WAS SANTA GOOD to you last month? Perhaps
Let it be smart
you found a new TV wrapped under the tree, or
maybe it was you who treated the family to one
of these big-screen beauties. Or perhaps you
received a card that says, “Go buy a nice new TV
in the post-Christmas sales for the big games.”
Regardless, you’ll no doubt love what today’s
TVs offer. But there are a few important things
to know about the new TVs to get the most out of
whatever you select. Here’s a look.
Most TVs today are “smart,” which means
they can wirelessly connect to the Internet.
Smart TVs allow you to access online content, be
it for video streaming (Netflix, HBO NOW and
so on), social networking (Facebook and
Twitter) or photo galleries, music services,
on-demand news and sports scores, a web
browser, interactive games and more.
Smart TVs come with certain apps, and
some models allow you to download more to customize the experience. Also, some models allow
you to display content from your phone or tablet, such as videos and photos, on the TV.
Also, to get the smoothest video playback
from your Smart TV apps, make sure you have a
fast router—one that offers the latest wireless
Dig the 4K
Thanks to a growing selection and falling
prices, many new TVs are ;K Ultra HD. These
new TVs offer four times the resolution of a
high-definition TV. In other words, these
screens can display more than ; million little
dots, or pixels, compared with the approximately ; million pixels displayed by a ;;;;p TV,
which translates to a much clearer and more
There are a growing number of ways to
watch ;K content: on-demand streaming services (such as Netflix); some cable or satellite
boxes from TV providers; video game consoles
like PS; Pro and Xbox One S; ;K Blu-ray players; and content you can create in ;K from your
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
appears on radio and TV,
and is the author of more
than ;; books. He’s on
Twitter at @marc_saltzman
Saltzman will answer selected
questions in this column.
He regrets that unpublished
questions cannot be
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Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
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Costco carries a wide variety
of TVs in the warehouses and
online at Costco.com. You can
also ;nd sound bars, home
theater components and the
latest routers at Costco.
Four important things to
know about the latest TVs
smartphone, POV camera and so on.
;K TVs can also upscale regular HD content
to nearly ;K quality. It’s an advanced feature if
the TV supports high dynamic range, aka HDR,
a technology that reproduces a wider range of
brightness levels, colors and contrast.
All TVs include a stand to place it on a flat
surface, but many viewers opt to mount the TV
to a wall like a painting, which frees up valuable
space, can eliminate clutter and is very secure.
In fact, new TVs are much easier to mount
than older ones, as they’re thinner and lighter,
and they’re mostly compatible with VESA standards, which means they will work with many
kinds of mounts. 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. But be sure to get a couple of quotes from
reputable installers first.
Even if you decide to keep it on a stand, it’s
important to secure the television so it won’t
Improve the sound
Regardless of their brand or size, there’s one
rap on incredibly thin televisions: Their small
size doesn’t accommodate large, room-filling
speakers. That’s why many movie buffs who
want to replicate the movie theater experience
invest in an audio-video receiver and a bunch of
speakers spread throughout the room. Surround
sound puts you in the middle of the action.
If you don’t have the money, knowledge or
space for a setup like this, you can still supersize
your TV’s audio with a sound bar. Some simulate
surround sound, while others deliver it by beaming discreet audio signals around the room.
Sound bars are easy to set up, and many
include Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly
play music from a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Some also include a wireless subwoofer to place
elsewhere in the room for that deep low-fre-quency bass. C