You’re buying a new TV, and you are bamboozled by all the terms that describe the features within the new models.
Let me cut through the tech and help you with some of the top line terms being used in TV marketing and product development.
What is 4K & Ultra High Definition?
When we were young, there was no talk of the definition of the TV – it was all about adjusting the vertical hold and horizontal balance of the TV and getting the antenna right to get the snow and shadowing off the screen.
But when things went digital we started to hear about Standard Definition vs High Definition.
To put it simply, the better the resolution of the TV – or the higher the definition – the more pixels there are in the picture, meaning a clearer picture for you to see.
This is ever more important time for you to consider higher definition televisions because when you buy a bigger TV you’re more likely to see the detail. Looking at a “HD” TV in 60 inches even if you’re watching great source content, will never look as good as a 4K picture on a 60 inch TV.
What is HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range – in simple terms, a TV that is capable of HDR, can show HDR content – normal free to air television might not be broadcast in HDR, but when you’re flicking into your Netflix Subscription or the latest 4K movies – you’re going to want HDR.
It means that the TV is capable of showing a greater range of both colours and contrast. The best example of this is a scene where there is a lot of buildings or shade in the foreground, while in the background and above is a bright cloudy sky. A TV without HDR might show an almost single colour sky and white clouds, while a HDR capable TV will show a blue sky with gradient, white clouds and a lot of the texture of the clouds.
What is Dolby Vision?
Dolby Vision is an advanced technology which allows a movie maker to send not just pictures to your screen but also a bit of information too which helps the TV adjust the HDR – or high dynamic range to suit the movie, but not just once, it does it scene by scene, creating mind-blowing picture quality.
Rather than having an “on or off” setting for HDR on a movie or show, Dolby Vision allows the creator of the movie to choose the level of HDR on a scene by scene basis to ensure you really see the movie as they intended it.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Once you have the picture covered, you need to think about sound.
Dolby Atmos is something which you’ll start to see appearing in many more TVs including the 2019 range of Hisense TVs.
You’ve probably heard of surround sound before – where the sound in a movie or tv show comes from both in front and behind you – well at its simplest, Dolby Atmos takes that to the next level with sound coming from above you too, creating an immersive experience like no other.
What is Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa?
You might have seen or even own a smart speaker like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, but in many smart modern TVs we’re seeing that built into the TV itself.
This allows you to use the remote to summon your assistant of choice to do the basic voice assistant features but also in many new TVs it will also perform functions of the TV like volume, channel changes and even universal search functions to find something to watch.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Ahh, the ultimate buzzword bingo – Artificial Intelligence – or AI. True Artificial Intelligence is a next level concept that has computers making decisions for themselves and most importantly learning from those decisions and growing their overall level of intelligence.
How AI is incorporated into TVs is not actually through an ongoing knowledge growth, but in the work that was done to build the TV’s own intelligence.
For example, some TV companies have spent hundreds of hours using computers to analyse pictures and make decisions about how a picture should look – how bright it should be, how it should be displayed.
That knowledge then becomes the TV’s brain.
It is possible that knowledge can be improved over time, but that would only happen via a firmware or software upgrade.
AI is a powerful tool and when incorporated into a TV should mean a better picture, and when combined with Internet Connected Voice assistants a very smart TV.
What is the User Interface?
I think this might be the most important feature of any TV – In fact, I encourage people when looking at TVs in store to ask to use the remote and just see how easy the menus are to navigate and use.
A User Interface is what the icons and buttons on screen look like when you are navigating settings and channels.
The User Interface is an area big TV companies have been investing a lot in of late. From making getting to your apps easier to having easy to navigate settings.
It can be a complex name given to the User Interface, but it’s a way of identifying one against another.
For example Hisense’ VIDAA U 3.0 AI – that’s just a complex way of telling you what operating system the TV is using – in this case VIDAA U, and then what version it is, and for 2019 that’s 3.0 – the AI in the 2019 models means it has that built in artificial intelligence to help make the TV more responsive to your personal viewing habits.
Grab that remote at the store and press the HOME button to see what it looks like, see how easy it is to get to your favourite apps, inputs and settings.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.