HDTV advice needed- sort of

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Vash01, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I went to Best Buy last night to decide on a HDTV (32 inches to 42 inches, with a preference for something close to 40 or 42 inches). There were many attractive options. I decided on a 40 inch Sharp which fit my space requirements and budget. I also listed my second (Sony 42 in.) and third choices (Samsung or Toshiba, depending on the price).

    I have already decided that I want an LED TV, and not LCD, which are slightly less expensive, but are going out, from what I heard.

    Later I looked up reviews on line. Couple of reviewers said the Sharp has great picture quality but the sound quality is horrible, and one needs to install a sound bar (which means additional cost and hassle). That worried me.

    The reviews about Toshiba (40 inches) were good; the only negative was that it was a little more complicated to operate. Someone wrote that he preferred the Toshiba to a similar Samsung he had bought for a higher price, but returned because he was not satisfied with it.

    The Sony 42 inches had all 5 stars, in all categories, but it's a little more expensive (as expected).

    Does anyone have experience with any of these HDTVs? Besides picture quality, sound quality, and ease of operation, is there anything else should I look for (besides the price, obviously)?

    I have already decided not to buy LG because my experience with one of their products (DVD/VCR recorder combo) was not good. Anyone has experience with Insignia? They seemed to have a lot of them, and they were less expensive.
     
  2. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I always compare price and picture quality. The sound is not very important to me because we run our sound through a sound system so the television itself is not producing the sound. That may be something to think about if you have a sound system or may want one in the future. We have a Philips and we have never had any issues.
     
  3. Cheylana

    Cheylana Well-Known Member

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    I would not suggest getting anything under 40 inches at this point, unless you have a very small apartment or unless it's just for your bedroom. The 32 inches don't do the HD service full justice.

    A friend of mine got a Sony 40 inch and has been very satisfied with it. Unfortunately I don't recall the exact model number. I can find out if you wish.

    I did a lot of research on HDTVs a year ago, and that's where I got stuck -- so many different models, and so many different opinions!

    The Samsungs tend to have very rich colors and very "black" blacks, if that is important to you. If and when I upgrade, I will probably get a Samsung 46 inch, but I am too cheap to upgrade right now :p
     
  4. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a surround sound system, nor do I plan on getting one. So I guess I need to pay attention to sound quality. I may even make another visit to the store to check that out.



    Good advice on the 32 inches. I have a fairly big house (4 bedrooms, 2 stories), but the TV will be limited to the family room. I don't have a TV in the bedroom, but I may get a small one in the future for one of the other bedrooms.

    The rich colors of Samsung sound interesting. Again, I may have to see it again to compare. I was quite pleased with the picture qualities of both Sharp (40) and Sony(42), so I may not feel the need for an even greater contrast. I am, however, determined not to buy anything that has a less than 1080p resolution. My brother has two Samsungs, both large screen, and he said that even though the reviews complained about the sound quality in those models, he never had a problem with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  5. Really

    Really No longer just a "well-known member" Yay!

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    We just bought a new TV on the weekend. I did my research beforehand and from what I could gather (mostly from CNet), most TVs don't come with anything less than 1080 now, especially in the LEDs. I used a combination of CNet and Consumer Reports to guide my choice and because there are a lot of windows in my southwest facing living room, picture quality was a huge deal. I would look for the refresh rates as well -- don't get anything with a 60mHz; go with 120 or, if it's in your price range, 240.

    What I did find was that TVs in a particular series (eg. the 600 series in Sony) more or less all had similar ratings regardless of the screen size. Some definitely had better sound ratings than others!

    FWIW, we ended up with a 55 inch LG LM6400. I had narrowed my choices down to a Sony, Samsung and the LG, and given that post-Christmas sales are still on, it was a matter of which one I could get where. The LG was my first choice, and we got one of the last two at the Best Buy in Red Deer. Costco was sold out.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Citlali

    Citlali Well-Known Member

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    I have a Toshiba LED 40", is really great, no problems so far (three months).
     
