4K OLED or 4K HDR – which premium TV is right for you?
Big-budget 4K TVs are real blockbusters when it comes to picture quality – but should you go 4K OLED or 4K HDR?
29 Mar 2016
If you’re buying a new TV this summer, it’s likely you’ll choose a 4K set. The TVs are much more affordable now, and they’re available in smaller, living-room friendly sizes.
They’re 4 times sharper than Full HD TVs, and there’s plenty to watch in 4K now with channels like BT Sport Ultra HD, Netflix streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray.
You can now buy a 4K UHD TV for less than £500.
But if you want the best-of-the-best, no-expense-spared telly you have two options: A 4K OLED TV or a 4K HDR TV.
The two major TV technologies of this age are 4K UHD and OLED. 4K UHD is a screen resolution, whereas OLED is an actual type of screen, which can have different picture resolutions.
OLED TVs are known for their exceptional contrast, superb viewing angle and incredibly slim design. You can buy an OLED TV with Full HD resolution, or one with 4K resolution.
The 4K resolution is 4 times sharper than Full HD. It packs in more than 8 million pixels into your screen, compared to over 2 million with a Full HD telly.
Regular 4K TVs are made with the same screen technology as Full HD TVs – an LED screen with a backlight.
But a 4K OLED TV is made with an OLED screen. These don’t need a backlight, as each pixel that makes up the screen can turn itself on and off organically. You can enjoy deep black colours and bright whites. OLED TVs can produce deeper shades of black than any other TV.
They’re also fantastic for watching football, as they have minimal motion blur. So as the ball is pinged around the picture should stay smooth. When you add that to the super-sharp resolution of 4K, you have an unbelievably great picture.
Another great thing about OLED is you don’t need special OLED content for a fantastic experience – even regular TV looks sensational.
4K OLED TVs are only made by LG and Panasonic, and they’re at the very top of our price range.
Until recently, a 4K OLED TV had hands-down a much better picture quality than a regular 4K UHD TV. But this is starting to change, largely down to the emergence of a TV technology called HDR.
HDR stands for high dynamic range, originally a photography term. When the top TVs of 2016 were first shown off at the CES tech show in Las Vegas in January, many of them incorporated HDR technology.
It works in tandem with 4K. So whereas 4K increases the number of pixels your TV has, HDR make those pixels better.
‘HDR is set to change the way we see colour and detail in our homes,’ says our large screen TV buyer, James Parker. Like OLED, HDR delivers exceptional contrast to your TV.
Light colours are brighter and dark colours deeper. When watching something like Batman, you’ll be able to see detail in the dark scenes. Things like grass and human hair are more vivid.
But unlike OLED you need content recorded or broadcast in HDR to get the full benefit. Amazon Instant already has HDR content available and Netflix will have some later this year. Plus, many of the new Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will be HDR-friendly.
Some of our new high-end TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG are 4K HDR
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