5 On Your Side

Ultra HD TVs can enhance the viewing experience

Posted September 15, 2014 5:46 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2014 6:35 p.m. EDT

— Are ultra HD televisions worth the cost?

Consumer Reports Senior Editor Jim Willcox says they have a lot to offer.

"Ultra HD TVs have four times the number of pixels as regular high-definition sets, so they're capable of razor-sharp detail, especially if you stand up close," he said.

But when standing or sitting farther away – such as the distance between the living room couch and the television – testers found that the difference between an ultra HD television and a regular high-definition set can be difficult to make out.

WRAL’s Documentary Unit was the first in the country to produce a local program in ultra HD with “Take Me Out to the Bulls Game.”

But overall, there’s not much local ultra HD content.

“So that means you’ll be watching a lot of regular HD content on your ultra HD TV,” Willcox said.

But that may be a good thing because testers said the enhanced television can “upconvert” regular HD programs, making details look smoother.

What differentiates ultra HD televisions is how well they “upconvert,” Willcox said.

"If your TV breaks, you might want to consider an ultra HD TV,” he said. “But for most people, a regular high performing, 1080p high-definition TV is still a great option."

An ultra HD television costs between $2,000 and $8,000.

Here’s three to consider, all of which are Consumer Reports Best Buys:

  • Sharp Aquos LC-60EQ10U for $1,300
  • Samsung UN60H6350 for $1,400
  • LG 60PB6600, a plasma TV, for $850