Three Features to Consider When Buying a New TV

The lowdown on the high-tech functions of our living room staple.

Black flat screen television turned on in living room.
Get the most out of your new tube.Jonas Leupe, Unsplash

4K, UHD, HDR, HDMI...the world of smart TVs is littered with incomprehensible acronyms—so what do they all mean? And do you really need them? Here’s what you need to know.

SAMSUNG 55-Inch Class Crystal UHD TU-8000 Series - 4K UHD HDR Smart TV with Alexa Built-in (UN55TU8000FXZA, 2020 Model)
Amazon’s home assistant is integrated into this high spec television so you can use voice commands to open apps, change channels, search for shows and more. Also comes with a 43, 50, 65, 75 and 85” screen and with an optional external soundbar.SAMSUNG

Most of the TVs on sale these days are “smart” TVs. This means that they come with built-in apps that let you stream content from a variety of online sources. Many of them also either have integrated technology that means they can be used with home assistants, such as Alexa or Bixby, or can be configured to work with them.

TCL 32S327 32-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV (2018 Model)
With a clear high definition display and built-in streaming service this television, which allows you to pause live TV for up to 90 minutes, is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.TCL

Most of the acronyms around relate to picture quality. 4K and UHD (which stands for ultra high definition) are used synonymously—they relate to the number of pixels that can fit across the screen (4,000) and are all about the resolution. HDR, on the other hand, stands for high dynamic range, which relates to the colours that you’ll see on screen. It’s a technology that means you can see bright tones without them being overexposed and dark tones without them being underexposed.

LG 65UN7300PUF Alexa Built-In UHD 73 Series 65" 4K Smart UHD TV (2020)
A user-friendly interface makes app access easy, and you can use the integrated Amazon home assistant to find what you need using voice controls.LG

We’ve talked about your TV’s image output but you might also want to know what inputs or ports it has. If your TV is smart and connected to your WiFi network, it should be easy enough to cast to it from a phone or laptop, but depending on what else you might like to communicate with it—computers, extra speakers, headphones—you might want to check on that. Most will come with an HDMI port, but you will often also find USBs and headphone jacks as well. Some will also have a Bluetooth connection.