Wanted: HDTV Recommendations

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BigMacAttack1, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #1
    I'm in the market for a new HDTV and am overwhelmed with choices! I currently have a 50" Samsung 720p plasma TV and the picture quality is pretty good, but I've seen better. I'm planning on getting ATV3 so am wanting a new TV that will take full advantage of the 1080p.

    My set-up is that the new TV will mount over the fireplace with not a lot of direct sunlight in the room (after all, I DO live in WA). I'll mostly use it to watch football on Sundays and movies at night. Skinny isn't a HUGE deal to me, but lightweight would be good since it is going to mount over the mantle. I'm also trying to keep my price at around $800 (I'm sure there will be better picture qualities for more money, but I'm not interested in paying that much for a TV). What's important to me most is a good picture quality at a good price. No need for a smart TV as I'll be getting ATV3 and no need for 3D.

    I'm leaning towards a Samsung since all of the appliances in my house are Samsung. Specifically, I'm vacillating between these:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0074FGW5G/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0078LSTRK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A33ZFW15ZO0RKP

    Also leaning towards LED for lighter weight and better energy consumption (and better picture?). I'm open to other brands (Sony, Panasonic, Vizio, etc.) if they are what will suit my needs the best.

    Any input/feedback is appreciate and let me know if I can answer any other questions. Thank you!!!
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #2
    Samsung?

    Samsung is into many, many different consumer products from TV to Tablets
    to phones etc. They sell many products...many have problems. Support is poor at best, they are overwhelmed. I have the ML1665 printer and the tech had no good answers why it is not printing...they were supposed to call me back. That was 5 days ago.
    Warranty service is spotty at best....Its a good picture but their sets are not reliable.
    You many not see a difference between your Plasma and a new set as much of HD TV is in 720P....some is 1080 but what you see could be called the
    "J N D"....just noticeable difference.
    I would suggest that unless the $$ is burning in your pocket....don't buy anything. Invest that $800 in Sirius Radio stock and you will double your money by this time next year....and still have the TV U have today.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Batt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    #3
    I have four Vizios (24", 32", 37" and 47") that work well and can't be beat for value for the money. I also bought a Best Buy house brand a few years ago for the office that was a good buy for the money.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #4
    Yeah, I forgot about the lack of love for Samsung here on this site. :) I have had problems with the TV (bought used and it was a floor model) and my Samsung dryer, but both were fixed under warranty without hassle (the dryer was actually out of warranty by a few months and they still fixed it).

    Is there that great of a difference between 720p and 1080p? What about if I'm using ATV3 with 1080p? My TV now isn't bad, per se, but I've seen friends' TV where it looks like it's 3D when it's not and the picture is stunning (almost like you're watching a play live in person). I want that!
     
  5. macrumors G3

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the lens, UK
    #5
    I have a Samsung and the quality is better than the two Panasonic's downstairs.That said they are 5 years older and I wouldn't replace either until they died. I don't think you would see enough of a jump in 720 to 1080 to bother. Look for the features that matter to you (not the gimmick ones you won't actually use). For example the Samsung is 3D. Not because I wanted it, but because all the Smart TV's are. Literally paired the glasses used it for 5 minutes and will never bother again. Now using the Smart TV option means I can watch say BBC iPlayer in bed with no need for extra boxes. As it's wall mounted that was important to me. Being thin also important in my situation.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #6
    Just as an FYI, the UN50EH5000 is not a true 120Hz TV. It's a 60Hz TV that flashes its LED backlight at 120Hz. How do I know? I own the smaller version of it (32") and while it's a good solid TV, it's not what I would pick for a performance TV. It will not outperform the plasma you have now for motion, color, and grayscale.

    The UN50EH6000 TV is a true 120Hz TV which flashes its backlight at 240Hz (hence the 240Hz "Clearmotion Rate". With that said, the EH6000 picture will only equal, not surpass, your Sammy plasma (except of course, in resolution).

    ----------

    They were probably watching a Blu-Ray movie. Blu-ray is going to be the BEST picture you can watch on your TV. Better than Netflix 1080p. Better Apple TV's iTunes 1080p. Better than Vudu HDX 1080p.

