Should I Buy a 2020 TV or Save With a 2018 Model?

Screen Quality & Capabilities, a consideration of what you and your wallet want.


2018 TV Screen Quality

One of the biggest caveats of buying a 2018 TV was that there weren’t too many advancements in screen quality. Sure, quantum dots added to LCD screens created beautiful, bright images. This will do the job for a standard living room set up. If you want the newest image processing out there for the gamer in your family, or if you’re into watching finite content such as nature documentaries, be sure to pay close attention to resolution specs.


2018 TV Capabilities

By 2018 it was hard to buy a TV that doesn’t have some sort of smart capabilities. For example, most TVs had some sort of built-in access for streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon. Also, by 2018 there was a high sensitivity to the different kind of ports that one might need, ranging from multiple HDMI ports, direct internet connectivity, audio/cable jacks. Be sure that when you’re bargain hunting, you make sure that you’re buying a TV that suits your accessories, not just your budget.


Purchasing Tips:

The obvious benefit to buying an older model is lower price. However, instead of pocketing that money, it gives you the opportunity to upgrade your TV in unexpected ways. For example, you found a TV that has an adequate screen resolution for your liking, but it has poor sound quality. Use those extra bucks saved and put it towards a sound bar for enhanced listening. Or, say you’ve selected a TV because it has a great smart TV system for all your streaming platforms, but it has a limited viewing angle. If you’ve got the space, pay a little extra for a screen with wider dimensions to increase said viewing angle.



2020 Screen Quality

It’s no doubt that there has been a jump to increase screen quality within the past two years. This is highlighted by the growing ubiquity of OLED and 4K screens… plus a few 8K screens sprinkled in. The higher specs that come along with these screen categories ensures a more captivating experience. For example, if you’re into watching moody content with a lot of dark scenes, you might notice backlight blooming on your older screens. When purchasing a 2020 screen, you no longer sacrifice quality vs size.


It appears across the board major TV manufacturers want their consumers to have confidence in the longevity of their new TVs. For example, one might argue against buying a 4K TV because there isn’t too much content to consume. However, major networks are working on terrestrially broadcast 4K content. However, in order to get it, your TV will need an ATSC 3.0 tuner, a component that wasn’t a priority in 2018. 

Final Thoughts:

An over-all benefit of purchasing a newer model is that you’re well positioned to be compatible with future advances in content and accessories. As screen quality moves to show as much detail as you would see with the naked eye, HFR capabilities makes streaming information-rich content a cinch. Additionally, with a newer TV, some of the amenities that you’d be spending to compensate in older sets will be built-in. For example, this year it seems major TV manufacturers are attempting to up their audio game. Some have accomplished this either through AI or better speaker quality which negates the need for a sound bar. Any new technology is going to be pricy, but with so many improvements in TV capabilities in the past few years it might just be worth it to splurge.