Don’t buy that cheap 1080p TV! Here’s why it’s finally time to go 4K

Vizio P2ui-B series
Vizio P2ui-B series
Sure, 1080p TVs still have their place — in your bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, maybe — but their reign over the living room is coming to a close. If you’re looking to replace one of your home’s go-to televisions and you’ve been on the fence wondering which way to go, let us make it simple for you: Jump down on the side of a 4K Ultra HD TV.

All the excuses are gone, all the exceptions, null, all the arguments, moot. Manufacturers plotted to phase out 1080p TVs years ago, and with recent holiday pricing announced, we’ve now turned that corner. You really should buy a 4K UHD TV.

Still need convincing? Good! You’re doing your research! Here’s what you need to know.

4K UHD TVs are affordable now

Remember the laugh-out-loud moments we had over the inconceivably high price tags the first 4K UHD TVs came out with? Sony with its $25,000 85-incherSamsung’s $40,000 84-incher? No? Then please enjoy these Amazon reviews to jostle your memory whilst tickling your funny bone (come on, even George Takei had a few chuckles over these).

Indeed, 4K UHD TVs started out (almost) hilariously expensive, but in just a few short years they became downright reasonable. In fact, 4K UHD TVs dominate our Best TVs under $1,000 list right now.

But are these chintzy, stripped-down TVs? Au contraire!

All the good TVs are 4K UHD

When a no-name brand comes out of left field with a 55-inch 4K UHD TV priced below $1,000 while its big-name competitors are charging at least seven times that much, you should be suspicious. But that’s not the situation we’re looking at today. Now, all the big-name manufacturers are competing for your 4K dollars with affordable models. When top brands compete, the consumer wins.

But here’s the clincher: Manufacturers want to phase out 1080p TVs — right or wrong, that’s what they’re doing — and they are choosing to put their best tech into 4K UHD TVs, not into 1080p TVs.

Samsung 4K SUHD JS9500 Series
Samsung 4K SUHD JS9500 Series Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

There’s a saying among TV experts that rings mostly true: It’s not the panel, it’s the processing. Meaning: the exact same LCD panel can be used in two televisions, but one will look remarkably better than the other because of superior video processing. That’s still true today, but now manufacturers have more advanced backlighting systems, color enhancement technologies, High Dynamic Range processing, a new HDMI specification, and more — all of which make a tremendous difference in picture quality. But none of the cutting-edge stuff is going into 1080p TVs any more.

Certainly, there are still some solid 1080p TVs out there, and they will look good for years to come. But if you want a great TV capable of taking advantage of all the latest video content — from streaming 4K UHD titles to the coming Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format– you’re going to need a 4K UHD TV.

TVs are an investment. So invest!

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are places where a 1080p TV still makes sense — you don’t need a 42-inch 4K TV for your bathroom (unless you actually do, in which case: congratulations). But if we’re talking about the centerpiece of your home-entertainment system, you should looking at a TV that is going to serve you well for years to come, not leave you feeling like you’re missing out on something every time you turn it on.

A 4K UHD TV will let you see the best-quality version of House of Cards, Game of Thrones, or whatever TV show or movie you’re into, for years to come. You’ll get more color, better contrast, and higher resolution, and your eyes will thank you for it.

Pshaw! There’s plenty of content

You’ve no doubt run into some articles talking about a paucity of 4K UHD content out there to watch. That’s yesterday’s problem, friends. There’s already a solid amount of 4K UHD content available from several streaming services — some with ultra-high contrast HDR capabilities — available right now. And more is coming.

Not into streaming? Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players will debut in January and February of 2016, and by holiday time next year, you can count on a large selection of titles to choose from that will make your TV look incredible.

Granted, broadcast networks and cable-satellite operators have a little catching up to do, but trust us when we say behind-the-scenes work to bring you your favorite sports and broadcast TV shows in 4K UHD is well underway. When the transition begins, it’s going to move quickly. It’s only a matter of time, and you’ll want to be ready to take advantage when it goes down.

Choose wisely

We hope you’re now feeling comfortable pulling the trigger on a new 4K Ultra HD TV purchase. It really is the smartest decision, and in a year or two, 1080p TVs won’t even be an option. But if you’re not sure which 4K UHD TV might be best for you, we’ve got some more helpful advice for you right here in our detailed 4K Ultra HD TV buying guide.

Happy shopping!

Home Theater

I’ve seen the 8K TV future, and you should be excited. Here’s why

Samsung set the tech world on fire when it announced it would sell an 85-inch 8K TV in the U.S. along with several 8K screen sizes in Europe. Debates over the validity and value of such a high resolution have continued since, and we're here…
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet! To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Here are the best Blu-ray players you can buy right now.
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.
Home Theater

These TVs might cost less than $1,000, but they certainly don’t perform like it

Check out our picks for the best TVs under $1,000 to enjoy top-shelf features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and gorgeous image processing. Park yourself here to find the absolute best values in TV land.
Home Theater

MicroLED vs. OLED: Two hot TV technologies battle for your dollars

Samsung claims its new MicroLED TV tech offers all the benefits of OLED without the drawbacks. Join Digital Trends to take a close look to see if MicroLED TV lives up to the hype, and where it could go in the future.
Home Theater

How to buy speakers: A beginner’s guide to home audio

From the difference between bookshelf speakers and monitors to the proper way to audition, our ultimate speaker buying guide has all the information you need to create your own home audio nirvana.
Home Theater

Make better buds! 7 ways true wireless in-ear headphones need to improve

After years testing virtually every set of true wireless in-ears on the market, here are our most consistent gripes, and exactly what we hope to see from the next generation of wireless earbuds.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in November 2018

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for November 2018, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Home Theater

What is Hulu with Live TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Hulu with Live TV is a different take on a live TV streaming service, directly integrating live TV into the Hulu app you already know and perhaps love. We've put together a guide with everything you need to know about the service.
Home Theater

How to make your TV squeaky clean for not much green

Not sure how to clean the LCD, OLED, or plasma display that's the cornerstone of your living room? You don't need to buy expensive cleaning solutions to clean your TV -- we'll teach you how to do it with simple household items.
Home Theater

Spotify Premium cribs from Pandora with new Endless Artist Radio feature

As Pandora continues to catch up to Spotify in terms of the features it offers, Spotify is returning the favor, adding Endless Artist Radio for Premium subscribers as well as other features such as newly streamlined navigation.
Movies & TV

‘Orange is the New Black’ will end with season 7, Netflix says

Netflix has confirmed that its award-winning series Orange is the New Black will end its run with the upcoming season 7, bringing the show to an end with a final season premiering in 2019.
Home Theater

Don't need sports or local channels? Philo can save you some dough

Philo is a super-affordable live TV streaming service, with an impressive channel list and feature set. With more hardware support and greatly improved TV Everywhere features, the service is now even easier to recommend.