As the latest slew of TVs begins to arrive on store shelves, the head-spinning amount of technical jargon and marketing mumbo-jumbo can make it difficult to work out what to buy.
Here, we make it easy. This quick guide to the latest 2017 TVs explains what you can expect.
For more help finding your perfect set, check out all of our best buy TVs.
1. Sony and Panasonic embrace OLED
OLED TVs have been about for a while but you can expect more options than ever this year. These pricey sets have organic cells that produce their own light source, differing from the standard LED-backlit LCD displays. This is said to give the deepest possible blacks and excellent motion processing.
Last year, if you wanted an OLED TV, LG would have been your only option. But now Sony and Panasonic are set to launch competitively priced OLED TVs as well, albeit using LG’s panels. Samsung is now the only major TV manufacturer without an OLED TV.
2. Samsung QLED – a new term for an existing technology
In response to OLED, Samsung has coined a confusingly similar term for a markedly different technology: QLED. The ‘Q’ stands for quantum dot, a screen technology it has been developing in recent years. We saw quantum dot technology last year in the high-end Samsung KS7000, KS8000 and KS9000 TVs, but it’s under the new moniker QLED this year.
Samsung claims to have improved the technology for 2017. A new backlighting system is said to throw light in more directions giving wider viewing angles. And better colour accuracy should give punchy, vibrant colours. Of course we’ll put all this to the test in our lab.
3. More Freeview Play
The smart electronic programme guide – which integrates catch-up TV into the channel chooser – has been around for a couple years now. Panasonic was the first TV manufacturer to get on board in 2015, but LG brought it to its TVs last year.
And the number of TVs with Freeview Play will increase even more this year. All smart TVs from Panasonic and LG will come pre-installed with this system. And Hisense, JVC and Toshiba have all announced some of their TVs will have it.
Find out more about Freeview Play with our complete guide.
4. High Dynamic Range
The phrase on every manufacturer’s lips last year was ‘High Dynamic Range’ (or HDR). And the technology – said to give deeper blacks, brighter whites and more subtlety of tone in between – will be even more prominent this year.
To make the most of it, you need to find HDR content. And so far, it’s remained elusive. But with Netflix and Amazon Video streaming more shows in HDR, a growing number of titles coming to ultra-HD Blu-ray and the BBC trialling broadcasts, it’s worth considering an HDR set if you’re looking for a new TV this year.
5. The death of 3D
Expensive glasses and lack of things to watch meant 3D never really got going. Samsung dropped support for 3D in 2016, and the two remaining holdouts, LG and Sony, have now followed suit. So, unless you’ve already got a big collection of 3D Blu-rays that you want to be able to watch, 3D shouldn’t be on your list of ‘must-have’ features for your new TV.
Check out our TV reviews for all the latest results from our labs.