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Smart TV: understanding the differences between Android TV, regular Android and Smart TV
We understand the pros and cons of TVs with Smart TV, Android TV and the differences from set-top boxes with full Android
All about artificial intelligence in TVs: upscaling, brightness improvement, colour balancing and sound pumping
We tell you why modern TVs had to get smarter dramatically and why they need powerful processors
How to determine the colour rendition of the monitor by characteristics?
We deal with the types of matrices, bit depth, colour gamuts and Pantone / CalMAN certifications
Pictures without wires: what is Chromecast, AirPlay, Miracast, MHL, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA
What is the difference between the most popular ways to connect a smartphone to a TV and for whom they are better suited
Energy label reform: new gradations of energy efficiency classes for household appliances
Rethinking energy efficiency classes and returning to the historical gradation "from A to G"
TVs: specifications, types
The optimal size of the TV depends primarily on the distance from which it is planned to be watched. If the size is too small, it will be difficult to see the details on the screen, you will have to strain your eyes; if too large, the image will be much larger than the field of view, which is not a good option either. The best option is the situation when the distance to the TV corresponds to 3 – 4 of its diagonals: for example, for the popular size of 32" (80 cm), the recommended distance is about 2.5 – 3 m.
The cost of the TV directly depends on the size, but in addition, the size to some extent affects the overall equipment. So, among models smaller than 32" there are often TVs without Smart TV and other advanced features; TVs of 32 — 55" can be both quite simple and advanced; and a large screen, more than 55", in most cases is combined with extensive additional functionality.
Now the following popular sizes are on the market: 32", 39 – 40", 43", 49", 49 – 50", 55", 65", 75" and more than 80".
TV support for three-dimensional video. The principle of 3D is that when viewing it, the picture for the left and right eyes is somewhat different — as when viewing real objects. Due to this, the image acquires volume. 3D viewing usually requires special glasses, and for many models they need to be bought separately.
Note that 3D technology works only if the viewer has no problems with binocular vision — in other words, he can normally view objects with both eyes at once. With severe strabismus, the absence of one eye, and some other vision disorders, 3D viewing becomes unavailable.
— Smart TV (own system). The operating system of the TV is represented by the manufacturer's proprietary software shell. Usually, such operating systems have an attractive and understandable menu, similar to a traditional Smart TV. A proprietary operating system is developed by the manufacturer for the hardware resources of a particular TV model or a whole line. But, as practice shows, compared to the classic Smart TV, the functionality of its own system often has significant limitations, and the system itself, in fact, is a stripped-down version of a full-fledged Smart TV. — Smart TV (Android AOSP). This type of operating system is a modification of the popular Android OS, mainly notable for being open source. It is a versatile operating system that gives the user much more freedom to create changes and customizations within the system itself. At the same time, the installation and stability of certain applications on this platform are not guaranteed, and the overall system management was not specially “tailored” for large screens, which may cause some inconvenience. First of all, such solutions will arouse interest among users who understand the features of the Android OS, like to customize and control everything for themselves, and have time for this. — Android TV. TVs of this type boast full-fledged Android TV software, specially adapted to work on...large screens. In accordance with the name, it is a kind of Android OS, specially “sharpened” for TVs / projectors, etc. In addition to the common features of all “Androids” (such as the ability to install additional applications, including even games), it has a number of special features: optimized interface, integration with smartphones (including the ability to use them as a remote control), voice search, etc. Thanks to this, TVs with this feature are significantly superior in functionality to models with a “regular” Smart TV. Of course, a dedicated processor, graphics subsystem and memory are provided for the operation of a multifunctional OS, and the presence of such hardware resources is reflected in the total cost of the TV. Given the same optical design, models with Android TV will cost more than classic devices with a simple multi-line menu. — Google TV. Rebranding of the Android TV platform for TVs and smart set-top boxes, or rather, a new shell on top of the operating system under the sign of the “green droid”, introduced since 2021. Among the innovations, it has a redesigned user interface, an improved knowledge base that more efficiently distributes content by genre and collects search information from the entire list of installed applications and subscriptions. The voice assistant now understands the needs of the audience better and provides a detailed list of what was found. A separate tab in the interface contains live broadcasts of current events, whether it be sports events or a rocket launch to Mars. Among other things, the aspects that involve the use of TV as a command post for managing a single ecosystem of a “smart” home have been improved in the system.
— Sony X1. The Sony X1 processor is used in Sony TVs from several series: XH and XG. Such TVs occupy several niches at once: the low-cost category and the middle class. The most inexpensive models show a picture in 4K resolution without dynamic range support, more advanced models use 4K HDR. Basically, these are simple models that are designed only for watching videos. For dynamic games, TVs with such a processor are less suitable. — Sony X1 Extreme. The Sony X1 Extreme processor is 40% more powerful than its predecessor, the Sony X1, and is designed to work with 4K HDR images. Working with HDR dynamic range makes it possible to display a realistic picture of increased quality on the screen. TVs with the Sony X1 Extreme processor are mid-range and high-end models. The image qualit is improved by supporting dynamic backlighting. An important feature of the Sony X1 Extreme is the use of two independent colour rendering databases (Dual database processing). Object-based HDR remaster technology analyzes the image displayed on the screen, matches colours with a database and adjusts them for viewing on a particular TV. Thanks to Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, colour transitions become smoother and more natural, making the picture even more realistic. — Sony X1 Ultimate. The Sony X1 Ultimate processor can handle both 4K (3840 x 2160) and 8K HDR (7680 x 4320) i...mages, depending on the screen size. TVs with such a processor provide a picture with the deepest detail and the highest quality rendering of textures. TVs with the Sony X1 Ultimate processor are mostly advanced models from the middle and expensive segment. Such TVs provide the effect of complete immersion in the atmosphere of the video being watched. Sony X1 Ultimate supports X-Reality PRO technology with an exclusive database of colour reproduction samples. Even when displaying low-resolution images on a TV screen, the picture quality is automatically upscaled to 8K (4K) with HDR High Dynamic Range. There is support for X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technology, which distributes the backlight in accordance with the displayed scenes. Dynamic backlighting improves contrast and makes the picture as bright as possible, while blacks are more saturated than ever. — Sony Cognitive XR. TVs with Sony XR processor are capable of displaying a picture in 4K resolution at 120 Hz and 8K at 60 Hz. These are high-tech models operating under the control of advanced artificial intelligence. The Sony XR is one of the world's first "cognitive" processors. He processes the video and audio components of broadcasts to improve the quality of the image and sound, which creates a realistic picture of what is happening on the screen. The software algorithms of the processor process information about audio and video in a single stream. The manufacturer claims that the processor works akin to the human brain and goes beyond the capabilities of ordinary artificial intelligence algorithms. — LG α 7 Gen 2. The LG α 7 Gen 2 processor is used in LG OLED and NanoCell TVs. The picture resolution is up to 4K and 8K HDR. LG α 7 Gen 2 TVs come in all price ranges, from low-cost to high end. The hardware power of the processor ensures high signal processing speed and high image quality. Such TVs are equipped with a low latency mode, which allows you to use the screen for dynamic games. LG α 7 Gen 2 also works with Dolby Vision technology, which significantly expands the dynamic range of the video. Improved support for artificial intelligence neural network interface is provided. — LG α 7 Gen 3. LG α 7 Gen 3 is the third generation processor used in LG Nano Cell TVs. The image quality is at the level of 4K with high dynamic range HDR. TVs with the LG α 7 Gen 3 processor are mid-range models that can reproduce a high-definition picture. Such models without problems “pull up” the quality of the picture from the original source to the level of 4K. In this case, the picture is improved due to the database with reference images, from where the software algorithm selects the optimal colours. Dolby Vision and Dolby HDR technologies are supported. Among other things, LG α 7 Gen 3 processors also improve the sound quality along the way. With the All Sound option, ordinary two-channel audio is transformed into 4.0 surround sound. — LG α 7 Gen 4. 