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Here’s what you need to know before you shop for a new TV on Black Friday

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Holiday Shoppers Seek Out Deals On Black Friday

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Black Friday is a popular time to buy TVs, but it can also be intimidating if you don’t know what you need.

There are so many TV specifications that shopping for one can be overwhelming and confusing. It’s like an acronym assault. What is HDR? What does 8K mean? What’s the difference between LCD, OLED and QLED displays? How important is the brand?

The discounted TVs on Black Friday may not be the best of the best. “TVs you’ll find on Black Friday are typically going to be entry-level sets,” said Paul Gagnon, vice president and industry advisor for the market research company The NPD Group. Gagnon, who has been covering the TV industry for 25 years, said it’s especially important when a TV is discounted that you make sure it has all the features you need before you buy it.

Here’s a guide to explain all those important features so you can find the TV that’s best for you.

What is 4K?

4K TVs are the standard these days. If you’re not sure what 4K means, it describes the picture resolution. TVs with 4K have four times as many pixels as standard 1080p resolution sets. But keep in mind most live broadcasts still aren’t shot in 4K, so you’ll mainly see the benefit in apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, or if you subscribe to YouTube TV with the 4K premium bundle.

When choosing between resolutions, you might see specifications such as Ultra HD, UHD, or 4K. They all mean the same thing.

What is 8K?

8K resolution has double the resolution of 4K. It amounts to four times the pixel count of 4K and 16 times more pixels as 1080p.

While that might sound enticing, you probably won’t enjoy any of the benefits of 8K since there isn’t any content shot in 8K yet. Not to mention 8K TVs are pricey. Be prepared to spend over $2,000.

What is HDR?

David McNew | AFP | Getty Images

HDR, otherwise known as high-dynamic range, allows your TV shows and movies to look as intended by the studio that produced them if they’re shot in HDR. You’ll get more light in darker scenes, meaning it’s easier to see the content. Most 4K TVs have HDR compatibility too.

There’s a wide range in the quality of HDR TVs. Expensive ones can look great, while cheap ones may not. If it’s done right, HDR can actually be a more important feature than 4K.

Good HDR comes down to brightness and contrast. When the light parts of the TV image are brighter it improves the color and makes the picture look like it has more depth and the movies and TV shows can look more lifelike. Let’s say you’re looking at a movie with a shot of the ocean, you’ll be able to see the nuances and textures of the wave, the deepest blues and the white caps, making you feel the realism of the scene.

But HDR performance can vary drastically from TV to TV. Make sure the TV you buying has a brightness of at least 400 nits — a measure of the intensity of brightness — since sometimes TVs with levels lower than 400 get marketed as HDR TVs, too. 600 nits or brighter is better, with the best-performing HDR TVs hitting 1,000 nits or more.

You’ll see a lot of different types of HDR marketing. HDR10 is most widely used because it’s an open and free technology standard. Pretty much all TV sets marketing HDR support will work with HDR10 content.

There’s also HDR10+ which is supported by most of the major streamers, except for Netflix. Keep in mind though, TVs can receive updates, so if a manufacturer decides to hop on board with HDR10+, the company can add that capability to your TV without you needing to do anything but update the software.

What does the refresh rate mean?

People will be able to play Xbox Game Pass games over a cloud connection on 2022 Samsung smart TVs.


A TV’s refresh rate is the number of times per second it can reset and display an image. Most TVs today offer either 60 Hz, meaning the display refreshes 60 times per second, or 120 Hz, refreshing 120 times per second.

The latter is more expensive but can be better if you watch lots of fast-moving content, like sports or action movies. When refresh rates are low, it creates motion blur, which makes a moving picture look fuzzy.

This number is especially important for gamers. The latest consoles, such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, offer 120 Hz refresh rates, but you’ll need a true 120 Hz TV in order to see graphics as clearly as possible.

If you’re hooking up a gaming system that uses a higher refresh rate, “make sure the TV has an HDMI 2.1 input,” Gagnon said. That’s the port that will support these fast refresh rates, he said.

What is the difference between LCD, OLED and QLED?

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series in QLED


Almost every TV today uses either a liquid crystal display, known as LCD, or an organic light-emitting diode screen, known as OLED. The latter is capable of producing the best picture quality, while LCDs generally cost less but can still give you a great picture.

OLED is a newer technology. It doesn’t have a standard backlight. Instead, each pixel is illuminated on its own. The best quality LCDs, on the other hand, have local dimming, meaning parts of the screen can get dim without impacting the brightness on the rest of the screen.

“LCD’s biggest advantage is that it’s by far the most affordable of all of the technologies,” said Gagnon. “The very high-end LCD TVs do a pretty good job of coming close or matching the performance of OLED displays.”

