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Published on November 21st, 2017 | by Brad Gibson

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6 tips for getting the right Black Friday TV

While televisions are a staple of Black Friday deals, they’re not all their cracked up to be.

4K TVs priced between $350 and $750 at big box retailers might seem attractive, but it’s only after you get one home and hook it up to your Apple TV that you find out the pros and cons. Many times the majority are cons unless you know what to look for.

There are six things you need to keep in mind when considered a TV on Black Friday…

1. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Your parents probably taught you this from a young age, but for some reason, we all have to learn it the hard way and probably more than once…you get what you pay for. A lot like the old adage, “if it’s too good to be true it usually is,” TVs at a low price follow the same rules.

A huge 4K TV for $350 is not going to offer a high-quality picture and long life. Period. Today, TV makers are purposely building low-priced models to sell exclusively on Black Friday with low-quality components and features to match their price.

If it’s really cheap, compare its features. The following tips are prime examples of basic features to look for and consider.

2. LOOK FOR HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE

HDR, or high dynamic range, is the future of TVs. If you have an Apple TV 4K device, you’ll need a TV that has this capability. Nearly all midrange and high-end TVs for 2017 have HDR, and more and more services like Netflix and Apple are starting to stream content in the format.

Contrast and color clarity are the two main features of HDR TVs. You’ll benefit from richer images with more depth, darker blacks, and brighter blues, greens, and reds. You’ll immediately see a difference.

But beware: Don’t think a 4K resolution TV with average contrast and color clarity is equal to a 1080p resolution TV with excellent contrast and color. It isn’t. HDR should be the first feature you look for in any model and most importantly, viewing these TVs actually working will reveal the HDR difference.

If you find a 4K TV with HDR for less than $800, it’s going to have less-than-average contrast and color clarity. In my opinion, stay away from these models.

While you might not benefit from watching HDR-ready content right away, you will in two to three years. So for the long run, buy an HDR-ready TV to last you into the future.

Black Friday TVsTVs on sale on Black Friday often are not of high-quality components and their features to match their price.

3. THE HIGHER THE NUMBER, THE BETTER THE REFRESH RATE

Some of the more affordable 4K TVs available for sale on Black Friday only have a 60 Hertz refresh rate. Hertz – or Hz – refers to the number of times the screen refreshes in a second.

Look for TVs with 120 or 240 Hz. The easiest way to explain it is the faster the refresh rate the smoother the motion of video in things like football games or intense movie scenes in movies. The bottom line….the higher the refresh rate, the better the picture quality.

4. CHEAPER THE PRICE, THE FEWER THE HDMI PORTS

You can never have too many HDMI ports. Often, the cheaper the Black Friday TV, the fewer the HDMI ports. These are the ports that connect to your Apple TV, a cable box, your gaming system, and other products. Count the things you want to plug into your TV and don’t go lower than that number. The more HDMI ports, the better. That number should be at least four or you’ll need to add an HDMI extender.

5. BACKLIGHT

It might be a little complicated, but knowing how a TV you’re considering delivers its picture can be the difference between low-quality and high-quality.

Today’s TVs deliver that picture by lighting diodes from the back – hence backlighting. There are four different types to consider, based on your budget and your desired picture quality.

At a minimum, most flat-screen TVs have liquid crystal displays or LCDs. Let’s pass on the details except to say they’re okay, but new technologies deliver better overall quality.

Newer TVs use LED or OLED technology. Standard LED – or light emitting diodes – backlight from the edges of the screen which may cause an uneven look. You’ll find this in lower-priced models.

LED with local dimming is a step up delivering darker blacks, which usually translates to a better picture, but it can have a streaking effect.

OLED – or organic light-emitting diodes – are the top of the line in TV backlighting technology. They deliver the darkest blacks and optimum contrast. Some people think the colors are too vibrant, so it’s important to watch the TV before buying it to see if the difference is worth paying for.

6. RESOLUTION

1080p – which means that there are 1080 rows of pixels measured vertically up the screen – is the resolution you’ll find on most budget TVs. It’s fine if you want the lowest possible price, but you will suffer in image quality.

Ultra high-definition, or UHD, is the next step up. Higher-resolution screens have four times the pixels of 1080p sets (hence the term ‘4K’). It’s worth the price if you’re buying something over 50-inches in size.

 

So there you have it. Six things that are important to look at in TVs on Black Friday. Here are some deals a number of third-party websites are recommending, but if you follow our six tips even on these deals, you’ll come out a winner…

Black Friday TVs 2017: You Won’t Believe Who Has the Best Deals

Best Black Friday cheap TV deals (plus our favorite picks)

The best TV deals of Black Friday 2017

Check out the sweet Black Friday deals on TVs this weekend

Best Buy ‘Black Friday’ 2017 Ad Deals: How Good Are They?

Walmart ‘Black Friday’ 2017 Ad Deals: How Good Are They?

The best TV deals of Black Friday 2017 from Walmart, Best Buy, and more

This impressive 55-inch LG OLED TV is the lowest price we’ve ever seen

Amazon has Black Friday prices on two of Sony’s hottest 4K TVs

 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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