4th generation intelligent processor used in LG's midrange NanoCell and OLED TVs. It processes high-resolution 4K video broadcasts, scales images to the same format from lower frame resolutions, and has significantly increased processing power. The LG α 7 Gen 4 processor relies on special algorithms that analyze the type of video content in real time to adjust the picture and sound settings according to the broadcast genre. The tones and brightness of the picture on the screen are also automatically adjusted according to the lighting of the surrounding space. Along the way, the processor improves the sound quality of the TV — depending on the content being viewed and the location of the viewers in the room (determined using the Magic Remote). — LG α 9 Gen 2. The LG α 9 Gen 2 processor is equipped with OLED and Nano Cell TVs. The processor makes it possible to display a picture with a resolution of 4K to 8K HDR. TVs with an LG α 9 Gen 2 processor occupy a niche of medium and advanced expensive models. These can be well suited for work as part of a home theater. Improved performance reduces display latency, allowing the device to seamlessly reproduce fast-moving movie and game scenes. With Dolby Vision image correction technology, colour reproduction is enhanced by a wide dynamic range of hues. Dolby Atmos transforms the sound of stock speakers into 5.1 wideband surround sound. The artificial intelligence ThinQ AI is used as a neural network interface, which recognizes human speech and has advanced support for voice commands. — LG α 9 Gen 3. Powerful and performant processor used by LG TVs (OLED and Nano Cell). The hardware resources of the processor are sufficient to play content in 4K-8K HDR resolution. The LG α 9 Gen 3 processor is mainly for advanced TVs from the middle and high price segments. Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos technologies are supported. Thanks to the NVIDIA G-SYNC option, the TV can be connected to a gaming PC. In this case, the TV will unlock the full potential of discrete graphics used by the gaming platform. True Colour Accuracy Pro technology creates the effect of deep immersion in the scenes taking place on the screen. Self-learning artificial intelligence provides multi-stage noise reduction and image smoothing, which makes the image incredibly sharp, clear and rich. — LG α 9 Gen 4. Powerful neural processor for top LG OLED, Mini LED and NanoCell matrix of 2021 and newer models. It uses deep machine learning algorithms to analyze the genre of broadcast video content and adapt image and sound parameters to it. The processor is tough enough to scale video from 2K and 4K resolutions to ultra-format 8K with much higher levels of detail and image clarity. Another of its features is the AI Picture Pro function, which recognizes objects in the frame (faces, bodies, objects) and processes each of them separately, making images look more natural as a whole. HDR content is optimized with brightness adjustment — the processor works with all applicable High Dynamic Range technology specifications in LG TVs. The icing on the cake is a professional sound identification system that automatically adjusts the volume level in different types of content and mixes two-channel sound into surround sound (5.1.2 format). — Samsung Crystal 4K. The Samsung Crystal 4K processor is used primarily in Samsung's Crystal UHD series TVs. This category of TVs has an affordable price. These are simple models, the screen of which produces a picture in Ultra 4K resolution. The performance of the Samsung Crystal 4K processor is enough to bring the colour quality to the level of HDR. Of the technologies used, we can note the Contrast Enhancer and Dynamic Crystal Colour, thanks to which the contrast and brightness of the image are fine-tuned. — Samsung Quantum 4K. The Samsung Quantum 4K processor is used in Samsung TVs with QLED backlighting. High performance makes it possible to scale the image of Full HD to the level of 4K, and in the high dynamic range of HDR. The Samsung Quantum 4K processor features unique Quantum HDR technology, which makes the image more detailed, richer and more expressive. The processor supports Dual LED dynamic backlight technology, with which the picture acquires extreme contrast and at the same time high brightness. Also, the TVs have a special game mode Real Game Enhancer+ with support for AMD FreeSync technology. — Samsung Quantum 8K. The Samsung Quantum 8K processor has been used in Samsung QLED TVs since 2020. Models in this series are capable of reproducing 8K HDR images, and a picture of such high quality can be obtained even from a source with a resolution of 4K to Full HD. Usually, these are top-level models. TVs of this class can be used as part of a professional home theater. Deep detailing of the picture guarantees complete immersion in the video content. Artificial intelligence QLED TV is responsible for image processing. Philips P5 Perfect Picture. The Philips P5 Perfect Picture Processor is used in Philips OLED TVs. The processing power of the processor is enough to reproduce the 4K image. In older models, an extended dynamic range of HDR colours is found. TVs with the Philips P5 Perfect Picture processor cover several cost categories at once, the low-cost segment and the average price range. A high-quality picture is displayed on the screen of such models, but, usually, it falls short of the reference Ultra 4K HDR, since this requires a more professional matrix. The P5 Perfect Picture processor is the first Philips CPU to use artificial intelligence. Philips P5 Perfect Picture supports technologies such as Dolby Vision, HDR10+, Perfect Natural Motion and Micro Dimming Pro. Philips P5 Pro Perfect Picture. The Philips P5 Pro Perfect Picture Processor is used in Philips TVs with enhanced OLED. Models with this processor are capable of displaying an image in Ultra 4K HDR resolution. Usually, it is found in advanced class TVs. Philips P5 Pro Perfect Picture processor TVs use a machine intelligence neural network interface. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants are supported. The processor uses the following image and sound technologies: Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR10+, Micro Dimming Perfect and Wide Colour Gamut.
The presence of a curved screen in the design of the TV. It is usually assumed that the screen has a concave (relative to the viewer) shape — its left and right edges are closer to the viewer than the middle. It is believed that this form significantly improves perception compared to a flat surface — in particular, it enhances the effect of presence and creates the impression of an image that "surrounds" from the sides. That's why concave screens have long been the standard for high-quality cinemas like IMAX, and more recently have been used in televisions.
However, this form also has a drawback, and a rather serious one: to view it, you must be strictly in the centre, at a certain distance from the screen — otherwise the image will be distorted and the viewing experience will deteriorate. In fact, this means that 1-2 people can comfortably watch a TV with a curved screen, no more — there is simply not enough space for the rest in the zone of optimal visibility.
Radius of curvature of the curved screen (see above). Specified in millimetres for the radius of a circle which curvature corresponds to the curvature of the screen: for example, 4200R corresponds to a radius of 4.2 m.
The smaller the number in this designation – the more the screen is curved (all else being equal). In general, this parameter is more of a reference and does not play a key role in choosing process: it is selected by the manufacturer so that the screen does not give significant distortion when viewed from the side and at the same time that the curvature is quite noticeable. We only note that the mentioned 4200R are considered to be almost an perfect radius of curvature, however, there are also large indicators — for example, 5000R.
The type of matrix used in the TV. Among them, OLED, QLED and NanoCell deserve the most attention, which are found in TVs of the relevant price category. Now more about each of them and other more classic options:
— OLED. TVs with screens that use organic light-emitting diodes — OLED. Such LEDs can be used both to illuminate a traditional LCD matrix, and as elements from which a screen is built. In the first case, the advantages of OLED over traditional LED are compactness, extremely low power consumption, backlight uniformity, as well as excellent brightness and contrast ratios. And in matrices, consisting entirely of OLED, these advantages are even more pronounced. The main disadvantage of all OLED TVs is the high price (which, however, is constantly decreasing as the technology develops and improves).
— QLED. TVs with screens using "quantum dot" technology — QLED. Such screens differ from conventional LED matrices in the design of the backlight: multilayer colour filters in such a backlight are replaced with a thin-film light-transmitting coating based on nanoparticles, and traditional white LEDs are replaced with blue ones. This allows to achieve a significant increase in brightness and colour saturation at the same time as improving the quality of colour reproduction, besides, it reduces the thickness and reduces the power consumption of the scree...n. The disadvantage of QLED matrices is traditional — the high price.
