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HDTV options.
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Maflynn
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Nov 8, 2010, 02:34 PM
 
So I may be in the market for a 42" - 46" hi-def tv. Any suggestions on what to look out for?

Plasma seems to be affordable in this price range, LCD and even edge-lit LED TVs.

I was at costco yesterday and saw a number of brands that looked nice, all at or under a thousand bucks. I'd prefer spending around 600 bucks, maybe up to 800.

Given that budget, would technology would suit me the best, and provide the best image quality.
~Mike
     
Laminar
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Nov 8, 2010, 02:55 PM
 
Maflynn is the new macfantn.
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:40 PM
 
Why do say that? I'm asking for advise on HDTVs. It seems like all things technology based, it changes quite rapidly. Until recently, I didn't even know that some HDTVs used LEDs for back-lighting.
~Mike
     
Laminar
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Why do say that? I'm asking for advise on HDTVs.
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:44 PM
 
Wow, thanks for stopping by and posting helpful advise

And you wonder why this place is so quiet, when people like you are so helpful
~Mike
     
Laminar
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:53 PM
 
I don't wonder why this place is so quiet. I also don't assume that more noise=better.
     
sek929
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:56 PM
 
I've heard, and seen, nothing but good things about LG and Samsung at those sizes.

Honestly, if you aren't knee deep in the HD realm, just get a reasonably priced 1080p Samsung and be done with it.
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
I don't wonder why this place is so quiet. I also don't assume that more noise=better.
your posts = noise
Questions/threads about various topics that tend to provide an avenue for discussions and dialogs is good.
~Mike
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 8, 2010, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
I've heard, and seen, nothing but good things about LG and Samsung at those sizes..
Thanks for posting some helpful advice.

The last time I started looking into HDTVs Samsung was well regarded. I was impressed with what LG had to offer, so its good to hear that they seem to have a good rep.
~Mike
     
sek929
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Nov 8, 2010, 04:00 PM
 
Two of my friends have a last-gen Samsung 1080p 46" HDTV and the picture, and viewing angle, is astonishing.

Another buddy has a LED backlit LCD, but he paid an arm and a leg for it, the picture difference doesn't come out and slap you across the face, but it's a little crisper and definitely has way better contrast.
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 8, 2010, 04:14 PM
 
It appears you definitely are paying a premium for the LED option.

I'm also concerned about burn in with the plasma tv. These both factors push me closer to the LCDs which have become very affordable.

With that said, the question is which models to avoid and which ones are highly regarded. So my initial thoughts of samsung are still valid.

Thanks
~Mike
     
seanc
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Nov 8, 2010, 04:41 PM
 
When you're shopping, there are quite a few things to consider:
Picture quality and viewing angle
Features/inputs
Brand & aftersales help
Warranty

In my opinion, I wouldn't go for a Plasma, you've mentioned burn-in, I know many years ago they used to be power hungry although I'm not sure about that today. They also tend to be a bit more unreliable compared to LCDs.

When it comes to LCDs, I bought a low cost LG 42" 42LH3000 in the boxing day sales, the viewing angle and picture quality is acceptable to me. The TV is positioned in the center of a wall, so no great issue. Enough inputs for my liking and has audio outputs so I don't have to use the nasty internal speakers.

Only comes with a 1 year warranty. I fully expect the power supply or the inverter to fail, I will pro-active about rebuilding it. If you don't feel like doing this, find a way to get a 3 or 5 year warranty.
     
scaught
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Nov 8, 2010, 05:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
Honestly, if you aren't knee deep in the HD realm, just get a reasonably priced 1080p Samsung and be done with it.
This is the best advice. Go with LCD, or LED if you can swing it. It will be better than what you have now and look nice.

The only other thing to consider is size. If you're sitting 3.5 feet away from it, don't get the 55" screen.
     
