TV Technology Roundup
(HDMI, USB, Audio, Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi, PC etc.)
So what kind of connections should a prospective buyer be looking for on a new television? Here are our suggestions:
HDMI sockets are probably the most important connections on a modern TV. Almost every piece of equipment that you might want to connect to a TV will have an HDMI output – Blu-
Bearing in mind the above list, it is key to have at least three and preferably four HDMI sockets on the TV, which should all be able to support the latest HDMI 2.0 standard (supports 4K, HDR, high quality audio return and other features).
Why USB? USB on a TV allows the connection of external storage media such as hard disk drives and memory sticks, but it can also provide power to some of the small ‘dongle’ like media players
(e.g. Google ‘Chromecast’) that are becoming increasingly popular.
Look for at least two, but preferably three USB ports and make sure that at least one of them is relatively close to one of the HDMI sockets (as the USB lead from the small media streamers is invariably quite short!).
Important – When connecting a UHD TV to another UHD compatible device via an HDMI cable (for example, one of the new UHD Blu-
If we go back in time a little, it was common for most larger TVs to offer 2 channel analogue audio output, a digital optical audio output (of the kind that has been available on CD players for many years) and even a headphone socket. Now, it is only likely that a larger TV would have a digital optical audio output. This might be used to connect to an external soundbar or amplifier (although they often use HDMI for this purpose, through the included ‘Audio Return Channel, ARC). Even if not intending this use, it is essential for future proofing that at least the digital optical audio output is offered.
Invariably, most TVs are located well away from the room in which the home wireless router is located, so the connection rate through WiFi is often quite low, which can be an issue if streaming high definition video. If at all possible, it is strongly recommended that the network (and hence internet) connection to a Smart TV is made via an Ethernet cable (or if this is not possible, perhaps via a ‘Homeplug’ solution). This will considerably enhance the smooth streaming of video and also improve the security of the data stream.
Coming back to the last point, although Ethernet connection to a network (and therefore the internet) is recommended, sometimes this may not be possible and it may be necessary to connect by WiFi. Not all TVs come with built-
The older style of analogue PC connection is seldom offered and, in fact, is rarely required anyway as HDMI connection for PCs is becoming the norm. Macs normally connect via a ‘Display Port’ connector, which supports similar video standards to HDMI and adaptor leads (Display Port HDMI) are readily available.
Bluetooth connectivity is becoming common on modern TVs and can be used for remote control or audio connection purposes.
It is now very rare to have any analogue connections (SCART, composite and separate analogue video out, analogue audio out or a headphone socket) on a television – if you have an older item of equipment (a VCR perhaps, or a very old DVD player), then you would need to scan the specifications of any new TV very carefully to ensure compatibility. Alternatively, you may need to purchase a separate box to convert the old analogue standards to HDMI (for example), or vice versa.
Back to TV Technology Roundup