    A well-encoded reference quality Blu-Ray title looks like that which you describe above.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #7
    I actually asked my friend w/the great picture and she said she has a Samsung 52" 1080p LCD. I don't know why, but it looked incredible! I'm thinking I may just get ATV3 and hold out for iTV. Anyone heard any good iTV rumors recently? Is it really going to be a game-changer?
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #8
    I'm going to be honest with you. The "iTV" is a unicorn. There is no evidence that Apple is going to introduce one (other than the comment that Steve made in the Walter Isaacson biography about having cracked the code). Honestly, we don't know what he meant by that. It could mean that they have a plan for how to get the content deals together to make the existing ATV a true cable-cutter's dream (one box to rule them all). Everyone who writes about a possible "iTV" says that it will be in the content where it lives or dies, so there seems little reason for Apple to jump into the notoriously low-margin HDTV space.

    Why do I say that? Because over the past 10 years alone of flat panel TVs, prices have dropped and, as a result, profit for manufacturers has dropped. This is a large part of the reasons why the Japanese TV makers (Sharp, Panasonic, Sony) are losing money. Only Samsung and LG from South Korea seem to be making any money on their TVs.

    Apple would have to negotiate some really sweetheart supply deals and content deals that would make what they did with the iTunes Music Store look like amateur hour, just to have a go to market strategy here.

    There's NO indication that they've done that, or that they're sourcing LCD or plasma panels in any size that would be attractive to HDTV buyers.
     
  9. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #9
    I'd recommend getting a Panasonic plasma TV. Keep an eye on the price of the UT50 and ST50. They've recently been dipping as low as $700 for the 50" UT and $800 for the 50" ST. Good luck!
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #10
    Since you're looking in the 50" and above range, resolution does matter. I own a 60" Pioneer plasma and when I bought it, I was able to do side by side by side comparisons of Panasonic, Samsung and Pioneer plasmas, as well as see similarly sized LCDs. My key desire was to watch movies and the television was going to be placed in a low light room. The reason I chose the Pioneer Plasma was that it had the best blacks with the Samsung and Panasonic being a distant second and third.

    Because of the distance that I watch my television from, I tend to go cheap and watch 720p movies, but I also watch broadcast HD and sports. The reason that I bought the Pioneer is still valid, the blacks are still good. But the more important point is that when I do watch 1080p, it is a really damn good television, it is as crisp and clear as a picture could possibly be with a full range of color from white to black.

    Now Pioneer has gone away, but it sold its patents and production facility, I believe to Panasonic. I have not heard anything about Panasonic's use of that technology in its current line-up, and Samsung seems to be the favorite at present. I don't think that your preference for Samsung would be an error, but you still have to decide between Plasma, LCD and LED.

    I am not a fan of either LCD or LED,mostly because their ability to give true blacks is severely constrained by the technology. LCD is just too bright to make black anything other than a very dark grey. LEDs on the other hand, while they do get a better black, still not as good as plasma, I find their viewing angles limited, and their colors hyperrealistic, by that I mean that when watching broadcast television, it looks like the shows are literally on a soundstage in front of me. While that is an interesting feel, it is foreign and discomforting to me, I like the idea that I just watching tv.

    So, bottomline, Samsung is a good pick, I would go with 1080 Plasma and get as big a screen as you can afford.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #11
    panasonic plasma

    Three months ago Panasonic announced the end of Plasma
    Production....buying a Plasma now is poor judgement as a consumer
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #12
    I think you will find out that any upper line TV will be able to deliver a picture that is better than the output of the ATV 3. Consider this a blessing if you must adhere to the ATV 3 as a choice.

    It would be wiser to get the TV first then pic the media box afterwards. Sorry to say but unless iTunes bought movies and music is your thing, the ATV is a rather mediocre tool for delivering movies and such. It is not bad but there are better matches out there.

    As for TVs - I admit I have a bias in favor of plasma over the rest. It gives a more natural image and certainly can handle 23.x/24 frame material better than the LCD and other counterparts.

    My take on Samsung vs Panasonic on plasma - if you watch a lot of regular TV then the middle to upper Samsung is a good choice and it does reasonably well with DVD/Blu Ray. If you are into a lot of movie watching then I believe the Panasonics have the edge - ST, GT, VT are good choices though a bit more expensive than a couple of their other lines.

