HDTV Recommendations

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Reaktor5, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire, USA
    So I'm in the market for a new TV, basically my only criteria is that it's $750 or less and 40-42", anything bigger is too much for my room. The thinner the better as well. Doesn't have to be a smart TV because I plan on getting an AppleTV for Netflix/iTunes rentals and use my Xbox 360 for everything else.

    I've had these two in mind (if anyone can chime in what they think) and I'm totally open to suggestions.

  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    FWIW-I paid bucks for the sony from sony. Lasted 3weeks. Went green screen on software update. Sony sent a repairman. Lasted one day. It went back to Sony. In their defense, I did get a full refund. I hear good things about the Samsung. I'm a Panasonic Plasma guy myself, but if you looking thin, you don't want plasma and don't want the heat.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2009
    Check out reviews for Samsung and Vizio products in your price range; really can't go wrong with either.
  4. macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2013
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Samsung or Vizio

    I have had my Samsung 46" LCD for almost 4 years and it's GREAT! My inlaws just bought a 55" Vizio and they really like it. Plus Vizio is Made in USA, so that's a real plus!
  5. macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    Between family and I have bought 5 toshiba TV's and have been pretty pleased with them. Also my dad has had good luck with a Vizo as well.
  6. macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Get the Samsung. Samsung rates higher than Sony in that size range according to Consumers Reports. There are only a few LCD panel manufactures in the world. LG, Samsung and Sharp are the big players who sell panels to other brands like Vizeo, Panasonic... .
    If you need to watch the TV at an angle, LG is superior to everyone else in that regard LCD wise. Sony isn't the company they once were.
    Vizeo is headquartered in the USA, not made here.
  7. macrumors 68020


    Oct 25, 2008
    Often people will tell you to go to stores and seem them yourself. While it is logical, just remember that many of the TVs for display are NOT set up correctly or as you would have at home. In fact, some come with a setting for "promotional display only" which is brighter and contrastier than what one might use at home.

    I would suggest reading up on TVs in your range and see if there is an overlap between various sources on which TV is your best bet for the size and cost range you supplied. The only thing that you can count on when going to a store to see a TV is the look of the TV itself and if possible handle the remote. Not all remotes are comfortable in your hands.

    For LCD my tastes are for the Samsung, LG and Sony. Others would advocate models from Sharp and Vizio. For my viewing I always prefer plasma and that is all subjective.

    As for bells and whistles, most come with some and you just choose not to use them. My TV, TiVo and blu ray player can all do Netflix and some other services including streaming media from my own hard drives. I simply choose the one that works best. I gather in your case, you'll use the ATV.

    Good luck
  8. macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2012
    If you could go up to a 50", the Panasonic UT50 floats in your price range and will easily be the top PQ performer in your price range.

    To be perfectly honest, this is the wrong forum for you. I would go over to the AVSforums and do some proper research. Cnet and thewirecutter.com are two places to go as well.

    How far back will you be sitting from your TV? Is the room bright? Do you plan on using it as a monitor? Primarily watching movies/playing games? Or will you watch much SD?

    I'd reiterate that I would not bother comparing TVs at Best Buy or Sears...go to a speciality store, even if you plan on buying from one of the aforementioned.
  9. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    The BEST and WORST Time to Shop for a TV

    Since you're open, while both those TVs you mention are good TVs, there are better, especially since you won't be using the SMART features. This is the hardest time of the year to locate a TV, but possibly the best time to locate DEAS on the TVs you do find. CES just happened, and soon 2013 models will begin hitting stores. This has the fortunate side-effect of meaning retailers have to clear out the models they have, which means the prices will plummet, almost to a model. That's great for price shopping and keeping things low, but it's bad for actually finding the TV you want. As an example, Panasonic has the highest rated HDTVs (the UT50, ST50, GT50 and VT50) in their plasma line, but the 2012 models are almost gone from stores, even now! This seems a little earlier than it happened last year, and LG was the first to market 12 months ago, and I don't see that rush from them this year.

    So, if you can find a deal on one of those plasma sets I mentioned (they start a little bigger than you're asking for - 50" - but their PQ is second to none, and right now, so is the value they represent). I've no doubt that you'll find a UT50 display or open box deal in your budget if you act sooner than later.

    How far back will you be sitting in the room? What is the lighting situation in the room? (Both room light and sunlight)
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire, USA
    Wow lots of replies! Thank you all for your input.

    I definitely won't be comparing picture quality at any big box stores, they're more than likely all calibrated completely wrong.

    This TV will be more of a bedroom TV than for the living room so I won't be too far back and with my shades/curtains glare won't be much of an issue either. I do have standard def cable but I'm only really watching the news, all of my HD content is coming from Netflix or the iTunes store. And of course the occasional gaming with my 360.

    The other tech I see pop up a lot is the LED backlight. I know there's some sort of difference between the edge-lit and a full-array. Throw in local dimming and it gets even more confusing. Do they really make that much of a difference, especially given what I'm going to be using it for?
  11. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    Yep, I can help you here, because it can certainly be a mess of terms and jargon tossed around, and sometimes it feels like those tossing them around the most do it so that they can feel more intelligent than the rest of us! LOL

    Here are the basics (and when I'm done, you'll know more of why I personally recommended a plasma set to you!) :)

    1. Regarding LED and LCD tvs - LCD tvs usually have a fluorescent backlight. The newer "LED" or "LCD-LED" sets are still LCD panels, but instead of fluorescent backlights, they use LED backlights. Primarily, these are done for performance reasons - higher efficiency by up to 40% - less heat, darker blacks, a little better viewing angles, thinner, lighter. The business reason they did it was to sell higher-margin TVs.