Macfreak7
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Nov 8, 2010, 06:32 PM
 
We recently replaced two of our fairly old tvs (both over 10 years) with flat screen tvs.
1. a Panasonic Plasma - 42" (http://panasonic.net/avc/viera/asia2...20_plasma.html link to asian market model) and 2. Toshiba 40" LCD. Both are Full HD (1080p). The plasma is definitely a lot easier on the eyes and has a prettier output when comparing a lower input signal.
However, I can't exactly tell you the HD performance for the Toshiba since we recently bought that and i haven't really watched a movie on there yet.
As for power consumption, the plasma uses what panasonic calls NeoPDP which apparently consumes less power than the previous gen. plasmas. Also the screen burn has now apparently been taken care of.

During my research prior to buying i found that LEDs are hyped up for no real benefit (other than power savings), at least nothing that i much cared for, and also being newer technology the prices seemed outrageous (when comparing to plasmas).

Finally you might also want to factor in the whole 3D rubbish hype into your purchase decision.
Hope this helps.

P.S. Three cheers for HD! Just watched Back to the Future on bluray and it's never looked so good (on the Panasonic i.e.)!
( Last edited by Macfreak7; Nov 9, 2010 at 03:19 AM. Reason: fixed link)
     
sek929
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Nov 8, 2010, 07:08 PM
 
I'm sure things have changed, but I was told several years ago that a large Plasma TV can consume twice as much electricity as a refrigerator.
     
Eug
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Nov 8, 2010, 09:56 PM
 
What are you using it for? If you're going to be gaming, watching mostly 4:3 material, or using it as a computer monitor, then I might recommend not getting a plasma. Plasmas do still suffer from image retention, esp. if you like the like the brightness and contrast way high. My GF left a 4:3 screen frozen on my LG 42PJ550 plasma for hours on end, and I got slight image retention. When I noticed, I changed to a 16:9 HD channel, and the image retention was gone in less than a minute. However, I just put the cable box on the grey-bar setting for 4:3 material instead of black bars, to reduce the chance of image retention. She doesn't seem to mind, but I'll change it back to black bars later, once I've had a chance to properly calibrate the TV and it has a chance to "break in". I don't know if breaking the TV really helps, but the plasma manufacturers used to recommend a break in period for plasmas so I figure it can't hurt.

Plasmas still usually have superior shadow detail, blacks and contrast ratios as compared to LCD. A cheap plasma will be better in this regard than most lower to mid-end LCDs IMO. If you get a high end LCD, it may be superior, but then again it will cost twice as much or more. The 42" plasma I bought cost all of $450, and it's quite superior to my old Toshiba LCD which I paid $1300 for 3 years ago.

As for power, the 42" LG 42PJ550 I bought actually uses a bit less power than my 3 year-old 42" Toshiba LCD. (I measured it with my Kill-A-Watt.) However, I'm sure many LCDs now use less power than LCDs from 3 years ago, and LED backlit TVs use even less power from what I gather.

Don't worry about 1080p. Well, you can worry about it if you sit 5 feet from that 42" screen, but otherwise don't worry about it. In fact, you may be better off with 720p if you're going to be doing text stuff on it. With 1080p at any distance, everything is hard to read. It's much easier to read at 1280x720 or 1360x768 because of the larger font size.

My Toshiba LCD suffers from uneven backlighting. This is apparently a common problem on lower end LCDs, but usually isn't a problem with high end LCDs. It is not a problem with my plasma, since there's no backlighting to begin with (which is why the blacks are better).

So, IMO, if your usage habits don't pose a high risk for image retention and your budget is small, then go plasma for the superior picture. However, if you got extra bux to spend and are concerned about burn-in, then go LCD. To put it another way, the picture quality of lower end LCDs suffers significantly. That said, I am using a low end 26" LCD to watch TV in my home office, and it's OK. The image quality is much worse than my plasma, but if the content is good then I tend to overlook the poorer quality after I get into the program. However, that's not my primary TV, so I'm less critical with it.

In my case, I wasn't really constrained by budget, but I figured it can't hurt to save money. I just couldn't get myself to spend closer to $1000 on a LCD to match the image quality of a $500 plasma.

