LCD TV without stupid features?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Earendil, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. macrumors 68000


    I'm hoping some of you have done a ton of research recently, or are in the business, and can point me in the right direction. I've looked through places like Amazon, and am overwhelmed with the fact that there are a half dozen manufacturers that I trust to make a TV, each with a half dozen models with overlapping features. And all the "models" have awesomely cryptic letter-number combo names. Even if I narrow it down to a price point, I still end up with 30-40 TVs that all seem practically the same!

    Current state: Received an AppleTV for Christmas, have a 36" tube TV from the 90's. 98% of TV content comes from Netflix (streaming or DVD) and the computer. I don't have cable.

    So here is what I want:
    1. A solid TV that does its primary purpose, display motion imagery.
    2. I want a refresh rate and a processor capable of handling FPS XBox games. I don't need a refresh rate beyond that though. I will never have refresh-rate envy.
    3. I want the standard HDMI inputs, but legacy inputs would be nice bonus.

    This is what I don't want, and thus don't want to pay for:
    1. Wireless anything.
    2. Built in Speakers.
    3. "Feature" Software of just about any kind (i.e. web, server access, etc)

    Unless someone wants to convince me otherwise, I don't need my TV to be smart. I need it to function appropriately along side my ATV, and my stereo receiver with 6.1. The ATV2 should be capable of being the "Brains" for things like my desktop computer and iPhone4, even if I have to JB to get it to do what I want.

    In a nutshell, I want the TV to be a quality component to the rest of my system.

    So are there a couple models out there that are geared for only displaying a picture, and not trying to provide the entire entertainment experience?

    Budget: Started at $500, potentially willing to go to $750 if I think I'm getting $250 worth of tech.
    Size: At least 42". Given my budget, I don't expect anything over 46".

    Can anyone help a tech brother out?
  2. macrumors 601


    I had the same requirements, and for Christmas my brother gave me an 23" Widescreen Acer display. It has HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs. No speakers, no tuner, it just displays what I send it. Works great with my Apple TV (2nd gen).

    I do need to add an optical-to-stereo RCA decoder box to my setup, but Monoprice has one for around 30$.

    Think about how you want to handle the audio. If you can connect directly to the optical audio output of the Apple TV, you should be fine.
  3. macrumors 603


    This might be tough - it's easy enough to disable a TV's built-in speakers, but most TV's are going to have them. If you were to consider a monitor, you might be spending more than you would on a TV.

    At your price point, I think your TV will be an "acceptable" component to the rest of your system. I know a 42" TV can be had for $500, but I wouldn't quite call that a "quality" component. But then again, the real quality in the system will come from the ATV and Xbox, so no biggie.
  4. OmegaRed1723, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011

    macrumors 6502


    It sounds like you're looking for a monitor more than a tv. Even if you look at professional LCD displays (e.g., kiosk displays) you'll be looking at more than $700 for even a 42" model. For a solid budget set, I'd take a look at the Vizio xvt423sv. It can be found for under $700 if you look hard enough. Reviews here, here and here. It does come with all the bells and whistles, those these are simply becoming standard on any set these days.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Well, I'm not :)
    Sorry if the interfacing with my desktop computer comment threw anyone off. I only want that connection in order to get video content to my TV. However I can use any number of ways to do that, including the AppleTV which should serve 90% of my content. I don't need DVI/VGA connections.

    Really? So what am I missing when I'm looking at:
    This 42" Panasonic for $550,
    This 42" LG for $650,
    or this 47" Vizio for $750?

