1. Screen Size – Typically, bigger is better but make sure the panel fits your furniture. Ideally, you’ll want to sit around 8-10 feet away from a 65-inch screen to get any benefit from Ultra HD.
2. Contrast – Many LCD/LED models include full-array backlights with zone dimming. These will offer the best contrast outside an OLED display. OLED is the true successor to plasma with its super-deep black levels. But LCD offers brighter HDR highlights. Some panels can top 1000 nits. Without zone dimming, the dynamic range will be less. VIZIO is the current price/performance king with its full line of zone-dimming models. For picky videophiles though, nothing beats an OLED.
3. Colour Accuracy – Most TVs have an accurate picture mode so if you buy from a major manufacturer, it’s likely you won’t need a professional calibration. Look for modes called Cinema or VIZIO’s Calibrated Dark and Light presets. If you do wish to make adjustments, be sure your chosen display has controls for colour temperature, gamma, and colour gamut.
4. Streaming Interface – Many TVs today are marketed as smart displays. This simply means they have built-in streaming options like Netflix and Amazon. In most cases, you can simply plug the set in, connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and enjoy content from thousands of sources. Some are even in Ultra HD with HDR though compression levels are far higher than what comes on an Ultra HD Blu-ray. User interfaces vary widely so try them out in a store before you buy.
5. Audio – If you plan to use a separate sound system like a soundbar or a receiver with speakers, this part doesn’t matter. But if you want to use the TV’s built-in speakers, the experience will likely be underwhelming. Sony has made a good effort with its OLED models that use the screen as a transducer. It’s the best built-in sound you’ll find in a flat panel. Otherwise, budget for a soundbar at the very least. And a subwoofer, even a small one, can really enhance bass and deliver a more cinematic experience.