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Shopping for Smart TVs

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Next week the holiday shopping season officially begins. Are you going to be waiting in line for Black Friday deals (actually it’s black Thursday night now) or waiting for a civilized our to visit an independent dealers who knows how to help you select the best product for your situation. Either way, here are six tips for picking out a new smart TV.

  1. First, is it a good TV? You may get the TV with the best apps or widgets and the coolest remote, but if the picture looks terrible, you’ll still be unhappy.
  2. What services do you want? It doesn’t pay to get the TV with the most services if it doesn’t include any of the ones you want. Do you need Skype? Do you need Twitter or Angry Birds or will Netflix and Pandora cover all your video/listening needs?
  3. Size Up. Many of the features on smart TVs, especially the social media features, require a lot of text reading. If your sofa is going to be far from the TV, make sure your TV is big enough to allow you to easily read what’s on the screen.
  4. How will you connect? If you internet router is near your TV then you can use a wired Ethernet connection, but if your router is in another part of the house, you’ll need Wi-Fi. Some TVs come with Wi-Fi capability built in, but others will require a USB adapter, usually at an additional cost.
  5. Video processing. If you want a smart TV for streaming video, you’ll want to ensure the TV can make low-quality streaming video look good. Better TVs include better video processing technologies to analyze and improve internet video.
  6. Audio return. Make sure you TV have an audio return channel (either built into the HDMI port via HDMI v1.4) or as an additional digital optical output so you can listen to your streaming music services through your home theater receiver rather than through the TVs speakers.

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