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  7. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Two of the hotels I stayed at (same chain) on my Christmas travels had Insignia TVs in the room. I was blown away by the picture quality. Apparently they sell them at Best Buy and that's what I'm getting when I change mine out.

    http://www.insigniaproducts.com/products/televisions.html
     
  8. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    We just got a new HDTV and we got a Sharp Aquos Quattron. More on that in a moment.

    You don't want an LCD, as you said, but you might want a plasma TV, which is usually a little cheaper, has many more colors, and is easier on your eyes if you watch TV in low light; they tend to look darker, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, depending on how you watch TV. Plasma and LED are running neck and neck in terms of development; one will probably prevail eventually, but it isn't clear which one.

    LEDs work better if you watch your TV in a well-lighted room because they tend to be much brighter than plasma screens.

    We were told that Sharp sound is bad, but I wouldn't say that it is awful. We did get the sound bar and we decided to keep it after we tried it, but mostly because of the bass (I listen to music channels more than watch TV and my husband likes that rumble when he watches movies). The TV sound was a little tinny, but it wasn't terrible. All of the tvs we looked at in the store were hooked up to sound bars, so be aware of that if you go back to listen. Also, all of the DVDs they showed us were shown on Blu-Ray players. If you don't have Blu-Ray, your DVDs won't look the same.

    When we were looking, I liked the picture on the Sonys, but my husband was unimpressed with their reviews (he sticks mostly to geek reviews, like CNET, rather than customer reviews, which he doesn't trust).

    We really should have a plasma TV, as we watch TV in a fairly dim room, but the plasma TVs available didn't have all the features my husband wanted. We got an LED, but calibrated the settings for a dim room three or four days after we got it. It made a huge difference, both in the appearance of things on the screen and in how long we could watch before our eyes get tired. I know I'm kind of harping on the light issue, but it makes a real difference and it's something people don't usually think about when they are in the store (which is brightly lighted and thus makes the LEDs look their best).
     
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  9. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the info. It definitely helps.

    Prancer, you make a good point about the lighting and also about the sound bar in the store (so it may sound better there than at home). Now that you have mentioned, I will have to pay attention to whether I watch the TV in the dark or light. :) I had never thought about it. I usually keep a bright light on, about 10 feet on the left, but never directly behind or near the TV. I will need to read more about the plasma TVs energy consumption and other aspects for comparison.

    Really, I did see some TVs (mostly smaller ones) with only 720p in the store, so I am a little careful about what I choose.

    Milanessa, I did see several Insignia models at Best Buy. They looked fine, but I want to look up the performance over time. Now that you have mentioned it, I may take another look at it, if it saves me some money. I don't want to buy more than a 2 year extended warranty; it gets pretty expensive at 4-5 years.

    Costco has pretty good prices but I will have to check how much they charge for delivery and set up the whole system (with the DVD/VCR recorder I plan to use for at least one year before switching to BlueRay/DVD player).

    I decided not to go for the 3D. It will need me to convert many other components to 3D, and I am not crazy about 3D movies, so I already know it doesn't mean a lot to me.
     
  10. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    If you aren't in a hurry to buy, you might want to hold off until March. New TV models come out in April, so stores put last year's models on sale the month before to clear inventory. March and Black Friday are usually the times when prices are at their lowest.
     
  11. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    I got a 37" Dynex (Best Buy in-house brand), 720p LED, and I love it. Excellent picture, great sound, and I only paid $250 - got it on major sale during Memorial Day weekend online promo with free delivery. Honestly, I don't care that I don't have an LCD/plasma or 1080p. Highly recommended.
     
  12. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

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    I got a 46" Vizio from Costco over the summer. They have a 2 year manufacturer warranty that I didn't have to pay for.

    If my budget would have allowed I would have gotten a Samsung. The picture was exquisite. But I am happy with my purchase.
     
