CHOICE TV testing is underway for 2023 and while new models were announced in February, they only started arriving on retail shelves in late April right up to June. This late arrival of 2023 models means there are some great discounts to be found on 2022 TVs as we head into the end of financial year (EOFY) sales.
Knowing model numbers and codes for TV models will help you walk into the store with confidence, especially if you're looking to negotiate a better price.
Some of the latest 2023 Samsung and LG TVs were released in April and May in very limited models and ranges, with many online retailers still showing 'coming soon' banners for 2023 models as the EOFY sales start to appear.
Sony continues to be late to the party when it comes to 2023 releases, with no official release dates from Sony Australia (although there are one or two models appearing). But we do at least know what models are expected to arrive. This means you can expect some great deals on Sony TVs that were released in 2022 from now until Christmas.
Not only does a TV's product code tell you its size and specifications, it also contains information on the year of release – if you know how to read it
If you see a Panasonic TV for sale, avoid it regardless of the seemingly great price. Panasonic stopped selling TVs in Australia just before COVID-19 broke out in early 2020. TCL has released information on some of its latest models for 2023, but availability according to our CHOICE buyers has been sporadic.
Hisense on the other hand seems to have some of its models in the store before the announcement from Hisense, so there should be a good selection of Hisense TV models around leading up to the sales period and through the rest of the year.
With retailers back to regular operating hours throughout the country it's easier to talk to someone on the shop floor and let them know that you won't be tricked into buying last year's TV without some serious discounting.
Some retailers are offering some valuable indicators as to what year the TV was released, giving you some bargaining power when looking for a better deal.
Make sure the salesperson knows that the TV they're selling you may be the greatest, but it's not the latest.
Ordering online could be an issue when it comes to driving a bargain, but if you're armed with the right information on model numbers, you can quickly carry out searches on multiple sites and recognise the difference between a great buy and a good price for ageing stock.
The trick is to know which TVs are 2023 releases and which ones are from 2022 or earlier.
Using CHOICE reviews
In addition to new releases, our TV reviews also feature older models that are listed as discontinued (just make sure you've ticked the box in the 'Related products' field on the left-hand side to see them).
Sometimes these models suddenly reappear in the EOFY sales at a drastically reduced price and with production and shipping shortages continuing, as well as chip shortages, you might find a 2022 model suddenly appears out of nowhere for a crazy good price and disappears just as quickly.
So if you have a particular brand and budget in mind, click on the brand name in the top filter and select the price range to narrow down your options.
When shopping for a TV online, make sure your searches include the exact model name that's in our review as well as the size so you can determine the online retailer with the best price. Also make sure you don't simply click on a retailer on the first page of the search as shops that appear in the first few results often pay for the privilege of appearing at the top.
Using a TV's product code
Major retailers will be promoting very good deals from now through to August and beyond, but most of the bargain TVs will be 2022 models with some very specific markdowns on 2023 TVs (mainly with the most expensive models).
How do you find out the age of a TV? The secret is in the product code. Not only does it tell you the size and specifications of the TV, it also contains information on the year of release – if you know how to read it.
New models can also be heavily discounted, with this 2023 75-inch Samsung QA75QN85CAWXXY available for more than $1000 less than the recommended retail price.
TVs are getting smarter
One of the biggest changes we're seeing is an improvement not only to smart functionality, but also the ability to add new features to your TV through software updates.
The latest TVs are more likely to interact with other smart devices on your home network, as well as using voice assistants like Google or Amazon Alexa. They can answer queries about the weather, turn on your air conditioner, talk to your fridge and order more milk, and turn off the lights when you go to bed. But make sure you actually want and need these features before you splash the cash.
Keep track of your streaming subscriptions. Signing up for free trials with Stan, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Binge may sound great, but if you don't cancel them, you could easily end up spending close to $100 a month once the free trial period is over.
TV resolutions compared. 8K isn't really in the consumer space right now, but a couple of very expensive TVs with support for 8K are now available.
4K, UHD and SUHD are all terms to describe what has become the most common resolution for a new TV: 3440 x 2160 pixels. By contrast, a Full HD TV has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and virtually impossible to buy unless you look for an old 32-inch TV.
What do all these numbers and letters mean?
- SD is the format you're watching when catching old reruns of Friends on TV and DVD movies.
- Full HD is High Definition broadcast TV (TV shows made in the last few years) and Blu-ray movies on disc.
- 4K/UHD (Ultra High Definition) / SUHD (Super UHD) is the format used for the latest blockbuster movies streamed on Netflix or a 4K Blu-ray disc, which look great on a 65-inch or 85-inch display TV and won't be noticed on a 32-inch display TV.
- The arrival of 8K TV is no reason for you to throw out your 4K TV just yet. While it's true that an 8K TV can offer upscaling of 4K content, this feature isn't a big enough reason to move over to the new resolution until more movie and streaming content arrives to take advantage of the higher 7680 × 4320 resolution. After the initial fanfare with TV companies hoping to convince you that you absolutely must have an 8K TV, things have calmed down with only one or two of the highest priced TVs in each brand offering an 8K model.
Is your lounge room big enough for your big TV?
It's not just a question of will it fit – you should also consider the optimum viewing distance, as sitting too close to a big screen can be quite uncomfortable.
- A 127cm (50-inch) TV showing HD video should deliver its best viewing experience when you're sitting around two metres from the screen. If you sit closer, you may see the individual pixels (depending on the quality of your eyesight).
- If your room size forces you to sit closer, or if you really want a larger TV, then a 4K TV may be a good option to avoid that pixilation. Although you'll need to be watching 4K video for the best quality picture (and for now, most content is still in HD or even SD).
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.