Yeah, we know. All you want to do is buy a half-decent TV for a half-decent price, hang it on your wall and get back to the World Cup highlights. If only it were that simple. With LCD, LED, 3D, 1080p, FullHD, Smart TV, 4K and UHD just the best known of the thousand and one acronyms used to describe a television set today, deciding which one to purchase can be a little bewildering.
To make it worse, the pressure is on. Statistically, you’re only likely to buy a TV once every five years or so – so the wrong choice is something you’ll have to live with for a while. Like most of us, you want to eke out every last cent of value from your budget without spending more than you can afford – but where should you start shopping.
Right now, your biggest choice is going to be between a “Full HD” set or an “Ultra HD” one. UHD screens have pixel grids of 4 096×2 160, which means there’s an incredible level of potential detail. However, they’re also still at least twice the price of a top end 1080p set. Which means that while they’re sort-of-affordable-if-you’re-well-off, they’re not exactly mass-market-affordable just yet.
So should you feel obliged to mortgage the kids, or is it better to wait until you buy your next TV to upgrade your pixel count? To make the judgement we’ve opted to look at two of the very best smart TVs from two of the world’s most highly sought-after brands.
In the blue corner we have a look at the future of television with the Samsung 55 inch F9000 ultra-high definition TV. In the red corner is the latest generation smart TV from Sony, the 50 inch KDL-50W800B.
Sony KDL-W800B (R16 000)
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What is ultra-high definition?
Ultra-high definition (UHD) simply refers to a display resolution that has four times as many pixels as a full high definition display. Where full HD has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical ones (commonly represented as 1920×1080 or 1080p) UHD has twice as many in each direction making a resolution of 3840×2160.
So what is 4k then?
4k is a term given to a picture that has a resolution of 4096×2160 but since the resolution is so similar to that of UHD the two terms have become almost interchangeable. Both YouTube and Vimeo already allow you to upload video in 4k resolution and many of the top smartphones from 2013 and 2014 allow you to record video in 4k resolution.
As soon as you set up the Sony KDL-50W800B in your lounge the first thing you will notice is just how good it looks. The display is surrounded by the thinnest of black aluminium bezels which gives the impression of an edge-to-edge display when the TV is in standby mode and are small enough to fade into obscurity when the TV is on. The TV stand is made from a single curved stainless steel rod which does a fantastic job of floating the KDL-50W800B just above the surface it’s standing on.
Sony’s televisions have traditionally offered top-draw picture quality and the KDL-50W800B is no exception. Sony’s X-reality Pro processing engine ensures that pictures are consistently sharp and vibrant with excellent looking colours from a variety of sources. The 120Hz refresh rate makes the KDL-50W800B one of the best TVs for watching fast paced action like sport or for gaming fanatics looking for a low latency panel to ensure that the latest generation of games play to perfection.
While the KDL-50W800B is a 3D TV, with two sets of active shutter 3D glasses included in the box, the 3D performance is just not as good as other TVs that we’ve had the chance to use. If you’re looking for a television specifically to view 3D content on then you are better off looking for a different model. From a Smart TV perspective the Sony app store offered a vast selection of apps to download with a quick interface that seldom felt like it was lagging, except for when it had to wait for our internet connection to play catch up. The store is not as well laid out as Samsung’s making app discovery rather cumbersome but installing and accessing apps is simple enough.
[symple_column size=”one_half”] [symple_box] “There’s an app for that!”[/symple_box] [/symple_column] [symple_box] Rating: 3.5 Stars [/symple_box]