Going TV shopping, recommendations?

Posted by: michael_d

Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 11:45 AM



Iím a projector guy, and havenít paid much attention to TVís in a while. I set up a Samsung LED / LCD for a friend a year ago and thought it put up a great picture, but thatís about my limited experience with them.

My friends have convinced me I need to put a TV in my great room for the odd occasions when we get together and the timing conflicts with a game or event they want to watch. I have refrained from putting a TV in the great room as I would rather visit than watch the boob tube, but Iím going to cave and get oneÖ..

So considering it will not get much use, and will be mounted on the wall above a large bay window (the only place I can mount one) and the great room has a bunch of windows with natural lightÖ.. It will be roughly 7' above the floor. Iím looking for input on what I should look at. As far as size goes, I have room for a TV that is 36Ē in height. Iíd prefer one thatís pretty slim for no other reason than esthetics. The LED Samsung is pretty darn skinny, but I have no idea what else is out now, so Iím assuming the Samsung isnít the only game in town anymore.

Iíd like to put a cap of $1500 on whatever I get. I do not need the latest and greatest for this TV, as I watch movies in my theater. 1080P / 120 is plenty good.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 12:16 PM

The only problem with LCD (probably LED also), is the field of view. If you are not looking at it dead on, the contrast ratio suffers the more you move from center. If it's mounted that high up and it's not angled at the seating position then picture quality will go bye, bye. I'd recommend a plasma, although plasma's aren't as bright, which could also present a problem.
Posted by: bdpf

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 12:16 PM

If your room has lots of light, avoid Plasma and stick to LED or LCD. LED will be better but will be out of the $1500 range. For LCDs, Sony, Samsung and Sharp are the 3 leaders so you should find great TVs from either.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 12:23 PM

Nice cave decision!

I think the Samsung LCD is a pretty solid choice. They look better to me than the Sharp and seem to be cheaper than Sony.

I'd get a nice, articulating, swiveling wall mount thingy.
Posted by: RickF

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 12:25 PM

36" in overall height is going to be a rather large TV, like in the neighborhood of a 55-60" viewing screen?

We just bought our son a 40" Samsung LCD and I'm impressed so far, the price was killer from Best Buy (believe it or not!) and it got very good reviews ... I really like the ease of setup and operation.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 04:04 PM


We just received a new Samsung plasma (PN50C550 50) and it has a great picture. With the new anti glare there's not much, if any, difference between this and the other styles in a lighted room.
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 04:10 PM

Panasonic plasmas have anti-glare coating now as well.
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/07/10 04:42 PM

The Panasonic anti-glare is excellent. And they offer very good TVs for the money. You can easily get a big 1080p one for under 1500. The biggest and best (and now the 3D models) cost a bunch more, of course, but there are 50s for well below that amount.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/08/10 11:09 AM

Thanks for the tips guys. It sounds like I should target LED/LCD or anit-glare plasma. It looks as if Best Buy has the LED Samsungs on sale. A 46" is about $1200.
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/08/10 11:34 AM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
The only problem with LCD (probably LED also), is the field of view. If you are not looking at it dead on, the contrast ratio suffers the more you move from center. If it's mounted that high up and it's not angled at the seating position then picture quality will go bye, bye. I'd recommend a plasma, although plasma's aren't as bright, which could also present a problem.


Some newer LCD displays are using LED back-lighting or edge-lighting as opposed to fluorescent one light as the back-lighting. The ones with LED back-lighting can arrange the lights in zones to get a much better contrast ratio than having one florescent light. There is no benefit to contrast ratio with the edge-lit LED lighting on the LCD TV's. The main reason for that option is that they can make some really thin displays with edge-lighting. Having issues with the field of view is a problem with the LCD technology and cannot be fixed no matter what kind of lighting is used for the display. The only way to really fix it is to turn the display on torch-mode, like they do in the store to mask this problem. This is the biggest reason why I went with a plasma display. Even though the LCD's with LED back-lighting can now get contrast ratios in the same league as plasmas, there still isn't a way of fixing the viewing angle problem on an LCD.


