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“All the Mod Cons” —Top TV Features to Watch Out For in 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off on Thursday, June 12 and will provide a major draw for television viewers around the world. Television manufacturers and retailers are obviously hoping for a rise in sales as a result, so we thought we would have a look at some of the latest technologies available along with some of the buzzwords that you’re likely to come across if you are in the buyers’ market for a new television.

Size matters

As has always been the case with televisions, if you want a truly immersive viewing experience, the bigger the screen size the better (within reason). If you’re buying a television for your living room, 46 inches is probably a minimum and you should perhaps consider 55 inches or larger if your available budget and space make this a possibility.

Bear in mind, though, that the rule of thumb for calculating your optimal viewing distance is one-and-a-half times the diagonal measurement of your television screen. In other words, if you choose a 55-inch model such as the LG 55EA980W, your optimal viewing distance is 82.5 inches, or nearly 7 feet, so you need to make sure that you have enough room in your viewing space, which is, of course, übercool.

Getting curvy

Samsung and LG are currently pushing curved screens, a feature which they believe significantly improves the contrast. In turn this creates a greater sense of depth, detail and clarity when compared with a standard screen. However, ‘large’ is the operative word here. If you want to provide a premium viewing experience for a big audience — or, to put it another, to impress — be prepared to pay for the privilege. Bear in mind, too, though that a curved screen is tricky to hang up on a wall. It could also generate problems with viewing angles. You’ll all want to see the goals, right?

Being resolute

Both technologies are still in their infancy, to the extent that the BBC and FIFA will capture selected World Cup matches in UHD (Ultra High Definition) and 4K but none of them will be broadcast. For the uninitiated, UHD refers to a standard of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, or the equivalent of two 1,080p screens in height and two in width, while 4K resolution refers to standard of 4,096 x 2,304 pixels.

Sony and other manufacturers typically use the term ‘4K/UHD’ to describe the former technology in the home context. The top-of-the-range Sony X9500B Series, for instance, offers 4K resolution on an 85-inch screen. If you’re on a more modest budget, the X8500B and X9000 Series offers 4K resolution on screen sizes between 49 and 79 inches.

Understand these buzzwords and you can really enhance your World Cup experience, and general experience for that matter, by being in the know.