I am going to buy a cheap TV, what features can not miss on my TV?

Buying a cheap TV for the living room, bedroom or kitchen is an important decision, regardless of the money you are going to spend on your future TV. 

Whether you are looking for a second TV for your home, or if you want a cheap model to watch series and movies, in this guide we give you all the advice you should keep in mind to buy the best one.

Are you thinking of changing TV? If the answer is yes and you have already started to probe the catalog of some stores, surely you have already realized that there are options and prices for all tastes. 

You have at your disposal from TVs for less than 200 euros to models above 3,000 euros, so you have to decide according to your budget and your level of demand. 

Since the latter are not available to everyone, we will focus on the former, on the cheapest and most affordable televisions  that, after all, are the ones that end up being the best-sellers.

If you want to buy a cheap TV, you should take into account these characteristics that cannot be missing from your TV.

Proper size and Full HD resolution

One of the characteristics that users take most into account when choosing a television is the screen size. However, it is one of the parameters in which we are less successful .

In most cases, the user is still influenced by the old scale of cathode ray tube televisions to calculate the proper screen size  based on distance and they forgo buying a large inch television for fear that it is too much big.

The most common size currently on televisions is 50 inches and up. So the competition in that size range is fierce and the offerings are more aggressive, too.

If you are going to watch the television from a distance of close to 2 meters, you could easily install a 55-inch television and watch it in perfect condition, as long as the space on your living room furniture allows.

This reduction in viewing distances responds to the increase in resolution. With televisions of yesteryear, with resolutions of 575 lines, if the viewer was placed very close to the screen, he could distinguish the pixels on a large-format television.

On the other hand, by having a higher resolution, the pixels have been reduced considerably, so they can be seen from shorter distances with a very high quality. This brings us to the second characteristic to consider: resolution.

The rise of 4K resolutions has swept from the windows to the models with Full HD, which have now become almost anecdotal.

However, if you find a good offer on TVs with Full HD resolution, it still remains a very valid format for most uses.

For starters, if you are only going to use it to watch DTT channels, a Full HD resolution is more than enough since these broadcasts are in HD 720p.

Therefore, do not be surprised if when you buy a cable you do not find its standard indicated in the product description since they can only indicate if the cable is compatible with 3D video, 4K, HDR, 32-channel audio, etc.

Much more than audio and video: additional HDMI functions

On the other hand, in certain cases, higher resolution is not always synonymous with quality. It is preferable to choose a high-end Full HD TV that, for stock clearance reasons, is on sale, than a low-end 4K resolution TV.

In the end, the improved visual experience and image processing provided by a high-end Full HD model makes it worthwhile to sacrifice some resolution if the price is right.

Not all HDRs are created equal

Today, HDR is one of the features that users demand from your new TV, and for this reason, brands have launched the incorporation of the label "HDR" to the list of specifications of their televisions.

The HDR is expanding the color space that can represent the screen of the TV so that there is a greater number of shades between the darkest and lightest colors.

To achieve this expanded color space, two factors are necessary that are related to each other. On the one hand, the depth of color that the screen can represent, and on the other hand, the amount of brightness it can emit .

When we talk about a cheap TV, we assume that the benefits of the components that make it up are not the most powerful on the market, so, most likely, the screen will not be the best at the moment.

This means that instead of offering a 10-bit color depth, a recommended standard for enjoying quality HDR, the screen will have an 8-bit depth or some interpolated system (FRC or Frame Rate Control) that it tries to emulate. 10-bit behavior with only 8 bits.

Color depth on displays

And how important is it that the panel of a television is capable of displaying a color depth of 10 bits instead of 8 bits? Well, the truth is that yes, since an 8-bit panel allows 16.7 million colors to be represented, while a 10-bit panel raises that figure to 1,000 million colors. This is critical when displaying smooth, progressive color gradients.

Regarding brightness, the colors displayed by the panel are obtained by adding or subtracting light to each pixel, so the higher the light output, the more color tones it can reproduce. 