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  13. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    We have a Panasonic plasma. We choose plasma because the room gets a lot of light and our seating arrangement requires a TV with no edge bleed.
     
  14. Aimless

    Aimless New Member

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    Only wanted to add that the flat screens generally can use a boost on the sound, since all the forward facing real estate is taken up by the picture, not much left for sound/speakers. I got an entry level home theatre/cd/blue ray set from Costco (a steal at about $250) to go with my Sony 55 inch and was gobsmacked by the sound, especially the subwoofer. The last Harry Potter was included as a freebie, and was that a workout visually and audio-wise for the system! Holy mackerel.

    I have a soft spot for Sony and have yet to be disappointed by their products. I managed to set the whole dang thing up myself--it was scary but step by step I was able to do it. I'm working on being an old lady and am only very slightly technically minded. If I can do it, anyone can. Just muster your nerve and read the directions. I had the good fortune to have two boxed pillars in my basement that were perfect for mounting the two rear speakers, and the cables are neatly hidden under the couch.
     
  15. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    One interesting side note to picture quality- I have a 40" Samsung and we watch most of our TV with over the air signals and an antenna. CBC is no longer broadcast OTA in most of Canada, so Shaw Cable offered a service where we got free equipment and free service with local channels only. We have CTV both over the air and on satellite, and the picture quality difference is absolutely astounding. The OTA signal is dramatically better.

    If you live in an area where some of your channels are available as over the air broadcasts, and you can put up an antenna, it is truly worth the effort, if picture quality is important to you.

    My Samsung has a great picture, but I just bought my husband a sound bar, because the TV speakers were often terrible, especially with musical performances.
     
  16. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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    I've only have knowledge of Vizio TVs. I have a 47" Vizio that is 1080p capable, and was on sale at Walmart. It's the second Vizio I've had. Great picture (very clear) with Dolby digital surround sound. The "sound effects" can also be adjusted. My brother and friends have commented several times on how clear the picture actually is. My brother has a 46" Samsung and wishes now that he had a Vizio. :lol:
     
  17. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I'm very fond of my Vizio, as well.
    I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
     
  18. madm

    madm Active Member

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    When my daughter went off to grad school last Sept and got a house to live in, she had to buy a new TV. We researched a bit, and decided to get the Vizio 47" LED HDTV which she loves. The picture quality is great. I think Sony is the top of the line when it comes to TVs (we own a lot of them), and the sales rep told us that the Vizio display is actually built by Sony. Needless to say, we got a good deal for $619 on sale plus a 5% Target Red Card discount. Since TV technology changes so fast, you can usually get a good deal if you buy a TV that is 6-12 months behind the latest and greatest release, and if you wait for holiday pricing.

    We decided against plasma TVs because they are extremely heavy (50-60 lbs), and if dropped or moved much, the insides shift around and the picture is ruined. For a person who is planning to move the TV eventually, I wouldn't recommend a plasma TV. Plus because it's so heavy, it's a pain to hang one of these on a wall.

    Here's a good discussion of the pros and cons of each technology:
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2387377,00.asp
     
  19. madm

    madm Active Member

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    Found out that Vizio displays are not made by Sony: http://www.brighthub.com/electronics/home-theater/articles/46859.aspx. But the quality seems good. I recommend looking at Sony, Samsung and Vizio TVs for your next purchase. Get at least 1080p , 120Hz refresh rate, WiFi, and 4 HDMI ports. You want to be able to grow into the future with your TV. However, don't pay for features you may not use (like 3D).
     
  20. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I too have a soft spot for Sony, but I will definitely take a look at Vizio tomorrow. I wish Costco was not closed today. I am really weak when it comes to installing anything. Usually I have a friend helping me, or I just get a free installation from the store. Now they are charging a lot more (Best Buy).

