HOW TO AVOID THE LEMONS AND SPOT THE DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH.
IT’S HARD NOT to be tempted by the now numerous 4K TVs, available in massive sizes for rock bottom prices. But how do you know if they are any good, let alone what features you need? Higher-end expensive models can be bargains, too, but how do you know if it’s worth opting for the pricier model? To help out, we have put together a guide to getting the best deal when buying a TV.
Unfortunately, there is not a single comprehensive go-to resource for comparing TVs sold in Australia, so finding the diamonds in the rough can be tricky. Websites such as ozbargain.com.au are an excellent way to find deals on heavily discounted models — though keep in mind that cheap does not always mean good and, thus, a bargain. While many users on OzBargain are knowledgeable enough to give excellent feedback on the specs, its always worth researching separately to see how a TV stacks up before purchasing. Websites gctprice.com.au and staticice.com.au are also great resources for comparing prices, which can then be used to price match.
LAST YEAR’S MODELS
Often the best TV bargains can be found by keeping an eye on last years models discounted before new stock arrives. With a little luck and a watchful eye, a high-end TV can be picked up for the price of a mid-range one. With the current state of TVs, a year-old model is still quite current, and will still do everything needed.
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You’re ready to invest in the greatest glowing rectangle of them all: a new telly. Here’s how to navigate the minefield of acronyms and jargon…
Stands for High Dynamic Range. Compatible tellies will deliver great subtlety and detail.
These screens have self-illuminating pixels, creating stunning contrast… at k a price. a
This measures (in milliseconds) how long the TV takes to respond to signals.
Size it up
Big can look brilliant, but you will need to put some distance between yourself and your new TV, otherwise you’ll start to pick apart the picture. With 4K TVs you can sit a little closer.
Now that plasma has been consigned to that big recycling bin in the sky. there are only two TV technologies battling for supremacy: LCD and OLED. The latter is limited to 55in or 65ln sizes, and you can expect to pay a premium compared to the LCD equivalent. However. OLED’s wafer-thin designs, deep blacks and wide viewing angles could swing your decision.
Time to 4K out?
There’s still life in Full HD tellies – they’re a good shout if you’re after an affordable second screen for a bedroom or kitchen. But if your budget is north of ?1 lac and your sights are firmly set on 4K, it’s a no-brainer. Although the leap in quality from HD to Ultra HD isn’t as huge as the jump from SD to HD was, you can still see a real difference.
Curved or flat?
If you need to squeeze your set into a corner of a room, the curve can help slot it into place. Quality is affected by seating position though. If you’re going to be sat straight in front, right in the curve’s sweetspot. it looks amazing. But if your seats are flung out to the four corners of your room, images can appear distorted.
As with smartphones and tablets, different TV manufacturers use different operating systems for their sets. The Firefox OS system used by the majority of Panasonic’s 4K TVs is clear and concise, not to mention quick and responsive. You’ll also need to check the basics, such as which on-demand and catch-up services are supported.
WHERE TO BUY – cheap 4k tv for sale
Often big stores (such as JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and various others) will price match, making for an easier and safer purchase than buying online.
When going to look at TVs in person, keep in mind that the screen settings will be set to look good in a bright store, and won’t necessarily reflect what you will see at home.
Other stores, such as 2nds World (www.2ndsworld.com.au), can have excellent deals on as new but refurbished models.
Even the cheapest TV is not a bargain if it doesn’t perform well, or does not have the features you need. We have outlined some of the key specs to consider when looking for TV bargains, as well as why they are or are not important.
For most users, 3D support is not needed (but is often included) and curved screens are a personal choice that it’s not worth paying much extra for.
OzBargain is our go to website for deal hunting.
Make sure to calibrate the TV for your viewing environment and, for many models, detailed guides can be found online. Try Googling it, or checking out websites such as www.flatpanelshd.com.
Most TVs (especially more affordable models) use LCD screens, and are either edge or backlit. Backlit TVs typically have better contrast ratios, but can be more expensive, and thicker. OLED TVs are much more expensive, yet give the best colors and contrast, and have wider viewing angles.
SIZE DOES MAHER
Picking the right sized TV for your space is very important, but often it’s better to go a little larger, rather than smaller. A good rule of thumb for size is half the viewing distance. So if you sit 3m back from the TV, then a 55-inch to 65-inch model (140-165cm) is a good place to start.
4K TVs (using high-res content) are usually a bit more forgiving to larger sizes up close, and curved TVs can look larger than they really are.
Even quite affordable TVs now sport 4K resolutions, but the extra pixels are wasted unless you have a high-resolution source. In Australia, even HD free-to-air channels are not 1080p, and aside from a few streaming services such as Netflix, or Ultra HD Blu-rays, it’s hard to find 4K content. Many TVs can upscale lower-resolution video sources, but on cheaper models, the processing is not always very effective.
Investing in a surround sound system (even a relatively cheap one) will make your new TV sound a lot better.
While a 4K TV is a good future-proof purchase, don’t rule out features or well-priced 1080p models.
HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE
Only available on quite new (and often higher-end) TVs, HDR means the TV can display a wider range of colors, brighter whites and deeper blacks — in other words, a much higher-quality image, and the difference is very noticeable.
The problem is that, for now, there are few HDR content sources — especially for streaming services.
