High-Tech TVs Come with Alphabet Soup of Features

New TVs are coming with an alphabet soup of features designed to get you to spend more. There's OLED and 4K, with a dash of HDR. How about QLED and QDEF? Samsung, LG and other TV manufacturers are showcasing new models at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week -- all with acronyms to set their sets apart.

Fear not. Here's how to translate the tangle of great-sounding upgrades into plain English.

HD, 4K, 8K

Translation: High definition has 1,920 pixels across and 1,080 vertically. UltraHD, or 4K, has twice as many in both directions -- 3,840 across and 2,160 vertically, which gives you four times as many pixels. 8K, primarily promoted by Sharp, offers 7,680 pixels across and 4,320 down.

8K sets are mostly for show for now -- with video limited to the occasional experimental broadcast.

The choice between 4K and HD is still a real debate. It all depends on how far away you'll sit from your TV and how big it is, which we explain with this handy tool at http://interactives.ap.org/2015/tv-buying-guide .


Unpacking the acronym: Organic light-emitting diodes.

Translation: Diodes are circuit elements that can emit light under certain conditions; OLEDs do so using a layer of material based on carbon, which in a technical sense makes them organic. Sets using OLEDs, primarily made by LG, tend to be pricey because these screens are difficult to produce.

Pixels, the individual points that form an image, are self-illuminating and can thus be shut off individually. That means images can have truly black areas -- rather than just very dark. Sets also cut down on light spillage in scenes where bright and dark colors are side by side; you see sharper contrast. OLED sets also have a wider viewing angle than regular sets.

But OLEDs aren't as bright as other displays and can suffer "burn-in"...

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