With OLED, “then you’re talking about typically what is the highest performance display, so it’s going to have higher contrast levels, and better color performance.” It will also be easier to watch the TV from multiple viewing angles, and it will probably have the fastest refresh rate, Gagnon explained.

There’s also QLED, which stands for quantum light-emitting diode. A QLED TV is essentially an LCD TV with quantum dots. Quantum dots are tiny molecules that, when hit by light, emit their own differently colored light. Because of this technology, QLED TVs more accurately emit colors, which improves the overall picture quality.

With QLED, “you get better color performance, you also get a little bit of an efficiency improvement, meaning the set can be a little bit brighter, and oftentimes these tend to be TVs that include other features, for example, higher refresh rates and more HDMI inputs,” Gagnon said.

What about smart TVs?

iTunes running on a Samsung TV


Almost all TVs are smart now, so no matter what brand you choose, you’ll probably have apps that come preloaded on your new TV. You can connect an external streaming device to any TV, such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick, a Roku box or an Apple TV. If you do, go for one that features 4K and HDR, as long as that’s what your new TV supports. That way you’ll ensure you have the best viewing experience possible.

When it comes to using the preloaded apps on your TV, it’s important to know that smart TV stores, where you can download apps for your TV, vary depending on the TV’s brand. Samsung TVs will let you access the Samsung Smart TV store, and LG TVs have the LG Content Store. Other brands, including TCL, Hisense, and Toshiba, partner up with streamers you’re familiar with, such as Roku, Google and Amazon.

It’s less important to find the TV that has the smart service you like built in and more important to find the best quality TV. You’ll always have the option to add a streaming device externally to the TV if you favor one company over another.

If you’re relying on the TV’s built-in applications, Gagnon suggested, make sure the smart TV you’re buying supports all the streaming apps you frequently use. And if you have an iPhone and like to mirror the screen, make sure your TV supports Apple’s screen mirroring. If you’re an Android user, make sure your TV supports casting, Google’s version of sharing content from a phone to a TV.

Sound bars are a good investment

Since TVs are so thin these days, there isn’t a lot of room for speakers, which means most TVs have pretty poor sound quality. Sound bars can solve this issue by providing larger speakers with deeper bass and better range. They’ll help a bit if you’ve ever run into an issue where a TV show is super quiet in some scenes and then really loud in others. You can find good ones for a range of prices, anywhere from $100 to $800. You may even score a free one on Black Friday if a retailer bundles them with a TV purchase.

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Two children and two adults survive after Tesla plunges 250 feet off California cliff

View from the helicopter during a rescue operation after a vehicle carrying two adults and two children went over a cliff in Devil’s Slide, San Mateo county, California, U.S., January 2, 2023, plunging hundreds of feet, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in this still image obtained from social media video.

CHP – Golden Gate Division | Reuters

Two adults and two children were rescued from a Tesla that plunged 250 feet off a cliff Monday morning in San Mateo County, California, officials said. 

The car was traveling southbound on the Pacific Coast Highway when it went over the cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos tunnel, and landed near the water’s edge below, the Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit said. 

The car flipped and landed on its wheels in the fall, CAL FIRE/Coastside Fire Incident Commander Brian Pottenger said. Witnesses saw the accident and called 911. 

As crews were lowered down, they were able to see movement in the front seat, through their binoculars, meaning someone was alive.

“We were actually very shocked when we found survivable victims in the vehicle. So, that actually was a really hopeful moment for us,” Pottenger said. 

Fire officials called for helicopters to help hoist the survivors to safety. As they waited, firefighters rappelled to the scene and rescued the two children.

Rescue teams are seen at the scene as a Tesla with four occupants plunged over a cliff on Pacific Coast Highway 1 at Devils Slide on January 2, 2022 in San Mateo County, California, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The California Highway Patrol shared video on social media showing helicopters lower first responders to the scene to extricate and rescue two adults inside. 

All four were hospitalized. The San Mateo Sheriff’s Office said the two adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the two children were unharmed.

It’s not clear what caused the car to go over the cliff. CHP is handling the investigation. 

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Tesla shares tumble more than 10% following deliveries report

Tesla vehicles are shown at a sales and service center in Vista, California, June 3, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Shares of Tesla dropped 13% on Tuesday morning, a day after the electric auto maker reported fourth-quarter vehicle production and delivery numbers for 2022.

Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales disclosed by Tesla. The company reported 405,278 total deliveries for the quarter and 1.31 million total deliveries for the year. These numbers represented a record for the Elon Musk-led automaker and growth of 40% in deliveries year over year, but they fell shy of analysts’ expectations.

