How to Snaffle a... television

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The gogglebox. The tube. The box. From black and white it evolved to colour. From analogue it evolved to digital. From dumb it evolved to smart. Here's what to look for when you want to rent a television.

The upshot is that the old Cathode Ray Tube (ask your parents…) with a small screen that the family used to huddle round choosing between a couple of channels has now become a high-resolution smart screen with streaming services with one in every room of the house.

But how do you decided which one to buy? Let Snaffle explain.

Size

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Not so long ago a 32” screen would be considered a luxury. Now you can go up to 55” and still be wondering if you didn’t want to go that bit extra up to 65” or 75”… While size does matter, it is also relative so check out the room you’re buying for before you get carried away. A rule of thumb is that you should be sat three times the height of the TV away for HD and 1.4 for Ultra HD… but common sense should also dictate the day.

Screen technology

Now this is where it starts getting complicated. The recent technological developments have seen various acronyms and technology variants confused by different manufacturers then adding their own variations on a theme.

Screen technology – type

OLED

Offering preternaturally clear pictures, the extra ‘O’ stands for Organic but the key thing you need to know is that where LED TVs are backlit OLEDs are not which means you get deep blacks and more dramatic colour.

LED / LCD

The majority of sets out there use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to backlight and LCD screen. It’s not just that simple, as where those LEDs actually sit on the TV can affect the quality of the picture.

QLED

Quantum dot LCD TVs bridge the gap between the two technologies we’ve already outlined. Clear? Hmm let’s just say LED good, QLED better, OLED best.

Screen technology - resolution

Resolution is a pretty easy concept to get your head around. Digital pictures are made up of pixels. The more pixels you have the better quality of picture. And we all love a quality picture…

HD

Poor old High Definition, for so long the de facto quality to aim for and still the most common, it’s been eclipsed by new pretenders to the resolution throne. But that’s not to diminish its quality or suggest that it’s suddenly yesterday’s news. Far from it.

Ultra HD (4k)

IN a simple numbers game 3840 x 2160 obviously beats HD (1920 x 1080) hands down. Whether that’s worth all the extra money is a personal choice but also bear in mind that not all content is actually at that level so for much of the stuff you’ll watch at the moment you’d only get the same experience as HD anyway.

8k

We marvel every time we see an 8k TV but then we usually marvel at the price as well and decide that not only is it hard to justify all that extra expense but finding content that actually shows at the resolution is very rare… so by all means get excited by it but maybe not the time to worry about owning it.

Get smart

Most new TVS you’ll buy now are smart as standard. What does that mean? Basically, that they are connected to the internet and have an operating system. This means they can link to the myriad streaming services available via pre-installed apps or an app store. We don’t think one operating system really eclipses others but make sure you go smart.

Stay connected

In a wireless world the average television will still have a big bunch of cables at the back, connecting to soundbars, set top boxes, DVD players and the like. While internet connected smart TVs are reducing the reliance on other boxes, ensureing you have enough of the