    Unfortunately using an antenna is not an option here. I am stuck with cable, even for regular channels. Sounds like I really have to pay attention to sound quality, or just buy a sound bar. How much does a sound bar cost? How big is it? Does it need a shelf near/below the TV?
     
  21. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    You can mount the sound bar to a wall or put it on a shelf; depends on how you have your TV set up. You also usually get a subwoofer that you have to put somewhere, although some sound bars have the subwoofer built in.

    Sound bars are usually somewhere between two and three feet long and a couple of inches tall. The subwoofers vary a bit; some are square and some are rectangular. Ours is about the size of two stacked large shoe boxes.

    I think this one is better :shuffle:

    http://asia.cnet.com/led-vs-plasma-vs-lcd-tvs-62213538.htm
     
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Great info! Thanks Prancer.

    I went to Best buy to see what a soundbar looks like. The price range was $200 to $580, and they came with the woofer boxes. Their service was poor, however. I could not find anyone in the store that could answer my questions and I walked out in frustration.

    Yesterday I went to Costco. Their prices were considerably lower (by $50-$100) and the first two years of warranty were free. My only concern is what kind of support I will get, should something go wrong? I thought the Samsung there was still rather expensive, but the Sony, Toshiba and Vizio were reasonably priced.

    Tonight I went to Frys. They had a special on a 47 inch LG, which sounded attractive (120 hz, 3x HDMI, and 3D capability). However, I would like to know how reliable the LG is. They did have a 3 yr- in home warranty included in the price, and the picture looked good (but not as good as Samsung). I will need to read some reviews. My brother said Frys products are not always good. Their 42 inch Sony had only 60 hz, so that was out of consideration.
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    LED and LCD are really very similar. The only significant difference is the light source First, the technical side of things: to truly understand the difference between LCD and LED, one thing is very important: LED (light-emitting diode) TVs are actually a type of LCD (liquid crystal display) television. LCD HDTVs use standard compact fluorescent tubes to illuminate the picture. LED HDTVs, on the other hand, replace those fluorescent tubes with backlighting technology. This technology adjusts the picture beyond the capability of those fluorescent tubes to create much clearer images, and is the main difference between LCD and LED.

    LED/LCD is much better in a brighter room. Another reason to go with LED/LCD is Plasma still has a burn in problem that LED/LCD does not have. Our larger TV is a Samsung 50". It's about 5 years old now and we are having some problems with it, turning it on. After it's been off for a while, and you turn it on, it keeps cycling to turn itself on. then you have to turn it on and off a couple of times for it to stay on. This is a problem that started after the Sandy power outage, so we don't think it is a "Samsung" issue. The picture quality and sound are excellent. It is LCD, as it's an older TV. We also have a 36" Sony. The picture and sound are equally excellent. I would stay away from Sharp and Toshiba, Consumer Reports doesn't rate them as highly.

    We have surround sound on the larger TV. A friend was getting a new system and gave it to us. I hate it! Even when it is turned down, it is TOO LOUD! But, that may be me, I hate loud noise.
     
  24. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    I would not purchase from Best Buy unless it was a deal I could not pass up. Their service is the worst. We returned a TV that came broken out of the box (glass cracked) and we were interrogated in a room!!! They tried to put the blame on us asking why it took us 4 weeks to return it. It was a Christmas gift, so it was purchased and sat under a tree for a month before being opened! I have never gone back.
     
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  25. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand Costco has the best return and warranty policies.
     
  26. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like an interesting problem. If you get lucky it may just correct itself. About a year after we got our Sony 40" LCD (a good number of years ago), at times when switching from an HD channel to an SD channel the picture would split vertically so that the left half appeared on the right side of the screen and right on the left half, and colours were reduced to greyscale except for some bright green and crimson. Turning the set off and back on would correct the problem. Several months later, that problem disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. My only other problem was that some areas of the screen appeared darker than others. I remedied that problem by turning the automatic light adjustment feature off and have been very happy since. It is only a 720p (1080 was just coming in at the time and my cable company didn't use 1080 anyway) but it does have 120HZ, which as far as I am concerned is the more important of the two.