Originally Posted By: michael_d


The LED Samsung is pretty darn skinny, but I have no idea what else is out now, so Iím assuming the Samsung isnít the only game in town anymore.


Many Samsung LCD's have a reflective screens not anti-reflective to get a slight increase in contrast ratio. This is fine for a dark room, but if there is any light at all it would be a bad choice. If you are checking out some Samsung LCD's in the store make sure that you turn the set off and see how much reflection you are getting. I had one in my house that was almost like a mirror. This thing gave off more reflection than an old CRT display, which nobody wants to watch in the middle of the day without the shades drawn.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/08/10 11:43 AM

Originally Posted By: nickboros
nobody wants to watch in the middle of the day without the shades drawn.


Jeeesh, Nick... What kinda stuff are you watchin'?
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/08/10 01:12 PM

Just about anything that has dark or dimly lit scenes would be out for me, unless you have (1) a screen with good anti-glare and (2) a good set of shades to block out the light.

Many TV shows have dark and dimly lit scenes, like Lost for example. Many movies have dark and dimly lit scenes as well. I remember when my father-in-law came over in the middle of the day, a few years ago, to watch the Bourne Identity during the day. At that time I have a CRT TV and blinds over the windows, the ones with the horizontal strips (like these http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Cus...ci_sku=11161722). Even with the blinds closed, you couldn't tell what was going on for most of the movie because of all the dark scenes being covered up by the glare on the TV still coming through the blinds that were closed.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/08/10 01:16 PM

Nick, it was a porn jab. grin

Besides that, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have a dim DLP directly facing the couch, with a window behind the couch that has to be blocked to even see the TV.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 11:00 AM

So Nick, I take it you feel I'd be better off with a plasma that has an anti-reflective screen verses one of the LED/LCD's? Any brand / model's I should look at?

Come to think about it, I do tend to be drawn to the plasmas over the LCD's whenever I happen to be walking by the TV's in the different stores.
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 05:48 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
So Nick, I take it you feel I'd be better off with a plasma that has an anti-reflective screen verses one of the LED/LCD's? Any brand / model's I should look at?

Come to think about it, I do tend to be drawn to the plasmas over the LCD's whenever I happen to be walking by the TV's in the different stores.


The anti-glare coating is good enough on my Pioneer Kuro that I can casually watch a football game or sit-com on it in the middle of the day with one window behind me (that has an overhang) not having the shades drawn. I wouldn't want to watch anything else on it because their is too much glare to tell what is going on. And Pioneer is supposed to have the best anti-glare coating that you can get on plasmas.

You are making it difficult for any TV with all of those windows, if you plan to watch the TV in the middle of the day. It's almost like asking what the best speaker setup would be to get so that you can listen to them in the middle of a busy shopping mall. Would Axiom speakers sound better than some that are sold out of the back of a van in that situation? It's hard to say. Sure if you cranked them up loud enough to overcome the background noise then the Axiom's could sound good, but that isn't a fair comparison. To deal with all those windows shining light into your room in the middle of the day you will have to crank up they brightness, possibly to the extremes of the torch mode on TV's. This kills the contrast ratio. Just about any competently made TV these days can look good if you ignore the contrast ratio. The biggest difference that you are paying for going from one manufacturer to another (ignoring the thinness fad) is getting better blacks and shadow detail. As you mentioned, this is why plasma sets usually look better, because they are better at doing this than most LCD's. So you can see why contrast ratio is probably the most important aspect of a good picture.

