The following section lists the main terms you will encounter in the description of any current TV. Some are known to everyone, others are more niche – we will try, in any case, to describe them in accessible words, easy to understand by any of our readers:
Refers to the distance between any two opposite corners of a TV screen. Nowadays, you can rarely find models whose housing diagonal far exceeds that of the screen, therefore you can orient yourself according to this size and to figure out where the chosen device will fit best.
Represents the total number of pixels on the screen. The pixel is the individual unit of color generation, and there can be millions of them on a display. In product descriptions, the resolution is presented as the product of the number of pixels in length x the number in pixels, not their total sum.
For example, for an HD Ready screen, 1366 x 768 pixels will be displayed as a resolution and not 1,049,088 pixels. Thus, you also have an idea about the ratio between the two dimensions of the display.
You can find plasma screens, LED, AMOLED, or OLED, or more recently, QLED or super AMOLED. The respective terms refer to the technology through which the pixels work, each of them resulting in more or less natural or more pleasant and relaxing colors for the eyes. QLED and super AMOLED are the most advanced and expensive at the moment.
Length x width ratio
Represents how big one side of the screen is relative to the other. The old TVs were on the 4: 3 ratio, meaning the width was three quarters of the length. The new standard for most modern monitors and TVs is 16: 9, which means a more pronounced difference between the two dimensions, compared to 4: 3. Occasionally, but rarely, you can also find 16:10 displays.
Flat or curved screen
Most good TV models are flat, but some are curved. The difference between the two styles depends on the taste, even if the latter are sold more expensive.
It is an image effect that generates a very warm, pronounced glow of the colors, effectively rendering the brightness of a sun at sunset, for example. It has become very common in new TV models and can be canceled from the remote control.
Represents a series of audio effects patented by the company with that name. Dolby Surround includes four sound channels (left, right, center, back), and Atmos also includes pitch channels for 3D sound. Certain decoders are required for each of them, listed in the description of the TVs on the market.
You can find abbreviations like DVB-T2, DVB-T, ATSC, ISBD, with various other variants. These are the standards of digital broadcasting. Some are present in certain countries, with certain networks, others not. The most common have international coverage.
The list here can be very extensive, each brand of manufacturers in the industry implementing its own effects. For example, one effect may digitally double the number of frames for a smoother image, or another may dynamically adjust the contrast based on the color palette. Usually, all these effects can be canceled from the remote control.
CI + slot
Common Interface is a special slot on the back of the TV, where a card will be inserted which allows viewing digital cable services, without the need to install a top-box / receiver set in the room. Most types of TVs currently available on the market include such an interface.
This criterion applies only to Smart TV models and not to conventional ones, which do not offer the possibility of browsing.
An operating system will look exactly like your phone or tablet: it has certain functionalities and compatibility, a specific aspect of the interface, specific commands, or various advantages or disadvantages, compared to other operating systems.
You can, for example, find Smart TV with Android, or with other systems specially designed by some companies in the TV industry.
Supported media files
All modern TVs, Smart or not, also include a media player with codecs, built into the standard software. If you play content from a stick or external hard drive, this player may not be compatible with all files, or some may have trouble playing them, such as missing sound.
For example, a media player might play songs in MP3, WAV and WMA, but not in the FLAC / LOSSLESS format preferred by audiophiles, and so on.
The VESA interface standard refers to the positioning of the screw holes on the rear panel of the TV, to determine if it fits on some wall mounts (here is our comparative list ).
For example, a model has VESA 400 x 300 compatibility – this means that the distance between the two top screws is 400 millimeters, and between a top and bottom screw, 300 millimeters. The right support must, in turn, have holes at the same distances, in order to fix the 4 screws perfectly.
Note: Most media models offer multiple VESA sizes to fit as many TV models as possible on the market.
This term refers to the presence of plastic channels on the back panel of the TV, in which the various cables will be placed (the antenna, the HDMI, the audio interface wires, and so on).
The cables can be attached with some clips, and the advantage of these channels is both aesthetic (there will be no more wires behind the TV) and functional (chances are that they intertwine with each other, which gives headaches when removing them, they are minimal).
Here we end the presentation of terms from the descriptions of current TVs. Of course, if you are really interested in the technical aspects of this equipment, you can find out much more by documenting the manuals delivered with the purchased products.
More data can be found on the websites of large companies, such as Samsung or Sony, which detail the various technologies implemented by the engineers of those companies, on the latest models launched.