Smart TV: A Buying Guide

Choosing a TV from a variety of available options may be a difficult task for you as the television industry is upgrading continuously with various new brands & models. This buying guide will help you in making informed decision while purchasing your new smart TV. Not all smart TVs are created equal. Perhaps the TV you like does not have the operating system of your choice. Perhaps the additional features you want are not available either. So you will want to do your homework and do some research before the purchase is done. In this report, we will cover different features of smart TVs together with what to expect from your smart TV.

The major feature separating smart TVs and not-so-smart TVs is an internet connection. This allows one to access on-demand content from apps like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, and stream television shows and movies from a variety of apps and services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube. Many smart TVs also let you go to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. A growing number of smart TVs have full web browsers that let you go almost anywhere on the internet. Many smart TVs come with point-and-click remote controls that can manage onscreen interactions using hand motions or by responding to your voice commands. Most smart TVs also provide capabilities to connect with external devices such as a USB flash drive, a mobile phone, etc.

Smart and the Not-So-Smart

Smart TV

Non-Smart TV

Description A television that has access to the internet and hence is ‘smarter’ than a normal TV A basic television that allows one to view images and listen to sounds – that is, watch videos
Wi-Fi Needs Wi-Fi Does not need Wi-Fi
Access to internet X
Built-in apps X
Movies streaming (from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) X
Check and send emails X
Project phone screen on TV X
Watch your own pictures or videos stored on a smartphone X

This or That?

-> Display type: It all starts from what type of display technology you want, whether it’s LCD, LED, OLED or UHD.
LCD: Liquid crystal displays are pretty common to find, and may be the cheaper option. They are energy-efficient and usually have good colour and resolution.
LED: TVs branded as LED are actually LCD TVs that use LEDs as a backlight for the liquid crystals in the display. If a TV has ‘local dimming’, it will have an advantage when it comes to contrast ratio, which is a plus. On top of that, LED TVs are less power-hungry than standard LCDs and plasma.
OLED: Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs use coloured LED lights to create the image, so they save on power, though not always as much as LED TVs. However, since OLED screens are costly to make, you’ll have to pay more. They also suffer from some of the viewing-angle problems.
UHD TVs: Ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs, also called 4K TVs, have screen resolutions of 3,840 x 2,160. That’s four times the 1,920 x 1,080 pixels found in your full HD TV. The more densely packed array of pixels in UHD sets makes them capable of greater picture detail.

-> Resolution
HD-ready, full HD, or 4K? These are terms used to denote the resolution of the TV screen. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality. HD-ready offers 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution, full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and 4K 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. We recommend that if you have the budget, get a 4K TV. If not, then go for a full HD screen. HD-ready TVs are cheaper and while they are good enough for watching SD (standard definition) content, you can notice the marked differences in sharpness and clarity compared to a full HD TV.

-> Size
The common TV panel sizes available today are 32, 40, 42, 46/49, 55, 65, 79, 84, 98 and 105 inches. To determine the ideal screen size for best viewing experience, measure the distance between where the TV will be placed and your bed/couch/chair.
You could consider a bigger set for spacious family rooms, or you will be sitting very far from the TV. Consider how many people in your family typically watch at once and where you are going to put your new set. Then pick the largest screen size that will fit comfortably into that space—and your budget.

-> Installation/Placement
Before purchasing the TV, decide where you want it to be placed – on a table stand or mounted on a wall. Most manufacturers today ship TV sets with a stand in the box, though the wall-mount brackets have to be purchased separately. Keep in mind that if you decide to mount the TV on a wall, you will need to find a way to hide the dangling cables. It is recommended that you keep the TV in a location where the other devices – set-top box, game consoles, portable storage devices, and DVD players can easily be connected.

Do You Need a Smart TV and What Really Are the Benefits of One?

Smart TVs have been around for a while now and you can easily get one between Rs.15000- 50,000. Smart TV comes preloaded with an operating system (OS) that functions similar to a smartphone OS. You can connect it to the internet to view content as well as install additional apps.

Most smart-TV models have built-in web browsers allowing you to surf the internet and view web pages, photos and videos from the comfort of your sofa. Apps on smart TVs either come pre-installed or are available to download from an app store. Most smart TVs offer TV- and film-streaming on services such as Netflix and Amazon Video, catch-up TV on apps such as BBC iPlayer, and social networking on Facebook and Twitter. Besides, smart TVs let you wirelessly stream videos, music and pictures from your phone, tablet or laptop straight to your TV. This is often called casting. Additional services include customizable home screens and recommendations of things to watch based on your personal tastes. Some are useful, others feel more like gimmicks.

Overall, keep in mind that a smart TV is expensive compared to the normal sort of TV. You can get a 42-inch standard TV at the price of a 32-inch smart TV.

You’ll need an internet connection to get your smart TV online. Most smart TVs are now Wi-Fi-enabled, meaning you can wirelessly connect them to your internet router and other devices like smartphones. Some older models require a brand-specific Wi-Fi adaptor, which usually slots into one of the USB ports. You can also connect your TV using an Ethernet cable, but if it's not close to your router then you’ll need a long lead or a power line adapter.

A good broadband speed is essential if you want to stream video. For example, if you want to stream 4K ultra HD content on Netflix, you’ll need at least 25Mbps to get the best experience. Also, go for an  unlimited broadband package so you can avoid any extra charges for exceeding your data limit while streaming.

What Are the Security Risks?

Once a device goes online, it’s vulnerable – and your TV is no exception. At the same time, you need to consider whether or not nefarious types would even be interested in cracking into your TV.