I'd suggest that, if you don't plan to do any critical viewing on the TV then you should just get a cheap LCD. Vizio is a good budget brand that has a pretty good picture for the money. Just make sure that it has a good anti-glare screen on it, because as I mentioned not all of them do. LCD's are nice because you can get more brightness out of them and some of them have very good anti-reflective screens, even better than the best offered on a plasma TV. Just don't expect to have a great picture at that point. If you plan to do some critical viewing in that room then you will need to control the light. There probably isn't much point in spending the extra money on a nice plasma (such as a Panasonic or a Pioneer Kuro, if you can still find one) if you can't even really see the good contrast ratio that you are paying for.
Posted by: Micah

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 05:56 PM

I would like to politely disagree with the Plasma choice. Of course this is all personal preference, but since others have shared theirs, I'll share mine. Personally I feel that LCD/LED sets are much brighter than their Plasma counterparts. And I can't speak for any other LCD screens, but my Sharp AQUOS screen is practically glare free. I don't have any window's pointing directly towards my screen, but even when I get up and sit to the side of it to get (a faint) glare in my screen, the brightness of the screen still over rides any glare that I can force into it. At night it doesn't matter how many lights are on or how bright they are, nothing disturbs the way my screen performs.

And I need that with the work I do. While editing I have to have the most accurate picture I can work with. So let's just say if this screen wasn't as good as it is, I would have had to have looked for another screen.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 06:26 PM

It is true that plasma screens are not as bright as LCDs. But "brighter is better" is in the same category of "louder is better". As long as you have enough light over come the surrounding environment that's the important thing. Going brighter than that will hurt the relative black level.

Relative black level is the most important thing for achieving depth of picture. If blacks don't appear inky, and as dark as the darkest thing in your field of view, you're not getting everything you can from the picture. Color accuracy comes second black level for image quality.

I keep saying relative black level. Contrast ratio is a misleading spec. The number inflates rapidly when a display is able to drop its absolute black level, but doesn't really take into account one which can outshine the sun. If you had a display which could have absolute 0 output for black, but produce only a tiny bit of light for white, it would still have an infinite to 1 contrast ratio. Still a display which had some light leakage for black, but used a thermonuclear device for white would have a lower ratio.

What's important is the display be able to appear totally black in its surrounding. Considering I watch with only a bias light behind the set, I need a plasma to go dark enough. But in a room which is always lit, the little light leaked by LCDs (try saying that 10 times fast) can easily be lower than the ambient shadows and thus appear black.

If a set isn't producing enough light over-all it'll appear reflective. That means your room is too bright for the display, not much you can do about it, but make the room darker or change it out.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 07:43 PM

Just get a mount like this one...



and use a 25" CRT. Heck, I've got one I'll give you for free if you pick it up. It's a nice Samsung and everything.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/09/10 09:49 PM

Mike, consider the Panasonic TC-P50G25 .
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 10:46 AM

I do like an image with high native on/off contrast. Thatís why I run a JVC RS20 and Stewart Firehawk screen in my theater and that room is completely light controlled and painted dark. I am however finding that I prefer ANSI contrast over on/off and will sacrifice some on/off for ANSI when I buy my next projector. I will most likely go with a DLP projector as soon as LED shakes out for projectors. Thatís why Iím still running the RS20 and have resisted the urge to move from it to a newer machine.

But, for this particular room, critical viewing is not a concern. Like I said, I had no intention of ever having a display in this room. I am caving in for a couple of my more vocal friends with an addiction to sports (I do not watch sports, I participate). I donít want to buy junk though either. I am an A/V geek after all.

Thanks John. You come through again.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 11:31 AM

Forget about LED for projectors. LASER is where it's at.
Posted by: Micah

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 12:16 PM

Well Chris perhaps you can clear this up for me then. My TV only has a 15,000 to 1 (as I recall) contrast ratio. But when shopping for my TV I went by the recommendation of a good friend of mine who told me that anything over 10,000 to 1 was incomprehensible by the human eye. As he put it, a human being can't tell the difference between a 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio and a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio... is he correct?

I will give plasma's the fact that their blacks are blacker then they are on my Sharp AQUOS (as well as most LCD/LED screens I've experenced). So if that is of major importance, then perhaps a Plasma is the better choice.
Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 12:20 PM

Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Forget about LED for projectors. LASER is where it's at.


