TV Recommendations

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BasilFawlty, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #1
    We currently have a 55" Hitachi Rear Projection screen, which we have owned for over 10 years. We bought it at the time becuase true flat screens were just way too expensive! It's a "ok" TV, but doesn't have a true HDMI connection. Anyway, we have been thinking about replacing it with a nice HD flat screen now that prices have become much more reasonable. I've looked at a lot of reviews and such, but would like to hear some recommendations from folks here who are really into home theater.

    For the size of the room we will have this in, I'm thinking that a 60" set is about as big as we want to go. A couple of the sets I've seen are the newer Sony Bravia and the Sharp Quattron Aquos (which they say has an "extra" color (yellow) which purports to make skin tones more realistic).

    If we upgrade to a nicer TV I also plan to buy a new ATV to pair with it. Would like to hear what TVs people here have and the pros and cons of some of the different options, especially as it relates to using the new ATV.
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    maturola

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #2
    You can't go wrong with Sony, but they are usually on the high side of the price, if you want the best bang for you money, look at the LG smart TV, great quality, and they have good pricing if you shop around.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    #3
    A Vote for Samsung

    I have a 58" Samsung plasma. Love it. Also have a Samsung 47" LCD in the bedroom.Great TV's. If you do not already have a stereo receiver with HDMI inputs, I would strongly recommend it. I have a 5.1 sound system hooked up to a Yamaha RX-V461. I have my ATV3, BluRay player and cable box hooked into the receiver via HDMI. The TV is hooked up to the receivers HDMI output. This gives me easy switching between sources and full Theater sound and 1080p output from the ATV and BluRay. The cable box is only 1080i.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    This is very complex and emotional issue for many but here is a very brief overview:

    Plasma (Samsung or Panasonic primarily) - great viewing angle, excellent black levels, not so great brightness. Heavier and uses more power (heat) than LCD. Tends to be less expensive than top shelf LCD. Still can have image retention issues

    LCD - Brighter, more suitable for high ambient light levels. Less weight and power. Most sets use edge or static array backlighting which has some limitations on uniformity and black level (traditional plasma strengths). Most LCD sets have limited viewing angle (contrast and black level degrades off angle).

    The high end of the LCD market is held down by full-array local dimming LED backlit designs which largely solve the uniformity and black level issues. Unfortunately, there are currently (2011/2012 model year) two readily available local dimming sets - the Sharp Elite and Sony HX929. The Elite is crazy expensive and the Sony only moderately so. I personally have the Sony and feel the picture is the best I have seen bar the Sharp Elite, including the discontinued Pioneer Kuro plasmas. LG has a local dimming set, but availability is really spotty.

    a 55" Sony 929 is about $3000, a 60" Sharp Elite is about $5000-6000 depending on where you get it. A 60" high end plasma is about $2000 right now.

    Rear projection units are about dead IMHO. As 70' and 80" (and even larger) LCD direct-view sets become more common and affordable, the market niche for RP is closed.

    All of the manufacturers are struggling to make money on TV's and the high end is getting squeezed. The current trend is bigger and cheaper, not better.

    The yellow pixel on the Sharp's (including the Elite) is largely a gimmick in my opinion, and many calibrators recommend turning it off.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    #5
    i have the Sharp 735 70 inch LED. I would have to disagree with the yellow pixel. I have had both my older Pioneer 5020 plasma and now there Sharp professional calibrated (not BB) and side by side the color is virtually identical. Turning the quad pixel off and on after calibration is noticeable, with on providing a better image. If you are watching tv in a bright room, then LED is the way to go. However, the limitations of off angle viewing may be a problem if you don't sit in front of tv, but off to the side. Plasma has no such problem. Also realize there may be more motion blur with LED compared to plasma.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    khollister

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #6
    Well it is obviously going to look worse turning off the yellow pixels if it was calibrated with them on. I was referring to calibrating with them turned off vs calibrating with them on. I have no personal experience, just passing on what I have read from the hardcore users over on AVS. YMMV
     
  7. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #7
    Well, I went plasma, Panasonic 65GT30 to be exact. If you have a very bright room or window glare facing the tv, it may not be a good choice for you. I have mine in the corner of a family room and it faces another wall and an open kitchen area. I have no direct sunlight coming through any windows in the family room due to a patio cover. I had it calibrated and have one setting for daytime and 3D (THX) and one for night viewing (Custom). This tv rocks BD content and 3D. My ATV3 is connected to a wireless network that is between 20-30 Mbps. What I really like about plasma is the viewing angle. It does not dim at wide angles. Fast motion is also perfect. The blacks are "black" and that is where plasma shines. I am not worried about image retention and burn-in as they are rare. Your mileage may vary though...
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #8
    Pretty much any modern TV is going to look spectacular compared to that dinosaur.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #9
    Very helpful.

