What makes a great TV? It’s not such an easy question to answer. After all, there are a lot of things that go into the making and marketing of a TV. The people who make TVs don’t seem to have a clear idea why any customer might want to buy theirs. And the people who sell TVs do so by lowering the price to profitless levels. These two headlines provide some insight into the problem:

LG: Weak mobile, TV sales pull down Q2 earnings

TV Sales Down Nearly 10%

Manufacturers have tried any number of gimmicks on their high-end televisions to reignite consumer interest. Among those gimmicks are:

  • 3D
  • 4K
  • Ultra-high contrast
  • Yellow pixels
  • Curved screens


None of these things actually do anything to make the experience more enjoyable for the average person. 4K comes the closest to making an impact. And even that has limited value, as 1080p is more than sufficient for the average set of eyes. It isn’t that 4K is not better. It is just that no one with a high-end television is looking at their favorite programing while thinking about how they sure wish the picture was just a little better.

The biggest problem facing the TV industry is that people are, for the most part, very happy with the TV they already have, and don’t plan to buy another any time soon. The most important thing a new TV can have is a bunch of HDMi ports on the back to accommodate new and interesting things that plug into the TV. What defines the TV experience is not the tech inside the box. It is what is attached to the box that counts. Here are a few examples:

Content Box

Your cable or satellite box is an external content box. In most places, you can get content without them. You go with cable and satellite because you want the content associated with those services. For instance, if you want a football package like Sunday Ticket, you will have to get a DIRECTV content box. Click to learn more about the services available in your area.

Other types of content boxes include the new Apple TV, the Roku 4, and Amazon Fire TV. As much as they like to think of themselves as competitors offering something unique in the space, it is hard to tell them apart when it comes to industrial design language and features. The Roku is the most platform agnostic. Only the Apple TV plays iTunes content. It is the content box that defines the first line of your TV experience.


Game Console

While many content boxes like the Fire TV and the Apple TV have the capability to play games, the products gamers will be interested in are the Xbox One, the PS4, and the Nintendo Wii U. If you want to know which is best, look elsewhere. They are all the best at what they do. The PS4 is tuned for pure gaming. The Xbox One offers a mix of gaming and media consumption. The Wii U is best for casual gamers. There is nothing special about the TV that makes gaming better. We were enjoying games when TVs were bulbous, CRT monitors. As ever, it is the games that make the difference.


It doesn’t matter how good the built-in speakers are in your TV. Their awful! Home Theater is not defined by the screen. It is defined by the audio. Even budget home theater speakers are better than the speakers on your TV. For both movies and gaming, a multichannel speaker setup is the only way to go.

Whether you are dealing with content, gaming, or anything else, you ultimately have to think outside the box to get the most out of it. When it comes to television, you only get out of it what you put into it, or hook up to it