New TV Recommendation

jmine83

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 9, 2011
50
0
I am in the market to buy a new TV and would like some constructive feedback in making my final decision.

The required specifications...
1. Screen size must be at least 55 inches.
2. Preferred brand is Samsung, but I might also consider LG or Vizio. However, in all honesty I would really prefer an Apple brand TV which I know presently doesn't exist but is strongly rumored to be in development. I might patiently wait for Apple's TV if reports are credible enough that it will be released in under 6 months.
3. Must have 3D support and Blu-ray resolution support.
4. Cost must very preferably be under $1000, but given a compelling enough argument, "maybe" I'll spend as much as $1500; but I would really rather not. Or I could save my money until Apple's TV comes out if it's released in under 6 months and costs under $2000 for at least a 55" set.
5. SmartTV features not required.

Helpful facts to consider...
1. I sit about 5 to 6 feet away from the TV from my main lounge chair.
2. The mounted height of the TV will sit even with eye level in the upright chair sitting position; i.e. eye level is about even with the middle of the TV set.
3. The only interfering light source in the room is a pair of fluorescent tube lights that are 10.5 feet away from the TV and about 20 inches above the top edge of the TV.
4. The TV will have a Mac mini plugged into it via HDMI. So 99% of the time the use of the TV will come from the content stored on the Mac mini and navigating around the operating system thereof. The Mac mini in turn has an external Blu-ray drive plugged into it which I will use to watch 3D Blu-ray movies from through the third-party application Mac Blu-ray Player. The remaining 1% of TV use would come from Nintendo's latest game console if and when I decide to purchase a Nintendo game console.
5. Content wise, 99% of the time I will be watching children's animated TV shows from anywhere between 2 to 5 hours a day. The remaining 1% would consist of children's animated movies and classic blockbuster sci-fi action adventure films.
6. Regardless of the content, 99% of the time I'm going to have the lights on in the room while I watch the TV.

I have enclosed four TV ads that look the most promising to me that I am under serious consideration in purchasing. Between these ads, there is a certain key trade-off I see to be considered:

A 60" Plasma TV or a 55" LED TV

Given all specifications and facts considered as I have explained, my educated impression is to go with the LED TV; but let's compare the pros and cons of the two proposed TV types that may or may not be true:

60" Plasma TV
Pro. Bigger Screen
Pro. Better Picture in a Dark Room
Con. Worse Picture in a Bright Room
Con. Burn-in Potential
Con. Shorter Functional Lifespan

55" LED TV
Pro. Better Picture in a Bright Room
Pro. No Burn-in Potential
Pro. Longer Functional Lifespan
Con. Smaller Screen
Con. Worse Picture in a Dark Room

I believe that is everything notable to mention in this matter.

I greatly look forward to some helpful feedback on this. Thank you.
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,522
286
Dark Castle
If the lights will be on, avoid the plasma and go for a model that handles reflections well. What specific models you have in mind?
 

jmine83

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 9, 2011
50
0
If the lights will be on, avoid the plasma and go for a model that handles reflections well. What specific models you have in mind?
Thank you for your response. The enclosed link with this reply will connect you to a ZIP file containing a Read_Me.txt file and 8 PDF documents. Each PDF document represents an ad for a TV that I am seriously considering for purchase. The Read_Me.txt file orders the ads such that the top entry lists what looks to me to be the best TV deal and the last entry is the worst looking TV deal.

http://tinyurl.com/mcd95do
 

McGiord

macrumors 601
Oct 5, 2003
4,522
286
Dark Castle
I was at Costco this week looking at some sets. I prefer Samsung or Sony. The LGs they had there looked nice but only when you are in front of them, if you moved a little to the side there was that old feeling of old tech. Between Samsung and Vizio I will stick with Samsung. Go to a local store and see the units before making any decision.
 

StinDaWg

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2012
295
0
The best bang for the buck is the LG 60" plasma they sell at Microcenter and Wal-Mart for $600. I hate lcds, so I can't recommend any.
 

