How to buy the best TV for the 2018 World Cup

Good picture and great sound are obvious, but is there anything else you should consider when you’re buying a new TV?

The biggest event of the footballing calendar is almost upon us, and if you’re sat at home staring listlessly at your tired old TV wondering why you can’t watch the road to World Cup Final in style, then maybe it’s time for a new one.

With 2018 TVs from LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony beginning to appear in stores, what’s on offer can start to look a little pricey. But fortunately there are still a handful of 2017 TVs at bargain prices just looking for a good home.

Whether you’re a football super-fan with every sports channel going or you simply want a TV that shines no matter what you’re watching, then there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Picture and sound quality are obvious, but what else does a TV need to make it the perfect set for watching your favorite team triumph in Russia? Impressive in every way, these are the best TVs we’ve tested.

The importance of viewing angle

The World Cup is the perfect excuse to get your mates round. Having four or five chums gathered round the TV with salty popcorn and an ice cold bulmers is a great idea, but if you get there late and end up sat on the lonely armchair at the side of the room you’re not going to get the best picture.

With some TVs the difference is negligible, but our testing has found sets where the colors look washed out when you’re sat just 30 degrees from the centre of the screen. The contrast takes a hit in this situation, too – dark scenes will look grey and the picture will tend to look overly bright.

You can avoid all this by choosing the right TV, since some maintain a consistent picture quality even when you’re watching at an angle. If you can, try and arrange your room so that everyone’s sat as close to the center of the TV as possible.

What size TV should I buy?

A big one, a small one, one that’s somewhere in the middle? Manufacturers are pushing more towards larger sets with 55-inch screens or even bigger, and that means we’re seeing fewer smaller sets every year.

T.V Releases in 2018

32-inch sets now make up a tiny portion of LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony’s output, and 43- to 49-inch TVs are going the same way. As the number of options dwindles, a larger TV may be your only option. But big TVs aren’t the unsightly behemoths they used to be – modern models are sleek, with minimal bases and practically non-existent bezels.

Should I buy a 4K TV for the World Cup?

We don’t know for sure if either the RTE, BBC or ITV will stream games in 4K, but there have been positive signs. The BBC has trialed 4K footage on iPlayer, most recently with a rugby game. If you’re feeling optimistic, and given Ireland’s typical World Cup form we’d forgive you if you weren’t, then the BBC just might stream a few games in 4K and HDR. However, even if we do get lucky there’s no getting away from the fact that 4K content can be difficult to come by, so is it really worth investing in a 4K set, particularly if you’re happy with HD quality? To find out, we compared how both Full HD and 4K TVs rate in our in-depth tests when it comes to displaying HD-quality content. As you can see, there’s a good argument that if you’re buying a new TV then it should be 4K whether you can watch the World Cup in ultra-high definition or not. Our testing has found that 4K TVs are better at displaying HD content than HD TVs across a range of sizes. With more 4K content arriving from streaming services and the price of Best Buy TVs dropping all the time, there’s no reason not to buy one the next time you upgrade. Take a browse through some of the most impressive with our pick of the best 4K TVs.

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