— TN+Film. The oldest of the varieties of matrices used in modern TVs, it is also the simplest and most inexpensive. In addition to low cost, the advantage of TN-Film is a good response time. At the same time, image quality and colour reproduction are relatively low, viewing angles are small, and the margin of brightness is low. Therefore, this option is used mainly in low-cost models with small screens.
— IPS. A type of matrix originally developed with high colour reproduction in mind. Indeed, IPS-screens provide bright, saturated colours, have good colour gamut, high brightness and wide viewing angles. The initial disadvantage of this technology was a low response time, however, in modern IPS modifications, this moment has been practically eliminated. The same goes for the cost: IPS screens are more expensive than TN-film, but in modern TVs this difference is relatively small, it is almost invisible compared to the total cost of TVs. Thanks to all this, matrices of this type are very popular.
— *V.A. In this case, one of the varieties of matrices of the VA type is implied — MVA, PVA, Super PVA, etc. Specific varieties may vary somewhat in terms of operating features, but they all have common features. In fact, *VA matrices are a kind of transitional option between high-end IPS and inexpensive TN-Film: they are relatively inexpensive, provide fairly good colour reproduction and viewing angles up to 178°. The main disadvantage of such screens is a long response time, but it is gradually being eliminated as the technology develops and improves. *VA matrices are used, in particular, in TVs positioned as functional and at the same time affordable models.
— PLS. In fact, it is one of the varieties of the IPS matrices described above, developed by Samsung. According to the manufacturer, in such matrices it was possible to achieve higher brightness and contrast than in traditional IPS, as well as to slightly reduce the cost.
— NanoCell. Matrix based on quantum dots. This type of matrix is used in LG TVs and was first introduced in 2017. NanoCell matrices use the structure of classic LCD displays. But unlike the latter, they use so-called quantum dots instead of the classic general backlight, which provide monochromatic light. NanoCell technology reduces power consumption while increasing colour gamut and viewing angle. It is worth noting separately that NanoCell matrices are not the only ones using quantum dot technology. Similar solutions are offered by: Samsung (QLED matrix), Sony (Triluminos matrix), Hisense (ULED).
— Edge LED — side backlight of the matrix. In this case, the LEDs are distributed around the perimeter of the screen. To evenly distribute the backlight, the background of the matrix has a special reflector. An important advantage of TVs with Edge LED backlighting is the minimum thickness of the device. Among the shortcomings, one can note the presence of glare at the edges, which appear under certain conditions. Glare may be visible in scenes where dark hues predominate. — Direct LED — rear matrix backlight. In this case, the LEDs are evenly distributed over the entire screen area. The Direct LED backlight makes the image contrast and bright at the same time. TVs with this technology have good colour reproduction. Among the shortcomings can be noted increased power consumption and increased dimensions. Additionally, such TVs have a large delay (Input lag), which is why Direct LED backlit screens are poorly suited for dynamic games. — FALD (Full-Array Local Dimming) is a backlight technology widely used in LG TVs. A close analogue of FALD is the Direct LED backlight. The LEDs are also evenly spaced across the entire surface of the matrix, but FALD technology provides a bright, colour-rich image with high contrast. Another distinctive feature of FALD is the ability to reproduce natural blacks. When black is displayed on the screen, the LEDs are turn...ed off in groups, by sector, which allows to make black extremely saturated. Of course, the abundance of LEDs on the matrix makes the TV more massive, and at the same time heavy. The appetite for electricity in such models is above average. — Mini LED. Screen backlight system on a substrate of reduced LEDs (hence the Mini prefix). On the same plane of the TV panel, the number of LEDs has increased several times, if we draw parallels with traditional LED systems. As a result, the canvas with Mini LED backlight has many times more local dimming zones of the picture (Local Dimming), which is necessary for the correct operation of the extended dynamic range image technology. For playing HDR content, Mini LED systems are much better than ordinary LCDs.
The type of coating used on the TV screen.
— Matte. Historically, the first type of coating for LCD screens, which is often found today. Screens with such a coating generally have average characteristics of brightness, saturation and colour reproduction quality, in terms of these indicators they are inferior to glossy counterparts. However, the matte coating has one important advantage: it has virtually no glare from ambient light. In some situations, this can be an important advantage — for example, if the TV is installed opposite the window. And for some users it is more pleasant to look at the screen without glare, albeit relatively dim.
— Glossy. A coating designed to improve the brightness and colour quality of the visible image compared to matte screens. The creators have managed to achieve this goal: "glossy" screens really provide rich, vibrant colours and a brighter image. The key disadvantage of such screens is the appearance of glare from ambient light on them — this can ruin the whole viewing experience. Because of this, the classic glossy coating is practically not used today, anti-glare solutions have taken its place (see below).
— Glossy (anti-glare). Modification of the glossy coating, created, as the name implies, in order to eliminate the main drawback of the classic gloss — glare from external lighting. This is not to say th...at such screens do not glare at all, but there are much less reflections on them than on ordinary glossy ones. As for the image quality, it is at least not much worse, and often even better (especially since such coatings are constantly being improved). Thanks to all this, most modern TVs of all price categories are equipped with anti-glare screens.
Screen resolution - its size in pixels horizontally and vertically. Other things being equal, a higher resolution provides better image quality, but such a screen costs more and requires relevant content.
The set of resolutions found in modern TVs is quite extensive, but they can be roughly divided into several groups: HD, Full HD, Ultra HD 4K, Ultra HD 5K and Ultra HD 8K. Here are the main features of each option:
— HD. Screens designed for HD 720p. The standard frame size in such a video is 1280x720, however, for a number of reasons, most HD TVs have somewhat larger sizes — 1366x768. In addition, this category usually includes models with resolutions from 1280x768 to 1680x1050, as well as 1024x768 screens. In general, HD 720p resolutions are mostly found on low-cost TVs with relatively small screens.
— Full HD. TVs designed for Full HD 1080p video, with a frame size of 1920x1080. Most models from this category have exactly this screen resolution — 1920x1080; other options are noticeably less common — in particular, 1920x1200 and 2560x1080. In general, Full HD screens provide good detail at a relatively low cost, making them extremely popular in mid-range models and inexpensive large-format TVs.
— Ultra HD 4K. This format provides different options in resolutions, however, for TVs, the actual stan...dard is 3840x2160, other options are almost never found. In general, this is a fairly high resolution, which is typical mainly for premium models; a common feature of such models is the large size — from 40" and more.
— Ultra HD 5K. The Ultra HD image format is more advanced than 4K, but it is extremely rare in TVs — these are mainly ultra-wide models with a resolution of 5120x2160.
— Ultra HD 8K. A standard that assumes a size of about 8K pixels horizontally; one of the options for this resolution, found in TVs — 7680x4320. Thus, UHD 8K is twice the size of 4K on each side and four times the total number of pixels, resulting in extremely sharp and detailed images. On the other hand, such screens are very expensive, despite the fact that nowadays even 4K is already considered a very advanced standard. Plus, there are not many video devices and content that meet this standard. Therefore, 8K TVs are still extremely rare, they include mostly high-end flagship models with a size of at least 65".
TV support 4K upscaling feature.
This feature is only found in models with 4K screens and above (see "Resolution"). It allows to increase the resolution of the original image to 4K (3840x2160), if it is initially lower — for example, to view a movie in 4K that was originally recorded in Full HD (1920x1080). This is not just about “stretching” the image to fill the screen (all TVs are capable of doing this), but about special processing, due to which the actual video resolution is increased. Of course, such video will still be inferior to content originally recorded in 4K; however, upscaling provides a noticeable improvement in quality over the raw signal.
TV support 8K upscaling feature.
