With the big game on the horizon, it’s that time of the year when many consumers are considering a TV upgrade.
“With COVID-19 and people spending more and more time at home for work, for pleasure, for entertainment, the television, electronics have become an essential commodity,” explained Tom Campbell, chief technologist at Video & Audio Center, a chain of consumer electronics stores across Southern California.
He says there are two times when consumers look to upgrade: right around the holidays and then again just before Super Bowl.
The trend: big sets are among the top sellers.
“Now you get more picture in a smaller space and people love that,” said Campbell.
A few years ago, all you had to do was be on the lookout for 4K. Now there are so many terms you might need a TV dictionary to shop.
“The real benefit for a lot of people is that prices have come down just a little bit while quality has come up just a little bit,” explained Brian Westover, an editor at the reviews website Tom’s Guide.
Westover’s first recommendation: skip 8K.
“8K is still expensive enough… and there’s just not really 8K content available, explained Westover.
When it comes to the screen, OLED is best. But, if you want something that performs well and isn’t as expensive, go for QLED.
“It’s still an LCD TV but it’s enhanced with quantum dots, which deliver better color, better brightness,” said Westover.
For refresh rate, the minimum you want is 60Hz, but 120Hz is better.
Also, look for HDR or Dolby Vision (a branded version of HDR) if you want your shows and movies to look their absolute best with colors that pop off the screen.
“Overall picture quality is improved with every form of HDR,” said Westover.
As for specific recommendations, Westover’s top overall pick is the LG CX OLED.
“It’s not their most premium OLED, it’s not their entry-level OLED, it’s a good mid-tier,” said Westover.
At last check, a 55 inch LG CX was on sale at Best Buy for about $1400. A 64 inch set is $2000.
For a more budget-friendly set, check out the TCL 6 Series. It’s been a fan favorite for a while now, and Westover gave it his personal stamp of approval.
“It gives you quality on par with a $900 or $1000 dollar TV for much less,” concluded Westover.
One final consideration is size. A typical rule of thumb is that you want to sit roughly double the screen size away from your TV. That’s about 10 feet away from a 65 inch set. Here’s a calculator that can help figure that ratio out.