Choosing a Smart TV is no simple feat as TVs are now much more than just for watching movies.
Some can serve as control hubs for other Smart devices in your home if you have the right ecosystem. While others are better for specific purposes – like gaming.
See how you can differentiate between the many models of Smart TVs out there with this guide on how to choose a Smart TV!
What Is A Smart TV?
Simply put, Smart TVs run on an OS (similar to smartphones or tablets) which can connect to the internet.
This allows you to access streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, etc along with other web-based applications and this may include your favorite social media platforms too.
Another prominent feature of Smart TVs is device-casting, where you can mirror your device’s screen onto the TV which is far more convenient than using a remote!
PS: A TV Box offers nearly the same features as a Smart TV, and might be the better option if you already own a high-quality TV set.
What Do You Need For A Smart TV
For a smooth viewing experience:
You’ll need reliable high-speed internet and a good Wi-Fi connection or ethernet cable (to connect directly to your router).
PS: 4K streaming services need at least 25Mbps to watch without buffering.
What Are The Advantages & Disadvantages Of A Smart TV?
- Use apps on a bigger screen
- Streaming capabilities
- Higher resolution than the best budget smartphones!
- Some models double as a hub to communicate and control your other Smart devices
- Requires a large amount of space
- Needs a fast internet connection
Smart TV Tracking
Namely, your browsing data can be monitored and collected by certain parties, who will try to sell you products and services based on your interests!
Even reputable brands like Sony, Toshiba and Samsung partake in Smart TV tracking!
What Can You Do To Safeguard Yourself? (Smart TV Security)
- Use a VPN
- Disable cookies
Choosing The Best Smart TV
Obviously, it has to fit your house and be a comfortable distance for you to watch!
Here’s a rough formula:
Take the distance (inches) between your sofa and where you want the TV to be. Multiply that number by 0.84.
And that should be the TV screen size you should look for!
2. TV Resolution
Bigger screens will need more pixels (i.e. higher resolution) for crispy clear videos/ pictures!
Whatever you choose, it should at least support full HD (1080p) or 4K (also known as Ultra HD)!
If you’re planning to game on your Smart TV, don’t settle for 1080p as games are moving on to 4K.
Note: You don’t need that 8K resolution TV just yet!
3. Display Technology
This is the way the pixels are lit up. And the technology might sound confusing but this is what you need to know:
OLED uses electric current to light up the pixels so they have a:
- Quick response time
- Great contrast (black means no light at all)
- Higher price tag as they are more expensive to make
- OLED screens can be really thin
- Any viewing angle will look great
Are OLED Screens Worth It?
No (at least not for casual users).
Although OLED screens perform faster than and have better contrast compared to LED screens, the high cost doesn’t make sense.
Especially when there are still cost-friendly LED LCD TVs that can offer great picture quality for less!
3.2. LED LCD
LED LCD screens use white LEDs to light up (i.e. backlight) the LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, offering you:
- Sharper images
- Natural-looking lighting
For LED LCDs, these are further categorized into:
- IPS (In Plane Switching) TV – Best for: watching at an angle and wide angles, in general (i.e. sports)
- VA TV – Best for: watching movies in a dark room
Note: We’ll label this under “sub-type” in the list below.
And there are even more terms that you may hear about for LCD displays:
Direct Or Edge LED?
Neither technology is better than the other. As this mostly depends on your personal preference (e.g. high contrast, brightness).
Here’s how they differ:
Direct LED (sometimes written as D-LED):
- May be bulky
- More power hungry
- Uniform backlight
- Black looks dark grey
- Brighter overall
- Doesn’t use as much power
- Better contrast
- Backlight not as uniform
- Prone to backlight bleeding
4. Picture Quality High Dynamic Range (HDR)
This is the TV’s ability to improve on picture quality.
A TV with High Dynamic Range (HDR) will emphasize the brightest and darkest area of a picture/ video. As well as improve the color range.
Therefore, you should aim to get a Smart TV with HDR support (HDR10+ is the latest) or Dolby Vision if you like having bold and bright colors for your viewing experience.
5. Do I Need Alexa, Google Assistant, Or Siri Built-In?
Voice control offers you a similar experience to using one of the best smartwatch in Malaysia:
Allowing you to use your voice to control the TV and any other Smart devices you might have at home.
Hence, you should also consider what most of your other Smart devices use too for smoother integration. You never know if you may want to upgrade your home to a Smart home system!
At the end of the day, having a voice assistant is not absolutely necessary but it is considered part and parcel of a Smart TV so it’s highly recommended you get one that comes with it.
6. Operation System (OS)
Apart from technical properties, the operating system that comes with your TV is also a key factor, with Android TVs being the main OS found in many brands.
Each operating system has different app libraries, connectivity options, and even varying degrees of app/developer support for the TV!
If you’d like to know more, check out our article on Smart TVs VS Android TVs, and how OS differences may affect your viewing performance.
7. Trusted Brand
Chances are, you’ve already heard of these best Smart TV brands in Malaysia:
Note: Not in any particular order.
These brands have been around for years in Malaysia and that’s a good thing because you can always find a store that stocks these brands.
The same goes for service centers in Malaysia if your TV happens to run into problems. If you happen to buy a generic brand from elsewhere (e.g., China), how will you get it repaired in Malaysia?
Larger TVs with more features tend to be more expensive.
So, if you’re really looking to stay within budget:
It might be a good idea to get a smaller TV with a sufficient pixel count rather than a larger screen which offers the same resolution, but with the pixel count stretched out.
9. All Other Features To Consider
- Warranty Period
- Wall mount, or stand options
- High quality cables– cheap cables may impact visual experience
- Multiple HDMI ports (especially for gamers)
- Bluetooth connectivity – for headphones, wireless earbuds and other peripherals
- At least HDMI 2.0 support – HDMI 2.1 is the latest
- Decent audio performance
- Brightness (nits) – New TVs offer more than 1,500 nits
- High refresh rate – 60Hz at least but 120Hz and above is preferrable for serious gaming or for watching live action sports
You know what’s not as important these days? Built-in speakers. Because average-sounding build-in sound systems are unavoidable due to how thin TVs are getting.
But a soundbar can compensate for that!
It’s not just your budget (and what you will be mainly using a Smart TV for) that come into play when it comes to choosing a Smart TV.
Remember to consider edge or direct lighting, resolution and screen size when buying the best Smart TV in Malaysia.