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According to a consensus of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet, as of Dec. 31, 2022, Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report around 427,000 deliveries for the final quarter of the year. Estimates updated in December, and included in the FactSet consensus, ranged from 409,000 to 433,000.

Those more recent estimates were in line with a company-compiled consensus distributed by Tesla investor relations Vice President Martin Viecha. 

Some Wall Street analysts think Tesla’s deliveries miss spells trouble for the electric vehicle maker, but others see a buying opportunity for the company in 2023.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo, who recently named Tesla a top pick for 2023, maintained an outperform rating and said he would remain a buyer of the stock ahead of the company’s earnings report, which is scheduled for Jan. 25.

“Q4 deliveries missed consensus but beat our estimates,” he said in a Tuesday note. “Importantly, production increased ~20% q/q which we expect to continue into 2023 as gigafactories in Berlin and Austin continue to ramp.”

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they consider the delivery report to be an “incremental negative,” and view Tesla as a company that is “well positioned for long-term growth.” Goldman reiterated its buy rating on the stock in a Monday note and said that making vehicles more affordable in a challenging macroeconomic environment will be a “key driver of growth.”

“We believe key debates from here will be on whether vehicle deliveries can reaccelerate, margins and Tesla’s brand,” the analysts said.

Shares of Tesla suffered an extreme yearlong sell-off in 2022, prompting CEO Musk to tell employees in late December not to be “too bothered by stock market craziness.”

Musk has blamed Tesla’s declining share price in part on rising interest rates. But critics point to his rocky $44 billion Twitter takeover as a bigger culprit for the slide.

Morgan Stanley analysts said they think the company’s share price weakness is a “window of opportunity to buy.”

“Between a worsening macro backdrop, record high unaffordability, and increasing competition, there are hurdles for all auto companies to overcome in the year ahead,” they said in a note Tuesday. “However, within this backdrop we believe TSLA has the potential to widen its lead in the EV race, as it leverages its cost and scale advantages to further itself from the competition.”

CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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Tesla makes China boss Tom Zhu its highest-profile executive after Elon Musk

Tom Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s current executive in charge of China, speaks as a new Tesla experience store opens on Aug. 18, 2015 in Hangzhou, China.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

Tesla’s China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to take direct oversight of the electric carmaker’s U.S. assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, according to an internal posting of reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

The Tesla posting showed that Zhu’s title of vice president for Greater China had not changed and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia as of Tuesday.

The move makes Zhu the highest-profile executive at Tesla after Chief Executive Elon Musk, with direct oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and operations of its key production hubs.

The reporting lines for Zhu would keep Tesla’s vehicle design and development — both areas where Musk has been heavily involved — separate while creating an apparent deputy to Musk on the more near-term challenges of managing global sales and output.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reuters reviewed the organizational chart that had been posted internally by Tesla and confirmed the change with two people who had seen it. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Elon Musk needs to go back to Tesla and have others run Twitter, says Jim Cramer

Zhu and a team of his reports were brought in by Tesla late last year to troubleshoot production issues in the United States, driving an expectation among his colleagues then that he was being groomed for a bigger role.

Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter and Tesla analysts and investors have urged action that would deepen the senior executive bench and allow him to focus on Tesla.

Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from Covid lockdowns in China.

Tesla said on Monday that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.

The Tesla managers reporting to Zhu include: Jason Shawhan, director of manufacturing at the Gigafactory in Texas; Hrushikesh Sagar, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla’s Fremont factory; Joe Ward, vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Troy Jones, vice president of North America sales and service, according to the Tesla notice on reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

Tesla country managers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand continued to report to Zhu, the notice showed.

Zhu does not have a direct report at Tesla’s still-ramping Berlin plant, but a person with knowledge of the matter said responsibility for that operation would come with the reporting line for Amsterdam-based Ward. Ward could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.

During Shanghai’s two-month Covid lockdown, Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running, people who work with him have said.

Zhu, a no-fuss manager who sports a buzz cut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory. It was not immediately clear whether he would move after his promotion.

He takes charge of Tesla’s main production hubs at a time when the company is readying the launch of Cybertruck and a revamped version of its Model 3 sedan. Tesla has also said it is developing a cheaper electric vehicle but has not provided details on that plan.

When Tesla posted a picture on Twitter last month to celebrate its Austin, Texas, plant hitting a production milestone for its Model Y, Zhu was among hundreds of workers smiling on the factory floor.

Why China is beating the U.S. in electric vehicles

Allan Wang, who was promoted to vice president in charge of sales in China in July, was listed as the legal representative for the operation in registration papers filed with Chinese regulators in a change by the company last month.

Tesla board member James Murdoch said in November the company had recently identified a potential successor to Musk without naming the person. Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment.

Electrek previously reported that Zhu would take responsibility for U.S. sales, delivery and service.

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