Mantel Mount | January 31, 2024

Things to Know Before Buying a TV: Your New TV Buying Guide

Buying a new television can be quite the process. There are a multitude of checklist items that you’ll likely want to take into consideration beforehand. No matter if you plan to physically buy the product or visit an online store to make your purchase, you must understand what you’ll need first.

Here, we have the ultimate new tv buying guide for you and your family. Because electronic items, especially larger pieces like televisions, are more of an investment than inexpensive items you may buy without any knowledge, we’ve laid out some of the things to know before buying a tv

Things to Know Before Buying a TV Checklist

Despite prices of televisions decreasing fairly substantially over the past decade, buying a tv — and its accessories — is still a purchase that takes a fair bit of consideration. Before heading to a big box store that has all types of televisions with noise emanating from the back of the shop, take a look at this checklist showcasing things to know before buying a tv. This way, you don’t end up overwhelmed and leave the store empty handed. 

  1. The type of television wanted
  2. The dimensions of the space, including how far away the television will be from the couch or main seating area
  3. The essentials and accessories you will likely need to enhance your tv-viewing experience

Types of Televisions

The first checklist item is likely to be figuring out the type of television you’d like to purchase. From LED and LCD televisions to OLEDs and QLEDs, there are quite a few types of tvs to keep in mind as you research. Luckily, we have a blog on the difference between a plasma and LED tvs. After reading that article, if you’re still unsure of the type of television you need for your space, we break down the types, here.

  1. Plasma 

Plasma tvs utilize tiny compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that are, depending on the circuit regulating the television’s screen pixels, turned on and turned off to create the on-screen picture. It will likely be difficult to find any 2023 plasma televisions as they are not manufactured anymore. 

  1. LED

Instead of gas or plasma, an LED television, or Light Emitting Diode television, emits light to make use of the backlight. LED tvs tend to be slightly less expensive than OLED and QLED (we’ll get there soon) as the image quality isn’t as matured or advanced as the aforementioned LED tvs. LED televisions tend to be slim, so they can easily be attached to a pulldown wall mount or placed in a smaller space on top of a credenza or entertainment console.

  1. LCD

LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and is the same display definition as an LED television. Although an LED uses light for the tv’s display, an LCD television utilizes liquid crystals to showcase the backlight of the tv’s picture.

  1. OLED

An OLED is extremely similar to the baseline LED television, however, it does stand for organic light emitting diode. OLED technology embraces organic molecules as they emit light from each individual pixel, allowing the pixels to be only on when needed. 

  1. QLED

Another complementary television to the foundational LED tv is the QLED which utilizes quantum dot nanocrystals as part of its backlight. Although both OLED and QLED are a step up in terms of picture quality from an LED, both have their pros and cons. The OLED is known to have a better picture quality, including color contrast, than the QLED; but the QLED often has a picture that is brighter than the OLED’s image.


What’s more, although it’s extremely similar to the QLED, a subset of that type of television is the Neo QLEDs. If you see one of those while out tv shopping, the slightest contrast is found in the Neo televisions. They use mini LEDs for the image backlights instead of the normal size that is found in a QLED.


Ultra High Definition: 4K and 8K TVs 

Ultra High Definition, otherwise known as Ultra HD or UHD, speaks to the resolution of electronics like smartphones and tablets, but usually focuses on the television. UHD is often the broad term for 4K resolution, however, it’s now expanded to include 8K resolution. The ratio that is defined for UHDs is a 16 by 9 aspect ratio with the minimum pixel resolution set at 3,840 by 2,160. Similar to the 4K Ultra HD televisions which use nearly 4,000 pixels, the 8K version, you guessed it, has a resolution that’s double 4K at 7,680 by 4,320. 

As the name suggests, UHDs have a great definition to their picture. As such, if you purchase a television that is a 4K or an 8K UHD, you should expect extremely clear image quality for its resolution, especially considering the size of the television. It’s a good idea, however, to not get your hopes up if you’re expecting a large range of 4K or 8K UHD televisions. It’s not necessarily needed due to constraints of screen type of the tvs as well as the type of camera necessary for shooting to those resolutions. High definition and Ultra HD screens tend to use the same resolution size, so the quality of the image would look nearly identical. 

Another note to consider is the lack of resources for 8K televisions in the United States. Most of the consumable content for 8K resolution tv watching is found in Japan. So although the 8K Ultra HD tvs are impressive and have near impeccable image color and quality, the financial burden of buying one versus the offerings of 8K shows or movies is not yet worthwhile.

 

An infographic of digital tv images in descending resolution order going towards the center of the image.

Smart TVs versus Smart Gadgets

What’s the deal with smart televisions? Do you need a smart tv and smart gadgets, like a Fire Stick or Roku? 

For all intents and purposes, a smart television is the same as any other type of television that we have just been commented on. However, smart televisions have the capability to access and connect to the internet for the tv to allow for streaming services and checking out websites.

Because smart televisions are automatically connected to the internet, the streaming service apps can be downloaded; then, once a user logs into the app (like Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Disney+, YouTube, and many more), the shows, movies, and documentaries are able to be watched with a press or two of a button.

As far as smart gadgets go, one of the most popular items in the genre is a smart speaker system. With smart speakers, similar to most smart televisions, you are able to speak to the speaker system if it has a digital assistant. For example, you can say, “Hey Siri!” or “Alexa, play my Cooking Spotify playlist” and it will bring up whatever you ask in a booming audio experience.

