The average American only replaces their TV once every seven or eight years, so it’s a purchase you really want to make sure you get right.
You’ll want to do your homework because odds are a lot has changed since you bought your last television. Best Buy’s TV Buying Guide is a great place to start for everything you need to know about the latest technology, like 4K Ultra HD and high dynamic range.
But it’s also important to know what not to do. So here’s a quick look at five common TV-buying mistakes and some tips for how to avoid them.
1. Buying a new TV that is too small
When it comes to TVs, bigger is usually better. Today’s 4K Ultra HD televisions provide stunning picture quality, and a big screen will give you the immersive viewing experience you want for watching the Big Game.
To calculate a general recommendation for the minimum viewing distance, multiple the size of the screen by 1.5. So for a 60-inch TV, you should sit at least 90 inches (7.5 feet) away. However, if you’re buying a 4K Ultra HD TV, you can sit much closer than that and still maintain a clear picture.
“A lot of people still think you shouldn’t go with a 65-inch or even think about a 75-inch if you’re sitting 10 feet away, but that’s not the case with 4K,” said Javier Cazaris, Magnolia Home Theater expert at the Best Buy store in Park Lane, Texas. “With 4K, you can pretty much go as big as you want.”
2. Buying a new TV that is too big
Admittedly, this isn’t as big of an issue as going too small. But it’s all about finding the right TV for your space.
Going too big can create a not-so-awesome viewing experience in a small room — sort of like sitting in the front row at the movie theater. And if it’s not 4K, it might even look blurry up close.
If budget constraints force you to choose between size and picture quality, Javier offers this advice:
“I’ll recommend that customers step down in size and up in quality. Because, at the end of the day, your TV is all about picture quality.”
3. Not thinking about the future
You want to make sure your new TV is going to serve you well for years to come. And, nowadays, that means you definitely want to look into 4K Ultra HD.
Streaming services already offer 4K content, and with 4K televisions becoming so popular, more content is sure to follow. Plus, all the 4K TVs Best Buy sells are capable of upscaling standard high-definition content to near-4K quality.
“Don’t buy a TV just for now. Buy one for the future,” Javier said. “Some people don’t want to be the early adopter of the latest technology, but 4K is already here. And it’s going to become the standard to be relevant for future technologies.”
4. Skipping the sound
Today’s TVs are thinner than ever, which is great because it makes them lighter and sleeker. But something has to give — and that something is sound quality.
The built-in speakers in new TVs have become smaller and less powerful, so you’re going to want a sound bar or surround-sound system. If you’ve got a jaw-dropping picture, you want to make sure you’ve got great sound to go with it, right?
“You have to determine what kind of an experience you want,” Javier said. “Sounds bars are a quick fix, and they do make different levels of sounds bars. We can show you which sound setup is best for you and your budget.”
5. Bringing the wrong car to pick it up
You’ve picked out the perfect TV — it’s the right size and quality at the right price. Now you need to get it home.
Best Buy offers free delivery for any television that’s 51 inches or larger, but if you want to do it yourself, please be sure to bring the right vehicle to the store. That 70-incher isn’t going to fit into the back of your hatchback.
These ultra-thin TVs are also ultra-fragile, so manufacturers recommend that they should always be stored and transported in the upright position. Don’t lay them down flat — ever. Don’t drive home with them sticking halfway out of the trunk. And don’t strap them to the roof.
Here’s a quick guide for what vehicle you’ll need:
- A midsize car for up to 43 inches
- A full-size car for up to 46 inches
- A midsize SUV for up to 51 inches
- A full-size SUV for up to 60 inches
Once you do get it home, don’t try to carry or mount your new TV alone. Have someone help you or hire Geek Squad to install and set it up.