Author Topic: TV shopping  (Read 4177 times)

Offline Bill

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TV shopping
« on: Feb 13, 2012, 08:43 AM »
I have been researching new TVs for 6 weeks or so but stopped after I realized the industry is in transition to new models for 2012.  I have looked at Edge lit LED, full array LED and Plasmas, primarily Sony and Samsung.  We were 24 hours from purchasing a Sony 55 NX720 Edge Lit LED ( on sale at $1599) when Best Buy exhausted their national inventory.  It was available on line from Sony and a place in VA named Crutchfield's but given the size and resulting shipping costs if I had to return a faulty unit I will only buy locally and down here that means Best Buy or a retailer named HH Greg which specializes in lower-end goods.

The Sony we picked out was about in the middle of Sony's offerings.  The full array Sonys and Samsungs are more expensive than I want.  The Plasma sets I looked at -comparably priced with the Sony- seemed to have a reported by owners buzz that varied from very low volume to loud enough to hear across the room, and the plasma also seem to have 'way too many adjustments and many who bought the expensive ones have them professionally calibrated -not something I would want to do.

LEDs from both brands have greater or lesser edge bleeding which seems to vary by individual set.  And then there's the issue of matte vs. glossy.  The Sony used a front panel of Corning's Gorilla Glass (which, when off is glossy) which 'eats' ambient light reflections, and seems to work very well. 

So, what has been our collective experiences?  I have long been a fan of Sony, we have a 46" rear projection set now that eats $100 bulbs every 200 hours and is now 5 years old.  Having done all this shopping I now look at our present set as clearly inferior. 

I am open to different brand recommendations, and plasma vs. LED thoughts.  We have had part of this discussion before and I recall the dark room plasma - light room LED preferences.  Our viewing space leans toward the darker side with rear windows providing TV glare during the day and at night there is 1 60w floor lamp off the the side of the TV.  But viewing distances vary from 8' to 20' hence my preference for a large screen i.e. bigger than the 46" there now.

BTW, I stumbled on an extremely helpful site - avsforum.com - that's focused on Home theaters and components.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Bill
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2012, 08:59 AM by Bill »
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Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #1 on: Feb 13, 2012, 09:29 AM »
Yo B,

Crutchfield has been around for quite awhile as a AV/Stereo/auto sound mail order company; I've gotten their catalogs periodically but never ordered from them.  They do a decent job of explaining the technology choices and options too.

We have a 42" LG Plasma, and it was pretty much $100 plus less than a comparable LCD.  It has several built-in settings (standard, movie, game, etc.) plus I've run the "tweaking" settings myself and saved over a couple "other" standard views... like one to tone down the grass and color if I'm watching a football game that seems a little unreal and "too" bold.  Really did not have to do any tweaking upon initial set-up; it was fine as is, and we're running it off an small outdoor antenna for over the air HDTV/local stations only. 

We have a small (32") LCD for the living room, which is ok - but wouldn't mind going with a 37" for the viewing range (which is an odd size).  And looking to try a 19" to 22" for the kitchen, where we still have an old model CRT/converter box on a "rabbit ears" antenna box.  Which will be a test of trying to get decent channel ID off an indoor antenna, for HDTV.

Ace; I'd rather be watching my tv than my computer.
« Last Edit: Feb 13, 2012, 12:52 PM by Ace »

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #2 on: Feb 13, 2012, 12:46 PM »
It certainly isn't easy shopping for boob tubes these days, as the choices seem endless. But I also recall my family spending about $500 for a 25" color console TV back around 1972-ish. That was a huge chunk of change back then, and a remote control was reserved for premium units. Today the thought of a 25" CRT is laughable.

I continue to hold out on purchasing a new TV. I revisit the thought about once a year, but each time decide to put it off another year. But if I were to buy today I'd likely lean toward the largest plasma I could find. Our theater room is completely dark; deliberately designed without windows. I like the idea of a set that includes a Netflix appliance with a wireless connection, but I notice that the price for those TVs are a couple hundred bucks more. Whereas a wireless Roku unit only costs $50, and offers hundreds of channels.

I too am turned off by the thought of hiring some professional to tune my TV. Really? I don't think so. I'd rather switch to B&W. Or sepia. I also don't pay for extended warranties. I figure that if I cannot afford to self-insure the set, then maybe I can't afford it.

