How we pick our products
In most households in England, there is a television in the living room. There is a reason for this; televisions allow us to follow the news, watch films and series in the TV programme and recently also offer fast access to the internet. Here the possibilities are almost unlimited thanks to YouTube and streaming services. Video game consoles also make use of the television as a central point of entertainment systems.
In our big TV test 2022 we want to help you choose between the many offers and variants and decide what exactly you expect from your TV. We introduce you to different panel types, decipher the many resolution abbreviations and explain to you what you need to pay attention to in terms of distance to the TV.
- 1 The most important facts
- 2 The Best TV: Our Picks
- 3 Buying and evaluation criteria for televisions
- 4 Decision: What types of TVs are there and which one is right for you?
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about televisions answered in detail
The most important facts
- Most current TVs are based on LCD technology. This includes QLED and LED screens, but not OLED TVs.
- The most common resolutions are Full HD and UHD/4K. SD and HD-Ready are mostly obsolete and 8K screens are still very expensive.
- Depending on size, resolution and technology, a normal TV can cost between 300 and 3000 euros.
The Best TV: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for televisions
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right TV for you. Not every flat is suitable for every TV and not everyone necessarily needs the latest 8k model. In the following, we would like to present the most important criteria that you can use to compare the different models with each other:
You can tell how big the TV screen is by looking at the screen diagonal. It is usually given in inches and ranges from 22 to 75 inches.
Large screens are suitable for appropriately large rooms and home theatre setups. You should note that the recommended distance to the screen is about 2-3 times the screen diagonal.
Therefore, smaller screens are suitable for smaller rooms or situations where it is not possible to create an appropriate distance to the screen.
The resolution also plays an important role when choosing the screen size. A lower resolution looks much worse on a larger TV than on a smaller model.
The resolution of the TV is given in number of pixels and describes the sharpness of the picture. The more pixels, the better the picture quality. You should note that, especially with smaller screens, the difference between the various resolutions is difficult to notice depending on the distance.
Therefore, a high number of pixels is especially important for larger screens, as the difference is noticeable much faster here.
- SD: Standard Definition has a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels and is the lowest resolution offered today. Although streaming services often offer SD versions of movies, SD is largely obsolete as a standard these days. However, if you’re looking for a TV for your DVD collection, an SD TV will do, as DVDs also use the SD format.
- HD-Ready: At 1,280 x 720 pixels, HD-Ready screens have a higher resolution than their SD cousins, but are often confused with HD resolution. HD-Ready is more of an intermediate format that caused some confusion at the time. Nevertheless, some TV channels still use the HD-Ready format today.
- Full-HD: The actual high-definition format impresses with its resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and makes a big difference in detail to its predecessors, especially on larger screens. Full HD is the new standard and is used both on television and on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Blu-Ray discs also use the Full-HD format.
- UHD/4K: Actually two different resolutions, but these days they are often used synonymously. Ultra-high definition describes four times the number of pixels of the original Full-HD format, i.e. 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, while 4K is only referred to from 4,096 x 2,160 pixels. However, since the difference is very small, people often do not distinguish between the two formats in everyday life. While no UHD is offered on television and even Blu-Rays do not offer a corresponding resolution, this format is now establishing itself especially with streaming services on the internet.
- 8K: With a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, 8K screens are of course far ahead of the others, but even today there are only a few possible applications. Neither streaming nor television offer 8K content, so it is currently more of an expensive toy than a sensible purchase. This is where the human eye soon reaches its limits. Most people can only see the difference to an 8K screen on very large screens if they get close enough.
The way the existing pixels produce the image on your screen is determined by the panel type. Nowadays we distinguish between the older LCD technology and the newer OLED technology.
LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. Here, the pixels are illuminated by backlighting. On top of this is a layer of liquid crystals that polarises the light differently with the help of electrical voltage.
LED screens also fall under this heading, as they only differ from conventional LCDs in the type of backlighting.
QLED and LED screens are based on LCD technology. OLED is a completely new approach.
QLED, or Quantum Light-Emitting Diode, sounds like OLED at first glance. However, it is a completely different technology based on LCD screens. Here, LEDs are used as backlighting to illuminate so-called quantum dots.
These help LCD screens to display colours better. It is therefore a further development of the existing LCD technology and not a new approach as is the case with OLED screens.
The abbreviation OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. The main difference to LCD displays is that there is no backlight and each pixel emits its own light via LED instead.
One of the biggest advantages of this is that pixels can be turned off completely, resulting in much better blacks. It is also possible to produce movable and retractable screens using this technology.