This feature is only found in models with 8K resolution screens. It allows to increase the resolution of the original "picture" to 8K (7680x4320 or similar), if it is initially lower — for example, to view a movie in 8K that was originally recorded in 4K (3840x2160) or even Full HD (1920x1080). This is not just about “stretching” the image to fill the screen (all TVs are capable of doing this), but about special processing, due to which the actual video resolution is increased. Of course, such video will still be inferior to content originally recorded in 8K; however, upscaling provides a noticeable improvement in quality over the raw signal.
The response time can be described as the maximum time required for each pixel of the screen to change brightness, in other words, the longest time from the receipt of a control signal to the pixel until it switches to the specified mode. The actual switching time may be less — if the brightness changes slightly, it can be calculated in microseconds. However, it is the longest time that matters — it describes the guaranteed response speed of each pixel.
First of all, the frame rate is directly related to the response time (see the relevant paragraph): the lower the response time, the higher the frame rate can be provided on this sensor. However, the actual frame rate may be less than the theoretical maximum, it all depends on the TV. Also note that the overall image quality in dynamic scenes depends primarily on the frame rate. Therefore, we can say that the response time is an auxiliary parameter: the average user rarely needs this data, and in the specifications they are given mainly for advertising purposes.
The highest frame rate supported by the TV.
Note that in this case we are talking about the native frame rate of the screen, without additional image processing (see "Index of dynamic scenes"). This frequency should not be lower than the frame rate in the video being played — otherwise, jerks, noise and other unpleasant phenomena that degrade the picture quality are possible. In addition, the higher the frame rate, the smoother and smoother the movement in the frame will look, the better the detail of moving objects will be. However, it is worth noting here that the playback speed is often limited by the properties of the content, and not by the characteristics of the screen. For example, movies are often recorded at only 30 fps, or even 24-25 fps, while most modern TVs support 50 or 60 Hz. This is enough even to watch high-end content in HD resolutions (speeds above 60 fps in such a video are extremely rare), but there are also faster screens on the market: at 100 Hz and 120 Hz. Such speeds, usually, indicate a fairly high-class screen, and they often involve the use of various technologies designed to improve the quality of dynamic scenes.
The maximum brightness of the image provided by the TV screen.
The image on the screen should be bright enough so that you do not have to strain your eyes unnecessarily to view it. However, too high brightness is undesirable — it will also lead to fatigue. The optimal brightness level depends on the surrounding conditions: the more intense the ambient light, the brighter the TV screen should be. So, on a sunny day, the screen may have to be “turned up” to the maximum, and in the evening, in dimmed light, a relatively dim image will be more comfortable. In addition note that large screens require higher brightness, since they are designed for a greater distance from the viewer.
Thus, the higher the number in this paragraph, the greater the margin of brightness this model has, the better it will show itself in intense ambient light. The lowest indicator sufficient for more or less comfortable viewing in any conditions is 300 cd/m² for models with a diagonal of up to 32", 400 cd/m² for models in the range of 32 – 55" and 600 cd/m² for large screens of 60" and more. In this case, the brightness margin anyway will not be superfluous. But with lower indicators, you may have to darken the room somewhat for comfortable viewing.
The level of static contrast provided by the TV screen.
Contrast in a general sense is the ratio in brightness between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks that the screen can produce. Other things being equal, the higher the screen contrast, the better the quality of colour reproduction and detail, the lower the likelihood that it will be impossible to see details in too bright or too dark areas of the image. Static contrast, on the other hand, describes the maximum difference in brightness that can be achieved within one frame without changing the brightness of the image — this is its difference from dynamic contrast (see below).
The values of static contrast are much lower than those of dynamic, but this characteristic is the most "honest". It is on it that the properties of the image seen on the screen at a particular moment depend, it is describes the basic properties of the screen, without taking into account the software tricks provided by the manufacturer in the hardware of the TV.
The level of dynamic contrast provided by the TV screen.
Contrast in a general sense is the ratio in brightness between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks that the screen can produce. Other things being equal, the higher the screen contrast, the better the quality of colour reproduction and detail, the lower the likelihood that it will be impossible to see details in too bright or too dark areas of the image. Formally, the main characteristic of screens is static contrast (see above), but even in advanced matrices it is relatively low. Therefore, manufacturers went to the trick, introducing such a characteristic as "dynamic contrast".
Dynamic contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest whites at the highest screen brightness settings and the darkest blacks at the lowest. These contrast ratios can be quite impressive—much higher than static—however, it is impossible to achieve such values within a single frame, and dynamic contrast ratio is stated more for promotional purposes than for describing the actual specifications of the screen. However, it cannot be said that this indicator is completely unrelated to reality. The fact is that many TVs use automatic brightness control, which changes the settings depending on the characteristics of the image. This control is based on the fact that when displaying bright scenes, there is no need to provide a deep black level, and in dark scenes, high brightness of light areas is not needed — th...ese are the features of the human eye. This means that in bright scenes you can increase the overall brightness, and in dark scenes you can reduce it; the maximum brightness difference achievable in this mode of operation is precisely described by dynamic contrast.
Dynamic scene index
Dynamic Scene Index (DSI) provided by the TV screen.
DSI is a rather specific parameter that can be called "visible framerate". Its appearance is due to the fact that a high frame rate is highly desirable for dynamic scenes — it provides smooth images and good detail of moving objects. However, for technical reasons, it is not possible to achieve indicators above 200 Hz in most screens. In order to remedy the situation, manufacturers use special technologies that create the effect of increasing the frame rate.
Such technologies may have different names, but they have the same principle of operation — inserting additional frames between the "own" frames of the video being played. And the dynamic scene index describes the overall effectiveness of such technology used in a TV. For example, a DSI of 200 Hz means that the image quality on the screen approximates a frame rate of 200 Hz, although the actual frame rate is often as low as 50-60 Hz.
In the most advanced models, the dynamic scene index can be up to 3000 Hz, and options above 3000 Hz are considered to be TVs with a high dynamic scene index. However, it is worth noting that such specifications are more of an advertising ploy than a real advantage: in fact, the threshold for human perception is 400 – 500 Hz, a further increase in the DSI does not give a clearly visible improvement in the image.
Input Lag (delay) — the time required to process and display the image on the screen. The quality of playback of dynamic scenes depends on this parameter. The average TV has an Input Lag in the range of 150-200 ms, but if the TV is designed for games, especially in the shooter genre, then the Input Lag is often only 20-50 ms. Input Lag is often confused with sensor response time. In fact, these parameters are completely different, since the response determines only the time to change the colour of the pixels, and the Input Lag also takes into account the signal conversion time. The Input Lag time directly depends on the hardware power of the TV. Models with a powerful processor usually have minimal Input Lag. Additionally, Input Lag also depends on the settings of the TV, with an increase in the resolution of the picture, the delay also increases.
TV support for high dynamic range technology — HDR.
This technology is designed to expand the range of brightness reproduced by the TV; Simply put, an HDR model will display brighter whites and darker blacks than a regular TV. In fact, this means a significant improvement in colour quality. On the one hand, HDR provides a very "live" image, close to what the human eye sees, with an abundance of shades and tones that a normal screen cannot convey; on the other hand, this technology allows to achieve very bright and rich colours.
However for the full use of this feature, you need not only an HDR TV, but also content (movies, TV broadcasts, etc.) that was originally created for HDR. Also note that there are several different HDR technologies that are not compatible with each other. Therefore, when buying a TV with this feature, it is highly advisable to clarify which version of HDR it supports (HDR10, HDR10 + or Dolby Vision). And the following are found:
— HDR10. Historically the first of the consumer HDR formats, less advanced than the options described below but extremely widespread. In particular, HDR10 is supported by almost all streaming services that provide HDR content, and it is also common for Blu-ray discs. Allows to work with a colour depth of 10 bits (hence the name). At the same time, devices of this format are also compatible wi...th content in HDR10+, although its quality will be limited by the capabilities of the original HDR10.
