New TV Recommendation

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jmine83, May 10, 2014.

  1. jmine83 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    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.
  2. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    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?
  3. jmine83 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    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.
  4. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    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.
  5. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    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.
  6. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    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.
  7. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    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.
  8. SantaRosa2.2 macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2012
    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.
  9. emjaycee18 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    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.
  10. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    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.
  11. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Personally I have a plasma.


    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.
  12. betman macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2013
    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.
  13. Bob Chadwick macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2008
    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.
  14. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    The top 3 tvs of 2013 were all plasmas. LCD has poor off angle viewing, backlight flashlighting/clouding, worse contrast, and poor motion performance.

  15. betman macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2013
    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).
  16. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    @OP: According to THX recommendations, you could go with a 50" screen given the distance you sit away from the TV.
  17. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    This is the most technically incorrect and inept attempt at an "I know better" explanation I've ever seen on this site.
  18. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    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.
  19. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    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!
  20. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    Nonsense. The F8500 plasma is extremely bright and has one of the best anti-reflective filters of any tv on the market.

  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    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.
  22. betman macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2013
    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.
  23. takeshi74, May 15, 2014
    Last edited: May 15, 2014

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    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.

    There are such types in all camps (and not just TV tech). You're heavily evangelizing your own preferences.

    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.

    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.
  24. phrehdd, May 16, 2014
    Last edited: May 16, 2014

    phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    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.
  25. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    I don’t carry ours around very much. It’s currently mounted on the wall/mantle, that did require two people to hang it :)

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

    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

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