TV Tech

Demystifying the evolving television technology
     Print Edition: June 2014
TV Tech

Buying a new TV can be a challenge,especially, if you aren't well versed in the technology that goes into those flat panel screens. What's 4k and curved TV? Is plasma better than LCD and LED or vice versa? What's a smart TV and do you need one? These are some of the questions often raised. Another one is the size that is best for your room. To dispel such confusion, here is a buying guide that talks about almost everything you need to know on the subject.


CURVED IS THE NEW BUZZ

Smartphones might be the most sought after electronic devices, but real innovation is happening in TV technology. Last year, we saw some bit of curve being added to a few TV screens, but this year curvature has grabbed the headlines. All the top players are trying their luck with curved TV screens. Customers have different reasons to support the technology - depth enhancement, better viewing angles, 3D, field of view, etc. Contrary to the flat screen that makes the object at the centre seem large, the curved TV brings the edges closer by creating a theatre like experience. Some experts say it works best because it follows the natural curvature of the eye. This is an upcoming technology, so there aren't that many curved screens available yet. And the ones that are available are priced at a premium. Here are a few you could consider buying.

Samsung H9000 65 inch

Samsung H9000 65 inch
Price: Rs 4,49,900

Samsung's curved UHD TVs announced at the CES in January have been launched in India. The top of the line model is the H9000 ultra HD TV featuring 4k resolution in a thin, curved frame. Samsung has added features such as micro dimming, auto depth enhancer, PurColour and smart touch remote. It is powered by a quad core processor and is Evolution Kit ready, which means using the evolution kit one gets the latest features in its 2015 lineup. This is a smart TV with active 3D and Wi-Fi.

LG 55EA9800 curved OLED TV

LG 55EA9800 curved OLED TV
Price: Rs 9,99,000

This 55 inch curved OLED TV was the first curved TV to be launched in the country. Priced close to Rs 10 lakh, it offers rich colours and is unbelievably thin. It comes with an integrated stand and is ready to use with no installation required. Looked at from the front, the curve isn't very apparent. The curved panel has a layer of carbon fibre, which one may not notice once the TV has been placed for viewing. This is a full HD TV with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and features a dual-core processor, smartTV interface, preloaded and downloadable apps, built-in W-Fi, integrated LAN port, passive 3D with 2D-to-3D conversion, voice control, four HDMI inputs and three USB inputs for media playback.


4K IS THE FUTURE

When HD resolution arrived, we thought it was the future. But now that it is mainstream, we have 4k coming in. Also known as Ultra HD, it has a pixel count four times higher than HD TVs - 3840 x 2160. The higher count means a far more detailed picture, with its content requiring a lot more bandwidth and storage space. 4k TVs are good at upscaling HD video to Ultra HD. But there are currently few options for watching native 4k content.

Sony 65X Series Bravia 4k LED TV

Sony 65X Series Bravia 4k LED TV
Price: Rs 3,79,900

4k TVs were very expensive but Sony decided to bring down the cost with its Bravia 4k LED TV. With a resolution of 3840x2160, it has an X-Reality Engine Pro video processing engine which helps in playing videos from Blu-Ray discs and smartphones too. The Triluminos display offers a wide palette of rich and natural colours and images. It also comes with the MHL feature that connects to a phone's stored media and apps.

LG 55LA9650

LG 55LA9650
Price: Rs 2,99,000

LG  has used an Ultra IPS panel with 2.1 channel frontal speaker system in this 55 inch ultra HD TV. It features flicker free 3D and 4k 3D upscale, and has a 4k engine that creates vivid pictures. The upscaling algorithm of the engine brings low resolution images close to 4k quality. It also has a direct play ultra HD content feature that eliminates the need to buy a separate UHD player.

LEDs ARE THE PRESENT

 

LED TVs came after LCDs and Plasmas and instantly became bestsellers. While their brightness was a hit, another reason for their success was their sleek design and low weight. LEDs also consume less power. Unlike LCDs which have normal CCFL backlight, LEDs use light-emitting diodes (LED) as the source of light behind the screen. An LED is more energy efficient and a lot smaller than a CCFL, enabling the thinner screen. Here are some of the best LEDs.

Toshiba PU200 32 inch

Toshiba PU200 32 inch
Price: Rs 21,500
This 32inch LED from Toshiba is feature rich, yet priced economically. It has a soundbar integrated at the bottom that eliminates the need to attach external speakers. This full HD TV has USB 2.0 playback and supports 28 popular formats. It comes with 10 bit video processing and 50Hz Scan rate. For additional audio support, it comes with digital/optical audio output

Sony BRAVIA 42W700B 42 inches LED TV

Sony Bravia
Price: Rs 61,400
Sony has put its proprietary X-Reality Pro image processing engine in this flat panel. This is a smart TV that connects to the internet. There is also a photo share feature and Sony's Clear Audio+ technology. The TV supports one touch mirroring which can display the content on your smartphone on the TV. This full HD smart LED TV comes with built-in WiFi.