    I had a Pioneer Kuro 50" that was amazing but alas, it didn't survive a move. I have replaced it with a Panasonic VT50 65" and while I'll always miss my Kuro, the VT50 does amazingly well for me between TiVo, media files, streaming Netflix and Amazon as well as excellent for Blu Ray playback.

    My friend's Samsung in my estimates is slightly crisper when showing TV shows and in particular handling lower resolution (480i). The difference is small but it is there and best to be honest about it.

    I don't like other TV types like LCD etc. because they offer 120 and 240 mhrtz offerings that make both TV and movies look like soap opera video. I find that those offerings are only good at 60 and for brightly lit rooms.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #13
    Thanks for your input again phrehdd. I'm wondering about the ATV3--I am planning on purchasing one tonight (like new) for $70. I'm basically going to use it to play my itunes through my stereo system w/o cables and play movies off my iDevices onto the TV w/o cables. I am planning on putting my .avi movies into iTunes after I convert them (handbrake is the best?!) and then put them on my iPhone 4 or iPad to play so I can still surf the net on my Macbook while movies are on. Sound feasible? This is all new to me!

    Also, as far as the ATV3 goes, if it's 1080p and my TV is 1080p, as long as the movies are of that quality, won't I get a good 1080p picture through the ATV3? I don't rent any movies through iTunes.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #14
    Thanks for the awesome feedback. Quick question about the feeling of seeing them "on a soundstage"--can you elaborate on that? Does it look like you're watching them live in person? I'm still leaning towards the LED/LCD because I have the plasma now and even though it's good, it's not great (maybe b/c it's 720p instead of 1080p).
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    I'll just say I wish you the best on going wireless on 1080p playback. I suppose that the highly compressed mp4 or whatever it is you are using should go well enough.

    A cheaper 1080p TV will not match something like a top of the line Samsung or Panasonic plasma. This is not an opinion but measurable.

    I rarely do things like this but I'll post a link that you might (and others find interesting). I hope this is not breaking the rules. The article gives you an idea of how diverse different media can be and especially streaming. Highly compressed 1080p files are often comparable to some of the streaming found in iTunes, Vudu and more.

    http://www.avsforum.com/t/1462983/wreck-it-ralph-comparing-itunes-vudu-and-blu-ray

    I hope this gives you some food for thought. There are plenty of media players other than ATV3 but alas, you are getting a good price for it (70 dollars).

    Handbrake - for those with ATV 3 it is a near indispensable tool. There are lots of forums on how to handle various conversions, issues resolved and more.

    My archived collection of movies and TV shows are not compressed. I prefer to play them as pristine as the original. However, if I were to want to watch on my iPad 3, I would be hard press not to use Handbrake as it seems almost made for IOS devices and then some.

    PM after you read the article and let me know your thoughts if you don't mind. All these media types and players are a true headache for the consumer. (half grin) As for me, presently going through fits on speaker upgrades for my AVR. Good luck!

    ----------

    I don't understand your logic. It is not as if people upgrade their plasmas. As another here stated, he has a Pioneer plasma. Pioneer left the game a few years ago and yet this person still is enjoying the Pioneer plasma. If mine didn't get damaged in a move, I would be using mine as well. As for repairs, there are still plenty of people who repair them and often if needed cannibalize from other Pioneer plasmas that were shot as well. (This is a fact since a TV repair outlet bought mine for its guts.)

    Btw, years ago I built a stereo pre-amp that was amazing (kit from Dynaco). It had very high specs and was a gift to a friend of mine. He recently sold it (and this is from over 15 years ago) and got triple the price originally paid. Just because Dynaco is long out of business didn't change the fact the pre-amp was still an outstanding unit.

    Hopefully, the above gets you to realize that for some of us, we are not interested in what is in or out of style, what is no longer made but what works and gives us the gift of quality pleasure for even but a few years.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Around
    #16
    Samsung is probably one of the best TV makes. When I worked in the cable businesses, their TV's just seem all around good and easy to use. Back when they made TV's to use cable cards, they had the best and easiest set up also.
     