— HDR10+. An improved version of HDR10. With the same colour depth (10 bits), it uses the so-called dynamic metadata, which allows transmitting information about the colour depth not only for groups of several frames, but also for individual frames. This results in an additional improvement in colour reproduction.
– Dolby Vision. An advanced standard used particularly in professional cinematography. Allows to achieve a colour depth of 12 bits, uses the dynamic metadata described above, and also makes it possible to transmit two image options at once in one video stream — HDR and standard (SDR). At the same time, Dolby Vision is based on the same technology as HDR10, so in modern video technology this format is usually combined with HDR10 or HDR10+.
Brightness / contrast enhancement
TV support for one or another brightness / contrast enhancement technology.
Usually, in this case, software image processing is implied, in such a way as to improve brightness and/or contrast (if necessary). Specific processing methods may be different — in particular, in some cases we are actually talking about turning standard content into HDR (see above), and some manufacturers do not specify technical details at all. The effectiveness of different technologies can also be different, and besides, it is highly dependent on the specific content: in some cases, the improvement will be obvious, in others it may be almost imperceptible. Also note that this feature is not always useful, so in most models it is turned off.
The TV's support of one or the other colour enhancement technology.
Such technologies usually involve image processing in software to provide brighter and/or more accurate colours. Specific processing methods may be different, some manufacturers do not specify technical details at all, limiting themselves to advertising statements. The effect of using such technologies can also vary: in some cases it is clearly visible, in others it is almost absent, depending on the features of the picture. It is also worth saying that this feature, usually, needs to be turned on manually in the TV menu (accordingly, it can be turned off if desired).
TV supports some kind of black enhancement technology.
Deep blacks are as important to an image as the quality of other colours. At the same time, it is not as easy to achieve it as it might seem at first glance: the black areas of the screen are “lit up” by the backlight and, without additional tricks, may not look dark enough. Thus, modern TVs use various additional black enhancement technologies. One of the options for this technology is local backlighting, in which LEDs are placed not on the sides of the screen, but behind it: each of them illuminates its own section of the sensor and can be turned off if necessary. There are other, more complex ways to achieve high-quality black.
TV compatibility with special frame synchronization technologies used in AMD graphics cards.
You should pay attention to this parameter if you plan to use the TV as a gaming monitor for a PC or laptop with an AMD graphics adapter. Special timing technologies are used to match the screen refresh rate to the frame rate of the incoming video signal. Such a need arises for the reason that the frame rate issued by the graphics card can “float” when the load on the video adapter changes (this is especially true for demanding games); and if this frequency does not match the screen refresh rate – tears and other unwanted artifacts appear on the image.
The AMD technology used to eliminate this effect is called FreeSync. Nowadays, it is presented on the market in three versions — the original FreeSync and two extended ones:
– AMD FreeSync Premium Pro. The most advanced and functional version, formerly known as AMD FreeSync 2 HDR. In addition to refresh rate sync, it also includes support for HDR (see above), output at a frame rate of at least 120 Hz at Full HD resolution, as well as low frame rate compensation (LFC). The essence of LFC is that when the frame rate of the original video signal falls below the minimum frequency supported by the screen, the same frame is displayed on the screen several times, which allows to maintain the maximum smoothness of the “picture”.
— AMD FreeSync Premium. A somewhat s...implified version compared to FreeSync Premium Pro. It does not provide working with HDR, otherwise it is completely similar.
TV compatibility with special frame synchronization technologies used in NVIDIA graphics cards, namely G-Sync.
You should pay attention to this parameter if you plan to use the TV as a gaming monitor for a PC or laptop with an NVIDIA graphics adapter. Special timing technologies are used to match the screen refresh rate to the frame rate of the incoming video signal. Such a need arises for the reason that the frame rate issued by the graphics card can “float” when the load on the video adapter changes (this is especially true for resource-demanding games); and if this frequency does not match the screen refresh rate, tearing and other unwanted artifacts appear in the image.
The NVIDIA technology used to eliminate this effect is called G-Sync. Nowadays, you can find both the original G-Sync and the extended version — G-Sync Ultimate, which implements HDR support (see above). In addition, there are screens labeled “G-Sync Compatible”: they were not originally designed to work with G-Sync, but they turned out to be compatible with this technology (at least when working with video cards based on the GPU GeForce GTX 10 series and GeForce RTX 20th series).
The brand of the speaker system installed in the TV.
This item is indicated if the TV is equipped with advanced sound system, which is noticeably superior in quality to conventional speakers. Such information further emphasizes the high level of the device. At the same time, the specifications usually do not contain the full name of the speaker system, but only the brand name — for example, Bang & Olufsen, Harman Kardon, JBL, etc.: even such information is quite enough in this case.
The nominal power of the sound produced by the TV's sound system.
The larger the screen and the greater the estimated distance to the viewer, the more powerful the sound system must be in order to be heard normally. Manufacturers take this moment into account, moreover, most often they also provide a solid volume margin. So if a TV is bought for home viewing in a quiet, calm environment, you can not pay much attention to the sound power: it is guaranteed to be enough for such a usage. It makes sense to specifically look for models with high-power speakers for a noisy environment — for example, a cafe or other public space. Detailed recommendations on this matter can be found in special sources, but here we note that even in such cases, connecting external speakers can be a good alternative.
Number of speakers
The number of speakers installed in the TV.
Theoretically, one speaker is enough to work with sound, but most entry-level and mid-range models (as well as many premium devices) provide two speakers — for stereo operation, which allows to achieve some surround sound effect. And more than two speakers usually means the TV has enhanced audio capabilities such as a subwoofer or soundbar (see below).
The presence of a subwoofer as part of the TV sound system.
A subwoofer is a specialized speaker for bass and ultra-low frequencies. It makes the sound richer in the bass, which is especially useful when watching adventure films with appropriate sound effects (bumps, explosions), as well as concerts. It should noted that the specifications of built-in subwoofers are usually much more limited than those of external ones; so don't expect cinema-like bass from a TV audio system. However, the advantage in bass quality for such TVs (compared to models without a subwoofer) will still be noticeable.
The presence of a soundbar — a sound projector — in the design or the set of the TV.
A soundbar is a large-width (and usually low-height) case that houses multiple speakers. They work in such a way that the user perceives not only direct sound, but also reflected from the walls, floor and ceiling; with the correct sound setting, such reflected sound creates the effect of surround sound. In other words, the soundbar can, to some extent, replace a multi-channel home theater speaker system. It does not provide such a clear surround sound as a full-fledged set of speakers, however, it is noticeably superior in sound quality to traditional stereo speakers. Mainly high-end TVs with a large size and advanced overall functionality are equipped with soundbars.
A decoder can be broadly described as a standard in which digital audio (often multi-channel) is recorded. For normal playback of such sound, it is necessary that the corresponding decoder is supported by the device. Dolby Digital and DTS were the first in multi-channel decoding, gradually improving and introducing new features. The final stage for 2020 is Dolby Atmos and DTS X decoders.
– Dolby Atmos. A decoder that uses not a rigid distribution of sound across channels, but the processing of audio objects, due to which it can be used with almost any number of channels on a reproducing system — the sound will be divided between channels so that each audio object is heard as close as possible to its proper place. When using Dolby Atmos, ceiling speakers (or speakers facing the ceiling) are highly desirable. However, in extreme cases, you can do without them.
— DTS X. An analogue of the Dolby Atmos described above, when the sound is distributed not through individual channels, but through audio objects. The digital signal contains information about where (according to the director's intention) the object audible to the user should be and how it should move, and the processor of the reproducing device processes this information and determines exactly how the sound should be distributed over the available channels in order to achieve the required localization. Thanks to this, DTS X is not tied to a specific number of audi...o channels — there can be as many as you like, the system will automatically divide the sound into them, achieving the desired sound. Also note that this decoder allows you to separately adjust the volume of dialogues.
