For many years, 4K OLED TVs were unreachable for most people due to their price. However, as the technology moved forward, the costs came down, and it’s now almost mainstream. We’ve reached the point where someone planning to buy a new TV would seriously consider a model with an OLED display.
Since OLED technology has improved quite a bit, you wouldn’t want to make the mistake of buying an outdated model. Hence, to meet today’s standards, here are the top seven features you need to look for when you buy a new OLED TV.
1. Brightness Levels
One of the main downsides of OLED TVs compared to the competing QLED counterparts is the brightness levels. Unfortunately, they don’t get as bright. However, OLED panels have gotten brighter in recent years to provide adequate brightness levels for a great HDR experience.
Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that the OLED TV you’ve set your eyes on can hit a peak brightness of roughly 700-800 nits while viewing HDR content. As for SDR content, your TV needs to hit approximately 400-500 nits for an ideal viewing experience in a well-lit room.
Having said that, OLED brightness levels shouldn’t be much of a concern if you often watch TV in dim lighting conditions.
2. Maximum Refresh Rate
While 60Hz is perfectly fine if all you do is watch movies, TV shows, and other videos, it’s not good enough if you ever plan to game on it. The latest gaming consoles—the PS5 and the Xbox Series X—allow you to play games at 4K/120FPS. To actually notice the benefits of the improved frame rates, you’ll need a high refresh rate display.
Luckily enough, most OLED TVs released in the last year or two are fully capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, thanks to the HDMI 2.1 standard. Additionally, some models also support variable refresh rate technology, which allows the TV to adjust the refresh rate dynamically to match the frame rate. This eliminates screen tearing and minimizes stuttering when you’re playing games.
Therefore, if you prefer to game on your TV, make sure you get a TV with HDMI 2.1 ports that support 120Hz and variable refresh rates.
The prices for OLED TVs have come down in recent years, but they’re still expensive, at least compared to traditional LED TVs. The pricing may heavily depend on the brand and model you are going for. For instance, Sony’s high-end OLED TVs are a few hundred dollars more expensive than the equivalent LG models.
You can save money on an OLED TV purchase by going for a model that came out the previous year rather than the current one. You should be able to find one at a bargain during clearance sales. You’ll get most of the necessary features that the current models offer, but make sure you double-check the specifications to see if the model has everything you need.
4. Sound Quality
Picture quality is one thing, but sound quality is another. If you’re not willing to shell out a few hundred dollars more on a soundbar or a dedicated sound system, the internal speakers on your OLED TV should matter to you.
Some OLED TVs may have superior visual fidelity but have mediocre speakers, whereas others may sound great with average picture quality. It’s necessary to find a good balance between the two. Or, if you really want that visual quality, you can sacrifice in the sound department and buy a soundbar instead.
The best way to know how good a TV sounds is to walk into a showroom and hear it for yourself. If it’s loud and clear enough for you there, it should be perfectly fine in your living room.
5. Input Lag
This should be one of your top priorities if you’re a gamer, especially if you’re someone who plays a lot of multiplayer games. Almost all OLED TVs have a near-instant response time, so that’s not a significant concern at all. However, input lag is an entirely different factor.
Input lag is nothing but the delay between a button press on your controller and the TV reacting to your input. If your TV has a high input lag, you will notice its impact while playing fast-paced games. Today, most OLED TVs have a dedicated game mode to minimize the input lag, but some models may still have a better input lag than others.
On average, an input lag of under 20ms is ideal for most gamers. However, if you want the best experience possible, look for models with an input lag in the ballpark of 10ms.
6. Image Processor
The image processor is one of the big reasons why the OLED TV picture quality has improved in the last few years. The newer the image processor, the better it is at processing the video you watch. Simply put, if you have a newer TV, the better picture quality you’ll have, but you need a sharp eye for detail to notice the minor improvements.
7. Additional Features
The software on your OLED TV is as essential as the hardware, since that will decide the content you have access to. Lucky for you, no matter what brand you go with today, you’ll get access to all the popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and more. However, depending on the manufacturer, your TV may be powered by either Android TV or webOS.
Additional software features are a big plus, like AirPlay, for example. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac, you can mirror the screen directly to your TV. Some LG OLED TVs are NVIDIA G-Sync compatible, meaning you can experience tear-free and stutter-free gaming if you connect them to your PC.
Choose the Right OLED TV for You
The OLED TV you choose should best fit your use case. Keep in mind that you don’t need to spend extra money on hardware you probably won’t even take advantage of. For instance, if you don’t intend to play games, what’s the point of paying a premium for high refresh rate models? The money you save could go towards a good soundbar to improve your TV’s audio.
With so many options to choose from currently at multiple price points, it’s easy to make the wrong choice. But with this feature checklist at the back of your head, you should be able to make an informed decision nonetheless.
Although most TVs are now Smart TVs, some are better than others. We’ve found the best Smart TVs to get you started.
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