I sure hope there are some realistic options for that when I do my projector shopping. I'm tempted to save up for that 75" LaserVue TV in the meantime.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 01:31 PM

Laser is many years out yet. LED is here now, but still infant. But I agree, laser will be the she-it.

Mica, that's not true. You can tell a difference. But one thing to remember when looking at CR ratings is whether or not the testing was done with the display calibrated to D65 or not. That makes a huge difference. Also, don't let the numbers attained with the DI (if equipped) enabled. That's not a representation of native CR capabilities of the display.

ANSI C/R is much more difficult to test for, so you don't see those ratings very often and when you do, they can't be trusted.

Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 01:36 PM

I'm not really sure how much I'll spend on my next display, especially with it being my first projector, but I will still want your input, Mike. I appreciate your knowledge in this area. I paid $4k for my TV and swore I would never pay that much for a display again, considering how fast the technology moves, but I'm sure it will start out at around that much to get something I wouldn't regret, projector and screen included.
Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 02:57 PM

I was doing some random searching and came across this. I have my doubts about the image quality if your eyes have to "even out the noise," but I like the fact that you can use the projected image as a touchscreen.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 09:32 PM

Originally Posted By: ClubNeon
Forget about LED for projectors. LASER is where it's at.

Don't listen to the non-believers. SED is not dead...
Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 09:41 PM

Comatose?
Posted by: fredk

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 09:44 PM

Its not comatose, its just pining for the fjords...
Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 09:48 PM

I wasn't familiar with that phrase. I really need to watch my Monty Python megaset sometime.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/10/10 10:00 PM

The petshop sketch is one of the better ones.

I've re-watched a lot of the series with my kids. Good humor is timeless.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 12:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Micah
Well Chris perhaps you can clear this up for me then. My TV only has a 15,000 to 1 (as I recall) contrast ratio. But when shopping for my TV I went by the recommendation of a good friend of mine who told me that anything over 10,000 to 1 was incomprehensible by the human eye. As he put it, a human being can't tell the difference between a 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio and a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio... is he correct?

I will give plasma's the fact that their blacks are blacker then they are on my Sharp AQUOS (as well as most LCD/LED screens I've experenced). So if that is of major importance, then perhaps a Plasma is the better choice.

In a dark room I can tell the difference between an LCD or a plasma showing a black screen. I don't put much weight in contrast numbers, I just want blacks that don't emit light. Having very dark blacks will easily boost the contrast ratio. So based on that, I can say that it's easy to tell a 10,000 from a 100,000 in the right situation.
Posted by: Micah

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 01:17 AM

Pining for the fjords??? Well he's stone dead isn't he!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 08:25 AM

'eeee's jus' restin'......
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 08:42 AM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
Laser is many years out yet. LED is here now, but still infant. But I agree, laser will be the she-it.

Mica, that's not true. You can tell a difference. But one thing to remember when looking at CR ratings is whether or not the testing was done with the display calibrated to D65 or not. That makes a huge difference. Also, don't let the numbers attained with the DI (if equipped) enabled. That's not a representation of native CR capabilities of the display.

ANSI C/R is much more difficult to test for, so you don't see those ratings very often and when you do, they can't be trusted.


I too am very excited about a getting LED lit projector. I'm betting that in a couple years it should be ready to buy. I read a couple of reviews of two different models and they have a good start right now, but a ways to go. Not having to worry about all of the picture settings going out of wack as the bulb ages, quite rapidly, is a very nice thing.
Posted by: Nick B

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 08:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Micah
Well Chris perhaps you can clear this up for me then. My TV only has a 15,000 to 1 (as I recall) contrast ratio. But when shopping for my TV I went by the recommendation of a good friend of mine who told me that anything over 10,000 to 1 was incomprehensible by the human eye. As he put it, a human being can't tell the difference between a 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio and a 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio... is he correct?


It's pretty hilarious how ridiculous some of these contrast ratios are coming from the manufacturers. I was helping my dad look for a display last year and the salesman kept trying to push this Samsung plasma because it had a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The manufacturers must be thinking that if the public is dumb enough to buy the whole wattage of receiver thing, then we'll buy any number for contrast ratio that they give us.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: nickboros
Originally Posted By: michael_d
Laser is many years out yet. LED is here now, but still infant. But I agree, laser will be the she-it.