Types of digital tuners (receivers) provided for in the design of the TV.
Such tuners are necessary for receiving digital TV broadcasts; for normal operation, the broadcast standard must match the type of tuner (with some exceptions, see below). Note that the receivers are also available as separate devices; however, it is easier (and often cheaper) to buy a TV with a built-in tuner of the desired format. In modern TV you can find terrestrial tuners DVB-T2, cable DVB-C and satellite DVB-S and DVB-S2, here are their main features:
— DVB-T2 (terrestrial). The main modern standard for digital broadcasting. Such broadcasting has a number of advantages over traditional analogue broadcasting: it allows higher resolution and multi-channel audio transmission, with better sound and picture quality, and this quality is fully preserved until the signal weakens to a critical level. However, in some countries digital terrestrial broadcasting is just being put into operation, so it will not hurt to check the availability of DVB-T2 coverage in your area.
— DVB-C (cable). The main modern standard for digital broadcasting in cable networks. Despite the advent of the more advanced DVB-C2, it still continues to be widely used, and most likely this situation will not change for a long time.
— DVB-S (satellite). The first...generation of the digital DVB standard for satellite broadcasting. Nowadays, it is relatively rare due to the advent of a more advanced DVB-S2, which is also backwards compatible with the original DVB-S.
— DVB-S2 (satellite). The most advanced and popular of today's digital satellite broadcasting standards. Being the heir to DVB-S, has retained compatibility with it; therefore, manufacturers often limit themselves to installing only a DVB-S2 tuner on their TVs — it allows you to receive both major satellite broadcast formats.
2 CI slots
The TV has two CI slots.
The CI interface is used to connect to tuners ( in this case built-in type) so-called CAMs. CAMs, in turn, are used to connect smart cards of cable and satellite broadcasting operators; with the help of such cards, subscriptions are managed and viewing of encrypted channels is provided. Accordingly, 2 CI modules allow you to connect 2 CAMs to one TV at once — to use two subscription packages without having to change the CAM or smart card every time to switch between these packages.
TV support for teletext feature.
Teletext is an information service that allows to transmit textual information along with a television "picture" — news, weather forecasts and much more. At the same time, the text is divided into pages, between which you can switch with the remote control. This feature is available even in analogue TV broadcasts, and the advent of digital TV has greatly expanded its capabilities. However with the development of Internet technologies, teletext is becoming less relevant — nevertheless, it is still used by many television companies.
The ability to display on the TV screen "pictures" from several sources at once. Usually, in the picture-in-picture mode, a small window is displayed in the background of the main image (or several such windows), which is displayed in full screen, in it you can see an additional image. One of the most popular ways to use this “multitasking” is to skip commercial breaks in TV broadcasts: for this time, you can switch the main image to a more interesting channel, and leave the ad in the auxiliary window to not miss the end of the commercial and continue watching. It is worth considering, however, that the images for each window must come from different sources — in other words, it will not work to turn on two channels at the same time from one tuner.
Among the features of the TV, first of all, it is worth noting its communication features, which include AirPlay 2, Wi-Fi(in particular Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6), Miracast, Chromecast, MHL, DLNA, Bluetooth, in rare cases NFC. As a control, in addition to the classic remote control, there can be multimedia air mouse remote, voice control, voice assistant. As well as special features in the form of Ambilight from Philips. More about them:
— Airplay. TV support for AirPlay technology, usually in the AirPlay 2 version. Initially, this technology was created to broadcast multimedia content from Apple gadgets (iPhone, iPad, etc.) to external devices, including TVs. At the same time, it allows not only to play such content, but also provides many additional features — broadcasting additional information (title of the sound track, album cover), playback control from the TV remote control, etc. In AirPlay 2, in turn, the "multi-room" format was added — the ability to simultaneously broadcast several signals to compatible devices installed in differe...nt places at home (for example, a movie on a TV and an online radio program on sound system in the kitchen). In addition, in this version, support for voice control via Siri has appeared and a number of technical issues have been improved (in particular, buffering of streamed content).
— Wi-Fi. The presence of a built-in Wi-Fi module in the TV; the supported version of this technology can also be specified in this section. Nowadays, Wi-Fi can be used both for wireless access to the Internet and local networks, as well as for direct connection with other devices (for example, broadcasting video from a smartphone/tablet). The specific application of the wireless connection may be different, depending on the functionality of the TV; in addition to Internet access, examples include DLNA (see below), receiving or transmitting video via Wi-Di or Miracast, and using a mobile gadget as a remote control. However, almost all models with this feature belong to Smart TV (see above).
As for Wi-Fi versions, the most relevant nowadays are Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5 (Wi-Fi 6 has just appeared and has not managed to win “respect” in TV). The first standard provides speeds up to 600 Mbps, it allows you to stream video in Full HD without problems; but for confident work with higher resolutions (such as 4K), it is desirable to have a TV and a router with Wi-Fi 5 support. Also note that, in addition to these Wi-Fi standards, earlier ones are usually supported — so compatibility problems does not occur.
— TV shows recording. The ability to record TV programs viewed on the TV. In most cases, it is supposed to record to a USB flash drive or other external USB drive, but there are other options: if you have a card reader (see "Inputs"), recording to a memory card can be provided, and some advanced TVs are equipped with quite capacious own drives. But this feature can be useful in cases where you need to save the broadcast — for example, so that someone can watch it later, or to save a TV program with a family member to your home collection. In addition, many TVs with this feature also provide a Time Shift mode: if you need to leave the room, you can “pause the broadcast” and the TV will start recording it, and upon returning, you can continue watching from the point at which it was interrupted. Note that some TVs may require the installation of additional software to record TV programs; for such models, this function is not always indicated, although it is technically available.
— MHL support. TV support MHL interface. This interface is used in portable electronics (smartphones, tablets) to transfer high-definition video and multi-channel audio to an external screen. In fact, it is a combination of microUSB and HDMI (see below): from a portable device, the signal is output through the universal microUSB port, and the TV receives video and audio through the MHL-enabled HDMI port, while simultaneously charging the connected gadget. The MHL bandwidth is sufficient for high-definition video and multi-channel audio.
— Miracast. TV support for Miracast technology. This technology allows you to broadcast video and audio signals via Wi-Fi technology (both to the TV and from it to portable electronics), while both devices are connected directly (Wi-Fi Direct) and do not require additional equipment, and the bandwidth is sufficient for Full HD video transmission and 5.1 multi-channel audio. Some time ago, TVs used a similar WiDi technology, but nowadays it is almost ousted from the market, and most manufacturers use Miracast.
— Chromecast. Chromecast technology allows you to quickly and easily stream video and audio from your smartphone, tablet or computer to your TV. In fact, Chromecast is a network media player, because after setting up this function, you can wirelessly display the video recorded on your smartphone on your TV with just one touch.
— Bluetooth. Bluetooth technology (any version) is used for direct wireless communication between different devices. How it is used on TVs may vary, depending on the functionality of a particular model (and version of Bluetooth). So, it is almost mandatory for Bluetooth TVs to be able to transfer sound to wireless headphones or speakers. In addition, other use cases may be provided: connecting keyboards, mice and game controllers, direct file exchange with a laptop, remote control from a smartphone or other gadget, etc. These details should be clarified separately. As for specific versions, in many models these details are not specified at all — for use for the intended purpose, “just Bluetooth” is enough. However, there are exceptions, and here the following options are relevant for modern TVs:
— NFC. TV compatible with NFC technology; the NFC itself, usually, is built into the remote control or is made as a separate tag; installing it in the TV case is not very convenient. This technology provides wireless communication over short distances, usually up to 10 cm. Theoretically, the methods of its application can be different, but specifically on TVs, it is mainly used to facilitate communication via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth: just bring an NFC-compatible gadget (for example, a smartphone ) to the TV chip — and the devices will recognize each other automatically and either connect immediately, or the user will be required to confirm the connection. Anyway, it's easier than setting up the connection manually.
