Last updated: 16/10/2022

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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.




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:

Screen diagonal

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.

The optimal screen size depends on factors such as resolution, distance and room conditions.

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.

Resolution

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.

Panel type

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.

Features

Once you have decided on the resolution, screen size and panel type, you need to consider the rest of your TV’s features.

To ensure uncomplicated streaming, we strongly recommend that you look for a corresponding smart TV function.

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.

Energy consumption

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.

Type Advantages 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.

LCD

LCD

The fundamentals of LCD technology were developed over 50 years ago. Since then, there have been countless advances and developments that have made LCD screens probably the most widely used type of panel.

One of the most obvious advantages of this long-standing development is that the cost of manufacture and therefore the consumer price is lower than is the case with newer technologies. With the same screen diagonal and resolution, LCD TVs turn out to be significantly cheaper than their OLED variants.

Another advantage of LCD technology is the brightness of the screen. Compared to OLEDs, LCDs are able to produce a much brighter picture, which is especially important in brighter environments. Especially mobile phone screens that often have to work under sunlight benefit from this, but outdoor TVs might also struggle with an OLED screen on a sunny day.

LCD TVs, unlike OLED TVs, are immune to burn-in effects. With certain screens, a long-lasting still image can cause the image to “burn-in” to the screen. This risk does not exist with LCDs.

Even though OLED screens have made massive progress in recent years, LCDs are also constantly being developed further. For example, the colour quality of the newer QLED LCD screens is in no way inferior to that of OLEDs.

Advantages
  • Comparatively cheap
  • Better in bright environments
  • No burn-in
Disadvantages
  • Weaker contrast
  • picture quality depends on viewing angle
OLED

OLED

The most obvious advantage of OLED technology, and also the point around which most marketing revolves, is contrast. By being able to switch off pixels completely, OLEDs are able to produce a much blacker picture than LCD screens. This makes watching movies at home, especially in the evening, a more cinema-like experience.

The prices of OLED TVs are falling. Although large screens with high resolution in particular are still much more expensive than corresponding LCD models, the price difference is steadily decreasing. in many categories, OLEDs and QLED LCDs are on a par in terms of price.

Unlike LCD TVs, the picture and colour perception do not change with changing viewing angle. OLED images can be enjoyed in the highest quality from all viewing angles, while LCDs often blur the image on the outside.

Because the technology eliminates backlighting, OLED TVs are usually flatter and lighter than LCD TVs.

We recommend an OLED TV if you’re mainly looking for the cinema experience at home, or plan to use your TV for gaming.

Advantages
  • Better contrast
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Flatter screen
  • Viewing angle does not affect picture quality
Disadvantages
  • More expensive
  • Burn-in problems
  • Doesn”t come close to LCD brightness levels

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?

The optimal size of your TV depends on a number of factors. Room conditions, resolution, price range and your personal preferences all need to be taken into account. Bigger is not always better.

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The right screen size is essential for a good TV experience.
(Image source: Mollie Sivaram / unsplash)

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?

The final price of your TV depends on so many variables that it’s hard to give a single price. A 24-inch LCD TV in Full HD format costs a fraction of a 55-inch OLED screen with 8K resolution. Below we give you a few examples of the different price ranges:

size LCD QLED OLED
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?

Nowadays, streaming services are increasingly replacing conventional television and, in some cases, even going to the cinema. For a monthly fee, you have digital access to a wide range of current blockbusters, series and classics. With a stable Wi-Fi connection, you can start streaming right away. The most popular streaming providers are:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • HBO

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.

LateNightStreaming RedaktionFernsehabend
For your cosy evening in front of your new TV, you can search for a nice film to stream at latenightstreaming.com.
(Source: www.boersenblatt.de)

Gaming TVs – What do I need to consider?

Whether it’s Playstation or Xbox – choosing the right TV for video games can have a significant impact on the gaming experience. So if you plan to connect consoles, or even your PC, to the TV for gaming, there are a few more factors you should consider.

Fernseher-2

The right TV is very important for a shared game night.
(Image sources: Jeshoots.com / Unsplash)

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?

For many people, the television is an integral part of the home. There is hardly any question about alternatives. Nevertheless, we would like to present you with some alternative approaches.

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

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