Unami

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
698
332
Austria
i just bought a samsung smart tv for my parents - while picture quality is good, it got the most convoluted, cumbersome and idiotic user interface, anyone could imagine. it even got two different remotes - one with a touchpad, lacking some essential buttons and one with a lot of buttons, lacking the - for the UI quite useful - touchpad.

i'm a sony owner myself and got the samsung according to good reviews everywhere. can't imagine now, why it got those reviews - it's like getting a car with thousands of features and lots of horsepower but really uncomfortable seats. while the sony can't do half the things the samsung can (e.g. apps), the sony does everything better.

it's pretty hard to guess the quality of the UI in the store (it looks kinda pretty on the samsung), but i advise everyone to try some common tasks (e.g. sorting channels, switching from analog to digital, changing a programmed recording,...) before buying a tv.
 

jimsowden

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2003
1,766
16
NY
If the lights will be on, avoid the plasma and go for a model that handles reflections well. What specific models you have in mind?
The only reason people say this is because Plasma's have a glass front panel, where as LCDs simply use a matte film. Sure it reflects, but it's completely worth the amazing picture quality.

Also you don't want 3D. It was dead on arrival, and the content has always been hokey and trite.
 

SantaRosa2.2

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2012
221
3
Somewhere in Florida
Just Picked up a 51" F5300 Samsung Plasma, yesterday. I replaced my 42" Samsung 450 Plasma that was a great TV and still works well.

I'm loving it so far... Reviews were great and good value at $649 at Sams Club Sale

They have 60" and 64" versions of the F5300 as well.

I really prefer Plasma, Picture is so much better for my application, room has low lamp lighting and windows are far away.

I have a Samsung LCD in the bedroom that has nowhere near the picture quality of the Plasma.
 

emjaycee18

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2010
191
4
Check out the Sony KDL-55W800B. I've had the 50 inch for about 6 weeks now and I've got to say that its the best looking 1080p set I've ever seen. I picked up mine for just under $1000. The 55 inch set is being released in June for around $1400.

It's active 3D if that matters. Looking around the AVS forums, Sony switched from passive 3D to active 3D all pretty much all of their 1080p sets leaving passive just for 4K.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,738
11,030
New England
I bought both my TVs from Amazon Warehouse Deals; both were "Used - Like New". Both work absolutely perfectly and I've had no problems with them. To save a buck, or to get more bang for your buck, I would recommend you check out that option.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,263
6,251
Personally I have a plasma.

HOWEVER....

99% of the time I will be watching children's animated TV shows
If you have a young audience that has some risk of throwing things at the screen or roughhousing in the room with the TV, I'd get the LCD just because it has a plastic screen that's more forgiving to abuse than the glass panel on a plasma.
 

betman

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2013
259
2
Personally I find the picture on plasma tvs to be terrible. They also use up heaps of electricity and work as a good room heater in you happen to live up north in the colder states. ;)

I would settle on a LED model or put away the purchase until the OLEDs come down in price.

For LED models look out for the native resolution of the display. You want that to be as high as possible, before any "enchancers" kick in for those those 'zillion Hz' marketing tricks.

Personally I also think the navigation menu and options should play a big role. I'm used to Samsung tvs but the Panasonic is very good when it comes to setting the picture and the myriad of options it offers it you want to dig deep into setting the perfect picture. Plus being able to copy picture settings between various inputs is something that reviewers are looking at more often as without it it is a pain to manage those.
 

Bob Chadwick

macrumors member
Oct 1, 2008
88
0
We have a couple of Samsungs and generally like them. There was one issue with the first TV we bought related to warranty. We were required to send the TV to their service center in NJ to get it repaired. Fortunately, Brandsmart let us buy the extended service plan, something we don't normally do, after the fact and traded us the TV for a new one.
 

StinDaWg

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2012
295
0
Personally I find the picture on plasma tvs to be terrible.
The top 3 tvs of 2013 were all plasmas. LCD has poor off angle viewing, backlight flashlighting/clouding, worse contrast, and poor motion performance.

http://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-f8500-plasma-wins-value-electronics-shootout/
http://www.soundandvision.com/content/value-electronics-hdtv-shootout-and-then-there-were-three

