Help me choose a TV!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by alex00100, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. alex00100, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    alex00100 macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Hi everyone!
    Currently I have a small 33" HDTV and I'm thinking of an upgrade.
    I think I'll go for a 55" tv since the distance between the tv and the coach is 3m or around 120". 60" sounds a bit too big. That pretty much settled, but if you have anything to say you are welcomed.

    Anyway, around 1/3 of the time will be gaming on my Xbox 360, and the other 2/3 will be actually watching stuff. So I thought I would go for plasma since I hear plasma has much better refresh rates and it very important for games, on the other hand, I hear that newer LED screen have pretty good ones too. Should I go for plasma? I hear LEDs also have some problems like noise and backlight probs. I would also like to hear a bit about watching plasma in a bright room. Is it all that bad?

    Since Panasonic plasmas are the best I thought I would go for UT50. Is it a right choice?

    The budget is around 2 000$. Can get higher if needed. Lower if possible. ;)
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    This site is trusted and has some good recommendations.

    For your usage I would bump up a model to the ST50 Panny series. You can get the ST50 in 55" for $1,200.

    Unless you want to pay about 2X more for a local dimming LED like the Sharp Elite, a plasma is going to have better colors and much better black levels and contrast. Unless the sun shining through a window right on the TV screen, light is not a problem. I use a plasma in the living room with the blinds open and it is just fine.

    You night read over some threads at AVS Forum for ideas. The ST50 is highly regarded by forum members there also.
  3. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    A full LED backlit panel, rather than an edge-backlit one, is about as good as you can get without getting into the stratospheric cost of a high quality plasma. The demand for plasma-level black color is so low that Pioneer killed their flagship Kuro a few years ago (and sold their TV business to Panasonic).

    I purchased the Samsung UN55EH6000 from Amazon for $1000 and am quite happy with it. Mind you, I'm an a/v purist but a realist... meaning that I know I can have better black levels, but not really for the money. The solution to that is easy: Adjust the ambient lighting of your viewing wall to roughly match the screen. It doesn't matter how great a TV you have... if you watch any brightly lit surface in a totally dark room, your eyes will always be trying to balance the screen luminosity with the surrounding area, causing a more washed out appearance than the same screen in a properly, marginally-lit room (this is why good theaters leave the wall sconces on a bit, in addition to safety).

    I don't care for the bells and whistles. I don't need 12 HDMI ports and 3D and all that... so all around I'm very pleased that I got more bang for my buck. It's a very decent TV and even better if you calibrate the picture settings properly (desaturate the image to about 25% color, turn off smooth motion, etc.)

    Plasmas have their own drawbacks... You'll notice things like line bleed and other color irregularities in place of the black levels issues. These, to me, are less correctible than adjusting ambient light to compensate for black levels in an otherwise consistent picture. But, just depends on which abnormality is going to drive you nuts more. Neither plasma nor LCD are going to beat a good old Sony Trinitron CRT, but Sony doesn't make them anymore... So, you're going to have to pick a tradeoff.
  4. alex00100, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Thanks you both.
    I was reading AVS forums a lot lately, but thanks for the other link.
    Can you tell me a bit about the refresh rates on the new models? Is led's still bad?
    Also, another guy advised me to get Samsung E6500 (it's not available at 55" but I think 60" is fine too) because its better at bright rooms (he didn't see my room too). What do you think?

    So, Avatar74, what do you basically advise me in my situation? Also I would like to add that I live in Russia I it wont be easy to just go and compare TVs in shop. Also thanks for noting the importance of adjusting the settings.
  5. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    I personally like the look of the plasma picture better then any LCD on the market.

    I have had three Panasonic plasmas (current one is the 65" VT30 :cool: ).

    I would see if there are any stores near you that are not big box stores. They will most likely have more realistic lighting to what you will have at your home. Magnolia can be a good resource if your local Best Buy has one.

    Don't always go by ratings. They can be a decent way to narrow down options, but use your eyes as the final decision maker.

    Good luck!
  6. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    It's always a tough one... There are so many choices and new models pop up and things get cheaper that you'll think "I wish I did this or I wish I did that".... but I guess what it comes to for me is usually color, clarity and contrast... and a couple of other goodies:

    1. On contrast/black levels, you'll get better quality out of plasmas.... but you can compensate for this with lighting the room accordingly.

    2. On color and clarity, you're going to get better performance for the price out of an LCD, particularly if it has local dimming (mine apparently doesn't, but this doesn't bother me tremendously).

    3. It sounds like glare is an issue with the UT50, so if you spend more time in a well-lit room than a dark one, maybe LCD is a better choice for you because the contrast isn't as much of an issue there either.

    4. Whichever set you choose, 120/240hz makes little or no difference if you watch more movies than sports. You will NOT want to use this feature on movies. But both 120/240 are divisible by 24, 30 and 60 frames per second... but not the DVB-T standard of 25 frames per second... so neither of them is going to be better than the other with Russian digital broadcasts.

    Does that help? Any other questions that might help you decide which one is right for you?
  7. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Thanks mate, I was asking about refresh rates because they are important for video games, but I don't know how much is it important. Any help?
    Also I can turn the lights off, it's not a problem.
    So basically, LED (I assume you meant LCD-LED by LED?) is generally better on movies, considering image quality? I'm buying tv solely for movies and games. Don't watch sport.
    Also I watch a lot of animation (I'm an animator myself) but I guess any TV will do, yes?
    By the way, Russia is on DVB-T2 since this year. Changes something? I just don't know what this even means. I only know that we will finally be able to watch HD.
  8. donrsd macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2011
    South Florida
    HAMMIE - how the heck are you!?


