5 On Your Side

What you need to know if you're hunting for a new TV

Posted November 21, 2017 8:48 a.m. EST

Black Friday brings great deals on new technology, but the number of TV sets that consumers can purchase can be mind-boggling.

From OLED to UHD to HDR and 4K, the terms can be confusing. The new technology means new jargon to learn for the next step in picture clarity.

"You'll see a lot more 4K TVs," said Consumer Reports' Electronics Editor James Wilcox. "Those are TVs with higher resolution screens"

4K and UHD—ultra high definition—refer to the same thing: They both have four times as many pixels as regular high-definition televitions. The boost in pixels means a sharper, more detailed picture.

In addition to the flood of sharper images, there are also more smart TVs, which connect right to the internet. Owners can access streaming video services like Netflix or Amazon directly from the TV without a separate media player.

HDR is becoming more common, too, but it's different than high-definition.

"HDR, or high dynamic range technology, can boost a TV's brightness, colors and contrast so that the images you see are closer to like what you see in real life," Wilcox said.

HDR also offers a wider color range. Consumer Reports says it's sort of like giving a TV a bigger box of Crayons to play with.

For people in the market for a higher-end TV, the term OLED will pop up. OLED stands for organic light-emitting diodes, which make black levels truly black, so colors look more vibrant and images seem to really pop off the screen.

OLEDs are still pricey, but Consumer Reports expects prices to fall as more companies start making them.