Looking for recommendations for a new TV!

Mallus

Legend
So I'm in the market for one. New house, new TV, right? It's like some kind of rule.

We'll be sitting about 10' away, I'm thinking 55'' or 60''. Probably LED/LCD, but maybe plasma? There's 1 high-end Samsung plasma set still being made, but it's at or slightly beyond my price point ($2,400 US) -- I can be talked into spending that much, though.

I know there are dedicated forums for this sort of thing, but I thought I'd ask here anyway. Anyone make a recent TV purchase and have opinions about it?
 

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was

Adventurer
I've got a three-year old 42" Vizio LCD that I'm pretty happy with. Bought it for $475. Only problem was the sound quality which was solved with a $60 sound bar. Bluray movies look great on it. The ticket is to go 1080p on the image and at least 120 Hz on the refresh rate.
 

My current TV is a Samsung LCD. It's good, but there's nothing particularly special about it. My previous TV was a Mistubishi DLP that had amazing contrast and vibrancy, but had occasional issues with overheating (back projection with a powerful bulb). It also didn't meet my spouses requirements for flatness, which is why it's now in the basement.

I'd stay away from plasma. My father in law has had two (for size), and they do not age as gracefully as LCDs. LCDs are getting big enough these days that plasma is rarely needed

If I was buying a TV today, there are two factors I would be looking at: 4k resolution and display lag. 4k resolution is likely to be the next generation of media, and would be useful for an HTPC setup. You can check into display lag here: http://www.displaylag.com/
 

No plasma. It's a dead/dying technology. I believe it was Sony or maybe even Pioneer (? it was some major mfgr) who just announced they were going to stop making them entirely. On the other hand Walmart.com has a 50" 4k LED TV for $450.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Plasma has better picture than Lcd or led, but uses more energy, and has a lower profit margin, and therefore is a dying technology.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Plasma has better picture than Lcd or led, but uses more energy, and has a lower profit margin, and therefore is a dying technology.

In many cases now, LED is as bright or brighter than plasma, making it a better choice for viewing in a brightly lit room.

It was a year and a half ago, I did the only "Black Friday" shopping I've ever done. Went out looking for maybe a 40" TV, came back with a 55" Samsung LED TV, in my desired price range - actually lower, as I was able to pick up a blu-ray system to go along with it. Best darn entertainment purchase we've ever made.

The model, alas, is no longer in production, so I cannot point you at it.

My experience was that, so long as you are looking at a major brand name, the devil will be in the subjective details, not in any major difference in technical specs.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
In terms of $$ for size/ overall value, 55" is the sweet spot in the marketplace right now.

You can get a decent 120Hz LED for $600-700 if you keep your eyes peeled and the latest 3D and Smart TV features do not matter to you. I suppose you can spend money on a Samsung OLED 55" for three to four times the price of a lower priced 55" and the picture will look fabulous -- though that's a lot of money for a 55". You can get a 70" LED for the same price (or less).

I personally think that even the lower end 70" LEDs are still petty awesome. So if you can justify spending 2-3K for one, by all means, fill yer boots. Those in the $4,000-$5,000 range are better of course in that screen size, but at that end of the market? Markup is VERY high. That's a luxury good and priced as such.

4KTV (UltraHD) is not worth it right now as there simply isn't enough content out there (by which I mean to say -- almost NONE) to justify it. In 2-3 years, matters may be different, and in five years they certainly will be. But that's then and this is now. Let someone else play on the bleeding edge. Don't do it.

I would not be buying a Plasma based TV for any reason in the current market -- no matter how low the price. Plasma has a finite lifespan, they are heavy, can be prone to burn-in and they are about to be extinct. Don't bother.

My experience was that, so long as you are looking at a major brand name, the devil will be in the subjective details, not in any major difference in technical specs.

I think that's probably fair. On the lower-end/ close-out models, there are often some issues with some problems with some features of the unit that are worth knowing about, but which need not be deal-breakers by any means.

LG, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony are all solid bands. Panasonic and Phillips are more suspect, but usually still pretty great. Stick to those six brands, with a heavy bias towards LG and Samsung.

I would not bother much with investing money into Smart TV features as part of the TV purchase if you are a gamer. Those features are good things to have mind you, but a gaming console will offer all of those features plus a LOT more at a reasonable price. Indeed, a VERY reasonable price if you want to simply pick up a PS3 (used or otherwise) for Netflix and to act as a Blu-Ray player. A used PS3 is still the best Blu-Ray player on the market. PS4? Even better (though admittedly more expensive).

Still, if you don't want to bother with a game console for aesthetic reasons, then take the time to check out the Smart TV features of whatever set you are looking at and be sure to GOOGLE IT FIRST for troubleshooting issues. A lot of the time on the cheaper low end 55" LED sets there are real problems with the Smart TV features on the unit -- that's why it is being discontinued.

If those issues either don't matter to you because you don't care, or do not matter to you as you have a game console, then all is well. Get a lower end, major brand name 120 Hz 55" TV (many of which are extremely kick-ass TVs) and keep your money in your pocket.

One feature to keep an eye on is the number of HDMI inputs on the TV. Unless you have a Surround Sound Home Theatre Receiver, you may want to ensure you have at least 4 HDMI inputs. More is always better.

Lastly, do look into getting an XBMC unit for your TV. Whether you get a sub-$100 cheap Raspberry Pi based unit or a more expensive Intel NUC based unit, or something in between based on the many Android based players - you will LOVE IT.

With a robust broadband connection - there is no better streaming service on Planet Earth than XBMC. (Just Google it, check it out on Youtube and thank me later). It is the killer app of today's Internet.
 