BTW, TVs that smooth out DVD and Blu-ray material to 120 Hz with interpolation really suck. Not only can there be lag, but the image looks totally fake. It makes movies look like cheap video. The only reason IMO to get at 120 Hz TV is to eliminate judder from the 24 fps frame rate, but IMO it's not necessarily worth another $500 for that either.

Short summary:
1. A $500 plasma usually looks significantly better than a $500 LCD once properly calibrated.
2. However, plasmas can suffer image retention (usually temporary) with specific types of usage, if you're not careful.
3. Plasmas now use about as much power as LCDs did a couple of years ago.
4. Burn-in is not a problem with LCD.
5. If you buy an LCD, don't get a low end one, cuz they may suck.
6. 1080p not really important for most usage.
7. 120 Hz image smoothing through frame interpolation sucks, and may introduce some video lag.
8. In fact, any added image processing feature can introduce video lag. Lag is terrible.
( Last edited by Eug; Nov 8, 2010 at 10:07 PM. )
     
ghporter
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Nov 8, 2010, 10:35 PM
 
I like my Samsung 55" 7000 Series LED TV. Of course the screen itself isn't LED, that's just the backlight system. But I did a lot of close comparisons of other types of flat panels-cold cathode lighting is anything but cold, and plasma still feels quite hot at screen level, lower power requirements or not.

Eug's other points are spot on. Image processing can suck-and very badly. Native resolution and native frame rate are almost always just fine. However, 1080p IS important if you're going for really resolution sensitive subject matter. A BluRay of something with tons of details may look just fine at a lower resolution-but once you see it at 1080p, you may change your mind. Yeah, I spent a pretty penny on my TV, but it's gorgeous, especially since I calibrated the screen to the room. Calibration, you say? Yep, Disney DVDs have calibration material built in-I used "Wall-E" to do mine. Calibration IS IMPORTANT.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Eug
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Nov 9, 2010, 12:29 AM
 
1080p is important for resolution sensitive subject matter. However, that usually means stuff like text - computer use and film credits, etc. For movie material at 42" it's pretty much irrelevant at most usual seating distances IMO.

With a 55" screen, it may be more noticeable at relatively close distances, and with projection images (and I have a projector), it's potentially even more noticeable. But again, I find it's of less relevance for movie and TV material, and it's definitely less important than other factors like audio sync and colours and shadow detail. I would definitely upgrade my Panasonic 3 LCD projector... but to improve blacks and shadow detail. I don't really care about 1080p, even with a 90" image at 10 feet away.

However, what is true is that often 1080p screens are just better than 720p screens. That's not because 1080p is necessary, but it's because 1080p screens are higher end screens, and I guess the manufacturers put more effort into some of their 1080p screens than 720p ones. That said, there are many really crappy 1080p screens out there. Ironically, when 1080p was first becoming popular, a lot of the cheapest noname brand screens were 1080p, while the big names were 720p. And the big name 720p screens were MUCH better. Nowadays though, all the higher end screens are 1080p.
     
rubberwheels
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Nov 9, 2010, 12:31 AM
 
I personally like LCDS. I would get a LED LCD if i had the cash. i love the thinness.
     
Eug
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Nov 9, 2010, 12:50 AM
 
Out of interest's sake, how does the thinness benefit you? I realize it can make a difference in certain setups, but in my case it's pretty much irrelevant, since the 42" sits inside an armoire. It could be 6" thick and it wouldn't matter. Same goes for the one in my home office. I have the front of the TV aligned with the fronts of the speakers, but the speakers are 8" deep.

If I hung it on the wall, having a thinner TV is preferable to a thick one, but then again, it depends on the mount too.
     
ghporter
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Nov 9, 2010, 07:40 AM
 
Thin TVs are lighter, and can be placed closer to walls if not mounted on the wall. If you put it on a stand, a very thin TV has a lot more positioning flexibility, including being able to turn the screen to accommodate lighting and seating with much greater freedom.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 9, 2010, 07:54 AM
 
My intended purpose is mostly watching TV, with some gaming, i.e., PS3. I'm not a huge gamer, playing any given game maybe once a month.