    OP - I would stay clear of the LCD's. refresh rates (even the 240 sets) are pathetic.
    My buddy has an LED 240hz and we watched a football game a few weeks ago. I can see the lag on his tv lol.
    My Panasonic Plasma gets no lag, colors look better and blacks are black - which all mean truer picture :)

    The only people who get LED/LCD's are people who listen to the best buy employees lol.

    Best picture = plasma.
  9. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Maybe, that was an older/cheaper model? LEDs are getting more and more popular, doubt they can be that very bad at anything? Can you provide a bit more details?
  10. boomhower macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2011
    I have a 55" ST50 and absolutely love it. IMHO plasma's have a better overall true picture than LCD's. In the stores they blast the brightness and everyone seems to think the LCD's look better. Back light bleed is also a killer on all the reasonably priced sets. Until you step up to the high end sets that have the many small backlights that it goes away. That said, if you have a lot of window's that will be facing the screen I'd shy away from the plasma, they do glare a lot even with the reduced glare coatings on the Panny's. I use thermal curtains that essentially block the light coming in so it's not an issue but your someone who likes daylight coming in all the time I'd go with an LCD or LED if you have the cash.
  11. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Thanks a lot. I have curtains too, even though never use them but its not a problem to close them while watching TV. But some light will still come through. Guess it will still be ok. Also, there are usually lots of light in stores, don't plasmas look bad there? By the way, windows will not face the screen, they are on the wall to the left of the screen.
    Also thanks for the store tip. I didn't know that they blast LCDs brightness for them to look better.
  12. pavelbure macrumors 6502a

    Feb 22, 2007
    I've been very happy with my vt50 so far. Sure I get a bit of glare, but it isn't bad and most of my viewing is at night anyways.
  13. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have a Sony Bravia 3D LED 46" They make a 55" too...It's 4 months old and is pin sharp with all the features you'd expect. I'd happily recommend one.
  14. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    If anyone is curious what i finally bought, its Panasonic st50 55". Getting shipped tomorrow.
  15. Vashti macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2003
    New York, NY
    That's exactly what I would have recommended for you. I've helped many friends choose this or the Panny VT series and all have been really happy with them.

    Let us know how you like it.
  16. purd002 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I am about 3 weeks into breaking in my ST50 as well and have been very happy so far.
  17. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    There are pros and cons to each and preference plays a big part in what's "best" -- a highly subjective matter on any topic. I currently prefer plasmas (and own a Panasonic GT30) but that doesn't mean that they're the best option for everyone.
  18. adriang68 macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2012

    I picked up the latest edition of the UK mag 'What TV and Hifi' in a newsagent last night, and they rated the Sony xxHX85x models as their TV of the year.

    the first xx would be the size, and from what I can gather, the last x seems to depend on what country/region you are in. So they were rating the 46HX853. 46 beingn the size, and the final 3 seems to be specific to the UK and the freeview channels, because as far as I can tell, continental Europe it's 46HX580.

    I'm also in the market for a new TV, so just started my research.

    I do currently have a Sony TV, and one thing that isn't great with Sonys is the codec coverage for the USB input when trying to play movie files directly. Apparnelty Samsung and LG are better. Just in case this is important to you!
  19. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Ok, after 1.5 days of use I think I can tell how I like it. I love it. The only thing I thinking chose wrong was the size. I would go with 60" if I was choosing now. But it's still great, 3d is great especially. I have only yet tried it in games and its different. In assassins creed 3 it's awfull. It like 2d pictures on different depth. However in sonic generations, it's really good, I can totally see the shapes. Also, I noticed that if iMovie the head, the farther shapes move in opposite direction, like in real life. Anyway, I like the picture quality, movies look amazing. And the speakers, compared to my old 33" Sony LCD, are a huge improvement.
    Thanks to everyone who helped me make the right decision. This TV is great.
  20. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
  21. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    Consider a projector

    Have you considered a projector?

    I recently had to make the decision between a TV or projector and am so glad I went with the projector. The projector has been quietly getting better and better over the years as have televisions.

    You'll be able to get as good of an image as you do on a television at screen sizes that will blow your mind (200 inches etc.) - Modern day projectors also are 3D capable - as good or better than televisions and are MUCH better at handling ambient light.

    They are also much more power efficient - Epson makes some really nice ones within your budget.

    Projector screens are also easy to make or buy - I'm making one out of Blackout fabric - a fairly low cost fabric.

    Here's a video I shot on why I prefer projectors:

    Best of luck in your search.

    Tim Chaten
  22. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Thanks but i made my decision. I think it was quite a right one.
  23. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I usually go with the largest screen I want to buy that looks good and do not buy into the other add-on stuff. No Wi-fi, no 3D, no smart tv's, I only need a big-HD monitor.
    All of the tv's we have that "matter" have surround sound or a sound bar and an Apple TV connected to it, which both combined are cheaper than the mark-up of a "smart-tv".
  24. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    Really people, read the thread. I have bought it already. And I said I liked it. Really people. :eek:

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