I would also be shy of mail ordering a TV for the same reason you listed, but if you change your mind consider Vann's or Abt. They are strong, reputable competitors with great prices.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #3 on: Feb 13, 2012, 04:59 PM »
You know, a plasma can't shouldn't ought not never to be laid down flat.  So would have to wonder how one is transported, ensuring that never happened.

Ace; Scuzzy said boob.  Heh.

Offline pat

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #4 on: Feb 13, 2012, 05:01 PM »
Yo B, We have a 42" LG Plasma, and it was pretty much $100 plus less than a comparable LCD. 

So, was it less or more?  Geez, this guy is always talking in riddles.

We have just the one TV. It's an Sony 42" LCD @ 60 hz, going on three years old now and still going strong. If I have one complaint it's that there can be some ghosting on all dark screen shots, smoke or fog, that sort of thing. I went with the LCD at the time because this is a very bright room most of the time and LCD was supposed to be better for that.
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Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #5 on: Feb 13, 2012, 05:46 PM »
More or less, it was less.  I'm glad ours isn't ghosting; I'd hate to have a haunted TV.
I don't think I could get my head around that.

Ace; at this size, it's hard to get it around much of anything.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #6 on: Feb 14, 2012, 09:16 AM »
Thank for your thoughts folks - 2 votes for plasma and 1 for bright room LCD- kinda where I started.  But I think I will take a look a Panasonic and LG plasma s as well.  Panasonics regularly get compared to Samsung plasma s and depending on the reviewer, one or the other come out on top.  LG seems to run a close third.  Sony is  no longer in the plasma segment.

Bill
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #7 on: Feb 14, 2012, 01:07 PM »
I favor Panasonic plasma sets, but it is a matter of preference. You will probably do well with either Panasonic, LG or Samsung. With that in mind, I would shop as follows (in whatever order is most important to you):

1. Price
2. Size
3. Features & user friendliness
4. Connections (such as number of HDMI, USB, etc.)
5. Looks (does it have annoyingly bright LED lights?)
6. Matte vs glossy screen
7. Remote control (ease of use, back light, etc.)
8. Cost of any associated accessories (such as a wall mount, upgraded sound bar, etc.)
9. Interoperability with other units, such as computer, DVD/Blu-Ray, etc.
10. Resolution (I would not consider anything less than 1080p)

Do think into the future. Things that may not matter to you now, such as Internet connection, may matter a lot in a couple years. At the same time you have to balance out the added price of such features. As I previously mentioned, I'd rather hook up a Roku unit than pay $200 extra. But that means having another appliance connected, plus another remote control (bluetooth at that).

Don't forget that plasma sets do suck up more energy than LCD/LED models. If the TV is going to be on several hours each day, that might matter when you get your electric pat. I mean bill.

Scuzzy; wait till you get an electric Ace.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #8 on: Feb 14, 2012, 01:18 PM »
As usual, I didn't follow Scuzzy's advice. We went with a 720, based on cost savings and still being HDTV and disregarding the whole 1080i 1080p hocus pocus.  Also, we're not going with bluray and only were concerned with normal tv viewing.  So in context, with DVD and TV it's great.  It's the "minimum requirement" but adequate at that.  Probably the bigger it is, the more consequential that would be, and at 42" we're not at a particularly big screen.

Burn in used to be a drawback with plasma, but that's pretty much out of play now. And don't really know anyone who gets the Indian test pattern these days, let alone leaves the tv stuck on it.  Plasma does provide wider viewing angles, as compared to the narrow field of LCD/LED.  I leave enough lights on and extra dryer cycles and other wastes of electricity to figure my tv isn't going to blow up my electric bill.  Any more than a dozen other things.  They're called electric guitars for a reason.

We got a fairly "big button" remote; not that we knew what it would have but it is really nice and effective. 

Ace; I look better in low-definition.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #9 on: Feb 14, 2012, 03:52 PM »
Thanks for your input.  After another 2 hrs. at BB I have narrowed the field to 2, a Samsung LED UN55D6000S on sale for $1799  (2300 msrp) or a Panasonic Plasma TC-P55GT31  on sale for $1699 (2100 msrp) plus delivery and set up for either. 
Scuzzy you're right about the internet issue but neither of us are interested in 3D or streaming video.  We are  mostly sports -tennis, golf, BB, football and regular HD programming.  We have a BR player but rarely use it. 

