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TV Buying Guide: How To Shop for a TV

TV Buying Guide: How To Shop for a TV

Woman contemplating over a new TV in an electronics storeWe’re living in the golden age of television — for more reasons than one. The quality of TV shows has never been better, and streaming services and TV networks ensure that even big-budget movies are available to watch at home almost as soon as they’re released.

There’s never been a better time to upgrade your TV to enjoy all of this great content. Wondering which is the best type of TV to buy? Wonder no more: here’s the TV buying guide you need!

5 Steps for Selecting the Best TV to Buy

Step 1: Consider Flat Screen TV Sizes

Today’s living rooms give some movie theaters a run for their money when it comes to the viewing experience. One reason is the increase in flat screen TV sizes, which eclipse all but the highest-end models of the past.

Figuring out the best TV screen size for your home requires a simple and popular formula. Without this sort of formula, making a TV size comparison would mean grabbing a bunch of TVs and placing them in your house. This route is much easier! 

Ideal HD TV Screen Size Formula

Multiply the distance between where you’ll sit and where you’ll place the TV, by 7.7. “Where does the 7.7 come from?” you wonder. This formula is a little-known interior design lifehack, and although the 7.7 doesn’t represent a specific metric, it works! You don’t have to take our word for it though, try it out and see for yourself. 

For example, if your couch is eight feet away from the media stand, you’ll enter 8 feet x 7.7 into your phone calculator. The result would be 61.6, meaning that the ideal screen size for your media room or bedroom is around 61.6 inches.

That means a 55” or 60” HD TV (measured diagonally from corner to corner, not side to side or top to bottom) would be good. 

“(Viewing distance in ft.) x 7.7 = Perfect HD TV Screen Size”

Ideal 4K TV Size Formula

This formula is almost the same as the one for HD TVs, except you will multiply the distance from the viewing area to the TV by 12 instead of 7.7.

Why the larger number? Because the higher resolution you get with a 4K TV means you can sit closer without noticing the pixels on the screen.

Is your plush recliner 8 feet from the TV stand? The formula for your ideal 4K TV screen size will look like this: 8 x 12 = 96. That’s a large screen! Maybe too large, unless you plan on charging admission and offering popcorn in your living room. A 75” 4K TV would work just fine.

“(Viewing distance in ft.) x 12 = Perfect 4K TV Screen Size”

If you’re all about estimates (or just not about math), measure or eyeball the distance between your couch and your TV. Then, use the handy table below to determine your ideal screen size.

Screen Size to Viewing Distance Table
Distance from TV (ft) Recommended HD TV Size (inches) Recommended 4K TV Size (inches) Room Size
4′ 32″ 40″ Ideal for average-sized rooms
5′ 40″ 60″
6′ 43″-50″ 70″ Great for larger living rooms and media rooms
7′ 50″-55″ 75″
8′ 60″ 80″+ Best for a theater-style experience in a huge room
9′ 70″ 85″+


Keep in mind you can adjust your choice to your viewing preferences — these are just recommendations. TV buying is an art, not a science! Plus, there are other factors beside fancy formulas to help you find the one!

LG 55” 4K UHD LED Smart TV

LG 55” 4K UHD LED Smart TV 

Take movie nights to a whole new level with all the features a 4K ultra-high definition TV has to offer: 

  • WiFi enabled for hassle-free streaming
  • 60 Hz refresh rate for seamless action
  • UHD produces superb image quality

Browse Rent-to-Own TVs >



Step 2: Consider TV Screen Resolution

Screen resolution measures the sharpness of the picture. The higher the resolution, the better the details will appear on the screen. The main categories of screen resolution are high-definition (HD), ultra-high definition (UHD), and high dynamic range (HDR).

High-Definition TV (HD)

A high-definition TV also has other names, such as HDTV, full HD, or 1080p model. (The “p” in 1080p stands for pixels.) A regular high-definition TV contains 2 million pixels. This translates to clearer action movie sequences and must-see sports moments.

Ultra-High Definition TV (UHD)

An ultra-high definition TV is also called a 4K TV or a UHD TV. These sets contain 8 million pixels, which is four times the resolution of an HDTV. So, if you’re shopping for a mega-sized screen, a 4K TV will ensure beautiful image quality. If you’re a gamer, you’ll appreciate the razor-sharp picture quality you’ll get from a UHD TV. 

High Dynamic Range TV (HDR)

You’ll also see references to 4K TVs and HDR TVs while shopping for a new TV. HDR means “high dynamic range,” the contrast between an image’s brightest white and darkest black. A high dynamic range is said to best represent real-life. So, if you’ve always wanted to see your favorite performers up close and personal, get ready to see all of them on an HDR TV — down to the tiniest imperfections (yes, they have some!). 


