It happens to everyone, your neighbor buys some top of the line huge TV that’s major $$$ and looks great, and you start thinking that maybe you should upgrade too. The question is, how much to spend? And is it really worth it to spend triple the money a TV with new technology like OLED?
My TV buying philosophy
I’m probably a bigger audio/visual nut than probably 95% of the population. When it comes to TV’s, do I buy the latest and greatest 2,000 dollar TV? Nope, not a chance. Every TV I’ve bought in the past 10 years has been $900 or under. TV’s anymore are just a commodity in my opinion, and you just don’t get much additional for your dollar when you spend double or triple the money for the same size TV.
Would I spend more for a bigger TV? Absolutely. Size makes a big difference and I would pay for size. The thing that is deceiving on TV size is that going from 55″ to 65″ doesn’t seem like a big increase, (since 55″ / 65″ is only about a 16% difference) but in square inches 1296 / 1824 is a 29% difference, so it’s a much bigger screen than you think.
Would I spend more for an OLED vs your standard 4k screen of today? Absolutely not. It’s two to three times as expensive for better black levels and picture, but are you going to notice it that much on a daily basis? Most of the inputs into a TV from streaming, cable, etc aren’t of fantastic quality, so a lot of the gain you might get is lost because no matter what the screen is, it can’t make up for poor quality input.
The Financial Math of TV’s
So if you wanted a 65″ 4k HDR OLED TV today, it’s going to cost you $2500 plus tax. A 65″ 4k HDR TV can be had for $699 plus tax like the LG 65UJ6200 I bought a while back. Almost a $2000 difference for a TV that has the same size, same features, just worse contrast on the cheaper one. You could buy a lot of stuff with that $2000 like an Xbox One X, a PS4, Netflix for a decade, etc.
Basically, it’s a ton of money for something that is going to decrease to zero in a few years because it’s a depreciating asset. All TV’s get outdated rather quickly and get replaced by newer models with better features and picture, so why spend the big bucks now for it? In a few years that same $2500 TV will be available brand new for $699 probably, if history is any indicator.
What TV should I buy?
My recommendation is to buy the biggest brand name you can for whatever is reasonable for your budget. So you wouldn’t buy a TV from a brand you’ve never heard of, but buying the cheaper LG, Samsung, etc would be perfectly acceptable. I think almost all the cheap TV’s I’ve bought lately have been LG except for one TCL that we bought because of the good reviews and Roku features (my son wanted to have NBA league pass on his TV and the TCL is one of the few with that stuff built in).
65″ TV’s are available currently for $699 or less and 55″ for $399 or less, so you don’t even have to have a very big budget to get a really nice TV. Much different than 15 years ago where you had to spend $2000 to get a 55″ HDTV that weighed 200 pounds and was gigantic.
The most important features as of this writing (July 2018) are:
- 4k resolution
- Smart TV features
- Number of HDMI inputs
- ARC capable (for sound bars)
Hopefully that helps what to look for.