Plasma Rising
Let me get one thing out of the way first. We have been tracking the development of LCDs at Home Theater for years now, and have been excited by the promise we’ve seen for the category. In particular, the models with full-array local-dimming LED backlights, notably the hyper-expensive Sharp Elites (now rumored to be on hold pending possible release of new 4K models), and last year’s top-of-the-line Sony HX950 XBR, seemed to suggest that it is possible to get state-of-the-art, Kuro plasma-like picture quality from an LCD. But this year’s LCDs at the Shootout paled by comparison to the plasmas. It wasn’t even close, a fact reflected in the rankings. Granted, neither LG nor Sharp participated this time, and neither the $25,000 84-inch Sony 4K set we recently reviewed favorably, nor Samsung’s statement 85-inch 4K Ultra HD model (the full-array-backlit, $40,000 model S9), were present. But among the LCDs that were there, none, including the new Sony 65-inch 4K XBR model, could hold a candle to the plasmas.
 

betman

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2013
259
2
The top 3 tvs of 2013 were all plasmas. LCD has poor off angle viewing, backlight flashlighting/clouding, worse contrast, and poor motion performance.
But the picture is awful unless you're in a dark room. During the day, unless you live in a dungeon, plasmas are a really bad choice.

The way to compare it is that a plasma looks like a broken down LCD set, where the backlight is 50% dead. The reason being that plasmas are not backlit at all and only rely on the pixels to deliver light.

Nothing wrong with angles on my LED tv, they're awesome in fact. Of course the blacks are not as black but they're good enough for me, and plasma owners usually complain about their whites coming out slightly yellowish so not ideal either.

Personally I'd go for a LED tv, Panasonic or Samsung, and if 3D is important then I'd go for passive over active (Panasonic and IPS panels in general will have passive 3D).
 

jimsowden

macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2003
1,766
16
NY
But the picture is awful unless you're in a dark room. During the day, unless you live in a dungeon, plasmas are a really bad choice.

The way to compare it is that a plasma looks like a broken down LCD set, where the backlight is 50% dead. The reason being that plasmas are not backlit at all and only rely on the pixels to deliver light.

Nothing wrong with angles on my LED tv, they're awesome in fact. Of course the blacks are not as black but they're good enough for me, and plasma owners usually complain about their whites coming out slightly yellowish so not ideal either.

Personally I'd go for a LED tv, Panasonic or Samsung, and if 3D is important then I'd go for passive over active (Panasonic and IPS panels in general will have passive 3D).
This is the most technically incorrect and inept attempt at an "I know better" explanation I've ever seen on this site.
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,735
1,242
Surprised that you indicate "Smart TV Features" Not required. I have the Samsung Smart LED TV and it offers so much in that area that I got rid of my Apple TV.
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,263
6,251
This is the most technically incorrect and inept attempt at an "I know better" explanation I've ever seen on this site.
I know what you are talking about, but leave him be. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and people will defend their purchases to the death.

Most people in this world think a white t-shirt should shine with the illumination of a thousand suns, that tropical flowers should look so vibrant that they glow with Chernobyl-like radiance, and that all motion should look like a Mexican Soap Opera. These are the people that, first thing after purchase, turn up the contrast to maximum because contrast is good, right? And second thing they turn on all the motion interpolation features, because smoothing is good, right?

Us plasma owners just have to settle for the miserable fact that a white t-shirt on our screen looks like a white t-shirt in real life and that flowers on our screen look just like the flowers in our back yards. And we have to live with the wretched concept that motion on our screen looks exactly like the director intended. Oh how I suffer with my 9th gen Pioneer Kuro plasma!
 

StinDaWg

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2012
295
0
But the picture is awful unless you're in a dark room. During the day, unless you live in a dungeon, plasmas are a really bad choice.

The way to compare it is that a plasma looks like a broken down LCD set, where the backlight is 50% dead. The reason being that plasmas are not backlit at all and only rely on the pixels to deliver light.
Nonsense. The F8500 plasma is extremely bright and has one of the best anti-reflective filters of any tv on the market.

http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-pn60f8500/

Bright lighting: The performance of the F8500 in high ambient light is better than any other plasma I've tested, and in this lineup is second only to the Sharp Elite LED. Its largest advantage over the other plasmas came in the form of prodigious light output.

Compared directly to the also-60-inch VT60, the F8500 almost doubled its maximum light output; I measured a peak of 83 fL (footlambert) in Dynamic mode on the Samsung, compared to 49 in Vivid mode on the Panasonic using window patterns.

