a huge difference in your enjoyment. Think about the last good movie you saw…you hardly notice when the sound is good, but always notice when the sound is bad.
Next, let’s think about what you’re watching on that TV. Getting a good blu-ray player with streaming services or a stand-alone streaming device, like a Roku or AppleTV, gives you numerous choices of streaming on-demand programming, games, and much much more. Again, buying pre-owned is a wise choice, saving you more money…and it’s something that can be used with your next TV.
The best part of buying pre-owned…well, okay, that’s the low price. The second best part? At TBGoods, we offer a Product Protection Plan. This takes the worry out of buying a pre-owned device, and is our promise to you of the quality of what you are purchasing…and that is probably the smartest way to use your money. Stop by TBGoods today and talk to one of our associates about your next TV upgrade!