TV Buying Guide

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Looking to spruce up your home theater with a new TV, but not sure where to begin? New TV terms and styles throwing you for a loop? We’ve got you covered. We’ve broken down all the most common terms and styles in this guide, and even offer recommendations along the way.

Factors to Consider When TV Shopping

Before diving into specific details on televisions, there are a few important things that you must consider when shopping for a new TV. You should first consider your personal budget, your screen preference, and how much room you have in your house (for instance, don’t buy a 75-inch TV if you can’t fit it in your living room!). After sorting through these details, you should already have narrowed down your TV options a bit.

Screen Size

The general rule of TV size is that the bigger the room, the bigger the TV you should get. To expand on that a bit, you want to make sure any TV you get is going to be easy to see. A small TV in a huge room is not only going to look strange, but the image will lose clarity as you squint to see everything happening on the screen. So be sure to consider how far you'll be sitting from the TV when making your decision! TV screens are measured diagonally from corner to corner, so keep in mind how wide the TV will be on the wall.

Screen Type

There are three primary screen types: LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), LED (Light Emitting Diode), and OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes). Prices can vary drastically between these types of TVs, with some extremely inexpensive options (LED) starting around $150 while some ultra-high-end TV models can cost upwards of $10,000! OLED arguably offers the best-looking image but is also significantly more expensive.

Most recently, a fourth screen type–QLED screens–were added to the market, which are very similar to OLED screens in terms of both picture quality and price. If you’re most concerned with price, then an LED screen is probably your best option.

Picture Quality

One TV feature that is constantly overlooked but should be considered is image quality. TV screens are measured by their ability to produce “darkest blacks and brightest whites,” which contributes to a better visual experience. If you enjoy watching TV shows or movies with bright colors, consider buying a TV with high contrast ratios for an enhanced TV viewing experience.

Picture quality can also refer to a television’s resolution – you can find standard HD televisions, QHD, UHD, and 8K televisions on the market, though standard HD is being phased out while the 8K TVs are still brand new and incredibly expensive.

Key Differences Between TV Screen Types

●    LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens are composed of two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. They used to be a major force on the TV market, but have (sort of) merged with LED TVs, leaving LED’s far more common than LCD TVs.

Older LCD TVs used cold cathode fluorescent lamps (or CCFLs) to provide lighting, whereas LED LCD TVs used an array of smaller light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the screen, which has since been deemed more efficient. Because the tech in LED TVs is technically better and more efficient, all LCD TVs now use LED lights and are technically considered LED TVs. So, whenever somebody refers to an LCD TV, know that they are probably referring to LED TVs.

●    LED (Light Emitting Diode) TV screens are the most common type of television set on the market today, due to their great picture quality and bright colors at a good price point. Their lower price naturally makes them an excellent choice for those who don’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on their entertainment centers. These screens come in different screen types; some are curved while others appear as large television panels. LED TV screens also boast a high contrast ratio and produce sharp images.

The LG 55UP7000PUA 55” is a stellar and affordable LED TV that delivers fantastic 4K visuals with a quadcore processor and built-in webOS.

●    OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) TV screens have incredible image quality thanks to their rich color capabilities and a high contrast ratio that ensure that blacks appear completely black and whites completely white, without any light bleeding through or decolorized areas of the screen. OLED TV screens are more expensive than LED TVs, but their unique TV features and high-quality picture makes them a TV enthusiast’s dream.

For those looking for a great OLED TV, the LG OLED 48C1PUB 48” will not only provide stellar colors but is also compatible with NVIDIA G-SYNC for some of the most impressive gaming experiences on the market.

●    QLED (Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode) TV screens are an amalgamation of LCD TV screens and OLED TV screens; QLED TV screens offer the vivid colors and perfect contrast ratio of OLED TV screens alongside some of the benefits of LED TVs like their curved screen types and less thickness than OLED TV models.

They are the newest type of television screens, so the biggest drawback is the price; because they have been on the market for a shorter period of time, they are typically more expensive than others.

Samsung's QN50Q60AAFXZA 50" is built to make the absolute most out of QLED technology with HDR and screen mirroring capabilities.

Common TV Terms


4K TV screens offer four times more resolution than typical HD TV models. This means that images will be crisper than ever before. They are now considered the standard TV type on the market.

If you’re looking for a great and affordable 4K TV, then look no further than the Samsung UN43TU7000FXZA 43" Class 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV, which comes ready for HDR.


These TV screens - either LED or LCD TV models - have the ability to produce higher contrast ratios in part because they can brighten up dark parts of an image that would normally be washed out. Some HDR TV screens are better than others at brightening certain color ranges, so keep this in mind when buying a TV.

Ultra HD TV

Also known as UHD TV, these are essentially another name for 4K TV screens. These TV types are fantastic for watching movies made specifically in 4K resolution.

Smart TV

A Smart TV is TV that has the capability of connecting wirelessly to Wi-Fi and provides consumers with access to TV streaming services, TV apps, TV shopping channels, etc. While originally less common, more and more televisions nowadays come packed in with operating systems like Roku or Amazon Fire, that allows users to directly access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max without needing to connect a separate device.

There are plenty of great Smart TVs on the market, but one option that we love is the Element E2AA40R-G 40" Class (39.5" Diag.) Full HD Smart LED TV, as it features a built-in Roku with a great user interface.


The newest technology on the market today produces 7680 x 4320 resolution images. These TV types are quickly gaining momentum due to their compatibility with high-resolution televisions and UHD TVs, but they are still very rare and expensive. It will likely take several more years for these screen types to catch on and overtake 4K TVs as the new television standard.

If you’re looking to make the upgrade to an 8K TV, then take a look at the Samsung QN75Q800TAFXZA 75” Class 8K Ultra HD LED TV, which offers 16x more resolution than 4k and includes deep-learning AI to maximize visuals.

Keep these TV buying factors in mind next time you go to purchase a new TV and remember that there is no perfect TV - each one has unique features that provide different benefits depending on what you want out of your television set.

If you’re currently in the market for a new television set, then take a look at what Micro Center’s currently has on offer. With stores nationwide, Micro Center offers a large selection of everything you need to make a stellar home theater.



  • Scary_Guy
    Scary_Guy ✭✭✭
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Insightfuls 5 Likes

    Anyone make a dumb TV? I always hook up a PC with my own software because I can't tell you just how very little I trust smart devices.

    Also what happened to small form factor TVs? I want one for the kitchen and cannot find anything that will fit anymore which works with a digital tuner/antenna. At this point I'm thinking of just hooking up a monitor with a Raspberry Pi taped to the back of it and calling it a day.

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