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A How-To Guide To Buying Your Bar’s New TV

Knowing what television to buy to screen the latest exciting sporting action in your bar can be something of a minefield. Technology changes faster than Chelsea managers, so future proofing your television can be tricky.

Technology is a wonderful thing — by wonderful we mean confusing. Particularly when it comes to televisions. What was considered state-of-the-art in 2005, is now as appealing as a Betamax video recorder, or any VCR come to that. So when it comes to choosing what TV to buy in order to show the latest Champions League action in your bar, you could be forgiven for scratching your head in bewilderment. Do you go for 4K or OLED? What is OLED? What about 3D TVs? Whatever happened to Plasma screens, and is it worth purchasing a curved screen? Will smoke signals work?


It’s not simple and any old set just won’t cut it anymore. Thanks to the advancement in affordable home TV technology, your regulars (and those you hope to recruit as regulars) probably have cutting edge set-ups at home. They expect a certain standard. For instance, viewers are attuned to High Definition (HD) TVs now. When it comes to choosing what pub to watch the football or rugby in screens are a primary factor.


The better the screen in your bar, the more likely fans are to walk through your doors. Word gets around. The potential is there for your bar to become a destination sports venue, especially with this summer’s Euro 2016 championships and Olympics coming up. Thankfully, if you’re thinking of upgrading your existing TV, or you’re buying one for the first time, help is at hand. We went to a couple of experts for advice to save you the time of translating the sales jargon.  Here is an easy-to-understand glossary of everything you need to know to make an informed decision.


What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when buying a TV?

“Firstly, what size is the room it is going into — too small for a large pub will instantly turn people off. Next, the screen quality. High Definition (HD) is not new but a lot of channels still only broadcast in standard definition (SD). Despite this, SD TVs are definitely a thing of the past. The clarity and sharpness between the two is growing ever wider so don’t be fooled into a cheap offer. 4K is certainly the latest and greatest, and while it’s still very expensive it’s worth the investment because that will be the standard in the not too distant future.”

Nick Braund, Head of Technology & Innovation at PHA Media.



4K and Ultra High Definition (UHD) — what’s the difference?

Essentially nothing.  4K is in effect UHD — the terms are interchangeable. 4K is a snappier marketing term.



LED versus OLED?

“LED LCD displays use a backlight to illuminate their pixels while OLED’s pixels actually produce their own light. This means that the brightness of the OLED display can be controlled pixel-by-pixel. In a darkened room you can notice that parts of the image aren’t perfectly black because you can still see the backlight.”

Nick Braund



What happened to Plasma screens?

They lost the format war with LCD (LED) TVs. Although they had a better picture quality than LCD sets, Plasma TVs were heavier, thicker, reflected more light and suffered from some damning press. It’s now a dead format. No one makes them anymore.



3D or not 3D?

Not. It wasn’t as good as expected and required extra kit. Many found the glasses off-putting. Most broadcasters have abandoned the format.

“It’s one thing watching a 3D film at an IMAX cinema where the experience is enhanced, but for most people on TV it doesn’t add much. It didn’t add to the experience. It also made some people feel ill or hurt their eyes.”

Kent German, managing editor at CNET



Is bigger better?


“Buy as big as you can for the room, but don’t overwhelm.”

Kent German



Things to consider:

“OLED TVs look much better than a typical LED/LCD, but they are very expensive. A wider colour gamut is better, but don’t be too concerned about it. It’s important you look for at least four HDMI ports and 4K shoppers should ask about HDCP compatibility. Curved TVs are a fashion statement — they don’t benefit image quality. Finally, most TVs are Smart TVs these days. Don’t be tricked into thinking this is a big deal.”

Nick Braund



Outdoor screens

If you have outdoor space – a courtyard for example – it’s worth considering an outdoor screen. Customers will love watching next year’s Euro 2016 in an outdoor space.




“The speakers in any TV will never be as good as standalone. Get yourself a Bose or Sonos set and you won’t go far wrong.”

Nick Braund




HDMI cables (the latest cable format) are all the same. New TVs have better HDMI ports, part of HDMI 2.0.

“There’s often a huge price range – don’t get caught up in thinking higher prices mean better quality. As long as you’re using an HDMI cable it’s going to produce a great quality.”

Kent German



One last thought

When your TV isn’t tuned to the latest sporting action, you can use it as a marketing and sales tool – advertise forthcoming events/special offers/sporting fixtures etc. BT’s Screach package allows you to unlock the potential of your TV as a marketing platform. We have some special offers on the Screach package worth exploring.