Things have improved over the years. Some brands make a point of highlighting security features in their TVs. For example, as of now, protections like third-party anti-virus software that you can get for your PC isn’t really available for smart TVs.

What we as consumers can do is practice constant vigilance and stay updated. Add two-step authentication to apps that require a login, if it’s available. Also, connect to the network via Ethernet if you can. It is much harder for hackers to break into a hardwired connection compared to Wi-Fi.

How many GB of data is needed to watch a movie?

Watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard-definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. Thus, watching a movie will consume about 7 to 8 GB of data.Streaming services and costs Netflix is the major streaming option for home television audiences. It is the world’s top video-streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from smartphones to smart televisions. Netflix subscription plans in India start at Rs 199, 499 and 699 per month. Hotstar's premium offering costs Rs 299 per month or 899/Year and premium for Rs.1499/year, while Amazon Prime offers unlimited content for just Rs 179 per month or Rs 1499 per year.

Star Rating (energy consumption)

Your TV contributes to your energy bill, so choosing an efficient one will save you money. The energy star ratings help you compare relative energy efficiency. Choose the TV with more stars when choosing between two similar-sized models because it will cost you less to run. In India, it is now mandatory to fix star rating label on TVs. Star rating denotes how energy-efficient your appliance is. Because of the energy labelling scheme of BEE, the quality of TV affixed with the energy label is assured to a large extent. So while going for a TV, make sure it carries the energy label.

Warranty and Service Network

Most of us tend to stick to known, market-leading brands. Nevertheless these may not be the best choice always. There are various factors to consider, other than the brand name. Does the brand have a network of service centres in your area? Is the installation included in the price, and what kind of warranty does it come with?

Things to Be Wary Of

-> Assembled TVs
These days you can find dealers in the retail market stocking assembled TVs without any brand name but are replicate copies of branded TVs in terms of packaging, labels, features, physical look and smart features. Most assembled TVs are made to look like popular brands. Be careful about being persuaded by the cost, which may be as much as 50 per cent cheaper as compared to popular branded TVs, as these come with no/limited warranty and have limited life too. Moreover, authorized dealers of the brand will refuse to repair these counterfeit items. You will be dependent on local service mechanics.
They may give you one year warrantee on extra charges. They import components of LED TVs and assemble it locally, therefore it is cheaper than normal market rate.

-> TV life
With introduction of LED/LCD TVs, it has been found from consumers that TVs go unserviceable, especially the display panel, in a much shorter period as compared to the earlier CRT-based TVs. The replacement of a new and genuine display panel costs high depending upon the panel size. Some of the brands are coming with one year warrantee additional warrantee on panels. If possible, avoid going for expensive TV models as these may not last. On the other hand, take an extended warranty or go for AMC if you are going ahead with an expensive TV.

Ways to Use Your Television Efficiently

• Turn the TV off when no one is watching it.
• Buy a model with higher star rating (5 stars).
• LED and LCD TVs are generally more energy-efficient than plasmas.
• Know that larger screens consume more electricity than smaller screens.
• Know that the brighter the screen, the more energy the TV uses.
• Do not leave the TV in standby mode for a long time.
• Position your TV so that it isn’t in direct sunlight.
• Do not clean the screen panel with wet cloth or when it is ‘on’.

Comparison at a Glance: Smart Televisions (32-49 inches size)

Sl No. Brand Model Size (inches/mm) HDR/ Full HD/UHD Display Resolution (pixels) No. of USB Ports No. of HDMI ports Annual Energy Consumption# (units/year) BEE Star Rating Price (Rs) Warranty, Months
1 Sony Bravia ‎KD-32W830 32/80 HD Ready ‎1366 x 768 2 3 68 1 26489 1
2 Toshiba 32E35KP 32/80 HD Ready  ‎1366 x 768 2 2 46 4 13999 1
3 Redmi L32M6-RA/L32M7-RA 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 2 52 4 14999 1+1
4 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
5 OnePlus 43Y1S Pro 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 29999 1+1
6 Sony Bravia KD-32W820 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 68 1 22999 1
8 MI L32M6-EI 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 54 4 14999 1
9 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
10 Onida 32HIF1 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 3 13999 1
11 Acer AR43AP2851UDFL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 25989 1
12 Sony Bravia ‎KD-43X74 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 43990 1
13 Mi L43M4-4AIN 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 26499 1
14 Hisense 43A6GE 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 26990
15 TCL 32S5200 32/81 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 2 76 1 15990 1
16 Mi L43M6-INC 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 3 3 90 4 19999 1
17 AKAI AKLT43S-DFS6T 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 1 3 88 3 23999 1
18 LG 32LM560BPTC 32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 1 2 68 1 17899 1+1
20 Mi L40M6-EI 40/100 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 85 3 20999 1
21 LG 43LM6360PTB 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 75 1 36910 1+1
22 Thomson
  • 32PATH0011
32/80 HD Ready 1366 x 768 2 3 10999 1
23 Thomson 43PATH4545BL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 2 3 21999 1
24 Samsung UA43AUE60AKLXL 43/108 UHD 3840×2160 1 3 32490 1+1
25 LG 43LM5650PTA 43/108 Full HD 1920×1080 2 3 122 1 24490 1+1

 

Note: Price may vary, check on amazon.in or flipkart.com.

#Annual energy consumption is estimated based on a daily usage of 6 hours in ‘on’ mode and 12 hours in ‘standby’ mode.

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