Thinking of buying a 4K TV now? Some key points to consider as prices fall below $1000
Stephan Jukic – December 28, 2015
2016 is on the cusp of arriving and 4K TVs have advanced to what is essentially fully mainstream status. All major predictions by assorted research groups clearly indicate that the 4K TV market will hold the same size and sway as Full HD TVs do today in the next three years or so and most importantly in terms of practical considerations for you, the potential buyer of today, 4K TVs are finally selling for what are truly reasonable prices, while delivering better quality and standardization than ever before.
The promise of cheap 4K TVs has been in the works for at least a little less than 3 years, since these televisions became a player on the market in the beginnings of 2013 but only now has it really been realized in a major way. In other words, for the first time in their history, 2015 saw the widespread release of many high quality name brand 4K TVs with formerly exclusive features selling for $1000 or less. This is a ridiculously massive drop in pricing from the much more common $4000 and up prices that were the case for considerably less robust 4K UHD TVs in 2013 and even in 2014.
In fact, even most of the absolute top-shelf 4K TV models on the market by the end of 2015 are now selling for previously unheard of prices, with even the most expensive 4K TVs in the land, LG’s OLED 4K models, now being found for below $3000.
In other words, the prospect of buying a 4K TV is finally starting to look very attractive and for good reason. Here are some reasons why it really does make sense to go for a 4K TV right now.
Pricing and Quality
As we just covered briefly, 4K TV prices are lower than ever and a wide range of models are selling not just for less than $1000 but for way below that price point, with the retail tags of some very decent models sitting at prices that go as low as $600 or just a bit less. For example, a 43-inch Vizio 4K TV in the robust and highly rated M-Series can now be found on Amazon.com or just $548.00 and if 43 inches is a bit small for your liking, the much more respectable 50 and 55 inch models are going for $628 and $848.00 respectively on the same website.
These sorts of rock bottom prices don’t just apply to Vizio’s particularly affordable 4k TVs. They are being found across the board. Another excellent example would be Sony’s excellent XBRX810C 4K UHD smart TV. The 55 inch model sells on Amazon.com for just $998.00 and even includes free shipping. This is not some low-end feature-poor 4K TV. Instead it’s one of the more highly rated models from one of the top brands on the market. Furthermore, it comes with technologies that either didn’t exist in a 2013 4K TV or would have cost several thousand dollars.
Even more importantly, with these sorts of prices, quality features are being found more than ever before, including enhanced color, superior contrast, fantastic non-4K content upscaling and top-notch connectivity.
Content and Connectivity
The 4K content landscape is still unfortunately lagging far behind the market for 4K TVs and other gadgets themselves. While we are strongly expecting this to change in 2016 with several new sources of 4K UHD movies and TV shows emerging at least via satellite and internet or OTT mediums, broadcast TV is virtually 4K UHD-free and even online content choices still offer a much smaller selection of 4K UHD entertainment than they do of Full HD video. However, 4K UHD Blu-ray is definitely on the way, with a planned appearance in the beginning of 2016 and the number of streaming content options from M-GO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Hulu and many other sources is growing on a nearly monthly basis. This will only continue as connectivity for 4K video streams improves.
Finally, there is the question of smart TV features and connectivity options. All major brands of 4K TV today offer excellent smart TV platforms which are designed to offer maximal levels of online content and media connectivity for both 4K and non-4Kmedia sources. Users who lack access to the sorts of 15 to 25+Mbps internet connections necessary for streamed 4K content can still use these superb smart platforms and some of the other technology we’ve mentioned above to enjoy non-4K entertainment sources. Users with access to 4K-capable internet connectivity and also throw 4K UHD video into the mix. Furthermore, all users of modern 4K TVs will be able to watch hard-media 4K content as it continues to emerge from devices like 4K Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and VOD services.
Superior Display and other Features
What’s even more important than the current 4K content landscape for 4K UHD TVs is their absolutely superior display power in comparison to normal HD TVs.
Even average 4K UHD models from any of the major brands typically offer superior contrast, refresh and color saturation levels to those of any normal Full HD TV. Furthermore, TV makers like Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio and Panasonic, among others, are all reserving their most advanced development and best technologies for their new 4K UHD TV lines. In other words, HD TVs are being left behind in the dust at an accelerating pace.
One clear example of this trend is the race towards HDR (high dynamic range) in streamed, media and broadcast content. HDR dramatically enhances the realism, color range and most importantly contrast detail of video it’s applied to, and as far as its application goes, HDR is now only being given to 4K sources of video, with HD content not even being considered for such treatment to our knowledge.
Furthermore, for 4K TVs that are displaying a large amount of Full HD and 720p or SD content, there are their internal upscaling engines to keep in mind. These processing systems in all name brand 4K TVs reprocess well-mastered non-4K video sources and scale them up so that they look crisper and clearer on a 4K TV than they ever would on a conventional television. This alone adds plenty of value to having a 4K TV in your home, even if you won’t use it to watch so much as a single hour of native 4K video for now.
Brands with particularly superb upscaling technologies include Samsung’s JU and JS 4K models, Sony’s entire 2015 line of 4K TVs and the Vizio M-Series TVs. Likewise applies to LG and Panasonic models.
The Final Word
In simple terms, even if your access to 4K UHD content is limited, buying a 4K TV is truly the best way to be ready not only for the future of content, but also to appreciate the existing HD and even SD content that you have plenty of access to.
Story by 4k.com