The Ultimate Guide to Buying a 4K UHD TV on Cyber Week
Stephan Jukic – November 29, 2015
As we’ve covered extensively in both our Black Friday and Cyber Monday posts on sale deals for just about every 4K ultra HD gadget under the sun and particularly about 4K UHD TVs, there are plenty of absolutely excellent TV’s cameras, PC monitors and even laptops to be found during the Cyber Week sales events which are still going on right now.
Cyber Monday sales on 4K UHD TVs have been particularly great in terms of value delivered for dollar costs in each price tag and while Black Friday TV sales were possibly a bit more extensive in their scope, the sheer quality of some of the best 4K TVs put up on deep discount for Cyber Monday was, in our estimation slightly superior even if fewer models were available.
With that said, and after a look at our listing of all the Cyber Monday TV deals for 2015, you’ll definitely be left with plenty of candidates out of the dozens of TVs presented, but even after you filter these down through our post on the 7 best 4K UHD TVs of Cyber Week, you might still have a lingering doubt or two about what all the technologies in these TVs mean.
This is where this concise guide comes in handy. We’re now going to explain to you about the key things you should look for and explain which of the 4K TVs we’ve covered (and in many cases reviewed) cover those features best.
Let’s get started.
A Quick Note on What 4K Ultra HD Means
With your standard Full HD 1080p TV, the resolution you get your hands on consists of 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically of display pixel space. This amounts to a total of just a bit over 2 million pixels across the TV screen. When it comes to 4K ultra HD resolution, there are two main types in existence.
The first of these is “True 4K” at 4096 x 2160 pixels and the second is 4K Ultra HD at 3840 x 2160 pixels. The second of these is what’s used for virtually all 4K TVs on the market and is the resolution of every 4K TV we found for Cyber Week sale discounts. This second resolution amounts to just over 8.29 million pixels on your screen.
Thus, as far as sheer crisp sharpness due to so many extra pixels, every one of the 4K TVs you’ll find on our deals listings has you covered.
However, a 4K UHD TV’s display quality is about more than just pixels, and we’ll cover those crucial details in just a bit.
Every 4K ultra HD TV worth its salt comes with an internal content upscaling engine whose job it is to stretch out and reprocess non-4K content so that it looks better (closer to native 4K) on an ultra HD screen. This is in fact a vital aspect of any 4K TV and somethin you need to check out before you buy, either with your own eyes or by carefully studying which TVs have the best upscaling engines.
Why? Because native 4K video is still fairly scarce and a lot if not most of your movies or TV shows will be in SD, 720p HD or Full HD at 1080p. They need to look notably better than they would in an HDTV if you want to get the most value from your 4K television. With this in mind, we’ll give you a basic guide on which of the Cyber Monday models we’ve covered do this best:
Right off the bat, Sony’s 4K TVs are excellent upscalers.. Inn our experience, Sony is sort of the leader in this technology as far as most models between the five big brands are concerned and their X900C, X850C and X830C models all scale almost any content well and scale up Full HD and Blu-ray content beautifully. In fact, Blu-ray HD video looks BETTER than natie streamed 4K content on many Sony TVs.
Next, the Samsung SUHD and JU 4K models all also scale really well –not quite as nicely as Sony’s Televisions but still very robustly. After these come Vizio and LG’s ultra HD models among those we’ve reviewed. They are great at scaling up Full HD content but less than superb when it comes to 720p video and SD content, in most cases.
Ideally, you’ll want to see how non-4K content looks in a showroom display of a TV you’re considering. If you don’t have time for this, our advice from experience as written above is a reliable substitute (though individual units of any TV model can deliver variable performance if they’re defective or the content in question has been mastered very badly).
Access to Content
Your 4K UHD TV’s ability to access the latest and best 4K UHD content is absolutely vital to how much it delivers in terms of home entertainment enjoyment for you, and this is something you have to absolutely keep in mind for all of the 4K UHD TVs on our listings which you’re interested in.
Unfortunately for the 4K content marketplace, native ultra HD video is still quite scarce in comparison to normal HD content and even the best individual sources of movies and other programming rarely offer more than a couple hundred hours of quality programming. This means that whichever TV you buy, for now you’ll get to use it for viewing only so much native 4K video.
Fortunately, Virtually every one of the 4K TVs in our general listings and every model in our Top 7 TVs of Cyber Monday post has you covered with all the essentials of accessing 4K UHD video. This means that all of these TVs at a very minimum offer access to full web connectivity for watching streaming 4K movies and shows from sources like Netflix, M-Go, UltraFlix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube among others.