One of the most widely used units of measure for quantifying brightness is nits. The greater the number of units, the brighter the screen will be able to represent.

On average, mid-range TVs tend to have between 500 and 700 nits, while high-end TVs can easily reach 1,000 nits or even more.

The main problem with entry-level televisions, the cheapest televisions, is that although the HDR anagrams show in their boxes and are indeed compatible with some of the most common HDR formats, they are equipped with 8-bit panels and offer levels of brightness that hardly reach 400 nits .

Therefore, before blindly relying on the HDR logo printed on the box, make sure the panel offers adequate color depth and brightness. If the model on offer does not meet these minimums, HDR ceases to be a feature to take into account when choosing your television since you will hardly appreciate a difference when activating it.

Updated Smart TV platform with extensive support

The Smart TV platform is much more the gateway to the Internet for your television, it is the connectivity HUB that will largely determine your experience of use.

The contents of music, video and video games in streaming, multimedia applications, native games and even the fluidity of navigation between the TV menus depend on the Smart TV platform or, in other words, on the TV operating system.

Having an adequate Smart TV platform is one of the features that cannot be missing from your television.

Not all versions of the operating systems or hardware are compatible with the content apps that you will most likely want to use, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or HBO, so before choosing a cheap television, make sure that its platform Smart TV is compatible with these applications, and they are available in their respective app stores.

Complete connectivity

In an environment as hyperconnected as the one that we can currently find in any home, it is almost essential to have a good battery of connectors and wireless connection technologies in your TV, so it is one of the features that you cannot miss on your TV if you have Thought of buying a cheap television.

It is not enough that the TV includes a pair of HDMI ports, these may be completely insufficient if you connect a console, a TV decoder (necessary for Internet TV services such as Movistar +) and a sound system, so it is convenient keep in mind what devices you plan to connect to the TV before choosing it.

In addition, you must also take into account the type of connector it includes since, for example, an HDMI 1.4 is not the same as a 2.0 with eARC or HDMI 2.1 function. This is especially relevant when playing content in 4K quality or with Dolby or DTS digital sound.

In the same way, it is not the same that the TV includes some USB 2.0 ports to connect an external disk from which to play content, than a USB 3.0 one . The differences are noticeable when it comes to playing heavy content such as Blu-Ray quality video files .

There should also be a lack of wireless connectivity in which the support for dual-band Wi-Fi connections cannot be lacking, which, in turn, implies other connection technologies.

Some of these technologies are Miracast or Chromecast integrated into the television itself, which allows you to share content directly from your smartphone, tablet or laptop at the touch of a button.

It is also important to have a Bluetooth connection since this will allow you to connect a keyboard, a game controller or wireless headphones to your TV, making it more comfortable to use.

Surround Sound Compatible

Sound is one of the great pending issues for all televisions in general due to the limited space left by such slim designs for the speakers.

Manufacturers use a thousand and one techniques to try to improve sound quality, but as it is a cheap television, it is more than likely that it does not equip the latest sound technologies.

Therefore, you will be interested that, although the television is not capable of reproducing quality sound from the internal speakers themselves, it can manage and process some of the digital sound formats so that in the future you can connect a sound bar or a external speaker system and reproduce it with better quality.

Each manufacturer implements a different proposal for simulated surround sound, but what is really interesting is that the TV supports the largest number of Dolby and DTS digital audio formats.

The most common are Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD, although depending on the range of the TV they begin to include Dolby Atmos and DTS: X formats that deliver more surround sound.

Price is important when buying a cheap TV, but focusing on it alone doesn't have very good end consequences. Sometimes it may be more worth paying a few euros more (it does not need to be much more) and buying a television that really meets your needs and offers good value for money.

By following these guidelines when buying a television you will know how to recognize when you are faced with the real offer of a cheap television and when its low price is justified by features that are not up to the task.

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