— DLNA support. The TV supports DLNA — Digital Living Network Alliance. This standard was created so that various types of home and portable electronics — smartphones, tablets, media centers, computers, etc. — was possible to combine into a single network and easily exchange content within this network, regardless of the model and manufacturer of individual devices. In the case of a TV, this means that you can directly stream video from other devices, such as a smartphone, to it via the network. The network itself is built on the basis of the usual local area network, both a wired LAN interface and wireless Wi-Fi can be used to connect to it.
— Ambilight. Screen backlight technology. In this case, the TV case illuminates the wall/partition located at the back, due to which a blurry halo appears around the screen contour in the colour of changing scenes. This effect visually expands the screen area, making watching TV more enjoyable. As of the beginning of 2021, there are three types of backlighting: classic Ambilight (on the sides only), Ambilight Surround (on the sides and top), Ambilight Full Surround (from all sides). But manufacturers continue to work on improving the backlight. So, relatively recently, the Ambilight Spectra backlight has appeared, in which the colour matching algorithm has been significantly improved and the LEDs themselves have been optimized.
— Voice control. TV support for voice control allows you to dictate certain commands through the remote control. However, not all functions are covered by voice control and recognition accuracy may require re-entering the command. If you need a more extensive range of functions, then pay attention to the voice assistant.
— Multimedia (air mouse remote). Air mouse remotes are devices that have a gyroscope, which allows you not only to switch menu items with the “↑”, “↓” buttons, but to use the remote control as a mouse. By pointing it at the TV screen, a cursor will appear that moves in the direction of the remote control. This makes management easier and faster.
— Voice assistant. For a long time now, device control has been shifting to voice commands. For this, certain interfaces and systems are used. The most popular are Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as Samsung's own Bixby assistant. For "apple" devices, this is Apple Siri, but this technique is not presented on TVs. At the same time, unlike the voice control function, the voice assistant does not just turn on this or that function, mode, makes it louder, quieter, but allows you to perform certain operations in applications, whether it is to launch the desired clip in Youtube or display the weather in the browser.
Internet services supported by the TV. This list may include multimedia platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, etc.), social networks (Facebook, Twitter), online TV broadcasting systems, as well as more specific resources, sometimes very far from the original purpose of TV (for example, a game centre for online saves and interaction with other players).
Support for a particular service usually means that the TV has a special application to access it (or several services at once). Many of these resources can also be accessed through a browser (see "Features"), but special support often provides additional convenience and extended capabilities.
USB file format support
File formats that the TV can play from external media (such as a USB flash drive) via a USB port. Modern televisions, usually, can work with a fairly extensive set of formats, including video, audio, pictures, and even text documents. At the same time, we note that within the same format, different encoding methods can be used, and some files may turn out to be unreadable even if they formally match in format. This is especially true for inexpensive and outdated TVs.
The TV's connectivity is based not only on wireless technologies (described above), but also on a wired connection. In particular, video transmission can be carried out through VGA, Component, Composite, SCART connectors. Some of them also provide sound transmission, in addition to which there may be a mini-Jack (3.5 mm). and other ports for interconnection with external devices. More about them:
— USB. Connector for connecting external peripheral devices. The presence of USB means at least that the TV is capable of playing content from flash drives and other external USB media. In addition, there may be other ways to use this input: recording TV programs to external media, connecting a WEB camera (see same paragraph), keyboard and mouse to use the built-in browser and other software, etc. The specific set of options depends on the functionality of the TV, it should be specified separately in each case.
— Card reader. A device for working with memory cards, most often in SD format. The main use of the card reader is to play content from such cards on a TV; such an opportunity is especially convenient for viewing materials from photo and video cameras — it is in such devices that memory cards are w...idely used. There may be other ways to use this function — for example, recording from the broadcast or even exchanging files between the card and the TV's storage. It is worth bearing in mind that SD cards have several subtypes — original SD, SD HC and SD XC, and not all of them may be supported by the card reader.
— LAN. Standard connector for wired connection to computer networks (both local and the Internet). Mostly found in models with Smart TV support (including Android TV devices; see related paragraphs). A wired connection is less convenient than Wi-Fi, not as aesthetically pleasing, so manufacturers place more emphasis on a wireless connection, as a result of which the speed indicators of the LAN connector are not indicated, and in some cases may be unacceptable for 4K broadcasts.
— VGA. Analogue video input, also known as D-sub 15 pin. Initially, the VGA interface was developed for computers, but due to the emergence of more advanced standards like HDMI (see below) and technical limitations (the maximum resolution is only 1280x1024, the inability to transmit sound), it is considered obsolete and is used less and less. So it makes sense to specifically look for a TV with such a connector mainly in cases where it is planned to be used as a monitor for an outdated computer or laptop.
— Component. Video interface with 3 connectors, each of which is responsible for its part of the video signal. This separation provides high bandwidth and noise reduction, making the component input the most advanced analogue video interface available today. So, it is capable of working with HD, and in terms of image quality it significantly surpasses S-Video and composite connector, closely approaching HDMI (see below).
— Composite. Combined analogue audio/video interface, it is this connector that is usually called the A/V input. Actually, there are usually three connectors in the composite interface — separately for video and the left/right channel of stereo sound (on TVs with one speaker that do not support stereo, one of the audio connectors is missing). The image quality when working through such an input is not high, and HD formats are not supported at all; on the other hand, the composite interface is extremely widespread not only in modern, but also in outdated equipment like VHS video recorders.
— SCART. The large universal multimedia connector, the largest connector used in today's consumer-grade video equipment. Works mainly with an analogue signal, which is why it is considered obsolete; however, still not falling into disuse. One of the reasons for this "longevity" is versatility: SCART does not have its "own" signal format, this standard only describes the connector. In fact, having the appropriate cables, you can connect different types of incoming signals to such an input — composite, S-Video, etc. Moreover, it is technically possible for such a connector to work as an output (for the same signal types). However the specifications of SCART connectors in different TVs may be different, so a specific list of compatible interfaces needs to be specified separately.
— COM port (RS-232). A connector originally developed for computer technology. It is used as a control on TVs: by connecting the device to a computer, you can control TV parameters and various settings, sometimes quite specific and inaccessible when using a conventional remote control.
— Mini-Jack (3.5 mm). A connector most commonly used as an analogue audio (line) input. One of the options for using such a connector is to connect audio for a video signal transmitted via VGA, S-Video (see above) or another interface that does not support audio transmission. However, with the appropriate cable, any audio source can be connected to the 3.5 mm mini-Jack port, including a mobile device like a smartphone or a pocket player. In this case, the sound can be played both through the speakers of the TV, and on external speakers connected to it. Another option for using this input is to connect a microphone for chatting via Skype.
The number of HDMI inputs provided in the design of the TV.
HDMI is a comprehensive digital interface that allows high-definition video and multi-channel audio to be transmitted over a single cable. It is widely used in modern HD equipment — in fact, the presence of such an output is mandatory for modern media centers, DVD players, etc. Therefore, LCD TVs in the vast majority of cases are equipped with at least one HDMI port. And the presence of several such ports allows you to simultaneously connect several signal sources and switch between them; in some models, the number of HDMI can reach 4 or even more. At the same time, some manufacturers use technologies that allow you to control devices connected to the TV via HDMI from a single remote control.
About the interface itself, see above, and its different versions differ in maximum resolution and other features. Here are the options found in modern TVs:
— v 1.4. The oldest of the current versions, released in 2009. However, it supports 3D video, capable of working with resolutions up to 4096x2160 at 24 fps, and in Full HD resolution, the frame rate can reach 120 fps. In addition to the original v.1.4, there are also improved modifications — v.1.4a and v.1.4b; they are similar in terms of basic features, in both cases the improvements affected mainly work with 3D content.
