By Marc Saltzman
You’ve no doubt seen how gorgeous today’s televisions are—just take a stroll down the electronics
aisles of your local Costco to see what I mean—but
are the latest models right for you? Ultra HD (also
called 4K) and curved-screen TVs have entered the
mainstream over the past year, and, like many other
folks, you may be wondering if it’s time to make an
upgrade. Here’s an update to help you decide.
An intro to Ultra HD
Televisions with ultra-high definition—
sometimes referred to as “Ultra HD” or simply “UHD”—
offer four times the resolution of a Full HD 1080p TV.
That is, instead of a television screen that has roughly
2 million pixels—the little dots that make up the
image—these new TVs boast more than 8 million
pixels. These televisions are also known as “4K” TVs.
Ultra HD TVs display an image so detailed it’s
like peering out a giant window. Because the picture is so lifelike, there’s also a greater sense of
depth—similar to 3D, without special glasses.
What about UHD content?
Ultra HD video is created with special equipment,
and there’s more of this content than ever before. That
includes shows from many on-demand streaming
services, such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video,
You Tube, UltraFlix, M-Go and PlayStation Video.
Some TV providers offer UHD content, too, but keep
in mind this is also streaming content and updated
cable box and/or compatible TVs are required.
If you’re streaming content, consider upgrading
your router to the new “802.11ac” Wi-Fi standard
for great results. Many new TVs are compatible
with this new standard. A few 4K media players are also available.
Keep in mind that all UHD TVs can
up-convert regular HD content to near-
The skinny on curved TVs
Companies like Samsung and LG
have begun selling curved Ultra HD TVs
that bend toward the user for a deeper cin-
ematic viewing experience. Just like a slightly
concave movie theater screen, these TVs have edges
that are closer to you than the center, giving you a
more immersive picture than a flat-screen TV.
A curved television even looks great when
turned off—an artsy conversation piece, perhaps. As
you might expect, you’ll pay a premium for a curved
TV, but prices are already starting to drop.
Choosing the right size
How big you should go boils down to budget
and personal preference. That said, those who go
with a smaller model might have buyer’s remorse,
realizing that they should’ve gone with a larger
model only after they’ve taken the TV home and set
it up. Falling prices do make it easier to jump from,
say, a 46-inch television to one that’s at least 60
inches. Arguably, the bigger the TV the better—
barring any restrictions in room size, of course.
As for how far back you should sit, a general
rule of thumb is 1. 5 to 2 times the diagonal screen
measurement. For example, if you have a 50-inch
TV, you should be sitting somewhere between 6 and
8 feet from the screen. But again, it’s largely a matter
of personal preference. Samsung says the high pixel
density of a 4K TV means you can sit up to 30 percent closer than you can with an HDTV. Make sure
to measure your available space before buying.
While all televisions come with a stand for
placement on a flat surface, another popular (and
space-saving) option is to mount the TV to a wall as
you would a painting. Just as with previous flat-panel televisions, it’s easy to mount Ultra HD TVs.
In fact, they’re thinner and lighter than the older
LCD and plasma TVs, making them even easier to
mount. Also, they’re compliant with the industry
standard for mounting (called a “VESA”-compatible
mount, as defined by the Video Electronics
There are many mounting options for curved
TVs, as well. LG includes the proper bracket free of
charge on some of its curved models, as they’re not
If you don’t want to mount the TV yourself—
perhaps you want to place it in a tricky spot, such as
over a fireplace—professionals can come to your
home to set it up for you. C
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inny on curved TVs
The Costco Connection
Costco sells a complete selection of TVs
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A look at the newest TVs