Samsung UA40EH5000R
Samsung UA40EH5000R 40 inches LED TV

Price: Rs 21,500

Equipped with an in-built Lightning Protector, an In-built Humidity Protector and an In-built Surge Protector, the Samsung UA40EH5000R offers full HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 pixels. Belonging to Series 5, it offers 2 HDMI ports and 1 USB along with composite In and component In. It has a refresh rate of 100HZ clear scan and supports HDD formats. It supports Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Pulse and has two 10W speakers.

Panasonic 40B6 40 inches LED TV
Panasonic 40B6 40 inches LED TV

Price: Rs 45,000

Coming for a popular brand in flat panel TVs, this LED is a slim full HD TV. While the connectivity ports continue to remain similar to those on the Samsung LED with two HDMI and one USB port, it is also equipped with two 15 W V-Audio Surround Sound speakers. The IPS LED panel gives 178 degree viewing angle, 8ms response time and has a 60HZ refresh rate.


PLASMA IS ON ITS WAY OUT

Known for offering very good picture quality, of late Plasma TVs had become cheaper than LCDs and LEDs. They remove all motion blur and are ideal for dark rooms. But after LCDs, Plasmas are also on their way out. Even Panasonic, the company which focused heavily on the Plasma business, has announced its exit from this space. But there are still many models in the market. Here are our best picks.

Panasonic Viera TH-P50S60D
Panasonic Viera TH-P50S60D

Price: Rs 71,490

Planning to invest in a 50 inch TV? This 50 inch Panasonic display is around  Rs 20,000, cheaper than the LEDs of the same size. It
supports Electronic Touch Pen, which can be used to write text and draw pictures. It has wireless LAN built-in and comes with swipe and share for streaming content on the TV. This is an eco-friendly TV which the company claims is mercury and LED fre e. It comes with a contrast ratio of 1:4,000,000 and is designed on the narrow bezel concept.

LG 50PB6600
LG 50PB6600

Price: Rs 71,490

A fully loaded Plasma TV from LG, this one is 50 inch with protective skin glass, which makes the panel scratch resistant. Smart connectivity features include Tag On (NFC), Miracast, 2nd display, MHL compatible and Intel WiDi. LG has packed in a universal remote with this Plasma, which can control and access the set-top box, speakers, BDP and even satellite TV.

LCDs ARE OBSOLETE

LCD TVs were very popular once, but have been eclipsed by LEDs since. They have now become obsolete. Most of the big players have exited the LCD market. With the prices for LEDs coming down to what LCDs were a few years ago, the LCD market is about dead. However, you will still find a few LCDs in the market.

Samsung 32 E420
Samsung 32 E420
Price: Rs 25,000
Samsung is pushing this flat panel TV as the movie LCD. This is an HD panel with wide colour enhancement plus features. It comes with Connect Share Movie option and can play movies from a pen drive and even an HDD. It comes with a refresh rate of 60Hz and has two 5 watt speakers.

MAKE YOUR TV SMART

Who says you need to buy the latest smart TV to watch movies on YouTube or browse the web? There are plenty of options available that will require very little or no investment in turning your exiting flat panel into a smart TV. Here are the options.

LAPTOP

If you have a laptop at home, you can turn your TV into a smart TV. All you need is an HDMI port in both, the TV and the laptop, and an HDMI cable. Connect the two and whatever is displayed on your laptop will be streamed on the big screen too. You can browse the web, watch YouTube videos and even play games. Plug in a wireless mouse and operate the TV while sitting on the couch or your bed.

Samsung Evolution Kit SEK 1000
Samsung Evolution Kit SEK 1000

Price: Rs 17,000
How quickly your recently purchased smart TV got outdated with the new models coming in! But if you own a Samsung TV, Samsung has a solutin for you. The Samsung Evolution Kit promises to bring the latest features to your smart TV. It is compatible with LED ES7500, ES8000 and ES9000 series and PDP E8000 series.


Google Chromecast
GOOGLE CHROMECAST
Price: Rs 3,299

If you don't want any wires to be running around your TV, consider Google's Chromecast. It can be plugged in into any HDTV and can be controlled from any existing smartphone, tablet, or laptop. One can stream favorites from Google Play, YouTube, Netflix, and Chrome to the TV with the press of a button. No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers. Simply plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi and steam content.


Amkette Evo TV
Amkette Evo TV

Amkette's Evo TVs have been around for a couple of years. Though the older one was good enough to connect your flat panel TV or even the old CRT TV to c the Internet to stream content, the company has now come up with a new generation one. The new Evo TV allows you to seamlessly stream movies, watch favourite matches and download games on two new devices called the Amkette Evo TV Android Central (AC) and Media Center (MC). Both run on Android IceCream Sandwich and brings 4 USB ports to the TV and comes with infra red sensor based controller.


Micromax Smart Stick
Micromax Smart Stick
Price: Rs 5,999

This is a compact USB shaped device from Micromax that can be used to surf the internet, stream videos on YouTube, connect with your friends on social networks - all through your Smart TV. The Smart Stick has a 1GB DDR3 RAM and ARM Cortex A5 clocked at 1GHz. Weighing 40 gm, it runs on Android IceCream Sandwich and plugs into an HDMI port.

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