There are few scenarios that can engender a sense of helpless confusion quite like going shopping for high-end home electronics, particularly those components that make up a home theater system. Right now, one of the big points of confusion is what makes for the best TVs of 2017? We’d like to help clear up some of that confusion.
Much has been made about 4K TVs, mainly along the lines of “bigger numbers are better!” And while there is some truth to this, there’s more to it than what the simplistic sales pitch might be making. There is a specific 4K standard defined by the Digital Cinema Initiatives consortium, which dictates the number of pixels (4096 horizontal by 2160 vertical) as well as other technical specifications like image compression and color depth.
However, the DCI 4K standard was intended as a standard for production and digital projection. For a home theater setup, this is an exact designation, not merely an advertising buzzword. If home theater components do not support the DCI standard, it cannot be accurately described as being a 4K-compliant device.
You have doubtlessly seen plenty of TVs in your local electronics store that are labeled “4K UHD,” which is a mostly (but not entirely) accurate designation. The UHD standard was intended primarily as a broadcast standard, which naturally has different conditions and circumstances that it has to adhere to. From the pixel perspective, UHD images are 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels, which is not quite as big as a 4K image but certainly close enough that only a few people would be able to discern any distinction.
To add to potential confusion, while there some manufacturers who are scrupulously using the “4K UHD” designation, others are simply labeling their TVs as 4K without indicating that they are compliant with the DCI standard.
Ultimately, any sort of purchase you make will come down to the amount of thought and care you put into it, not merely taking as gospel what the salesman tells you.
We at Performance Audio feel that the best TV for a home theater would be one that is compliant with the DCI 4K standard, and we’d be happy to discuss the options available to make your next home theater set-up the best in can be.