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Terms To Know About High-Tech TVs

Get a jump on the latest jargon with our definitive guide. 

82% of American households linked their televisions to the Internet in 2021. The majority of those did so with a Smart TV, according to the research firm Statista.
 

Television models with new technologies are consistently being created. Each brings a dazzling display of resplendent resolution, and also a dizzying set of new acronyms. We’ll translate these terms to help you decide what kind of TV fits in with your family and your budget.

4K TVs 

Luckily, 4K refers to the pixels, not the price. 4K TVs have 4x the pixels of standard high definition models, which have 1080 pixels (1080p). 4K TVs display screen resolution of 3840 x 2160, or about 8 million pixels. 4K sets are also known as ultra high definition (UHD). UHD is ideal for up close viewing or large screen TVs greater than 60”, where dense details are more noticeable.

HDMI 

High definition multimedia interface (HDMI) ports are found on the back or side of televisions. These are used to connect high-bandwidth digital cables found on gaming systems, streaming media and Blu-Ray players for superior resolution and fast refresh rates.

HDR 

Pictures with high dynamic range (HDR) display more differences in color, contrast, and brightness, similar to the way a digital photograph looks sharper when edited with increased contrast and highlights. Pictures look more naturally illuminated if paired with programs or movies designed for HDR. Make sure your new HDR TV produces at least 600 units of brightness, or the dynamic range won’t display effectively. 

HDTV 

Major networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Telemundo broadcast their shows in high definition. This displays 1,920 pixels horizontally and 1,080 pixels vertically for a screen resolution of 2 million pixels. To the naked eye, high definition television (HDTV) display is comparable to 4K TV in sets smaller than 32”. HDTV’s 16:9 wide-screen mimics the format found in movie theaters so edges aren't clipped.

LCD/LED  

Many electronics use liquid crystal display (LCD) - a flat screen that layers liquid crystal between two transparent electrodes. This captures the crystal’s light modulation and produces better optical quality at high resolutions. While LCD screens display light, they do not produce light. That’s where light-emitting diode (LED) technology comes in.

LEDs are one way to produce backlight that makes LCD possible, either by edge lighting (where LEDs are placed along the outside edges of an LCD panel and diffused across the screen) or direct lighting (where LEDs are placed in full rows behind an LCD’s screen surface). LCD displays may also use fluorescent backlighting, commonly seen in laptop screens lit by tiny cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). Almost all LED TVs are actually LCD/LED TVs. 

OLED/QLED

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) are thin films of organic molecules layered between transparent electrodes that respond to electricity, turning on or off completely. Because they don’t require rows of LED bulbs, millions of OLEDs can transform a TV screen, turning off or on independently, resulting in truly deep blacks and rich colors. Manufacturers can create tiny, thin, flexible, OLEDs that display tremendous resolution and range in a phone screen or big screen TV. OLED technology is expensive to produce and comes at a premium price, but the results are visually stunning.

Smart TVs 

Smart TVs have internet capabilities that automatically detect connections in your home to access everything with a single remote or a few easy apps. Plug them in, connect your home’s Wi-Fi connection, and Smart TVs can start playing everything from Netflix to Pandora. Many models have links to YouTube, Facebook, and streaming media built in. Enable more fun features by adding apps that stream live feeds, from erupting volcanoes to celebrations in Times Square, play video games using the remote as a controller, and tune in to favorite radio stations.

UHD

Short for "Ultra High Definition," these models feature greater resolution than HDTV, but just a bit less than 4K. Without getting too technical, UHD features four-times the resolution of full HD. Many TVs that market themselves as 4K technically aren't, but their UHD resolution is so close that the difference is fairly negligible.

FInd the perfect fit for your family in our TV collection.