SMARTS AND AUDIO
Having a TV with a built-in Netflix app, and the ability to load other apps, is super handy. The problem is that many basic TVs have fairly poor ‘smart’ systems, and can be slow and frustrating to use. Instead, consider an external media player. Google’s Chromecast (www.google.com/intl/en_au/chromccast) is an excellent choice from around $50, and uses your smartphone as a remote. More fully featured media players, but offer a better-than-built-in ‘smart’ TV experience.
The same goes for audio — invest in a decent external setup rather than using the inbuilt speakers.
OFTEN THE BEST TV BARGAINS CAN BE FOUND BY KEEPING AN EYE ON LAST YEAR’S MODELS DISCOUNTED BEFORE NEW STOCK ARRIVES. WITH A LITTLE LUCK AND A WATCHFUL EYE, A HIGH-END TV CAN BE PICKED UP FOR THE PRICE OF A MID-RANGE ONE.
Given in Hz, a higher refresh rate gives a smoother picture. For normal watching, it’s not a big issue, but a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher can help avoid blur or juddering during fast action, especially when watching sports.
BARGAIN BASEMENT BRANDS
Seeing the latest Aldi specials with a TV can be very tempting, but is it worth buying? The list of specs might look good, but it’s easy to end up with an under performing model. For a second TV or those who just watch free-to-air, the only deciding factor might be price. But for those who care about getting the best picture quality on a budget, it’s worth looking for the gems. Many more affordable TVs use relatively high-quality panels (for the price), but save money on the TV smarts, speakers and enclosure. Ourgo-to recommendation for a more affordable TV that can still offer some higher-end specs is Hisense (www.hisense.com.au). The Chinese company has been stepping it up in the design and quality, without too high a prke tag, and can be found at retailers such as JB Hi-Fi. Of course, there are plenty of other great TVs, but make sure you do your research on each specific model.
Our go-to for deal hunting, OzBargain is a great place to find impressive deals on TVs.
Getprice and Static ICE provide an easy way to compare prices for TVs (and other tech) across many websites and stores for price matching.
Follow an online guide to calibrate your screen and get the best image quality from that bargain panel.
For a cheaper TV with basic inbuilt smarts, consider using an external media player, such as a Chromecast.
Inbuilt TV audio can be of low quality — invest in a separate surround sound system and even a bargain model will sound good.
For those considering some of the more affordable but lesser known brands, Hisense is one of our top picks.
4k tv review
Pixel blast: The best buy 4K TVs for gaming
Got a fancy new console for Christmas? You’re gonna want to upgrade to one of these tellies
If you’ve thought about getting a 4K telly, then you’ve no doubt had a look at Samsung’s KS7000 series. These TVs are the cheapest you can buy that come with the all-important UHD Premium seal of approval for HDR, 10-bit color depth and loads H more good stuff.
Better still, their picture quality is stuffed full of clarity and detail. Playing The Last of Us on one of these things is absolutely sensational.
More expensive TVs will give you an even better viewing experience but. for the price, it’s hard to knock Samsung’s entry-level 4K set.
STUFF SAYS ★★★★★
Rupee for rupee, this is an unbeatable 4K TV deal
Even though 4K TV prices have dropped considerably in the last year, these screens still don’t come cheap… unless you settle for this Panasonic.
At just 40 inches in size, the TH-40DX650D won’t give you the full impact of UHD, and it doesn’t support HDR either. But if those shortcomings aren’t deal-breakers or you’re actively looking for a smaller set. then this is the one to get.
Whether you’re playing the vibrant Ratchet & Clank or enthralled in the murky world of Shadow of Mordor, colours are pretty much spot-on.
STUFF SAYS ★★★★☆
An ideal purchase if you’ve limited space for a new TV
We love LG’s OLED TVs. but they’re expensive. Really, really expensive. While this B6 model won’t crop up in your local Croma any time soon, it is LG’s only UHD Premium TV available for under three lacs. So. sell a kidney and you’ll have yourself a sensational gaming setup.
What makes OLED so special? Contrast. There’s no muddiness when dark and bright colours interact. The thought of playing Resident Evil 7 in 4K and HDR on this thing is enough to give us heart palpitations. Anything lurking in the shadows is guaranteed to have us leaping out of our skin.
STUFF SAYS ★★★★★
If you can afford to go OLED, this TV is a treat
Money no object? This is the TV your lifetime’s worth of skulduggery deserves. A 65in OLED with the UHD Premium seal of approval, it’s an absolute stunner.
The glass panel itself is only millimetres thick, while picture quality is mesmerising.
There’s a precision on offer here that’s rare, even for a 4K HDR TV. Hooking up a standard PS4 or Xbox One would be doing it a disservice – it demands 4K. Turn on Game Mode for a 33ms response time. It’s slower than the Samsung on the left, but OLED means minimal motion blur and deep blacks.
STUFF SAYS ★★★★★
The TV of your dreams and ours – shame it’s so pricey
From pizza to The Witcher 3, sometimes bigger really is best. While that’s not quite the case with this Panasonic, it still offers plenty of TV for your cash. At a whopping great 65in screen size, you’d expect nothing less.
Alas, what you get in terms of scale isn’t quite matched in subtlety. So while blacks are almost as good as what you’d get from an OLED set. the TX-65DX750 gets a bit carried away when dealing with shadows and juggling them with bright light. Still, you’ll likely be too immersed in the epic landscapes of Battlefield 7 to notice these shortcomings.
STUFF SAYS ★★★★☆
For sheer scale, we can’t sniff at this Panasonic