Next step is to take the wife on a decision trip to BB, Wed or Thur to take advantage of this week's sale.

We'll see.

Bill
« Last Edit: Feb 14, 2012, 04:04 PM by Bill »
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Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #10 on: Feb 14, 2012, 04:29 PM »
Shoot, this is exciting.  Especially since you're going to get a tv that's way bigger and better than mine.
Dang.

Well, but ours was around $450 at HH Gregg.  So, I guess I could get 3 more of them, and have something sorta like what you're going to wind up with.

Ace; ok, I've got surround sound but I don't know if surround video is going to be all that great...

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #11 on: Feb 14, 2012, 04:46 PM »
I'd look up those two sets at Vann's and Abt, just to read up on the specs and opinions. I find that can be helpful when narrowing things down.

You'll probably be very happy with either. It's nice to have choices.

Scuzzy; Ace has a surround head.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #12 on: Feb 15, 2012, 08:22 AM »
I was thinking it's nice to have money.  Or even a second-hand TV; look, if any of you have extra either feel free to send it my way.  It's ok if the FedEx or UPS or USPS guy leaves the tv outside, as it isn't doing anything nasty here, but I'd rather not have money bundled under the bushes outside my door.  Especially if I didn't know it was there.

Did you get a TV yet B?  Are we there yet? 
Pat could probably build a really cool TV/rec room for it.  Even include a water closet, off to one side.

Ace; I did get my "computer glasses" so I can at least read my small screen.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #13 on: Feb 16, 2012, 07:30 AM »
No, not yet, wife has been under the weather a bit, maybe today.  I think at this point I am leaning toward the Panasonic Plasma.  I looked at Vanns, there were only 2 reviews, both positive.  Abt is now taking pre-orders for 2012 models and they have taken down the info on the models I'm looking at.  BB, Amazon and others have tons of reviews up and they are positive 9 or 10 to 1.

Bill
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Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #14 on: Feb 16, 2012, 08:26 AM »
J, I think we looked at the differences.  And advantages to Plasma, if they're conducive to your viewing and needs... Blacker blacks.  Better viewing angle.  The native setting of a plasma is black (dark).  The native setting of an LCD/LED is white (bright).  So naturally it's easier for a plasma to go dark, and a LCD/LED to go light.

To each his own.  I can attest that in a room without direct light, that tends toward a natural ambient darkness, the plasma we have is great.  And at the price, it was far and away less costly than a comparable LED/LCD would have run us.

A.C.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #15 on: Feb 16, 2012, 09:24 AM »
There is a significant difference between plasma today and the plasma you were using back in the day.   That being the quality of the phosphorus used to create light.    Our viewing area, even with the blinds open, tends toward darker than lighter.  Part of my concern with LEDs is that they are too bright.  The other issue is LED placement.  Full array sets where LEDs are spread throughout  the back of the panel are very, very expensive.  The more moderately priced sets have LEDs only at the edges and are prone to bleeding light at the point where panel and bezel meet, and it is more pronounced as the screen size increases.  The picture on edge lit LEDs is also not quite as uniform and consistent across the screen.

I now have a new LED monitor as my primary screen (and I like it alot) and the fist thing I had to do was turn down the brightness. 
We'll see.... but thanks for chiming in.

Bill

Bill
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Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #16 on: Feb 16, 2012, 09:53 AM »
I also meant to add that the top 3 brands of plasma sets estimate the half life of their screens is 100,000 hours.  At 10 hours/day that translates to more than 27 years, longer than you would normally want to keep techology.

B-
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #17 on: Feb 17, 2012, 01:36 PM »
I'm sorry I'm late chiming in on this. I had to wait for Ace to leave the room, since we couldn't both fit at the same time.

I'm sorry JA, but I disagree that LED is the only way to go. I would never consider an LED for our theater room, as an LED would be way too bright and uncomfortable for such use. With the current choices, I would only consider a plasma TV.

The first generation or two of plasma TVs did have various issues; burn-in and phosphor lag/burn-out being the biggest. But those issues are resolved and the newer sets should perform fine for many years to come. Yes, they are thicker and suck up more juice than their counterparts. But in dark environments their performance can't be beat. Especially when you consider viewing angles, and most important a plasma's ability to reproduce blacks.

