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Innovations: As Seen on TV

Before settling in for the big game—or a long winter’s binge-watch—now might be the time to spring for a new television

Written by Sally Finder Weepie

Q. Why would I want to buy a new TV? 

A. Because the picture quality has gotten so much better—and a great TV set is now so much more affordable. “The new thing in TV is Ultra HD Premium, or 4K HDR,” says Shelly Palmer, tech guru and CEO of The Palmer Group. “It’s the new standard in consumer video monitors and television sets—4K sets have four times the pixels of good old-fashioned HDTVs and come in practical sizes.”

Q. What’s so cool about Ultra HD? 

A. “Picture quality is extraordinary,” Palmer says. “The wide color gamut and high dynamic range of Ultra HD Premium (4K HDR) is breathtaking.”

Q. I’m not going to buy a TV now and then find out next year that something better has come along, right? 

A. “There’s no point in waiting,” Palmer says. This technology is going to stick around for a while. “If you are in the market for a television set, go ahead and buy the biggest 4K HDR set you can afford.”

Q. What shows can I watch in 4K? 

A. “You can best enjoy 4K via streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime,” Palmer says. (Yep, you can already put House of Cards, Stranger Things, and Breaking Bad on the 4K binge-watch list.) “Cable and satellite companies also have some offerings. And more content becomes available every day.” Plus, no worries if your favorite show has yet to debut in glorious 4K. “All 4K sets up-convert, which means they will take a regular HD signal and make it look great,” Palmer says.

Q. What are my best bets for a great set? 

A. “Look for the Ultra HD Premium or 4K HDR logo on the TV,” Palmer says. “Stick with well-known manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG, or Sony. Cheaper is not always better. At the low end of the market, the quality of smart TV functions may be severely diminished. If you buy a cheap smart TV, what you’re really getting is a dumb TV with an obsolete computer inside.”