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Big Screen for the SuperBowl? And What to Consider for a 4K TV

See all 4K television deals.

See also Play 4K Videos on 4K TV: Load Onto USB3 Drive.

Personally I do not follow hockey, but the SuperBowl is coming, and every fan wants a big-screen TV. When purchasing a TV:

  • Don’t get suckered into “Full HD” which is half the resolution of a 4K Ultra HD TV. The 4K technology upscales Full HD beautifully: for example, The Bourne Identity (1st of series, Matt Damon) is only HD, but looks remarkably strong—looks great on a 4K set. But a Full HD television has no upside for 4K streaming or UltraHD BluRay (emerging this year).
  • Curved screen is a gimmick; stick with conventional flat screen.
  • OLED-based television is the emerging technology for best display quality but OLED-based televisions are still bleeding-edge expensive. At present only LG offers OLED, and I prefer the Sony 4K TVs myself.
  • Large size is not necessarily better: a 65" or 78" 4K TV will show all the flaws in the source material more obviously than a 55" or 45" 4K TV, and a lot of 4K and Full HD source material is technically mediocre (noise, sharpness, compression artifacts). However, screen size relates directly to viewing distance / viewing angle, the next point, so larger is warranted if viewing distance is not malleable.
  • Viewing distance should be measured because viewing angle is critical to the sense of immersion—this is no different from why viewing distance for a print matters. For example, I find a distance of 52" ± 5" to be ideal for a 65" TV for high quality source material. It’s just the right distance for an immersive feel, but any and all weaknesses are visible in the material.
  • Definitely get an extended warranty because it is a problematic to deal with a huge TV if something goes wrong. My own experience with SquareTrade warranty coverage has been positive (with an older Full HD TV).

I was and remain impressed with the Sony XBR-55X800B (now discontinued) and even more impressed with the Sony X930C. And yet the less expensive model is so good that it will surely make almost everyone happy (I was delighted, and I’m very picky). Even a starter Sony 4K TV is a better device than much of the source material out there (probably true of other brands too), akin to a mediocre lens on a high-res sensor. One can nitpick black levels and such, but the bottom line is that good 4K material on a 4K set is a game-changing viewing experience.

Recommendations — I am impressed with the two Sony 4K TVs I’ve tried (and one Full HD), so I’m going to stick to recommending Sony since I have no experience with other brands. These TVs should be at least as good as the XBR-55X800B mentioned above. All are discounted:

See also:

Sony XBR-55X800B 55" Class 4K Smart LED TV
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