Another smart gadget that has been a game changer for many households are smart remotes. By using a smart remote, you don’t have to worry about remembering what channel your favorite show is on. You’ll simply select the microphone, speak to the remote, and the television — through the remote’s request — will bring up whatever query you had. 

And what about media streaming items like Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV? With each device, it’s smart (pun intended) to decipher what other items’ experiences might be enhanced if you have one of the media streaming devices. Are you a big Apple user and have a Mac, an iPhone, and an Apple Watch? It might be worthwhile to consider purchasing an Apple TV 4K device to round out your experience and make it a fruitful decision with your brand loyalty. 

Dimensions To Know for Your Space

After you’ve figured out the type of tv you’re looking for, and if you are going to mount it or place it on a console of sorts, the next step is to figure out where to place the television. 

One “hack” that could be used before purchasing the television, or after purchasing but before unwrapping the television, is to create a “stand-in” television. All you need is the back of a poster board, a large piece of cardboard, or even possibly even a panel of a moving box. Then, you can add a piece of tape to it and affix it to your wall or other surface. That way, you can move the “television” around the room without fear of dropping the real tv, but still understand where best the tv looks within the space and dimensions of the room.

Keep in mind the size of the television versus the space available for the couch, coffee table, and other furniture pieces, in addition to the angle of the television. Is there enough room for you to not squint at a brightly lit television? Is there glare at a certain angle of the spot you’d like to have your tv placed? When considering a mounted tv and the angle you’d like it placed, there are tv mounts, like an articulating, tilted, or full motion pull down tv mounts that could help reduce glare and enhance the viewing experience by allowing you to watch with the bottom third of your tv screen below eye-level. 

If you go down the route of wanting a tv mount, you will have to decide if you're looking for a more static, "behind the scenes" accessory to simply support the tv and do little else, or — if you’re seeking a bigger, better, more interactive home entertainment experience with advanced motion capabilities and unique features — a "pull down tv mount", a newer type of tv mount that has an exceedingly popular interest and brings a home theater-like experience to any room you choose.

Unsure of the right size tv for the room your new tv will be in? Read this blog on four considerations to think about and things to know before buying a tv, including the popular tv sizes and how they’re normally placed on furniture. 

Are you looking for more tips that suggest how to design a room around a television, or at the very least, how far away from the tv the furniture should be? Read our blog on that, which includes details about the furniture-to-tv ratio, and see the image below.
An infographic showcasing a digital tv mounted across from a couch with a plant and end table with the proper ratio for the tv size and where the furniture should be placed.

TV and Entertainment Essentials to Look For

Once you have (or possibly even before you have) purchased your new tv, then is the decision to enhance your tv-watching experience. Not only can viewers enhance their experience through updating control settings on the tv itself — like color balancing as well as bass and treble editing — but users can purchase essential items like a pull down tv wall mount and a sound bar adapter, amongst other things.

TV Wall Mount

When searching for a pull down tv wall mount, the MantelMount MM540 Enhanced is a customer favorite, while the MM700 Premier is an in-house employee favorite. For those who have bought larger televisions, the MM700 is likely the better candidate for the pull down tv wall mount as it is capable of holding televisions up to 115 pounds. All MantelMount pull down tv mounts, including the MM340 Standard, MM540, and MM700, are VESA compatible up to 600x600.

 

Compare our range of pull down tv wall mounts

 

A tv wall mount is a perfect companion. After purchasing a new tv and transforming your space, you can ensure your television is out of the way as it sits flush against the wall, and there’s not a large space taken up on top of the entertainment console or credenza. 

To enhance the comfort and clarity of watching at eye-level — and to maintain streamlined interior design — a tv mount is an ideal, or rather essential, piece to the tv entertainment puzzle. What’s more, with a tv mount that has pull down, articulating and tilt capabilities, general tv viewing now becomes an enhanced entertainment experience, from a comfort, engagement and satisfaction standpoint.

Although watching your favorite show or movies or sporting events with your television placed on a piece of furniture like a credenza, or on a static tv wall mount can offer quality downtime, to get the most out of the investment of your television and your entire home entertainment environment, the best bet is to purchase and utilize all that a pull down tv mount has to offer.

From the picture color and clarity of the tv at eye-level, to the tv mount angle and height adjustability that maximizes the viewers' physical comfort and programming engagement levels, a pull down tv mount offers an experience that caters to the audience's particular viewing desires every time they watch television.

Sound Bar Adapter

Are you an A/V geek? Or do you simply want to experience the best sound from your tv-watching time? A sound bar adapter, like our MantelMount SBXL Sound Bar Adapter XL, is great for creating an even more robust audio experience while watching your favorite show or movie. What’s ideal about the Sound Bar Adapter is that all of our pull down tv mounts can accommodate the sound bar (purchasing the MM340 Standard does not come with the sound bar attachment so it is a smart buy if you’d want to enhance the audio), so you can place it either below or above the television. 

Other Accessories to Consider

A pull down tv mount and a sound bar adapter are likely the top two essentials on the accessories list for many new tv purchasers, however, other items to put on the shopping list include:

  • Kits or boxes for routing and hiding cables
  • HDMI cables
  • Converters and/or adapters for HDMI cables that are compatible with DVD players, Xbox, VCRs, or other systems
  • Surge protector outlets

Although the tv buying process can be a somewhat lengthy one with some weighty decisions, it shouldn’t be as harrowing of an experience as it once was, nor should it be anxiety-fueled. Now that you have new, or possibly updated, knowledge on the tv buying experience thanks to this new tv buying guide, it should be a painless and fun experience; once you have a new tv, you can relax and enjoy lounging with your favorite shows, movies, and sports games.