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4K or 8K? The great TV dilemma - What you need to know before you buy

How to avoid the mistake of buying more TV than you need.

The good thing about constant innovation in TV technology is that is gives consumers so much choice when shopping to buy a new unit. On the other hand, it could be argued the bad thing about constant innovation in TV technology is that is gives consumers too much choice when having to decide on the best television for their needs.

The fact is, buying a television is not as simple as it used to be, when you walked in, bought the biggest brand name colour television you could afford, dropped it in the corner, hooked up the cable, and turned it on.

To maximize your investment in television technology today, you have to consider the frequency of your viewing habit, the type of content you’re watching, how and when you want to watch, where you’ll be seated in relation to the screen, and the level of picture resolution and sound quality you expect to see from your television. Then you find the best product to suit those needs. It’s a major reason why buying from a knowledgeable television retailer is so important.

“That’s what we specialize in at Thomas TV, helping people to pick the right product for their needs, not just trying to sell them something,” said Tyler Thomas, owner of Thomas TV. “We guide them toward picking what’s best for their applications. It’s what we’ve been doing for 57 years.”

One of the current dilemmas facing TV buyers is making the choice between a new 4K television or a new 8K television.

In terms of simple math, 8K would appear to give you twice the viewing enjoyment of 4K, but it doesn’t work that way.

“We get a lot of customers coming in looking for those products and there’s always a lot of questions that go with it,” said Thomas. “There are a lot of articles about it on the internet but those usually focus on the technical side and not on the practical applications, the reasons why someone would want 4k or 8K.”

Thomas said that when customers come into his showroom, they often remark on how amazing the 8K Samsungs look. They notice that the detail and depth of the picture is better than some of the other models on the floor. However, it really gets down to the type of content the buyer will be viewing most often.

“A lot of them quickly get hung up with the available content. People have a hard time with the fact there isn’t anything being broadcast in 8K other than on YouTube or streaming services.”

The fact entertainment content providers aren’t broadcasting in 8K shouldn’t be an issue to anyone thinking of purchasing one according to Thomas.

“People don’t realize that these televisions have a built in up-convertor. The up-convertor can take any 1080P - 4K content and convert it to 8K. True full 8K is better, but regular 4K up-converted is much better than regular 4K.”

Ultimately the key factor in choosing which of these televisions to buy really comes down to the source of the imagery being screened. If you’re spending hours immersed in high-def gaming platforms, watching an 8K television will provide incredible detail given the vast number of pixels in an 8K set. The same can be said if you’re watching streaming services like Stack TV, Crave, or Netflix. Even a digital TV antenna works well. On the other hand if you plan to stay with basic cable or old analog sources like a VCR you won’t get much benefit from an 8K TV.

“If you’re not really going to be watching a lot of content that demands 8K then a 4K television would be more than enough. The only reason you’d buy an 8K at that point would be if you have to sit really close to it because of space. If your room layout was such that you’re sitting close to the TV and you want to have a 65,75, or 85-inch TV, 8K is going to look at lot better no matter what content you’re watching.”

Ultimately, Thomas says it’s really up to the individual as to what they like to see when viewing their television. If it’s detail they are after, those details are enhanced with an 8K television. It’s one reason why many photographers use an 8K screen as a monitor so they can analyze the quality of their photos.

For the average Joe watching the Jays all summer, the Leafs all winter, and the odd TV show, a top-quality 4K television will provide hours of enjoyment. Given that people often buy televisions from drug stores, hardware stores, and even grocery stores, Thomas says pay attention to what you’re buying.

“People will buy a television at the supermarket and then wonder why it doesn’t have a great picture. They get fooled because it says 4K on the box. Not all televisions are created equal. Some are built just to be sold for $499, not because they offer a great picture.”

Come in and let the experts at Thomas TV help you determine the best television for your needs. Visit Thomas TV at 130 Thorold Road West in Welland. Or connect online.