Today's TVs offer such a dizzying array of features, sizes, and settings that it can be next to impossible to determine which one will work best for your home theater system. To help cut through the confusion, many people shop by brand name, but that doesn't always lead to good results. Here are three tips for choosing the right television for your home theater system that you'll be happy with for a long time.
Base TV Size on Viewing Distance
Some people think getting the biggest television that can fit on the wall is the best option, particularly if they find the electronic device on sale. However, a more optimal way to choose a television for your home theater system is to first figure out how much distance will be between you and the viewing screen.
In general, the bigger the screen, the farther away you want to be from the television. This is because the closer you are, the higher the risk you'll see pixelation and line structure or image artifacts on the screen, which can ruin your viewing enjoyment.
According to a few scientific calculations by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, it's best to sit far enough away from the television so that it takes up about 30 degrees of your field vision. The optimal distance, therefore, will differ depending on the size of the screen. If you get a 25" screen, you'll want to sit about 3.4 feet away from it, while you'll want to sit 7.5 feet away from a 55-inch television for the best viewing. You can get a little closer if you opt for a 4K television, but not by much (e.g. only 3.2 feet away for a 25-inch 4K TV).
It's best to first work out the layout of the space and measure the distance between the wall where the television will sit and the where you'll place the couch, and then use the tools available online to help you determine the best size for your home theater system.
Take Lighting Into Consideration
Another thing you need to think about is the lighting situation in the space where the television will be. All TVs typically look best in low-light settings, because light will reflect off the screen and make it difficult to see the picture. Therefore, not only do you have to be careful about where you place it in the room (never directly facing windows) but also whether the screen will be obscured by lamps or overhead lighting that may be nearby.
If you watch a lot of television during the daytime or with the lights on, you may want to consider buying a television with a matte screen or anti-reflective coating that reduces the interference from light sources. Another option is to get a curved television that may help physically block light from certain direction. Be aware, though, that the edges of the television may reflect light from other directions onto the screen.
A good way to tell how clear you'll be able to see the screen in bright-light environments is to view the picture in the store. Since retail lighting is often harsh and excessive, you can be certain you'll get a good picture at home if the screen looks good in the store. Be careful, though, and make sure the screen settings are on normal. Sometimes store employees will set the TV's screen mode to "Vivid" or similar so the TV produces exaggerated colors that make it look okay in the store. To get a true idea of how the TV will function in your home, reset the display mode to either factory settings or those that mimic the lighting environment in your home.
Opt for Multifunction
To save money, opt to get a television that can accept input from multiple sources. Every modern television can connect to the cable box or satellite dish. However, you should be sure the TV also has inputs for, at least, HDMI, USB, and DVD players and has built-in wireless. This lets you enjoy content from a wide range of sources, including the internet. In fact, you may want to opt for a SmartTV that has a number of program apps (e.g. HULU, Netflix) already included so you can tap into your subscription with the least amount of steps as possible.
For more recommendations about the best television for your home entertainment system, contact a local retailer.