Modern TV Jargon Explained..... In Easy To Digest Terms
SIt has been a fair while since I have written a Blog Post and I had a customer today that has inspired me to do so. We shall call him Fred for the sake of ease. Fred does not like technology very much. Well he is okay whilst it is working but he finds the modern world a confusing and strange place.
Fred brought a Panasonic Viera LCD TV with his wife from a major High Street and online retailer that has the initials JL but we will not mention by name! Fred and his wife (Mavis - again for ease) brought this TV on the High Street approximately 15 years ago. He brought it in for us to look at as after 15 years (shocking I know) the JL Store told him that is was out of warranty and they could not repair it. The TV in question would periodically stop working with sound and then come back at full volume causing Mavis to develop a very nervous disposition in fear of being deafened!! We told them that unfortunately the TV was Beyond Economical Repair and we would struggle to find parts - new main board needed. Fred and Mavis were left with no choice but to replace their much loved Panasonic with a new tv.
Fred wandered around our shop room scratching at his head and declared he was somewhat lost. He deemed that he needed an interpreter that he had no idea what our TV labels meant claiming that the TV would likely have more brainpower than him! In the end Fred came back with Mavis and upon my suggestion they brought a Philips OLED with Ambilights. They are over the moon with it and after a half hour crash course understood the basic details of the TV.
This made me think...... If they were struggling how many others were too? If my own grandparents were to have issues with their TV would they be conned by some eager salesperson (working on commission) selling them stuff they don't need nor understand? I think a basic run down of TV Terms is in order so here goes....
Full HD, 4K and 8K
In its most simple form the picture on the screen that we see is made up of miniscule dots called pixels. The higher the number of pixels the better the quality of image you see. This impacts upon to the depth of the image, realism and colour quality.
TVs back in the day came as HD Ready at 720 pixels per square inch. Then at the top end of the scale came Full HD 1080 sets. These had a staggering (at the time) 1080 pixels per square inch. Newer technology and developments now mean that TVs come in 4K and 8K. These mean that the pixels per square inch of TV go up to mind blowing numbers and you get 4x 1080 and 8x 1080 pixels per square inch respectively.
If however you are running just on Freeview with no internet then you will not have a 4K source to view therefore in terms of return on your investment you may as well buy a Full HD TV. We have not really got to the level of 8K broadcasting yet and the only place you will find this content at the present time is YouTube - but beware the picture quality will only really reflect 8K and 4K quality for that matter if it is filmed using 4K and 8K cameras.
We have not yet got the point in the UK where channels are even broadcast in full HD let alone anything beyond this point. The higher the quality the more bandwidth the channel needs. This means that over the coming months that channels will most off the normal air based signal and onto the internet and streaming where the quality is determined by the connection as much as anything. Internet streaming is the way TV is going and with Sky Tv already having made the leap with Sky Q to a majority online service other broadcasters will follow. These days people demand a greater quality of image. Freeview HD is intending on cutting back services to allow a greater quality of image broadcasting with most major channels being in full HD but to get above that you need to be using online services - Netflix, Amazon Prime (both paid for services) and BBC iPlayer, ITV On Demand and 4OD are all streaming content in 4K.
The difference in image quality is worth investing in if your budget allows for this.... P.S. self-plug here but check out our TVs online and grab yourself a bargain! Even without the 4K source you will get some level of upscaling and the picture will look far better than on your 1990s retro cathode ray tube set!
Time allowing I will write more about 4K on another blog post at a later date... stay tuned for this!
LED, OLED and Beyond!
Originally TVs were a big box in the corner of the room that had a cathode ray tube in it. These moved aside and in came plasma TVs and LCD Tvs. Plasma Tvs were filled with gas and LCD sets had light tubes inside that were a this version of the strip lights found in kitchens and most shops. Then technology does what it does best and progressed to LEDs. These were not overly reliable in the earlier generations but the makers of TVs now have it down to a fine art. These use an LCD screen and are light by LEDs that are inside that case and come in strips. There are a number of these that are essentially daisy-chained together. If one LED fails it will be enough to stop the whole TV working.
LED sets either use edge-lighting where the LEDs are around the edges of the screen. These have become fewer in number as they tend to create bright spots where the LEDs are and thus the picture can be uneven. The other, most popular option is LED backlights. These are LEDs on strips of printed circuit board that are glued into the rear of the screen casing. The light is distributed with the aid of a diffuser - a piece of plastic in most screens.
OLED is where TVs are headed in the future. Most modern mobile phones use OLED screens. These are brighter, more vibrant and more versatile than LED TVs. I certainly do not see LED TVS going anywhere in the immediate future but OLEDs will definitely rise in popularity and hopefully reduce in cost as time progresses. OLEDs use an organically grown matrix inside that flouresces when power is applied. The self-illuminating pixels in OLEDS mean that the colour vibrancy and range and like nothing we have seen before with TVs.
We changed our TV at home from an edge-lit LED Samsung to a new generation Samsung OLED. I went to make tea and left my husband to do the heavy lifting. When I came back into the room I asked what he had done to the TV.... It was as though someone had switched the lights on behind the set. The colours were extraordinary. These sets still stun me even now and I have been working in this job for over 15 years. My parents recently brought a 75" Samsung QLED off us and it is a stunning TV to watch. The lack of LCD tubes and LED strips means the TV is ultra thin. We are talking a few mm in depth and the black comes from those LEDs being turned off rather than a RGB colour combination. This means that it makes the rest of the colours in the image really pop. We use a Youtube video of Costa Rica filmed in 4K as a demo video on TVs in the shop and with OLED (QLED is Samsung equivalent) you can almost walk into the picture it is so realistic. Trust me if your budget allows then go down this route - you will not regret it - just amazing life like images.
Smart, WebOS, Tvs online etc
So one of the big advances that modern tech has allowed for is smart TVs. TVs have and will continue to become more and more like a computer with advanced processing technology. The latest line in LG OLEDs for example has a Alpha 7 processor with a self-learning algorithm meaning that the TV will learn and adapt to your watching habits to give the best possible image. Technology is becoming more and more adaptive and smart all of the time. The processors (brains) of modern devices have ever increasing capabilities and learning and adapting is part of that development.
In order for a smart TV to be of benefit you need 2 things: the internet and a reason to need a smart TV. If you are simply watching channels 1 to 5 with no need for catch up services or no internet connection, then a smart TV will be of no use to you. Smart TVs use the internet to give you more content and increasingly channels are moving online. You can get YouTube, BBC Iplayer, Itv Player, 4OD and a host of others. Just about every channel now has a TV app that lets you view content at a later date, get access to more information and pause and restart programmes - many of these services also cut down on the ban of the TV watchers life - adverts! Watching content online in some case means that these are totally removed or drastically reduced compared to over the air services.
WebOS - this means that in simple terms the TV has an app store and internet based system that allows you to download these applications to the TV to access services. Some apps are subscription and payment based whilst many are free with paid options. These bring TVs under the heading of the Internet Of Things (IOT). Google search this for more info and I will add more details about IOT at a later date.
So for now I hope this has helped break things down into easier to understand terms. I will update with more content soon.
Happy Christmas and a Safe New Year to you all.