Bill, I understand not wanting to stream... but you may change your mind later. My ISP is upgrading to 10MB and increasing capacity, so that we can take advantage of HD streaming. Netflix and Amazon, and others, have had HD streaming available for some time and the choices are growing rapidly. I suspect the day will come in which DVDs & Blu-Ray are replaced by streaming, just as CDs are falling to MP3 choices.

Scuzzy; HD does not stand for Ace's HeaD.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #18 on: Feb 17, 2012, 02:01 PM »
Well, that's a load of hooey.  As usual, I have to disagree completely with Scuzzy's assessment and instead would recommend you get a Plasma TV, as those are superior in their ability to portray the darker spectrum as well as providing superior viewing angles.  That's what I say.

Well, again.  I don't know about streaming; I still have a VCR connected but no way to feed it an on-air signal, so that really is proving ineffective in taping any TV shows.  It will play tapes, but I somehow didn't get the sound connected to the stereo so it's just through the tv speakers.  I've watched some tv on my computer, but no computer on my tv.  I won't touch MP3's as I actually don't enjoy compressed signals squashed of dynamics.  Heck, if they could make an analog digital disk I'd be all for it.

I still have a box of new floppy disks, too.  I'm not sure why.  When I got rid of my tape deck, I did keep some of my audio tapes.  Same question, and answer.

Ace; if I didn't mention it, I do think plasma does offer some nice qualities and especially if you cut yourself you'd rather have a tv full of that than some light emitting diode blinding you.  Scuzzy is a big diode, in many ways.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #19 on: Feb 17, 2012, 02:29 PM »
I won't touch MP3's as I actually don't enjoy compressed signals squashed of dynamics.

I'm only quoting the above to fully disagree with you.

Look, I never said MP3s are better. They're not, unless you're completely blind and can't hear the difference. But people being fools-in-general, who are pathetic/apathetic and don't know better, opt for convenience over quality... which screws it up for the rest of us. Then we get stuck with the aftermath, which was U.S. History when I was in high school.

Streaming video won't be any different. It may never be superior to Blu-Ray, but people will opt for the convenience... then we get stuck with U.S. History. Of course, I'm among the pathetic since I find streaming as good or better than VHS (but not as good as Beta). When I'm watching old episodes of Have Gun Will Travel, I don't really care.

If streaming ever becomes superior to physical media, then I'll probably be way too old to tell the difference anyway.

Scuzzy; I hope I never catch up to Ace in age. That would be troubling.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #20 on: Feb 17, 2012, 02:40 PM »
I notice that the longest threads happen when we're spending somebody else's money.

Scuzzy; if Ace is incontinent, I'm moving to Africa.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #21 on: Feb 17, 2012, 02:45 PM »
I never said MP3's or MP's in general were better.  Geez Louise, heavy vinyl albums are actually sonically superior than CDs.  Of course, if you can't afford the high end matching equipment and record washing system the hiss and clicks are going to drive you nuts.  Especially at volume, and high fidelity.  And music DVDs go off track when they introduce a necessary video source, and the additional resulting interference.

I may have suggested Scuzzy is bright, in calling him a diode.  I do apologize for that inference, and didn't mean it.

I do remember shopping for albums in the 60's, and having to choose between monaural and stereo.  Even mono has sonic advantages, of a sort.  Especially if forced out of a transistor radio, which my grandfather had hanging from the dash of his Dodge to serve as its radio.

now I can't remember what this poast was in regard of, to end with a proposition.  Next we'll probably argue the merits of plasma flashlights, which allow a darker light and better peripheral vision. 

Ace; if someone comes out with an incandescent TV I'll be glad to look into it.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #22 on: Feb 17, 2012, 03:10 PM »
While vinyl may be sonically superior to AC/DC while eating burgers at SONIC® Drive-In, I can't find a record player that I can retrofit to my car's dash. I just checked Amazon, and I'm telling you nothing is available.

I remember having to choose between 78 RPM vs. 45 RPM vs. 33 RPM vs. cassette vs. 8-Track vs reel-to-reel.

And I'm not going to install a plasma TV in my car, unless I plan to drive it only at night.

Scuzzy; sheesh... I have to explain everything to him.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #23 on: Feb 17, 2012, 03:17 PM »
Try New Egg.  Next you'll probably tell Bill he should consider getting a nice laser disk player, for his new TV.  I'm sure eBay has some decent used ones.