    2. Regarding edge-lit and full-array backlit LEDs - Again, this is also all about the backlight. Full-array backlighting has the best picture quality of the two, because - as the name implies - there is a full array of LED backlights on the back of the LCD panel, shining through it to the screen you're watching. It results in a more evenly-lit panel from corner to corner, with no bright spots anywhere. The downside? It's very expensive to install all those hundreds of LED backlights in the TV, as you can imagine. The other choice is edge-lit. As the name implies, the TV is lit by LED light sources positioned in a ring around the edge of the LCD panel, firing in towards the center. The downside is that it leaves a bright halo effect that shows up most often on dark or dim scenes. The upside? It's a lot cheaper to implement than full-array backlighting.

    3. About Local Dimming - Local dimming happens in software, and all it means is that the set can control its LED backlights in zones, to give it more fine control over the black level. Here's a practical example: let's say you're watching Star Trek, and you're watching an inky-black star field. On an LED TV with Local Dimming, the TV will turn off power to the backlights in those zones that are in those pitch black areas of the screen, which makes them even darker! The effect is amazing, especially on a really good Blu-ray. The downside to it is the cost to implement. Very few TVs feature it because it's very expensive to implement. Sonys HX929 did it well at about $4000 for a 55" set. Sharp's Elite sets do it for $4500 for the 60" and $7000 for the 70"!!

    So, all these steps are good and all, but by and large, they are there to catch up with where good plasma sets have been since 2008, as far as black levels and viewing angles go. Quality plasma sets represent the best bang for the buck in this space.

    I hope that helps!
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire, USA
    This helps a ton! Sometimes manufacturers love touting specs but don't do a great job describing how they necessarily benefit customers.

    In terms of plasmas, I know burn-in and ghosting used to be a big issue with them way back when. Have they improved since then? It sounds like I'd be better off going plasma than LCD but I do want it to last quite awhile.

    This looks to be the best in the plasma category for me:
  13. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    If it's still available, go for it! Just remember what time of year it is, and keep in mind stores will be selling through them amazingly quickly.
  14. macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2013
  15. taylord22, Feb 18, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2012
    This is an odd time of the year to buy a TV. You're right in the middle of a on/off good time, and the best time. New models come out in April, so companies are trying to squeeze all that they can out of current models...which means sales will drop in and out.

    Also, be mindful of the fact that Panasonic consistently outscores Samsung in the plasma world. In fact, the PQ of the entry Panasonic plasma outdoes the samsung that's in the pricing tier above. Samsung makes you pay a premium for design and features, but generally has much more drastic "deals". Kind of a catch-22...if aesthetic is a big factor, then it's Samsung hands down.

    ...and yes, IR and burn in are largely a thing of the past. An old DVD player with no screensaver function and 48hrs of a static image (early in the panel's life) would definitely cause some issues. But those are extraordinary circumstances that would likely even damage an LED panel.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 28, 2010
    Stay away from the korean Apple hater!! Your money will buy better quality with Panasonic or Sharp, whether it be plasma, LED or LCD.

  17. macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2012
    Paul's TV currently has the TCP55VT50 on sale for $1499 if you use the coupon code SAVE500. It's the top of the line model of 2012. If you're still in the market for a TV you should definitely look at this set.
  18. macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    I am by no means an expert here, but I wanted to share my experience with Panasonic plasmas. I've had my 42" Panasonic plasma since May of 2008 and couldn't be happier. Picture quality is awesome (to my non-expert eyes anyway), and it still works just as well today as the day I bought it. I haven't had any burn-in issues, and it's had a LOT of use over the years. I would highly recommend Panasonic plasmas, for what it's worth.
  19. macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2008
    I've had 2, the 55VT50 is my current TV. Panasonic makes a great TV, highly recommended for sure.
  20. macrumors 68040


    May 10, 2010
    I'm very happy with my Bravia NX420, a 42" sized very slim TV; connected via Ethernet direct to my router getting Hulu. Until now all software upgrades went well.
    Specially I like the monolithic front glass made from gorilla; looks really nice.
  21. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Sharp makes the best LCD panels. No competition. Look for one of their 40"-42" Aquos series.
  22. macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2003
    New York, NY
    I agree with Irishman all around. It definitely sounds like a plasma is best for your application. Plus if you graduate to watching more things on your bedroom set, the plasma is significantly more versatile (great with sports, films, etc.) I believe Panasonic is hands down the best right now. If you can handle a 50 inch and can squeeze a few more dollars into your budget, this TV can now be found on sale under $1000. And this is the season where it could easily dip a little lower. Good luck to you!
  23. macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    Last week Frys had a 60" Panasonic plasma for $699 shipped!
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    My vote goes for LG over all the others:
    • LG plays nicely with OSX Plex Server.
    • So far it has played all video and music files I've thrown at it on an external HDD, and via Plex. Tested all other brands, the they did not play all video files (mkv, m4p, mp4, wmv, avi, etc).
    • The Smart TV features also work flawlessly.
    • LG panels are IPS - unlike Sony and Samsung, who use lower quality panels.
    • The magic remote is also very nice, as it works like a mouse.
    • LG Price-Value ratio is good.
    • Nice design.

    Go for LG
  25. macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    I have a Samsung UN55EH6000 55" LED-backlit LCD that, while it isn't a "slim" model it's good bang for the buck... You can actually pick it up on Amazon Prime now for around $750. When I bought it less than a year ago it was about $1000.

    But you said that might be too big for your room.... I'd imagine their 42" slim models would be even better at this point. Check a few of them out at Best Buy or something, and then order them off Amazon Prime with free shipping.

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