I think I'm leaning towards the LCD models as opposed to the LEDs, mostly because they're more affordable. So far LG, and Samsung seem to be on my short list. The good news is that its the beginning of November so I'm hoping to see some good deals in the coming weeks.
~Mike
     
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Nov 9, 2010, 10:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
My intended purpose is mostly watching TV, with some gaming, i.e., PS3. I'm not a huge gamer, playing any given game maybe once a month.

I think I'm leaning towards the LCD models as opposed to the LEDs, mostly because they're more affordable. So far LG, and Samsung seem to be on my short list. The good news is that its the beginning of November so I'm hoping to see some good deals in the coming weeks.
Panasonic TC-L42U22. I have both the 32 inch and 37 inch versions. (I bought the 32" from MacConnection and the 37" from Sears on sale.) They even have a "faster" version for gamers. It gives a good picture at a broad angle which may be important as some sets do not. It is a 1080p and has a QAM digital tuner which may be important if you have cable tv.
sam
     
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Nov 9, 2010, 11:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by SVass View Post
Panasonic TC-L42U22. I have both the 32 inch and 37 inch versions. (I bought the 32" from MacConnection and the 37" from Sears on sale.) They even have a "faster" version for gamers. It gives a good picture at a broad angle which may be important as some sets do not. It is a 1080p and has a QAM digital tuner which may be important if you have cable tv.
sam
Ahahahahah. QAM. All the major cable networks are switching to SDV with encryption, QAM is basically going to be useless except for the OTA channels.
     
angelmb
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Nov 9, 2010, 02:06 PM
 
10 things you need to know before buying an HDTV.

The one and only thing I need to know.

     
The Godfather
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Nov 9, 2010, 02:20 PM
 
Does power efficiency matter? How many watts are you planning to provide?
     
olePigeon
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Nov 9, 2010, 02:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
That's the one I want, but it's bloody expensive. True cinema aspect ratio. Awesome.
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angelmb
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Nov 9, 2010, 04:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
That's the one I want, but it's bloody expensive. True cinema aspect ratio. Awesome.
It goes for 2300€, still €€€€€€€€€€ but hey, it was something like 6000€ a year ago.
     
olePigeon
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Nov 9, 2010, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
It goes for 2300€, still €€€€€€€€€€ but hey, it was something like 6000€ a year ago.
Not sold in the U.S., though. Nice to see the price has dropped a lot.
( Last edited by olePigeon; Nov 9, 2010 at 05:34 PM. )
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andi*pandi
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Nov 9, 2010, 06:11 PM
 
We got an 42" LG from TigerDirect.com after chasing after the Consumer Reports recommended model everywhere and not finding it. Toshiba was also recommended. Bestbuy's house brand is horrible.

We really like it for HDTV, but have to upgrade our receiver to get the full effect for DVD movies and Wii. VHS looks really crappy.
     
the_glassman
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Nov 9, 2010, 08:32 PM
 
If you care about image quality at all, buy a Plasma. If you want to purchase a TV based on how thin it is or hype, buy an LED LCD. Todays Plasmas don't suffer from burn in, are much more energy efficient than they were even a couple of years ago and have superior picture quality in all aspects. A Plasma might cost you an extra $2.00 a month in an electric compared to an LCD, but Plasmas are usually much cheaper in the same size so you'll never really save money with an LCD. In my opinion LCDs have no business being used as a TV. For a laptop monitor or phone yes, but they just can't compete with other display technologies.
     
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Nov 9, 2010, 11:32 PM
 
My recommendation would be very similar to what sek929 said. Don't stress it and just go with the following:

- Samsung
- LCD. Preferably LED for closer wall mounting, power savings, and all around sexiness.
- Go with the previous year's model for significant savings on price.

You won't be disappointed.

