Buying a television is like welcoming a brand new member to the house. Over the years, the beloved entertainment box has evolved to actually become connected and smart. Keeping that in mind, we look into the essential features to help you choose the best smart TV within INR 30,000.
We all are familiar with TV jargon like display, audio and ports. Added to them now are ‘smart’ features like connectivity and Internet access. Rohan Agarwal, vice president-consumer electronics business, Micromax Informatics, comments, “Technical parameters that speak about the quality of a smart TV are mainly its panel and internal components. The processing setup of the television should be stable and not crash while installing apps.”
Arjuun Bajaj, director, Daiwa TV, explains, “Key technical specifications worth paying attention to include screen size, RAM and ROM, panel grade and brightness, speakers (to give the surround sound) and, most importantly, connectivity. These are the prerequisites to a smart TV experience.” Let us now explore these features for a smart TV in detail.
Refresh rate, contrast ratio and resolution. Simply put, refresh rate is the pace at which the TV screen changes images without any motion blur. Technically, it is the number of frames the TV can display every second and is represented in Hertz (Hz). A refresh rate of 120Hz or higher is the optimal specification. A 120Hz refresh rate means the TV can show 120 images per second.
Contrast of the TV is the ratio of the brightest (white) image produced to the darkest (black) image. There is no proper standard for comparison of contrast ratio as the ratio evaluation process differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, a contrast ratio of 3000:1 is advised. Lower contrast ratio results in lower colour clarity or whitewash effect.
Coming to resolution, full HD (FHD) of 1920×1080 pixels is a good choice. A 4K resolution, that is 4096×2160 pixels, will be good if you can afford a larger screen (over 102cm). Bajaj says, “One should look for picture quality giving a 4K or FHD resolution paired with good audio quality. Considering the sleeker screen size, speaker qualities are being compromised.” While at the store, test the TV speakers for audio quality.
Screen technology. Till recently, liquid-crystal display (LCD) dominated the market. This type of screen consists of liquid crystal blocks that develop the colour and display the image created with the help of CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) backlight.
LCD technology has been overtaken by LED screen options. LED TVs available in the market are actually LED-backlit LCD screens. Backlit LED TVs are quite popular among consumers due to their fast refresh rate and long life at an affordable cost. Their picture quality is also quite decent. If you are on a budget, LED TV would make a good option.
Going by specifications, the best option in the market right now is organic light-emitting diode (OLED). However, OLED TVs are costlier too.
Display panel. In-panel switching (IPS) panels offer 36-degree viewing angle as against vertical alignment (VA) panels’ 20-degree. In terms of colour production, while VA panels do provide higher contrasts, their response time is much slower. Hence, IPS screens are preferable. Screen size of 102cm (40 inches) is a good deal within budget.
More ports. Go for a TV that offers you maximum number of connectivity ports—including USB, HDMI, audio/video and VGA. Generally, TVs come with two HDMI and two USB ports along with a few other ports. Go for one that is offering more. For a TV supporting USB drives, ensure that it can play videos from hard disk drives or pen drives.
In addition, look for a smart remote. Bajaj explains, “A smart remote with built-in mouse controls makes it hassle free to operate, while HDMI/USB ports ensure better connectivity.”
Connectivity, processing and other smart features. Agarwal say, “A smart TV should have a high-speed processor so that it can run online videos smoothly on the screen while maintaining the resolution. The TV should also be equipped with relevant apps and adequate connectivity options along with HDMI and LAN ports.”
Ensure that the smart TV has Wi-Fi support or Ethernet port so that it can be connected to the Internet. Here again, more than one port would be an advantage. Look for pre-installed browsers and applications. A smart TV having at least 1GB random-access memory (RAM) and 4GB read-only memory (ROM) will give you seamless performance.
Options in the market
The good news is that smart TV prices are falling with market entry of more players. This is giving buyers a bigger roster to choose from. Here are a few examples (as of January 2018)
Daiwa L42FVC4U. Daiwa’s newly launched smart TV packs a 102cm FHD LED-backlit display, 60Hz refresh rate, 6.5-millisecond response time and two speakers with total 20W output. Its internal configuration includes a dual-core, 1.3GHz Cortex A7 processor, 1GB RAM and an impressive 8GB ROM. Connectivity options include two HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one AV port, one Ethernet cable port and built-in Wi-Fi. The TV consumes 78W electricity. It is affordably priced at INR 23,490 online and comes with a one-year warranty.
Mitashi MiDE040v03 FS. Mitashi’s 102cm LED smart TV comes with a strong 4K display resolution, static contrast ratio of 5000:1 and refresh rate of 60Hz. It packs a MaliT720 dual-core 1.35GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB NAND storage, in-built Wi-Fi, two USB and HDMI ports. Its two speakers output a total of 30W. The TV consumes 75W power. It is priced at about INR 30,000 and comes with three-year warranty.
Micromax Bingebox. Micromax has introduced Bingebox series of smart TVs, among which 81cm (32-inch) LED iteration is a cost-effective recommendation. This HD LED TV has a speaker output of 20W. Connectivity options include built-in Wi-Fi, LAN port, HDMI port and VGA ports. The TV is powered by a strong processor and comes with a plethora of pre-installed applications like Opera TV, YouTube, Eros Now, Hungama Play and PC Cast. It costs about INR 21,000. Its 109cm (43-inch) iteration costs over INR 30,000.
Onida 43FIS. Onida’s 109cm FHD LED TV has 16W speaker output. The display has 60Hz refresh rate and contrast ratio of 3000:1. Apart from inbuilt Wi-Fi, it sports three HDMI ports and three USB ports, which is an advantage. The TV consumes 90W power and costs INR 30,000.
Kodak 40FHDXSMART. Kodak’s Wi-Fi-enabled TV has a 102cm screen with FHD resolution and 60Hz refresh rate. It packs a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 1.5GHz processor, 20W speaker output, and two HDMI and two USB ports. The TV comes with one-year warranty. It is priced at INR 24,000.