You’ve decided to buy a TV and have narrowed in on two manufacturing giants for your purchase. But what distinguishes a Sony TV versus Samsung TV? Straight up, a general comparison of brands isn’t going to be that fruitful. They are both excellent choices. But you need to make a choice, and they do differ in some important ways which matter depending on the way you use your TV. Do you stream Netflix in the evenings or are you glued to the news, even during the day? Into gaming or watching sports? Have a keen design eye? Sony or Samsung will fit the bill based on your profile.
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Titans of TVs
The long-standing Japanese classic TV manufacturer, Sony and South-Korean giant Samsung are leading companies for good reason. They make good products. But in the never ending competitive quest for distinction and innovation, the companies offer distinct features that impact your TV experience. What are the features to be aware of and keep in mind when choosing a TV?
A 4K TV (also referred to as 4K HDR)offers a high resolution due to 4x as many pixels as an older school TV. At this point buying a 4K TV is a no-brainer. While technological innovation is expensive initially, prices drop as time goes on, and 4K TVs are now at a reasonable price range, and most streaming platforms have content that is 4K TV compatible. 8K is even higher a resolution, but unless you are desperate to be an early adopter, it’s likely not worth spending the money.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
HDR improves image contrast by expanding the lightest and darkest images. Note: some TVs, especially those at the upper end of the price range, have the hardware to take full advantage of this feature. Others can read the data and acommodate as best as possible but won’t perform at optimal HDR level. Brands such as Samsung use an “Ultra HD Premium” certification to distinguish from HDR capable. Sony has its own certification logo.
Wide Colour Gamut (WDG)
Allows for a wider range of colours in the image, making the picture ever more life-like.
QLED v/s OLED
Samsung and Sony depend on different panel technologies. QLED, which Samsung uses, is known for its very bright image, which ensures that ambient light doesn’t compete with its visual impact. OLED, used by the Sony TV, is dimmer but has more organic colour contrast. So although its peak brightness is not as high as Samsung, it allows for a strong picture no matter the viewing angle you are watching from.
TV audio is constantly evolving. If you are an audiophile you may pay extra attention to features such as Sony’s Acoustic Surface, which correlates voices and sound effects with their HDR images on screen.
Smart TV Platforms
If you are buying a TV now it almost certainly is a Smart TV, which just means it can connect to the internet and support apps. Some also connect to other home devices. Sony makes use of Alexa, while Samsung has its own voice assistant, Bixby.
User Interface and Remote Controls
So, you need to make a change to the screen view, or switch sources, or somehow your grandkid activated audio description and you don’t need it. Is it easy to navigate through the menu options? Will you ever emerge from the TV room again? Some interfaces are more intuitive than others, or you may simply prefer some over others.
Let’s face it, they don’t differ much, but details in the base design and some higher end TV models might present more aesthetically pleasing options.
Samsung TV versus Sony TV? Depends on who you are.
Long gone are the days of putting your feet up and flipping through a bunch of channels. When you fight over the remote now, it’s going to be for a myriad of reasons – you might be streaming a movie, gaming, watching sports or even just listening to music. The brand you choose has a lot to do with your profile.
The Sports enthusiast: Sure you watch other TV, but you care most about picture image as it relates to sports. You look for a TV that that goes above and beyond in handling fast action, and that can offer a good picture from various angles for the big games with a room full of viewers.
Winner: Sony has great viewing angles thanks to the OLED tv technology, which will work for every viewer in the room. Little motion lag and blur will ensure there is no frustration when watching pivotal game moments.
The Grandma: Daytime TV is the norm for you. You lean towards cable, (especially news these days), and have been known to doze off with the TV on. You would like a simple remote, please and thank you, and an easy navigation to switch back and forth between your regular programming and your grandkids’ YouTube.
Winner: Samsung has easy Smart TV navigation. It also has no risk of burn in which is (rarely) possible with OLED technology.
The Gamer: Picture quality matters, as does sound, but as a keen gamer you really want to make sure that there is low input lag.
Winner: Samsung offers mid-range models highly rated in terms of low input lag and high picture quality.
The Aesthete: Hey, who has even noticed one TV’s image over another? You just want to make sure it looks decent and isn’t an eyesore in an otherwise carefully decorated room.
It’s a tie: Let’s be honest, there’s not a huge difference in the way TVs look right now, though Sony is considered to have a classic minimalist TV design. That said, if you are really willing to spend some money, however, you might like a freestanding model such as that offered by Samsung. Then ensure it has Ambient mode and consider your TV a work of art when not in use.
The Digital Savant: You pay attention to technical innovations and you appreciate the differences in picture quality and sound that are possible. You also know that innovations move quickly, and wait for prices to drop, and make sure that the innovation you are intrigued by isn’t wildly outpacing the programs you want to use.
It’s a tie: Honestly if you’re teching out big time, you will have very strong options about the audio and visual technology you prefer. Maybe you are a fan of Sony’s acoustic surface audio. Maybe you think OLED tv panels are overrated. Maybe you just must have the 8K TVs. You’ll find your way to the brand you want based on the technological innovation it offers without this article.
Netflix and Chill (literally): Okay, maybe you use Vudu or another platform, but mainly what you want to do is relax with your significant other (human or feline) after work and binge watch your latest show. You want an easy to set up and operate Smart TV platform, and don’t need to worry much about ambient light so will benefit from the OLED tv system.
Winner: Sony’s OLED technology cannot be beat in terms of picture quality, and is best in dark viewing environments.
Is anyone else watching TV with me?
Given that Smart TVs are now the norm, you might want to consider the data privacy and security settings of the Smart TV’s platform you are purchasing. Like your other devices, TVs can now collect information about you as a consumer. Samsung, for instance, allows you to decline a user agreement during set up but then streaming is no longer viable.
The devil is in the details
But so is the heavenly. Identifying the way you use your television can help you determine the best brand for you. From there, you’ll want to look closely at the models and consider your price range.
Buy a Samsung if you:
– Like a bright display
– Want an uncluttered Smart TV platform
Buy a Sony if you:
– Are keen on the picture quality that the OLED panel technology provides
– Will be watching TV with multiple people in the room and they all want a good view from their angle
– Like to use google assistant and Alexa
Ultimately you are unlikely to be unhappy with your television purchase if you are buying from Samsung or Sony; they are excellent LED TV products for anyone. But prioritizing the most relevant features in light of your viewing habits will take you from a satisfied to a happy customer.