We all make New Year’s resolutions but rarely keep them. Why? Because promising to lose some weight or exercise more isn’t fun. How much better to make a resolution that you want to keep — like updating your home theater? That’s a resolution worth keeping and, with the latest technologies now more affordable than ever, there’s no reason not to start the New Year than by having a better television and speaker system than in the old year. Let’s look at exactly what the choices now are.
New Year’s Resolution #1 — A Big Screen TV
One of the best things about today’s televisions are their size. TVs have gotten bigger in size — 19” was the standard over a dozen years ago, but now 50” and greater — much greater — is commonplace in homes.
• A Large TV: Think & greater — the more people can watch without being crowded. In the old days, whoever was seated dead-center to the display (on a couch, etc.) had the best view, while those seated next to him or her didn’t — and those seated farther at the edges suffered. With , so too comes a wider angle of view for those watching.
• The Movie Experience: Going to the movies always meant a bigger screen than what you could see at home, but now that’s not true (proportionally speaking). A 65” or even a can be had at costs once thought unheard of — not to mention that there’s and to be had.
New Year’s Resolution #2 — A Better Resolution TV
Another change to today’s televisions is the “resolution” which affects how much detail is seen when watching a TV show or a movie. The higher the resolution, the greater the amount of detail to be found. But that’s not all there is to it. The increase in resolution over the “old school” TVs also improves the contrast and colors, not to mention the blacks which are so vital to making the picture being displayed look realistic.
• Up-Scaling: The television knows what to do with high-definition content when it gets it — be that from a cable box, satellite receiver or a video source player — but it also knows that not all of the content it is getting matches the level of resolution that it can display. So technology inside takes that content and “tweaks” it to be more dynamic and to perform more appropriately when it splashes across the display. Read that as look much better than it would otherwise.
• 4K TVs: Televisions employing are able to display content with 4X that of HDTV, with a corresponding increase in those areas of contrast, color and blacks. Nothing special has to be done to take advantage of what a can do — it’s treated like any other TV and that includes the lightweight and sleek nature that TVs are now expected to have. Just turn it on, sit back and enjoy the show.
• Organic LED (OLED) 4K TVs: These televisions provide a high-resolution view and, due to the display’s construction, have no limitations on the amount of contrast they can display (i.e., infinite). They also possess a high color range (i.e., brilliant color) and the ability to display black areas amazingly. This enhances the image quality overall. Plus have an exceedingly wide angle of view: those to the side of the TV (i.e., not “dead-center”) don’t lose out on any of the brightness or color — the view is even and the colors distinct.
New Year’s Resolution #3 — Better Audio
TVs make for a great picture, but sound — no, for that you want a separate component. Speakers by their very nature need to have room to “breathe” and that requires an enclosure with enough space for them to exist inside. Compared to the minimal space that a TV allocates for its speakers, a separate speaker will perform better and provide more dynamic and enjoyable sound.
• Sound Bars: A contains all the speakers needed in a slim package that, while not taking up much room, enhances the decor that the TV has been placed in. They can be sized to be similar to that of the TV, so when placed below they don’t jar the senses, and contain all the electronics needed to do the job. And in a simple but effective manner — in most cases a single cable is all that is needed to connect between it and the TV. Add the inclusion, in many cases, of a , and does the sound ever “sound” so much better now.
• Audio/Video Receivers: For those who prefer placing speakers around the room (so as to have a dedicated surround sound effect), the power that comes from an can’t be underestimated. Updating to a new receiver doesn’t mean replacing all the audio — just make sure to stay within the power range of the speakers — but it does allow for greater volume and the addition of new technologies, such as Bluetooth. And for those looking to use the receiver as an A/V switcher so as to minimize the number of remotes needed, the addition of 3D and is now available.
New Year’s Resolution #3— Better Content
What you watch is up to you — but getting it to your TV will happen either through streaming (requiring a home network and an online connection) or through a video source player.
• Network Capability: In order to watch high-definition content through streaming, the home network’s Internet connection must be “fast.” Cost ties in directly to just how “fast”, but there’s also the issue of the area where you are located — not all high-speed connections are available in all areas. Fortunately even slower speeds are able to be taken by today’s televisions and modulated into highly enjoyable pictures.
• Cable boxes/Satellite Receivers: Depending on the service provider you choose (or is available for your area), high-definition content can be provided to you through the same service currently offering television shows. This has the advantage of being taken care of for you by the service provider — you sit back and enjoy while they take care of the tech in the background.
• Blu-ray Player: A has the ability of playing local content (i.e., on a disc) and so doesn’t care whether there’s an Internet connection or not. Blu-ray discs are able to provide a consistent HD picture because there’s no external issues that could cause interference. And of course they can play DVDs even better than the DVD players can.
• 4K Media Players: Still relatively rare, they download the content for you and store it for use before you choose to watch it. For all practical purposes it is no different from using a Blu-ray player, in that the is connected to the 4K TV and functions in tandem with it as the content is local.