Enjoy the extensive selection of free movies and TV shows on The Roku Channel, which you can watch in ultra-high definition, as well as access to streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, Disney+, Prime Video, NOW TV and many more (subscription fees may apply). Plus, you can cast music and photos from your phone to the TV screen.
Best TV streaming services
If you’re looking to upgrade to a smart TV, it makes sense to subscribe to a couple of streaming services so you can make the most of what your new TV can do. The Telegraph has previously reviewed the best TV streaming services; we awarded Disney+ (£5.99/month) with first-place position thanks to its exclusive offerings both in films and TV. However, Netflix (£5.99/month) came a close second, since the pioneering streaming service has something for everyone. Apple TV+ (£4.99/month) is great for original content, and Now TV (from £12.99/month) offers some of the most binge-worthy shows from HBO and Sky. Prime Video (£7.99/month) also deserves a mention for its added push towards sports coverage, as well as its Amazon Originals and old-school favourites.
Live sport TV packages
Sky Sports has 11 dedicated sports channels, making it the go-to network for many sports fans. For Black Friday, the Sky is offering a bundle on its Sky TV, Netflix and Sky Sports, at £42.50, down from £66. The Sky TV and Sports bundle is just £40 on its own but we prefer the former bundle, as you’re effectively getting Netflix for £2.50 per month.
BT is also a great network for live sport TV, and is now offering its packages at a 50 per cent discount. It might be worth investing, as BT Sport is the only place where you can watch every single UEFA Champions League game (on top of Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and more games). Plus, you can watch them all in ultra-high definition, with 4K HDR picture and Dolby Atmos surround sound. The best BT Sport Black Friday deal is the Big Sport package, which features the four BT channels as well as the 11 Sky Sports channels for £20 a month, down from £40. The basic BT Sport package is also on offer, at £7.50 a month, down from £15, but this doesn’t include the Sky channels.
On Virgin Media, you can watch both BT Sport and Sky Sports channels in a bundle with the M100 Fibre Broadband (108Mbps) for £72 a month for 18 months.
What to look for when buying a TV
Buying a television is a huge investment – not just from a financial perspective, but also because it takes prime position in your living room, the heart of any home.
As such, you need to take a lot into consideration if you want to buy a new TV in the Black Friday sales. Not sure where to start? We have you covered. Our cheat sheet below untangles the technical jargon (OLED, QLED and LED) and covers everything you need to know about screen sizes and sound quality.
While bigger isn’t always better, it’s worth noting that manufacturers often reserve their premium OLED and QLED models for larger screen sizes. As such, Telegraph writer Jack Rear recommends going for a TV that’s at least 55-inches (NB: this is the distance from the bottom left to the top right of the screen, not its width).
The screen should be parallel to your eyes, with no more than a 15-degree tilt upwards or downwards, or a 40-degree angle left or right.
Picture quality: What is 4K and Ultra HD?
Imagine your TV like a mosaic, with each pixel a tile. The more tiles, the more detailed your mosaic will be. A standard high-definition TV has two million pixels. A 4K TV has eight million, so the detail will be much better.
The term 4K therefore refers to ultra high-definition picture quality, and it is interchangeable with the term Ultra HD (or UHD on some models). A 4K Ultra HD has a premium screen resolution, with eight million pixels in total – which is four times as many as a HD TV. This means you get a crisper picture on the screen.
In general, you should aim for a 4K television, as they are the highest-quality televisions – aside from the 8K televisions.
However, 8K televisions aren’t always supported by the majority of broadcasters, and you can’t stream 8K or even buy 8K Blu-Rays.
Until 8K becomes more mainstream, it’s best to stick to 4K TVs. Nearly all of these models have the ability to ‘upscale’ standard HD content, and premium 4K models might include HDR (High Dynamic Range), a contrast-boosting systems that makes colours more vivid on the screen.
You may see other terms when researching a TV – such as “Full HD” and “HD Ready”. To clear up any confusion, the below is a hierarchy of TVs, ranked from the best picture quality to the worst:
- 4K/Ultra HD
- Full HD
- HD Ready
- Standard Definition
Other terms to know: OLED, QLED and LED
The brightness of the TV screen depends on whether it is an LED, OLED or QLED device. An LED television uses a backlight and turns off areas of light during dark scenes. If you combine this with a HDR, you can get better screen resolution because of the contrast of colours.
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Device) TVs have a more complex system. The pixels in these TVs emit their own light when electricity passes through, as opposed to relying on a backlight for brightness. As such, the pixels turn off their own colour during dark scenes – so dark colours appear darker and bright colours appear stronger. This method also means that OLED devices have a lower power consumption thn LED TVs.
QLED (Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode) technology was designed by Samsung and announced in 2018. QLED televisions use particles that are able to radiate far more colours at a greater brightness, as they have a microscopic particle filter.
What is a Smart TV?
A Smart TV will incorporate apps, catch-up services, streaming channels (such as Netflix and YouTube), and will give you access to the internet.
As screen size continues to get thinner, there is less space on the models for front-facing speakers. Therefore, we suggest either investing in a model with Dolby Atmos sound (for a cinematic effect) or finding a soundbar – which are in the Black Friday sales, too.