    ----------

    A lot of good info there. I should add that I'd like to keep the cost to $2500 or less. May go a tad more if there is compelling reason to do so.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #10
    Above is what I got in the 55" version (wish I would of gone at least 60")
    But no question, plasma is the way to go. I actually bought the sharp in question had it a few weeks and returned it. It was just not that great looking. The soap opera effect ruins it too. Plasma's just look more realistic visually. And the speed says it all. 600mhz. Top of the line LED/LCD only hit 240mhz and you can see it.
    Go to any quality sports bars and they all have plasmas, there's a good reason for it. And yes, they are oddly less expensive.
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #11
    If you're open to all TV technologies (plasma, LCD, LED), then you've got a lot of choices. The top reviewed set for picture quality for 2012 is the new Panasonic VT50 plasma. I know it comes in a 65" size for under 3K. There should be a 55" version as well for markedly less. If money is no concern, the Sharp Elite LED TV is available at 60" for about $4500. AMAZING picture quality!

    For picture quality, look for either top tier plasma sets or local-dimming LED sets. Stay away from edge-lit LEDs, because, even though they are very thin and sexily designed, the picture suffers by the choice of the type of lighting used.

    Some sort of IPTV (think apps for your smart phone) is built into most TVs these days, as is 3D (don't be put off by the presence of these features. The manufacturers tend to put their better 2D processing in their 3D sets (and you NEVER need to use 3D if you don't wish).

    If PQ is one of your biggest priorities, you've GOT to have your set calibrated (either by an ISF-certified technician or THX-certified technician). Amazing, amazing, amazing!!!
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    #12
    I have Panasonic Plasmas which I like a lot.

    One thing to watch for with Plasma's:

    Plasma's make a slight buzzing sound which increases slightly as the screen brightens.

    It is very quiet and most people don't even notice it.

    But if it bugs you, it REALLY bugs you, especially in silences in music with Apple TV. I ended up swapping a "superior model" from the sitting room into the kitchen and vice versa, because the kitchen plasma buzzed more quietly and I don't notice it there with the fridge also buzzing.

    Plasma is still my favourite current technology, but its something to listen for if you get the chance to audition whatever you are considering.
     
  13. BasilFawlty, Mar 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #13
    There has been a lot of good info from a lot of folks here - thanks! Based on this comment, I went searching for the Panasonic and found this 65 inch version. The first thing that struck me was the number of 5-star reviews (12 written reviews and all of the 5-star). This one is also 3-D, which is not a major factor for me, but might be kinda fun to have. I think I'll see if anyone in my local city has this set to look at in person. My only reservation is that this set is thicker and heavier than an LCD, and also it uses more power and some reviewers talked about it giving off a lot of heat. To be honest I hadn't considered Plasma for the simple reason that it's "older" technology, but if the picture quality is as good as they say, then I probably need to re-think that position. I also never considered the effect that 600Hz versus 240Hz on the LCDs for example would have in motion in films and sports. I've heard a lot of complaints on some sets about "motion blur" but this set seems to have that problem licked.

    The one thing that is attractive about some of the newer LCD sets is their ultra-thinness, but again, if the picture is that much better on this Panasonic, then I could live with a thicker set; after all, I'll be watching movies and sports on it, not sitting around admiring the case. Now to find one locally to look at!

    UPDATE: After some more searching I found that the VT25 was last years model. The new model is the VT30 and I found a couple of interesting videos about this set.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5j3U24XD0w

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YBU60LKBeI
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #14
    The VT30 is last year's model actually, the VT25 presumably the year before. This year's is the VT50 which has only just come out I believe. However the VT30 is a great TV, and I don't think you would be disappointed with it. Often the best time to buy TVs is when the model has been out a few months because by then it's heavily discounted everywhere. If you were to buy a model that had only just come out you would probably find it would be close to the full retail price which would be great deal more expensive, and the picture is unlikely to be significantly better.
     