QLEDs and OLEDs have their advantages and weaknesses. Both offer models in the current top class and should be considered accordingly.
Once you have decided on the resolution, screen size and panel type, you need to consider the rest of your TV’s features.
An integrated Wi-Fi receiver makes your life much easier.
If you already have a good sound system, you can usually disregard the on-screen sound. However, depending on how many devices such as Blu-ray players, sound systems or game consoles you want to connect to the TV, you should make sure that there are enough connections. In particular, you should consider the number and type of HDMI connections.
Especially in today’s world, where environmental awareness and green thinking are becoming increasingly important, looking at the energy efficiency class of your TV is an important step in the decision-making process.
Of course, large screens consume more energy than smaller ones, but even within the same size class there are differences in energy efficiency. The energy label prescribed by the EU, which divides screens into energy efficiency classes from A++ to E, helps here.
Decision: What types of TVs are there and which one is right for you?
You probably already have an idea of how big your TV should be and what resolution you expect. That’s why we’ll focus on the decision between LCD and OLED screens. Both technologies have their raison d’être and offer corresponding advantages and disadvantages.
|LCD||Better brightness value, No burn-in, Cheaper to buy||Weaker contrast, Poorer viewing angle|
|OLED||Best possible black colour tone, Flat screen due to lack of backlighting, Better viewing angle||Much more expensive than LCD at the same resolution/size, Poorer brightness value, Burn-in possible|
We would like to take a closer look at these advantages and disadvantages with you below.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about televisions answered in detail
Before you finally decide on a TV, we would like to explain a few more factors that you should consider when making your decision and answer any questions you may have.
What size TV should I buy?
Smaller TVs are more flexible if you change the set-up in your living room more often. Also, low resolutions often look better on a smaller screen. On a large TV, low resolutions tend to be more distracting.
If you want to put your TV in the kitchen to watch the news, a small 24-32 inch TV is often sufficient.
However, if you have a fixed place for your TV, enough space in the room and you are looking for the home cinema experience, then a large high-resolution 55+ inch TV is certainly suitable for you.
How much does a TV cost?
|24-32 inch 4K||200 euros||500 euros||–|
|40-50 inch 4K||300-700 euros||500-800 euros||–|
|55+ inch 4K||400-2500 euros||600-2000 euros||1200-3000 euros|
Of course, there are hardly any upper limits if you include more experimental 8K OLED / QLED TVs, which can cost up to 50,000 euros. Apart from that, a suitable model can be found for almost every budget.
How do I stream on my TV?
- Amazon Prime Video
Most smart TVs already have apps for Netflix and Amazon Prime pre-installed. Some remote controls even have their own buttons for various streaming services. The prerequisite for the streaming experience is, of course, a corresponding internet connection. If the app is not preinstalled, a quick trip to the app store is usually enough to correct this.
Even if your TV does not have a Smart TV function, you are not excluded from the streaming experience. With extensions such as Google Chromecast, Apple TV or Amazon-Firestick, Netflix & Co can be enjoyed even without a Smart TV.
Nowadays, smart function and access to streaming platforms are an important feature for all TVs.
Gaming TVs – What do I need to consider?
One of the biggest hurdles to the perfect gaming experience is input lag; the delay between pressing a button and it being executed. To minimise this, many TVs these days have a switchable “game mode” that turns off some of the picture optimisations. This limits the picture quality somewhat, but results in a much smoother game.
For the best experience, we definitely recommend a 4K screen. This way you can enjoy all games of the current consoles in the best resolution. OLEDs are particularly suitable as gaming TVs, due to their high response speed and low input lag.
What is the alternative to a TV?
Especially if you are not looking for the typical living room TV, there are some interesting options.
- Projector & screen: If you are looking for a home cinema experience on a big screen, you can consider a projector instead of a TV. Especially for sporting events in a larger circle, the screen is a suitable medium. Another advantage is that the screen can be rolled up for practical and space-saving storage when not in use. Of course, projector and screen are much cheaper than a correspondingly large television.
- Computer: If you have a suitably good PC monitor or laptop, you already have access to streaming services via the internet anyway. With a few upgrades, you can easily receive the entire TV programme on your computer.
- Tablets: Tablets may not be a practical alternative for the movie TV in the living room, but their versatility and compactness are impressive. Netflix while cooking or in the bathtub is no problem for a tablet, and those who do not want to buy a TV do not have to do without their favourite series.
So if there are reasons why you don’t want a TV in your home, you might find a suitable alternative here.
Image source: Popov/ 123rf.com