The F8500 also maintains higher light output with full-screen patterns, measuring 19.1 fL compared to just 9.8 on the Panasonic. Hockey or skiing, where much of the screen is occupied by white or very bright material, appears markedly brighter on the F8500 than on other plasmas this size, and other content is proportionately brighter too, depending on how much of the screen is occupied by white. Most content is more mixed between light and dark, however, making this F8500 advantage less important. It's also worth noting that most LEDs can maintain an even brighter image than the F8500 with near- or full-white content.

Speaking of importance, here's the part where I remind readers that 40 fL, the amount to which I calibrate, is plenty for a moderately lit room. But if you have an extremely bright room or just prefer watching an extremely bright picture (like Vivid or Dynamic on your current TV), the F8500 comes closer to the light output of an LED TV than any plasma I've tested. Of course an LED can get even brighter; the 60-inch Elite, for example, can achieve a scorching 300 (window) and 133 (full-screen) fL in certain settings.

The F8500 has an excellent screen filter to go along with its light output potential. It preserved black levels under bright overhead lighting better than any TV in my lineup aside from the Sharp, keeping the image punchy instead of washed out. All of the plasmas aside from the Kuro were quite close in this regard; the VT50 was actually second-best at preserving black, followed by the VT60 and then the ST60 and E8000.

The ability to reduce reflections is also very important, and while none of these displays can match a matte-screened LED/LCD in that area, the F8500 was one of the best. Again, its least wasn't much, but reflections were a bit brighter on the VT60.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
725
Yes, I prefer plasma over LCD/LED. I watch a great deal of movies via Blue Ray and on occasion, some streaming.

The drawbacks of plasma should be considered when making such an investment -

Overly bright rooms are not the best location for plasma or where windows can reflect on the screen. However, it doesn't take much to adjust lighting in a room.

Plasmas do consume more energy than their counterparts. Great strides have been made in their development and its far better than a few years ago on power consumption

Plasma TVs (depending on model and altitude/elevation) can buzz/hum. This is not atypical of many plasma TVs but a characteristic of the basic implementation.

Plasmas can weight considerably more than their counterparts and thus, people need to take that into account when buying a 55" plus screen and trying to sit it on flimsy furniture.

What does one get in return for a plasma ....

A quality plasma bests nearly all but the top of the line LCD/LED when it comes to true contrast range. Samsung's higher end plasma is the new standard now that Panasonic phased out their plasma line.

Plasma can play properly 23.9xx (24p) frames while LED/LCD must do a work around to present this frame rate (Blue Ray are 23.9xx/24p in most cases).

Plasma can have issues when used for long play of games with mild temporary burn in. This is fixable but an added inconvenience.

Since most people don't put TVs side by side in their home, they often "adapt" to what the TV has to offer and more or less are happy with their purchase. I would think most would be happy with a higher end LCD/LED TV which makes them a good choice for home use. Those that have a more critical eye or are movie lovers may opt for the plasma TVs which delivers in general a superior image.

Both plasma and LCD/LED TVs should be 1080 resolution for 1:1 match with Blue Ray.

Hope that helps. You may want to venture over to AVSforum site as there are several models discussed and some pros and cons with the technologies.
 

betman

macrumors 6502
Jan 15, 2013
259
2
This is the most technically incorrect and inept attempt at an "I know better" explanation I've ever seen on this site.
Some plasma owners are almost like a religious sect it seems. It's kind of like someone telling you to dump your Mac or Windows computer in favor of DOS.

This is old technology that should have been dumped years ago. The sets are heavier, use loads more power, generate more heat, hum & buzz, issues with burn-in, give away much less light because of the nature of the plasma display which is not backlit at all.

The fact that a single model generates almost twice as much light as that GT Panasonic series that plasma fanatics have been drumming about hasn't stopped them from singing praise about the old line-up in the past. Those GTs were decent for basement or night-time use and absolutely terrible in a normal room during daytime conditions.

Forget plasmas, you can get an absolutely brilliant picture on many upper range LED tvs.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,970
68
But the picture is awful unless you're in a dark room. During the day, unless you live in a dungeon, plasmas are a really bad choice.
and plasma owners usually complain about their whites coming out slightly yellowish so not ideal either.
Broad generalizations based on outdated info you've read. Neither of mine have those problems but I have a ZT60 and GT30 which aren't in the OP's budget. The GT30 definitely isn't available and I don't think the ZT60 is either. I can't speak to other plasma models that are currently available.