    We bought from a dedicated video store and received free set up but they didn't do it correctly anyway so I had to figure it out for myself in the end. Unless you need them to do a new wall hanging, wire-fishing through walls or something, I would suggest you are better off doing the set-up yourself.
     
  27. Capella

    Capella Guest

    I have two Samsungs and love them. Our livingroom has the LED 46" which works great in any lighting situation. I have a smaller 40" LCD in my den and I can't think of a single complaint. I use the 40" for gaming (it has a game mode!) and the graphics are perfect. I also use the 40" as my laptop monitor for skating events that are streamed online and I'm impressed with the quality, especially since a lot of the streaming isn't in HD. I've used the 46" for streaming and it's good, but just a tad too big for the non-HD streams. Most of the time, I watch TV/streams on my 40" with most of the lights turned off. I've never noticed anything bad about the sound. The 46" is usually watched in daylight or multiple lamps and it's so vivid! One thing I really like about the 46" is the ability to have people sitting all around the TV and still having a good, un-warped view of the screen. You can almost be watching from the absolute side and still it's good. For some shows we dim the lights. Hawaii Five-0 is *gorgeous* on this screen. The greens are unimaginably lush.

    One thing I was disappointed in was that the integrated internet access requires the purchase of an additional special WiFi antenna. It's expensive and the reviews were not good. But my TVs are just over 2 years old, so the newer models might include this.

    When I was trying to decide what to get (many months of research), I looked at Best Buy, Walmart, and Target and liked to see the side-by-side comparison of the various screens of the different brands. Took notes on which ones looked the best in each store. Best Buy is a darker store, whereas Walmart and Target seemed brighter. I ended up finding the best price online at B&H Photo. (www.bhphotovideo.com) and had to love the free shipping.

    Good luck with whatever you choose. You'll love it!
     
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  28. Capella

    Capella Guest

    We installed both sets ourselves. While it wasn't particularly difficult (if you can do most computer hook ups and online streaming, you should have enough of a background that it's doable), the sets were extremely heavy, making it a 2-person job for the 40" and a 3-person for the 46". We got TV stands for both, rather than wall mounting. The screens are so wide that it was just too much for one of us to get our arms around to lift it up and get it into its glass stand on the TV stand. Maybe if we were Michael Phelps, it would have been a one-person job. Definitely glad we didn't wall-mount.
     
  29. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    That would be great, but it seems to be getting worse. Samsung came out and fixed a recalled board, hoping that was the problem. But, it didn't fix it. The technician said that when our chimney got hit by lighting, it might have damaged something, but not enough to cause a problem. The power outage may have worsened whatever it was. Now it's a problem. But since it's fine once it's on, we are going to wait to get a new one. It's just annoying, we can live with that for now.
     
  30. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Burn in is only an issue if you have a static image on your TV for long periods of time. Who does that? Well, my in-laws do; MUTE is burned into their screen. But for most people, burn in is pretty rare and happens almost exclusively with gamers or people who use their TVs to surf the internet and leave images like menus on screen for a long time.

    As Consumer Reports says: With a plasma TV, temporary image retention can be a concern with video games, computer programs, and other content that has high-contrast fixed images onscreen for a long time. Many plasma sets have screen-saver features to minimize the risk, which we consider to be very low.

    A lot of people get ghosting and think they are getting burn in, but that's not the same thing.

    http://plasmatvbuyingguide.com/plasmatv/plasmatv-burnin.html

    If you are going by the Consumer Reports I'm looking at right now, all of their top-rated TVs are plasmas and Panasonic basically swept the top ratings. All of the other brands varied across the rating groups, depending on the size of the TV, and most of the differences in ratings would come down to personal preference.

    My particular Sharp TV did very well in their ratings, but their pros and cons don't match mine.