  15. macrumors G5

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #15
    I'm not sure Toshiba make sets that large, but I have a Regza smart TV...all the connections you will ever need, but mines a 42" migh be too small for your needs....They may do a larger version though.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    AppleWarMachine

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan, US
    #16
    I have a 50" Panasonic Plasma (6 months old), which I think is an excellent TV and I have not had any issues at all. I thought about getting a LCD, but my brother convinced me to get a Plasma TV, which I don't regret. My ATV3 plays and looks great on it.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #17
    Thanks for teh info. Technology changes so fast any more it's hard to keep up! I'm going to go take a look at the VT30 today.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    Actually the VT30/35 sets are essentially the same (talking about PQ) as the VT20/25. I've compared them for quite a while in a specialised store in Paris.

    The design changed and the VT30 looks sleeker than the VT20 but frankly, PQ is stunning on both.

    If you'd like to spare a few Benjamins for your next Apple purchase, you can safely go the 65VT20/25 route.

    I for one have a 50G20 which is already stunning. 1 year old and no issues whatsoever.
    Plasma really is top-notch for movie-watching in dark/dimly lit environments.

    Ah, and I forgot : forget about the smart TV features. They are clunky and pointless if you already got an Apple TV and an Airplay compatible device. Although Viera Connect (available on both the 20 and 30 series) will bring Ultraviolet compatibility which makes for a nice addition to your cloud computing needs !
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #19
    I went today at lunch and looked at the VT30 (a floor displpay model I could pick up for $2400 US.) While it was apparent that the picture wasn't quite as bright as teh LCDs in the store, I must say the picture quality and lack of blur on motion images was stunning. Definitely leaning towards this TV!
     
  20. macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #20
    You might want to go with something larger than 60". Here's the reasoning. Your current 55" RPTV probably sits 2 to 3 feet from the back wall. The flat screen will likely sit 2 to 3 inches from that same wall. So a 60" flat screen won't look any bigger than your current 55" RPTV.

    You might need to go ~65" to feel like you're getting a bigger screen.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #21
    With regards to the VT25, it has a bit of an issue with floating blacks and I stayed away. It was a 2010 model. If you can find an ST30 or GT30, you may want to pick one up. There are several sizes to choose from. Prices are low as they are clearing out the 2011 stock. I got my 65GT30 for $1,999.99 at Amazon and that is a very good price. Some of the VT30' are still available as well. They are great, but the extra cost turned me away. I thought I had mine dialed in until I had it calibrated. It really shines with a good calibration. The picture is stunning in a dark room! I have heard more concerns with the Samsung's and buzzing, as opposed to Panasonic. I just picked up a 42X3 Panny plamsa for the bedroom and it rocks to. Even at 720p, the 42 inch is a very good performer for the price of $399.99 on sale. It could benefit from calibration to bring out the blacks though. I have an ATV2 hooked up to it and I am happy. If you want to take advantage of the discount pricing, a 2011 Panasonic is a good deal. They do use IR for the 3D glasses. The 2012's use BluTooth and they will have better range, if that matters. The IR only works to about 14 feet. Good luck on your search.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    Glad you liked it. But - general advice for any plasma TV - try to avoid the floor model, you never know for how long it has been turned on with static images...
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    Great things to say about my Samsung 42" LED Display. You can go bigger obviously, but it's more about the power savings compared to LCD/Plasma Displays without burn-in risk. The TV will probably pay for itself in power savings over its lifetime.

    To be honest, I'm going to hold off on my next big TV purchase for a few more years to see if Apple truly decides to come out with something magical, like an AppleTV integrated voice-control LED TV.

    MSRP on Samsung's website is around $2000 for a 60" LED, $1200 for a 55" LED, all the way down to $400 for a 32" LED if you want one in your bathroom.

    Price varies for those units with the "Smart TV" function for the internet, so browse carefully. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

    And good hunting!
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Location:
    New Mexico
    #24
    The VT30 I'm looking at is 65" The distance from sitting area to TV isn't that great in our house so 65" should be more than adequate (I hope).
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida, on the Gulf Coast in Homosassa Fl
    #25
    I have a 3 year old Samsung 55" LCD, bought and shipped from Amazon, where I saved $800 over retail. The TV has been bullet proof, I'd buy a Samsung in a heartbeat,I hear the LED is even better, than the LED.I can't see how you can beat a perfect picture:cool:
     

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