You know, besides reading a book on a screen, I do not get this attraction to watching a movie on a tiny screen... like a tablet or phone.  What do these people do, stand across the street from a theater so they can get a nice narrow angle view? 

Ace; this guy probably has a computer in his car.  Like texting isn't dangerous enough.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #24 on: Feb 17, 2012, 04:09 PM »
Arg,  I remember what the dang poast is about.  We just bought one to be delivered Tuesday 2/21.

Huh?  Oh, yeah, a Panasonic Plasma 55GT31 (30; 31 is BB label.)

Bill
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Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #25 on: Feb 17, 2012, 04:28 PM »
Huh?  Oh, yeah, a Panasonic Plasma 55GT31 (30; 31 is BB label.)

Yeah, they do that so that they don't have to comp the prices.

Congratulations. Or congradulations, as I used to spell it when I was in second grade. I'm glad you didn't take any advice from Ace, otherwise you would have ended up with a plasma transistor radio nailed to your wall.

Scuzzy; now go buy popcorn and a Snuggie blanket.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #26 on: Feb 17, 2012, 04:36 PM »
Hey B, when you get it poast some phoatos.  Just don't put an actual photo on it, and then forget you left it there for a week or so...

Maybe I can cut and paste your TV into Pat's kitchen, and upgrade my own space dramatically.  As long as I pretend. 

If for some reason you don't care for it, blame Scuzzy.  He's the one who told you to go buy a dang plasma in the first place.  And second.  First I thought that model number meant you're getting a 30 or 31" plasma, and I wondered since when could they make them that small...  Could you imagine if they still put tv's in wood cabinets, like they used to?  Criminy, the thing would be as big as Pat's kitchen ones.

Ace; how the heck did I miss that they're making plasma radios now.. shoot.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #27 on: Feb 18, 2012, 12:24 AM »
I have to admit that it was a lot of fun spending somebody else's money.

Scuzzy; we have to do this again soon.

Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #28 on: Feb 18, 2012, 09:10 AM »
Yes, you're right, but next time let's use someone else's money!

Bill; Thanks for all your help.
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Offline pat

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #29 on: Feb 18, 2012, 11:56 AM »
Congrats Bill, I hope it's all you want it to be.
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Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #30 on: Feb 18, 2012, 12:10 PM »
Thanks Pat, so do I!
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Offline Bill

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #31 on: Feb 21, 2012, 11:33 AM »
The beast has arrived and is up and running after a false start with a new but faulty HD cable box.  Cable guys switched to another new one and it worked after some adjustment.  Too new to have done much tweaking but I set the picture mode to THX (one of the reason we bought this model),  changed color temp from warm 2 to warm 1 (less red) increased the Contrast just a bit and turned down the Brightness setting which I learned is really turning down the intensity of the set's Black representation. 

And so far it looks great, sort of like a wall of tv.

Bill

Edit: I forgot to mention the set came with a couple over unexpected goodies: a 3D starter set with 2 pairs of glasses and 3D Avatar and a web cam for Skype.

B
« Last Edit: Feb 21, 2012, 12:49 PM by Bill »
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Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #32 on: Feb 21, 2012, 11:59 AM »
Well, good deal. And a good tv, besides a good deal.
I guess my 42" looks like a wall-sized tv, if I take it into the closet.

Ace; brightness makes blacks less black.  That is so cool.  I bet Darth Vader has a plasma set.

Offline scuzzy

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #33 on: Feb 21, 2012, 12:59 PM »
Well this is really exciting. I hope Ace was sitting on pins and needles, and that he still is for that matter.

If I buy an iPad I might Velcro it to my wall and stream Netflix on it. I'm hoping I can find a 9.7" plasma model.

Scuzzy; I know how to make Ace's eyes really black.

Offline Ace

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Re: TV shopping
« Reply #34 on: Feb 21, 2012, 03:22 PM »
Well, yes, I was but I moved.  I get the point.

Look, let me remind you of that creep in Dirty Harry who got himself beat up just to pin it on Dirty Harry.  Two can play at that game, you know. I could even punch myself repeatedly, and then blame you.

I wonder what Bill is watching on his hot new cool giant TV?  I did an inventory of dvds we've bought, and boy did I find a bunch we've never even watched yet.  If he has one of those on I hope he doesn't say what happened, and ruin it for me.

Ace; Scuzzy tries to ruin lots of things, for me.