A year or so ago, buying a 4K TV might not have crossed your mind. Content wasn't readily available, prices were high and the technology was only in its early stages.

However, just 12 months later everything has changed. If you're in the market for a new television, there are now more reasons why you should opt for a 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR than not.

It can be a little mystifying though, with different technologies, logos and, sometimes, confusing messages on what to look for. That's why we've put together some simple tips, tricks and things to consider when looking for your next TV.

Buying a 4K TV: Resolution

A 4K television is so called because it has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, creating a far sharper picture than the current, widely used standard for TVs, 1080p.

A 1920 x 1080 TV is capable of displaying just over 2 million pixels, while a 4K Ultra HD set has almost 8.3 million pixels to play with. That is quite a staggering and impressive difference when it comes to detail and sharpness on a screen.

It's a much greater jump in resolution than when we switch from HD (720p) to Full HD (1080p), which was roughly twice as many pixels. Ultra HD (2160p) is four times Full HD.

Most 4K HDR TVs also have excellent upscaling technology built-in, so make even normal HD broadcasts and Blu-rays look better.

Buying a 4K TV: HDR

High dynamic range technology, otherwise known as HDR, increases the depth of an image and presents more accurate colours than on previous TVs. This is because a HDR TV is capable of deep, controlled black levels while displaying brighter areas of a picture more vividly than ever before.

It means that you will see more detail in dark areas of an image, but without washing out the deep black zones. And whites on a screen will be bright and natural.

A wider colour gamut, which allows the TV to display more variants of red, blue and green than ever before, ensures objects on screen look more like they would when viewed with the native eye.

In short, movie directors love HDR tech because it presents their work more accurately - as they intended - than ever before.

Buying a 4K TV: OLED or LED?

There are commonly two types of television you can buy, with one costing significantly more than the other.

OLED is a new form of display technology that doesn't require a backlight so can be built into the thinnest form factors. Each pixel is self-illuminated, so you also get stunningly deep, involving black levels in darker areas of a picture.

In contrast, LED TVs are capable of much higher brightness as they have the added benefit of light behind the pixels to make them shine more ferociously.

To be honest, the biggest choice between the two technologies will come down to your budget. OLED TVs are traditionally much pricier than their LED equivalents, at all screen sizes. The prices will drop over time, as the technology is used in more sets, but LED televisions offer a great alternative and can also provide stunning images, especially for the price.

Buying a 4K TV: HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2

All external 4K content sources, including 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X games consoles, and media streamers like the Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV 4K require HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection, otherwise the Tv cannot playback 4K HDR content.

Modern 4K TVs often have at least one supported input. You should really look out for more though, because unless you plan to purchase an Ultra HD-ready AV receiver, as more 4K devices are released, you'll need more inputs to hook them up to.

Buying a 4K TV: Content

Although upscaling your existing Blu-rays and normal TV broadcasts makes the pictures look better on a 4K telly, it isn't until you've seen native Ultra HD content that you realise the potential of the format.

There are several ways you can get 4K video to view, and new Ultra HD movies, TV shows and, even, games are now available.

Both Netflix and Amazon Video offer 4K HDR movies and shows, to stream through your new TV if they are available, without the need for a separate set-top-box. You should check to see if the apps for both are supported before you choose your new set. YouTube too offers 4K video, so also check that app is on-board.

There are several 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players on the market, with plenty of good quality discs to buy through multiple retailers. You'll need a HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2, as detailed above, but 4K HDR Blu-ray images are the best you can possibly get right now. They look stunning.

Paid TV services, such as those from Sky, BT and Virgin Media, have or are soon to offer 4K television broadcasts, for sport, TV shows and movies. And the Xbox One X games console will be launched in November, joining the PlayStation 4 Pro in the ability to play games in 4K resolutions and HDR picture tech.

In short, there are plenty of ways to watch and enjoy 4K HDR content, you just need a compatible television.

Buying a 4K TV: Smart TV

Smart TVs have been around for many years now. A Smart TV is one that can hook up to the internet, through a wired or wireless connection, and offers multiple services, such as TV and movie streaming, games and other information apps.

Different manufacturers tend to have different Smart TV platforms, such as Android TV, as found on Sony and Philips sets, and webOS, found on LG TVs. They tend to offer many applications, much like those on your phone or tablet, mainly to provide films and the like to watch on demand.

Services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Netflix and Amazon Video will provide catch-up and on demand shows and movies at the touch of a button on your remote control.

Buying a 4K TV: Design

The final aspect of any TV you need to consider is how it will look in your living room. Whether you plan to wall-mount it or place it on a cabinet, or whatever screen size you choose, it has to look as good when switched off as when filling a room with exceptional images.

For us, that means a minimalist design is best - something that blends in rather than dominates a room. OLED TVs are especially good for this reason thanks to the technology being able to be built into a slimmer case.

Cable management on modern sets is also much better than ever before and is only really applicable when the TV is on the stand, and isn't really relevant when wall mounted.

Buying a 4K TV: Audio

A trade off of the slim design of flatscreen TVs can be audio performance. While the built in speakers are perfectly adequate for general TV viewing to be honest, if you want the best audio performance from your movies, games and TV shows, you should really match your new TV with a dedicated sound system, be that a soundbar or home cinema speaker set-up.

Some TVs come with a soundbar built into the design, or a separate unit.


Ultimately, the TV you go for has to match your own wants and desires, but we recommend that you also consider whether it is futureproof. With 4K Ultra HD and HDR tech on-board you can't go far wrong.

There has certainly never been a better time to buy a television than now, with prices at an all-time low for incredible, immersive experiences we've never before seen.