INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- This is one of the biggest TV buying times of the year.
That’s because by the month of May, manufacturers have come out with their 2018 models. So, how do you know what’s best to buy without getting something you don’t need or something that’s not enough?
“There are so many TV choices out there it can be confusing. When I see customers, I sometimes get that stare every now and then where a person just walks in and is basically overwhelmed. They look at all the TVs and they don't know what to choose, and that's OK. When you come in here there's going to be a lot to choose from,” said Josiah Barker, a home theater consultant for Best Buy.
The televisions at Best Buy range from 19 to 85 inches. No matter where you shop, size will make a difference in the price. So the first thing to know when buying a TV is how you'll use it.
“We have a lot of TVs here that will fit different needs. Some are meant for a nice, dark, theater-type basement. We also have TVs that are meant more for very bright rooms with a lot of reflections. I might also ask if a customer likes sports or if they need something that's going to have a high refresh rate, so your sports action looks great,” said Barker.
A variety of different publications, internet sites and TV shows have television reviews. They go into detail of what reviewers and watchers like best in 2018 models. And the more information you have the better. Consumer Reports finds the new TV technology getting better and better. They especially like the OLED TVs sold by LG and Sony. They are a step up in quality and price from the LCD/LED models and they are more expensive, but prices are already coming down. Meanwhile, the LCD technology is also getting better every year.
You may have also heard about Ultra HD or 4K TVs with high-resolution detail compared to a typical HDTV. There’s also the new HDR standard, which stands for High Dynamic Range. The picture quality is said to be brighter, more vivid and lifelike. Here’s the difference: a typical HD set, also called a 1080p model, has about two million pixels or picture elements; an Ultra High Definition TV, also called a UHD TV or 4K TV, has about eight million pixels.
UHD/4K makes for great detail on the screen. But what about possible improvements? Will you miss out on the next best thing if you buy now, such as 8K?
“We are hearing a lot of people talk about 8K or things like that, but as of right now, the standard is 4K and will be for some time. That's what you're going to be seeing in your theaters and at home for quite some time. That means if you buy now, you’re not going to miss out on the latest,” said Barker.
Top-selling TV brands include Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio. As far as TV size goes, 55-inch models are some of the most popular. Generally, anything over that starts to increase in price, sometimes as much as 50%, but check for “price drops.” Costs can range from $150 for a 32-inch model to several thousand dollars for something 60 inches or larger. Get on a store's email list or go online for the latest deals.
There are more choices that may not be as simple, such as curved versus flat. Curved screens are generally more expensive, but they have a unique look and are great for center viewing. From an angle, though, flat TVs may be better if you're watching from a variety of different positions.
What about buying online? You may be able to save some money on a TV, but it can be difficult to return if something is wrong. That leads to the next question: should you get the insurance? You seriously should consider it, especially if the TV you’re buying is a big expense.
“It provides coverage on things like wear and tear, heat, dust and humidity, power surges, even dead pixels on the TV,” said Barker.
Manufacturers come out with their latest TVs around April. That means you may be able to find deals on 2017 models if they're still in stock. Always check online as prices and offers can change on a weekly basis. Best Buy updates their ads every Sunday.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to get as much information as possible, especially from other customers.
“The reviews can be very helpful to every customer," Barker said. "The more information, the better. But don’t forget to talk to the sales associate because they can provide details to questions that you’ll want answered for your specific needs."