Between these several sources of native ultra HD content, there are several thousand hours of quality 4K video viewing to be had, so your main criteria for a 4K TV should be that it offers access to as many of the programming sources above as possible. All of our listed TVs can access all or most of these above 4K programming sources.
Of course, some of these TVs, such as the beautiful Samsung JS9500 and the Sony XBRX900C which are both on offer from Amazon or Best Buy, come with additional HDR 4K content compatibility which gives them access to even wider range of next-generation 4K home entertainment but aside from these exceptions, the TVs in our listings, from the most expensive like the premium JS9500 SUHD TV down to the highly affordable LG 65UF8600 will deliver all the main goods in terms of 4K UHD content access.
4K Video Content through physical media
In addition to content via web connectivity, there is also the possibility of 4K Ultra HD content from sources such as media players, Blu-ray, set-top VOD content boxes and similar devices. For all of these to work, a 4K TV must have access to HDMI 2.0 connectivity and also have HDCP 2.2 content copy protection built into it. HDCP 2.2 also is a must for viewing native 4K content from the streaming sources mentioned above. Again, every one of the 4K UHD TVs we cover comes with these technologies. They’ve become standard.
Smart TV connectivity and functions
Every 4K UHD TV worth its salt will absolutely come with a highly interactive and completely web connected smart TV operating system and user interface platform. These Smart platforms have advanced enormously in the last 3 years since 4K TVs began appearing and currently, every major brand has its own distinct interface which is designed to offer maximal user friendliness, content organization, search and media manipulation technologies.
Of course, some platforms are better than others but all of them are what you use to access your streaming movie/video sources and content from connected physical media like those described above.
The best smart TV platforms on the market belong to LG, Sony and Samsung in our estimation and all three of these are truly superb.
Sony’s Android TV smart platform is in all of the 4K TVs we cover and is particularly advanced for search functionality and access to Google services like the Play store This smart platform is equally advanced in either the mid-level XBRX850C 4K UHD smart TV that’s on sale from Amazon.com or its much better XBRX900C cousin, also on sale from Amazon for Cyber Monday.
On the other hand, Samsung’s also excellent Tizen operating system is a wonder of fast operation, user friendliness and smooth handling. It too is found in all of the 4K UHD TVs from Samsung that are found in our listings, from the ultra-premium JS9500 right down to the second tier (but also remarkably fine) JU7100 4K smart TV.
Finally, the webOS 2.0 smart TV platform used by LG in all of its 2015 4K TVs is possibly the best of its kind on the entire market as far as overall performance goes, and it is the main reason that we included LG’s otherwise low-level 65UF8600 LCD/LED smart TV (on sale from Amazon) in our listing of TOP 7 4K TVs for Cyber Monday.
Premium technologies to keep in mind
If you want to take advantage of this year’s Cyber Week discounts to get your hands on some of the most advanced next-generation 4K TV technologies currently available, then the selections for Cyber Monday have been particularly good for your criteria. Several key technologies are found in some of the TVs we covered:
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
HDR is designed to pursue the goal of a wider, more realistic and spectacularly more detailed range of color, blacks and whites for far better tonality in 4K content. It’s the latest next generation technology found in premium 4K UHD TVs and among our listings, the Samsung JS9500, the JS9000 and the Sony XBRX900C all offer their versions of this extremely notable visual technology.
Wide Color Gamut (WCG)
Wide Color Gamut is a part of the next generation of “better pixel” technology for superior 4K video realism. It means greatly expanded color reproduction that looks much closer to what you’d see in real life or in a professional digital cinema, but in your home TV now. Any 4K TV can produce hundreds of millions of colors more than an average Full HD TV but some of the 4K TVs like the X900C, X850C AND XBR43X830C from Sony along with the Samsung JS9500 and JS9000 which are all on sale through Amazon.com’s Cyber Monday 4K TV deals can actually produce hundreds of millions of colors more than even a typical 4K UHD TV!
Samsung’s 4K SUHD TVs (the models listed above) produce this expanded color through their Quantum Dot nanocrystal display technology and Sony’s 4K UHD TVs listed above produce it through Sony’s phosphor coated LED-based Trilumios Display technology.
The Bottom Line
To summarize very briefly, all of the 4K TVs we’ve listed in our entire selection of Cyber Monday UHD TV deals come with the essential technologies of web connectivity, high quality smart TV platforms and HDMI/HDCP 2.2 specs.
However, the absolute best content viewing for your home will come from those models in our Top 7 4K TVs listings, which feature the models with the best smart platforms, full array LED backlighting or enhanced color and HDR technologies.
Story by 4k.com