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Mallus

Legend
I've got a three-year old 42" Vizio LCD that I'm pretty happy with.
That's good to hear. I'm considering one of the new 2014 Vizio models. They're getting a lot of really good reviews from places like CNET. But I'm a little hesitant because I don't personally know anyone w/a Vizio TV. I still think of them as a discount brand, like Hyundai a decade or so ago (note: I drive a Hyundai, and they're fine).

My current TV is a Samsung LCD. It's good, but there's nothing particularly special about it.
Mind me asking which model/year? I'm leaning towards a 2014 Samsung LED, but I'm not sure where along the various model lines. Samsung seems to command a bit of premium, price-wise (and seems happy to push dubious "enhancements" like curved screens and complicated "smart" interfaces).

IWent out looking for maybe a 40" TV, came back with a 55" Samsung LED TV, in my desired price range - actually lower, as I was able to pick up a blu-ray system to go along with it. Best darn entertainment purchase we've ever made.
So that's a strong recommendation for Samsung. How far do you sit from your 55''? According to the viewing distance charts I've seen, I should be looking at 65''+ sets, which frankly sounds a little crazy to me. 55'' sounds more reasonable, with 65'' as the upper limit.

My experience was that, so long as you are looking at a major brand name, the devil will be in the subjective details, not in any major difference in technical specs.
Sounds right.

I personally think that even the lower end 70" LEDs are still petty awesome.
Over 4th of July weekend I caught up with an old friend with a large, lovely house in the NJ suburbs. He just put in an 80'' Sharp LED, or as I called it, "the main viewer". As Spock would say, it was... impressive.

I could fit 70''... but I think I'll go a bit smaller, but higher-end.

4KTV (UltraHD) is not worth it right now as there simply isn't enough content out there (by which I mean to say -- almost NONE) to justify it.
Yeah, not even considering 4K. If I want to watch an upscaler in action, I'll watch video on my Macbook.

I would not be buying a Plasma based TV for any reason in the current market -- no matter how low the price. Plasma has a finite lifespan, they are heavy, can be prone to burn-in and they are about to be extinct. Don't bother.
I wasn't even considering plasma until I started reading CNET and other professional review sites. They're pretty unanimous in their ranking of plasma over LCD/LED in terms of overall picture quality.

LG, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony are all solid bands. Panasonic and Phillips are more suspect, but usually still pretty great. Stick to those six brands, with a heavy bias towards LG and Samsung.
Got an opinion about Vizio? The review sites love their 2014 (and 2013) models.

I would not bother much with investing money into Smart TV features as part of the TV purchase if you are a gamer.
I'm finding you can't avoid "smart" features, unless you buy a bottom-end model/brand.

Still, if you don't want to bother with a game console for aesthetic reasons...
My PS3 anxiously awaits a real home theater-sized screen to connect to, as opposed to the 32'' LED we have now. As do my "Planet Earth", "Speed Racer", and "The Fifth Element" Blu-rays.

Thanks, I'll look into it. I see there's an OSX version. I've gotten used to using my laptop as the guts of my "smart TV" setup.

Thanks for the replies!
 
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sabrinathecat

Explorer
LG isn't top of the line, but second best. TV stations have them running continuously (and I do mean 24hrs a day, 7days a week, 365.25 per year continuously) for 4-5 years, and they don't burn out. as mentioned, LED, and whatever you do, do NOT buy plasma.
 

Mallus

Legend
LG isn't top of the line, but second best.
Thanks! I'll take a look at some LG models. Our new refrigerator is going to be an LG.

I'm noticing an anti-plasma vibe here. Is it just because it's old tech/ceasing manufacture, or is it from bad experiences? Just curious... I'm leaning heavily towards a 55'' Samsung H7150 LED (the highest end 2014 model that doesn't have unnecessary luxury features).

Now I have to scoot down to the local Best Buy and see one in person.
 

was

Adventurer
The nice thing about Best Buy is that they have a really good price match policy. If you decide on a model, check their policy out and see if you can find a better price. I recently bought some software and they matched the amazon.com price. I brought in a print out of the product. It saved me a bundle.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I'm noticing an anti-plasma vibe here. Is it just because it's old tech/ceasing manufacture, or is it from bad experiences? Just curious...

They're old tech that is overpriced for what they deliver in terms of picture quality, longevity, energy consumption, etc.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I have never heard of a plasma leaking or breaking down. Does not matter, plasma is dead. Just read up a lot on sites, and do not stress it. The pictures today are apostle in general.
 

Janx

Hero
I got a 60" LCD from WorstBuy for $800 in January. There were 3 brands at that range.

120hz, smart TVs at that (and all I wanted was a dumb monitor actually).
 


Janx

Hero
Did you have them deliver it? If so, what did you think of the service?

I've got the model picked out, now it's down to where to order it from, ie Amazon or Best Buy.

Yup, got free delivery. It was 2 guys in a WorstBuy-mobile. Had to order it at the store because it wasn't in stock.

I got the Vizio, but Sharp and Samsung had comparable deals. I tend to stay away from Lucky Goldstar as I remember re-focusing their crappy VGA monitors in the 90's.
 

Mallus

Legend
Yup, got free delivery. It was 2 guys in a WorstBuy-mobile. Had to order it at the store because it wasn't in stock.
Do they unbox it & power it up before you accept delivery?

I got the Vizio, but Sharp and Samsung had comparable deals.
How do you like Vizio? They've got a 55'' 2014 model that's slightly more than half the price of the Samsung I'm considering. I've tried to see one in person, but the stores I've been to don't have that size (42'' and 65'' seem to be popular sizes).
 

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