  17. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    #17
    Good info provided here. I would add a couple of things.

    Yes, be carefully about viewing angle. I have a Sony EX645 and like the picture but if I go too far left, right, above or below straight on viewing , there is a loss of contrast.

    Straight out of the box, I find tvs to be garishly bright and over saturated. AVS Forums and other sites have threads with picture setting recommendations which act as a good starting point.

    DLNA is really usefull. I no longer use my AppleTV. I use PS3mediaserver to stream videos from my computer to the TV . I no longer have to convert videos into formats recognized by my ATV.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #18
    I think someone else also noted this as well. I was watched, I think, How I met Your Mother on my sister's Samsung LED, and the picture looked similar to how a soap opera looks on daytime TV. It may that they use video rather than digital or film, but there is a difference in the look and feel of a program show on a plasma or LCD and one shown on an LED. It may just be a question of being used to plasma and LCD, but the LED looked hyperealistic and was somewhat offputting to me. You should go to a store and look at different types of programming to see if that will be a problem for you.
     
  19. macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #19
    I couldn't even figure out how to sort the channels on that thing, because it was hidden somewhere in the Smart TV compartment as opposed to the settings.


    If you don't need the Samsung Smart TV-BS, LG is for you: LG 55LM4600.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #20
    Thanks for the replies everyone. I ended up going with the Samsung LED "dumb" TV with 1080p. It doesn't have a lot of bells/whistles, but that's not what I want anyways. It was on sale at Best Buy this week for $700 and even though I haven't had time to watch a lot of tube on it yet, I'm happy with the picture so far. Tonight's movie night so I'll get a better test on it. I appreciate all of the feedback/input!

    Link to purchase from Best Buy: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung...HDTV/4834389.p?id=1218540195987&skuId=4834389
     
  21. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Location:
    Around
    #21
    Good pick! In time I'll need a new TV, amazing I paid new $2000 for mine and you get basically what I have for $700 :D
    I actually can't wait to shop for a new TV, I might go 3D with the next one.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #22
    So, after having the TV for a couple of days, the picture looks good, but not amazing. Granted, it was only $700. BUT I'm thinking of returning it and perhaps going for another plasma, even though I'm not overly impressed with my currently plasma. That being said, it's 4 years old and 720p. The two plasmas that I'm contemplating are the

    Panasonic VIERA TC-P50ST50 50-Inch 1080p 600Hz Full HD 3D Plasma TV ($949)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00752VKW8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    and the

    Samsung PN51E8000 51-Inch 1080p 600Hz Ultra Slim Plasma 3D HDTV ($1160)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0077SUDNM/ref=gno_cart_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A17MC6HOH9AVE6

    Thoughts/feedback appreciated!!

    Edit: I don't really want/need the 3D or Smart TV functions, but it seems in order to get the best quality picture, I need a more expensive TV w/these options. Unless someone can point me the direction of a great quality "dumb" TV. I'm looking to get one that has the depth perception and clarity of a 3D picture but without the 3D effect. In essence, the screen looks so good that it appears that the people are live in front of you rather than on a flat screen. Thank you!!
     
  23. BigMacAttack1, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013

    thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #23
    Just curious where you saw the ST50 50" for $800. The lowest I can find is amazon at $950.

    Edit: Found it at Sears today for $800 & free shipping. Placed my order and it should arrive by Tuesday, the 19th! Alas, the Samsung is going back to Best Buy on Monday. The ST50 got rave reviews online and I'm looking forward to checking it out in person!

    http://www.sears.com/panasonic-50in...p-05775592000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    #24
    Good call. I'm waiting until I move to my new job to pull the trigger on a 65" Panasonic Plasma myself.
     
  25. BigMacAttack1, Mar 20, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013

    thread starter macrumors regular

    BigMacAttack1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #25
    Well, Sears ended up being out of stock on the ST50. :( However, I was able to get a comparable model for the price: The new-for-2013 50ST60 for $800 delivered on April 2. It does say that there were minor improvements to the screen but it does also include a couple of pairs of 3D glasses. So, even though I'm not happy about waiting 2 more weeks, I'm happy with the resolution provided. Looking forward to getting my new TV!

    http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/TC-P50ST60
     

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