– v 2.0. Significant update to HDMI introduced in 2013. In this version, the maximum frame rate in 4K has increased to 60 fps, and the audio bandwidth has increased to 32 channels and 4 separate streams simultaneously. Also from the innovations, we can mention support for the ultra-wide format 21:9. In the v.2.0a update HDR support was added to the interface capabilities, in v.2.0b this feature was improved and expanded.
— v 2.1. Despite the similarity in name to v.2.0, this version, released in 2017, was a very large-scale update. In particular, it added support for 8K and even 10K at speeds up to 120 fps, as well as even more expanded features for working with HDR. Under this version, its own cable was released — HDMI Ultra High Speed, all HDMI 2.1 features are available only when using cables of this standard, although basic functio...ns can be used with simpler cords.
— Coaxial (S/P-DIF). An interface for transmitting audio in digital format, which allows to transmit multi-channel audio via a single cable with an RCA connector (“tulip”). In terms of resistance to interference, this standard is somewhat inferior to the optical one (see below) — this is due to the fundamental differences between these interfaces. On the other hand, electrical cable is more reliable than optical fibre and is not as sensitive to pressure and bending.
— Optical. An output for transmission of a digital audio signal on a fibre optic cable; allows the transmission of multi-channel audio. Notable for its complete insensitivity to electromagnetic interference. On the other hand, fibre optic cable is quite fragile, it must be protected from bending and strong pressure.
— Mini-Jack (3.5 mm) for headphones. Standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Headphones can come in handy if you need to keep quiet and you can’t use the TV speakers – for example, at a later time of the day; or vice versa, if the environment is noisy and the sound of the TV is hard to hear. Most modern "ears" use a mini-Jack plug, so this connector is the standard headphone output in TVs. And in some models, this output can also be used as a linear output — for example, to connect individual speakers, a sound recording device, etc.
— Subwoofer. A separate output for connectin...g a subwoofer to a TV is a speaker for reproducing low and ultra-low frequencies. Audio systems without subwoofers usually reproduce these frequencies quite poorly. The use of subwoofer allows you to achieve the most deep and rich sound, which is especially important when watching movies with a lot of special effects or high-quality recordings from concerts. At the same time, it is worth noting that such outputs are quite rare in TVs: it is assumed that a full-format external audio system is more suitable for a demanding listener than a separate subwoofer.
— Linear. Standard analogue audio interface; usually, provides the transmission of two-channel stereo. It is used primarily to connect active speakers and other audio equipment (for example, audio receivers or power amplifiers) to TVs. It can use different types of connectors, but most often it provides either a 3.5 mm mini-Jack or a pair of RCA jacks for tulip cables. Note that it is a separate line output that is meant here; in some models, this function can be performed by a 3.5 mm headphone jack (see above), but for them the presence of a line-out is not indicated.
External connectivity unit
An external electronic unit with connectors has several useful properties at once. Firstly, this solution allows you to remove secondary electronics from the TV case, thereby reducing its thickness. Secondly, the remote unit hides the wires connected to the TV (audio, video) as much as possible, since only one cable enters it. Thirdly, the external unit can be placed in a more convenient place for use in such a way that connecting the drive every time will not be a difficult task. However, this also manifests itself as a disadvantage, because. additional space is required for the external connector block.
To implement this solution, the leading TV manufacturers approached each in their own way. Samsung has a separate external module One Connect (Slim One Connect), which is solely responsible for communication. LG engineers have gone a step further and added this functionality to the soundbar.
The amount of memory installed in the TV to store content in the device. The larger size is especially relevant given that modern TVs allow the installation of additional applications that enhance the capabilities — and these applications also require space. However, do not forget that the TV system also requires space. And manufacturers by the volume can indicate both the total value and the free memory calculated for installing applications. And the volume itself can vary from 4 GB to 16 GB or more. However, a TV with 8 GB memory may be the best option.
The amount of random access memory (RAM) installed in the TV.
In general, this volume is selected by the manufacturer in such a way that the device can normally cope with the tasks that are claimed for it. On the other hand, all else being equal, more RAM ( 3 GB, 4 GB or more) usually means faster performance. This parameter is especially important if the TV runs on Android: such firmware allows the installation of additional applications that may have rather high requirements for RAM. However, TVs with 2 GB of RAM and below can also not be discounted — they just can't pull high-demanding applications. But do not forget that this is a TV, not a laptop.
Most TVs have a VESA wall mount which may vary in size. The basis for such mount is a rectangular plate with four holes for screws in the corners. The main characteristic of such a mount is the distance between the holes — it is measured along the sides of the rectangle and is expressed in two numbers. The original VESA format is 100x100, these mounts are used for most medium-sized LCD TVs. For small screens, 75x75 mounts are provided, for large ones — 200x200 and more (up to 800x400).
However, there are also models that are equipped with a standard (proprietary) mount from the manufacturer. Mostly these are either ultra-thin TVs or designer lines. Anyway, the mount in the kit is suitable only for the selected model.
— 2 separate legs. Two legs as support are usually located on different sides of the lower face of the TV panel body. Such a design involves placing the TV on a large flat surface that extends along the entire lower side of the device. The TV is often more stable on two "legs" than on one leg.
— 1 leg on the platform. A support for the TV with a round or rectangular platform, which is in contact with the surface of the TV panel (table, stand, etc.) with its entire plane.
— 1 leg with supports. Stands of this kind consist of a single leg and a base of various geometric shapes that holds the TV. This solution ensures reliable stability of the TV panel, and in terms of design, it is a stylish element of the design of the structure.
— Monolithic. A solid stand with two or more attachment points to the bottom of the TV and monolithic frames as a solid support for installing the TV panel on a flat surface of a table or stand.
The electrical power normally consumed by the TV. This parameter strongly depends on the screen size and sound power (see above), however, it can be determined by other parameters — primarily additional features and technologies implemented in the design. It is worth noting that most modern LCD TVs are quite economical, and most often this parameter does not play a significant role — in most cases, power consumption is about several tens of watts. And even large models with a diagonal of 70 – 90" consume about 200 – 300 W — this can be compared with the system unit of a low-power desktop PC.
Energy efficiency class
The energy efficiency class characterizes how efficiently the TV consumes electricity. Initially, the classes were denoted by simple Latin letters — A (the most efficient), B, C. However, later improved classes “A+ ”, “A++”, etc. appeared (the more "pluses", the more efficient the device).
The energy class will generally affect the price accordingly, but this difference will eventually pay off with lower electricity bills.
Energy efficiency class (new)
This parameter characterizes the efficiency of electricity consumption. Classes are designated in Latin letters from A to G, in ascending order of energy consumption. Actually, this was originally conceived, until more energy-efficient models pulled up to class A, which eventually received the marking A +, A ++, A +++. Further development of technology has made it possible to go even further, and in order not to produce pluses in energy efficiency labeling, in March 2021, manufacturers returned to the previous indices from G to A, where A is the most energy efficient TV. Accordingly, the 2021 models will have modern markings, while older models will be marked in the same way. Accordingly, now energy efficiency G, F, E has become the most popular, and models with energy efficiency A, D, C are rare.
Stereo glasses (3D)
3D glasses included with the TV. For details on this feature, see "3D support"; here we note that such equipment greatly simplifies the preparation for viewing three-dimensional content — glasses do not have to be purchased separately, besides, standard models, by definition, are optimally suited for a TV.
TVs in cases with additional protection against dust and water. Functionally, they usually do not differ from conventional models, but the rugged case allows device to operate without problems in difficult conditions — for example, a bathroom or an open area in windy and dusty areas. It is worth taking into account that the degree of security can be different, it should be clarified according to the official documentation.
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