LG OLED TV with AI ThinQ Technology

When comparing TV displays, you’ll also encounter two other acronyms: LED and OLED.

LED stands for “light emitting diode” and OLED stands for “organic light emitting diode.” 

While both LED and OLED TVs have Ultra HD 4K capabilities, the individual pixel lights in OLED TVs create darker blacks, more luxurious contrast, and point-by-point lighting adjustments for stunning on-screen color and vibrant image quality. OLED TVs also weigh less than LED TVs.

That said, OLED technology is relatively new, so these TVs typically come in smaller sizes than LED TVs. See our in-depth OLED vs. LED TV comparison to learn more. 

A Word On Aspect Ratio

A television’s aspect ratio is the screen’s length vs. height. Regardless of the screen resolution of the TV you want to buy, the aspect ratio will most likely be 16:9 or 1.78 to 1. That’s been pretty much the standard in the long, and ongoing, life of high-definition TV. 

An aspect ratio of 16:9 means that your picture will be rectangular rather than square as it was in the boxy TVs of the past. Luckily, most current shows and movies are made for wide screens anyway — so you’ll get the ultimate experience with superior clarity. 

Step 3: Be Smart About Connectivity

Is connectivity important to consider when buying a TV? You bet! It seems that every technology today is “smart.” Smartphones and smart houses, for example.

 Many TVs today are smart TVs. They run third-party software to integrate with streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify. They can also accommodate multiple devices, from gaming consoles to Blu-ray players, via high-definition multimedia inputs (HDMI) outlets.

HDMI Ports on Side of Television

 A smart TV can load dozens of third-party programs, but they all have a limited number of HDMI ports. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a TV with multiple HDMI ports. They typically are located along the side or back of the TV.

Three HDMI ports is a good goal. That gives you one for a cable box, another for a gaming console, and a third for a Blu-ray player. If you find a TV you like that has more, even better!

Pro Tip: Don’t be caught short: make sure you have the same number of HDMI cables as you have devices to connect. 

Step 4: Refine Your Search by TV Refresh Rate

The refresh rate, also known as Hertz (Hz), is the number of times per second that a picture is refreshed on the screen. The higher the rate, the clearer the motion will be.

Traditional TVs are 60Hz, and, for most programs, this is all you need. Some people prefer the precision of 120Hz, which is great for video games, sports, and action flicks.

Pro-Tip: Many people can’t tell the difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rate. But if you or a family member is an avid gamer, aim for the 120Hz refresh rate, which improves the gameplay experience.

Step 5: Complete Your TV Setup with the Right Equipment

 The best place to buy a TV will offer more than just televisions — the best place will help make the whole TV buying process faster and more convenient. At Rent-A-Center, you can choose from all types of TVs. With screen sizes ranging from 43 inches to 75 inches, you can find the HD or 4K model that’s best for you and your media room.

 There’s another reason to consider Rent-A-Center, though. We can also outfit your home theater with a TV stand, home theater audio system, and video game console

Getting all of your entertainment equipment from one place:

  • Simplifies the entire process.
  • Can help make sure everything is technically compatible, from your audio system to your gaming console.
  • Let’s you compare style combinations of TVs and TV stands in real time.
  • Saves time, since you won’t have to go to various stores to get the items you want.

That’s a big difference between buying a TV at a big box retailer and going the rent-to-own route with Rent-A-Center: focused support and everything you need, without any of the usual hassles. Other differences, like price matching and free same-day delivery, set Rent-A-Center apart, too. 

LG 55” 4K UHD TV and Microsoft Xbox One X 1 TB Bundle

LG 55” 4K UHD TV + Microsoft Xbox One X 1 TB Bundle

With Rent-A-Center, you can have your TV and your gaming system, too! Level up your gaming experience with signature Xbox-exclusive games as seen on an ultra-high definition screen. And don’t miss out on any savings by signing up for special deals emails.

See More Bundles in our Weekly Ad > 

When it comes to finding the right rent-to-own TV, Rent-A-Center features some of the world’s best brands. Top entertainment technology — and everything you need to get the most out of it — has never been more accessible!

 Shop rent-to-own TVs online and test them out at your nearest Rent-A-Center location.


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The good things in life don’t have to be out of reach. Rent-A-Center is here to make the things you want and need accessible, and Front & Center is your resource for living well on a budget.

Each week, we’ll bring you tips and tricks for infusing simplicity, style—even a little fun—into every aspect of your life and home. From decorating advice to money-saving strategies to opportunities to share with others like you, we’ll give you ideas that inspire. Live well, friends. And send your submissions, suggestions and questions for the blog to blog@rentacenter.com. For all customer service inquiries, please contact our Solution Center team at 1-800-422-8186.