Q. I just got a 43-inch 4K TV and I’ve been adjusting the settings to make the 4K and 4K HDR look better. But I’m not sure if I got the right set. I wonder if I should have gotten a bigger TV. What do you think? Can 4K TV and HDR look great on a 43-inch 4K TV? — Dane, Los Angeles.
Short answer: No.
4K TV can deliver four times the resolution of a High-Definition TV, and a 4K program in HDR (High Dynamic Range) can add additional color and realism to the picture. But you need a large-screen 4K TV to fully appreciate the extra resolution of 4K. And you need a large-screen 4K, HDR-enabled TV to see all the benefits of HDR.
People keep buying smaller 4K screens because they are less expensive, and the TV manufacturers are heavily promoting them to increase their volume sales. (I suspect the TV makers are also pushing smaller-screen 4K TVs because they know people will soon upgrade to a larger-screen when they discover 4K doesn’t look much better on the smaller set. That way, they sell two sets rather than one.)
When you look at a 4K show on a 43-inch or 32-inch 4K TV, the picture will be okay, but you will not notice an increase in detail, clarity or vividness, all elements of an enhanced 4K picture. Instead, the picture will largely look like something you would see on a decent high-def TV. That’s not bad, but it’s not what you are paying for.
Trust me on this, Dane. I speak from personal experience.
I purchased a 55-inch LG OLED 4K TV a few years ago. When I started watching 4K programming, I was disappointed. Even with the benefits of OLED, the 4K picture didn’t seem much better than HD unless I sat very close to the screen, as close as 2 or 3 feet, in fact.
As you can imagine, that got old after awhile, and I eventually upgraded to a Sony 75-inch 4K TV. And I’m glad I did. The 4K picture looks much better. While I still watch the OLED TV because it’s a great TV, it’s mostly for shows in high-def.
So, Dane, if you like your 43-inch TV, that’s great. But if you’re looking for a eye-popping 4K experience, you won’t get it.
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— Phillip Swann