    Wait, I think I see where we went wrong. I do NOT want bells and whistles :)
    That Vizio appears to have everything I'd rather not pay for!
  6. macrumors 6502


    My implication is that if you want a set with decent picture quality, it's likely also going to come with features you don't want. You want a set with black blacks? You'll want local dimming. None of the sets you specified are LED backlit, let alone locally dimming. I believe it's also an IPS monitor, which is rare in lower priced sets and provides a better viewing angle. Just my $.02. Good luck with the search!
  7. macrumors 68040

    Based on my cursory review of what's for sale at Amazon, this one looks like it's right up your alley. I personally have 3 Samsungs (LCDs and a Plasma) and am very happy with them but wouldn't hesitate to get a Panasonic. At your price point, 1080p with 120 Hz is about the best you can expect. Just my $0.02.
  8. macrumors 68000


    And this might be. I mainly wanted to clarify what features I would consider paying for. May people appear to be rating TVs negatively based on the quality of the attached speakers. I couldn't care less about attached speakers. It's okay if they're there, but if it's a question of getting Decent attached speakers, and saving $10, I'll take the $10 :)

    Okay, we have a feature here, "Local Dimming". I wasn't aware this was something to look for, but I can guess that this is the ability of the TV to detect a large set of black pixels, and dim/disable a portion of the backlight in that area? Sounds like a good idea.

    Can Local Dimming only be accomplished with LED backlight architecture? I haven't seen an LED set yet that looked worth an extra 50%. Maybe I need my eyes checked :)

    Now we're talking a technology I'm familiar with! I didn't know LCD TVs were using similar panel technologies to Computer monitors. But I suppose I can think of no good reason why they wouldn't...

    Are you aware of a good resource for figuring out these types of features? Ones that only the nerds care about? :D
    It would seem that most retailers do not mention these sorts of technologies...

    And it is very much appreciated!
  9. macrumors 68000

    I think you are confusing a computer monitor with a video monitor (which is what most people are recommending in this thread). A video monitor is simply a professional, high-quality display without speakers. A monitor would certainly come without all the bells and whistles you 'don't want to pay for' ....although you will be paying A HUGE premium for that lack of 'bells and whistles'.

    Most HDTVs today come with all of this stuff...essentially for free. I bought my HDTV 3 years ago and it came with none of that stuff...but it cost me over $1000 for a 1080p 42"er and today this same TV can probably be had for 300 dollars less AND come with all the extras.

    You are looking for a video monitor. Which, as others have said, you will be hard-pressed to find at your price point.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Thanks, I'll give that a look.

    AFAIK 1080p is about as high as you can go anyway without dropping screen size and entering computer LCD screens. Also, the majority of content isn't even at 1080p yet, correct?

    To my knowledge, the average human eye can only detect about 25-30 FPS. This is why most people see no flicker on theater movies. So what's the point of having more than 120 Hz? It seems rather pointless, but maybe I'm missing something?
  11. macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

    Now that I've had a television that connects to the Internet to play Netflix without any devices, I'm not sure that I can ever buy one without it.
  12. macrumors 6502


    Get the set that tbayrgs recommended. Viera's are awesome sets, and to get one for under $600 is an absolute no-brainer. I didn't realize you could get them so cheap!
  13. macrumors 6502a

    It's worth pointing out that all TVs these days are "smart". They're all computers. Those bells and whistles don't add much to the cost since the processing power is already there in most cases. Also, internet connectivity is actually a good thing even if you don't want to use the bells and whistles. It allows for easy firmware upgrades. And, yes, TVs these days all have firmware and you want to be able to update it.

    Don't worry about the speakers. Pretty much all flat panel TVs have lousy speakers. They might try to convince you that they have some fancy technology that makes their speakers sound good, but no TV manufacturer is spending much money to try to make their speakers sound good because it just can't be done in the low profile designs. However, you will not want to pay to find a set without speakers. As already mentioned, that will make it a monitor and will actually increase the cost.
  14. macrumors 601


    I don't think you can go wrong with a Samsung or LG in your size or price range. Both make great sets. They may have some of the features you don't want, but really, that's not what you're paying for. It'd be akin to asking for a car without windshield wipers. If you don't want to use them, you don't have to.

    The best thing to do is walk into a Best Buy or WalMart or the like. Look at the sets and whichever has the best picture in your price range, do a little research on reviews and where to get it for the best price, then buy it. And at 42", I'd recommend getting a 1080P capable. There's an endless debate about whether you "need" it or not, but why limit yourself for a piece of equipment you'll have for at least the next decade over $50?
  15. macrumors Penryn


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