Some plasma owners are almost like a religious sect it seems.
There are such types in all camps (and not just TV tech). You're heavily evangelizing your own preferences.

This is old technology that should have been dumped years ago. The sets are heavier, use loads more power, generate more heat, hum & buzz, issues with burn-in, give away much less light because of the nature of the plasma display which is not backlit at all.
There are pros and cons with every option on every topic. It's no different with TV's. For me plasma was the best option. "Old tech" doesn't matter to me as much as image quality and what I prefer. More heat, hum & buzz aren't concerns either. Burn in hasn't been a problem. Amount of light hasn't been a problem either. That said, any of those could be major concerns for the next person.

OP needs to decide for himself versus relying on what others prefer. What works best for one doesn't work best for everyone. Granted, that can be tricky to sort out when the display models are in stores with bright fluorescents and the sets are typically set to torch mode with poor source material but that's something that every TV shopper has to contend with.

Forget plasmas, you can get an absolutely brilliant picture on many upper range LED tvs.
Again, one size does not fit all. The OP needs assistance on how to narrow down the options -- not with having preferences dictated to the OP.
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
725
Some plasma owners are almost like a religious sect it seems. It's kind of like someone telling you to dump your Mac or Windows computer in favor of DOS.

This is old technology that should have been dumped years ago. The sets are heavier, use loads more power, generate more heat, hum & buzz, issues with burn-in, give away much less light because of the nature of the plasma display which is not backlit at all.

The fact that a single model generates almost twice as much light as that GT Panasonic series that plasma fanatics have been drumming about hasn't stopped them from singing praise about the old line-up in the past. Those GTs were decent for basement or night-time use and absolutely terrible in a normal room during daytime conditions.

Forget plasmas, you can get an absolutely brilliant picture on many upper range LED tvs.
If you saw my post above, I mention the potential drawbacks of plasma. I have owned two plasma TVs to date (the last one was a Pioneer Kuro that didn't make it through a move to a new home) and now a Panasonic plasma. Given that I watch a large amount of blue ray movies, my cable TV shows are all 720 and 1080i, my life is good with plasma.

As for referencing "old" as a flaw. Please be careful here. I'll just stop short here and say that there are plenty of examples of "old" technology that continue to do exactly what they are supposed to do and some have not be surpassed with newer technology.

LAST - I have several neighbors who also have good sized screens and some are in the industry. Amazing to see them invite themselves over to watch movies on my screen as opposed to their spiffy LCD and LED TVs. Gee, I wonder why. Then again, I wonder why year after year, plasmas beat out other technologies for screens when it comes to playback of blue ray movies. Perhaps it is because NONE of the others can do justice to true playback of 23.9xx/24 frame media (such as Blue Ray) and depend on gimmick work-arounds. The original poster has a budget, knows the environment the TV will go in and what media will be most likely played the majority of the time. I mention this because it should have to do far more with type of purchase than what is "cool" or what is "old technology" or what simply provides that view the best viewing experience.

I'd dump both OSX and Windows in favour of OS/2 if it returned. OSX is built on Unix which is old software technology. Windows has its critics as well and borrows from other OS innovations.
 
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D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,918
6,695
Vilano Beach, FL
The sets are heavier
I don’t carry ours around very much. It’s currently mounted on the wall/mantle, that did require two people to hang it :)

use loads more power
I read this too before we purchased. While it’s true, the actual impact to your pocketbook is pretty trivial:

Our friends at HD Guru did some analysis to determine if there is the real difference between “energy efficient” LED models, and “power hungry” plasmas. According to HD Guru, the LG 47-inch 47LW6500 LED LCD will have an EnergyGuide yearly estimated cost of $13. While the LG 42-inch 42PT350 plasma will have an estimated cost of $21.
LED TV
Power Consumption: 67W
Yearly Electricity Cost: $13.39

Plasma TV
Power Consumption: 136W
Yearly Electricity Cost: $27.25


As you can see in the chart, a plasma television does cost more electricity than an LED TV. However, the resulting cost at the end of the year is not very big, about 10$ more for a 50" plasma. On a 5 years period, the total amount saved would be 50$.
We also have a new[er] Sony LED set, it’s a mid-upper model, good, but still prefer the plasma downstairs.

The playroom has an old Toshiba RP, now that’s a beast in terms of footprint. :D