OAW
     
Maflynn  (op)
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Nov 10, 2010, 08:24 AM
 
Thanks for the advice and info.
There are many brands out there, the technology is changing, as we see the use of LEDs over CCFL and I've been out of the loop on this.

It seems I cannot go wrong Samsung, LG, vizio and even Toshiba. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for deals/sales as we enter the Christmas season.

Do you guys think that the best sales will be before Christmas or in January when retailers will be looking to unload unsold inventory?
~Mike
     
olePigeon
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Nov 10, 2010, 03:01 PM
 
There's a popular hack to make projectors run on headlight lamps so you can replace the bulb in a projector for only $7, instead of $240. Makes them actually economical for watching regular TV.
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The Godfather
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Nov 11, 2010, 09:42 AM
 
Yeah, but at 250W they are also expensive on the electric bill.
     
olePigeon
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Nov 11, 2010, 06:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Godfather View Post
Yeah, but at 250W they are also expensive on the electric bill.
Less than most desktop PCs.
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Person Man
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Nov 11, 2010, 06:48 PM
 
I second the recommendation for Samsung. I have a Samsung DLP rear projection model, 1080p. They don't sell those any more but if I needed a new TV I'd get another Samsung. I've had no problems with mine at all.
     
jonn804
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Nov 12, 2010, 07:47 PM
 
Amazon is having a 48-hour HDTV sale. I just bought a Samsung 46-inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV for $899 --- free shipping and no taxes. Please don't accuse me of SPAM. I'm just pointing out a good to great online sale.
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Eug
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Nov 12, 2010, 10:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by the_glassman View Post
If you care about image quality at all, buy a Plasma. If you want to purchase a TV based on how thin it is or hype, buy an LED LCD. Todays Plasmas don't suffer from burn in, are much more energy efficient than they were even a couple of years ago and have superior picture quality in all aspects. A Plasma might cost you an extra $2.00 a month in an electric compared to an LCD, but Plasmas are usually much cheaper in the same size so you'll never really save money with an LCD. In my opinion LCDs have no business being used as a TV. For a laptop monitor or phone yes, but they just can't compete with other display technologies.
I disagree. I bought a plasma, but don't agree that image retention on plasmas is not an issue. It still is, even in 2010, although it is much less of an issue than say 5 years ago. To put it another way, I wouldn't necessarily recommend a plasma as a primary gaming screen for example, at least not to the type of hardcore gamer that will have the screen up for the whole weekend or something.

Plus a good LCD TV can be very good image quality. I do agree that a cheap plasma can offer the performance of a much higher priced LCD, but LCD can offer other benefits, not the least of which is complete lack of significant image retention.
     
Eug
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Nov 24, 2010, 01:05 AM
 
So, I've been doing the trial-and-error colour calibration thing with my new TV in the last couple of weeks. (It's taken that long since I haven't been watching it much.) However, the more I tweaked it, the worse it looked.

So finally decided to pull out the calibration disc and did it properly. It took me a couple of hours, esp. because my LG 42PJ550 plasma has a plethora of settings. The more settings there are, the more complicated the calibration becomes, but now it seems quite dialed in. Skin tones from Blu-ray looked great. Contrast is very nice, yet blacks are deep and shadow detail is maintained. Not a professional level calibration, but I'm most definitely satisfied. A very big improvement over my 3 year-old LCD. The other good thing is that this TV has independent settings for each of the inputs.

Interestingly, after I set it up, it seems both green and blue are bang-on in terms of saturation, but red is a bit undersaturated. This is quite different than my old CRT HDTV which had significant red push, which was much harder to deal with. I wonder if they did that on purpose. This is with the "standard" colour palette. I couldn't get things to look good with the wide palette.

I'd have to say, to get this quality in this ballpark from an LCD, I'd be spending much, much more, and this TV is only 1024x768.
     
ajprice
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Nov 24, 2010, 07:55 AM
 
Another vote for Samsung from me, very happy with mine.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
   
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