Mica, that's not true. You can tell a difference. But one thing to remember when looking at CR ratings is whether or not the testing was done with the display calibrated to D65 or not. That makes a huge difference. Also, don't let the numbers attained with the DI (if equipped) enabled. That's not a representation of native CR capabilities of the display.

ANSI C/R is much more difficult to test for, so you don't see those ratings very often and when you do, they can't be trusted.


I too am very excited about a getting LED lit projector. I'm betting that in a couple years it should be ready to buy. I read a couple of reviews of two different models and they have a good start right now, but a ways to go. Not having to worry about all of the picture settings going out of wack as the bulb ages, quite rapidly, is a very nice thing.


I'm waiting to hear some news on the Tru Vue Vango. AVScience is collaborating with them. It's a LED / DLP projector with 1000 lumens. The review and pricing should be posted next week. I won't buy one, as I'm tired of buying first generation stuff, but this projector will set the pace for others to follow.
Posted by: CV

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 11:34 AM

Shows how out of the loop I am. I hadn't even heard of that projector.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 01:37 PM

Concerning contrast ratios, I remember an incident about 2 years ago at a Best Buy where they had the TV's setup side by side with the contrast ratios prominently displayed. Two of the salesmen came over and was telling me that I should just ignore the contrast ratios, because they don't mean anything anyway.

I'm looking at the TV's and I see a big, big difference between the 60,000:1 vs. the 10,000:1 and I tell them so. They then just look at you like you must be stupid and not worthy of anymore of their time. Are Best Buy employees hypnotized by space aliens?
Posted by: Micah

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/11/10 07:48 PM

It's fun to screw with those guys actually. Because they're just kids off the street who they bring in, fill their heads with all of these terms, then shove them out on the floor to try to convince us consumers which product is best, when they themselves have absolutely no idea what's good and what isn't.

So you walk in there and really confuse them when you ask them about a certain reciever. The sale's guy will say something like, "oh yeah that's one of our top sellers. 7.1 channel, 125 watts per channel. It's really nice". Of course they're only reading what the sticker on the front of it says, so then you hit em up with a question like, "well what's the contrast ratio per channel"?

Either they will recognize the term, not know it has nothing to do with audio and run and ask his manager what the contrast ratio is per channel on that particular reciever (snicker), or he'll look at you like you're a total sucker and say something like, "oh well on this model it's 500,000 : 1, best on the market"! At which point you can retort back, "really, and just how does contrast ratio's work on an audio signal anyhow"? And see what kind of bullshit he tries to come up with. Unless he figures out you're screwing with him.

Next time you think the sales guy is trying to pull a number on you, try this out. wink
Posted by: snazzed

Re: Going TV shopping, recommendations? - 07/13/10 05:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Micah
... So you walk in there and really confuse them when you ask them about a certain reciever. The sale's guy will say something like, "oh yeah that's one of our top sellers. 7.1 channel, 125 watts per channel. It's really nice". Of course they're only reading what the sticker on the front of it says, so then you hit em up with a question like, "well what's the contrast ratio per channel"?

Either they will recognize the term, not know it has nothing to do with audio and run and ask his manager what the contrast ratio is per channel on that particular reciever (snicker), or he'll look at you like you're a total sucker and say something like, "oh well on this model it's 500,000 : 1, best on the market"! ...


LOL! I used to do this in FutureShop with the Computer Sales guys. They deilberately hire people with no knowledge. My friend applied for a Sales Position there, he told them how much he knew about computers so they put him in Major Appliances and he wasn' allowed ni the computer section.

After he quit we would deliberately go in looking at PCs and start asking completely ridiculous questions, which they always manged to answer in a way that sort of related to 'the more expensive one has that!'. We would always have to "think about it," leave the store have a drink and laugh our asses off.

Double Plus AWESOME.

snazzed