Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

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Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:54 pm

I'm in the market for a new TV. I'm not after the best picture quality for perfect conditions here. I want a TV with a nice picture that'll reliably work. I'm looking in the 32"-40" range, and would like to stay around $400. That's possible on sales. But what company do I look for? Samsung? Sony? Westinghouse? Just looking for some direction here before I go buy somethin'. Thanks fellas!

EDIT: Suppose I should say I'm lokoing at regular LCD panels. As I said, nothing fancy, just functional.
Last edited by FireGryphon on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:02 pm

For $400, you'll probably have to stick with lower-end models, regardless of brand. Suggestions: I picked up a 37" LG 60Hz LCD over Christmas from NewEgg for $350 and the picture quality is great. Speakers are pretty good, too. Earlier in the fall, a friend purchased a 40" Toshiba 60Hz LCD on Amazon for $400, and it too was excellent for the money.

The general consensus is that Samsung currently makes the best LCD TVs, while Panasonic currently makes the best plasma TVs. But, for $400, I'd be happy with any 1080p 40" unit made by Sony, Toshiba, LG, or perhaps Westinghouse or Vizio. I'd stay away from brands such a Dynex and Slyvania.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:13 pm

I bought an LG over black friday and have been very impressed. They would get my vote for your needs. However, I would say shoot for a 42". That is right before the price shoots up.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:29 pm

If you can, look for a model that's 120Hz instead of just 60Hz; the difference in motion-blur is noticeable when you're watching certain things. I've got a Vizio that I picked up Black Friday 2010, and even though we're fairly happy with it, I notice a difference in quality when looking at friends/relatives' TVs where they either have >1080p resolution or >60Hz framerate (or whatever the heck they call it in the marketing jargon).

That's not to Vizios aren't good -- they are! In fact I know several people who are very happy with them. I just happened to get one of the budget/low-end models.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:12 pm

120 Hz panels (Sony's sets with this refresh rate are oh-so-cleverly labeled as having "Motionflow 240") also do a better job with 24p blu-ray movies than 60 Hz panels do. You can completely eliminate the annoying telecine judder problem and watch your movie with sharp individual frames at the rate that it was filmed for. :D
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:33 am

120hz is a gimmick most of the time that either involves frame duplication (which gets you very little) or frame interpolation (which gets you an unnaturally smooth picture). It's simply not necessary or even desirable in most cases, and should not be a dealbreaker. It's hype, folks, in the oldest "more must equal better tradition."
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:51 am

Many "120/240/480hz" TVs still only take 60hz inputs, and do not help with 24p judder at all. Many cheaper/older blu-ray players do not output 120hz either.

A few models support it properly, but you had better research it carefully.

At $400, I believe it is still possible to get an IPS around 40-42", although it is a panel lottery that often requires checking the serial number/specific part id, model # alone may not be enough. That is what I would shoot for: don't waste time trying to get crappy upsell features (3D, wifi, extra hz, streaming etc) just get the best screen possible.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:10 am

Seriously, head to Sam's Club or Costco and get the best 40-42" TV you can find for your budget. Newegg/Amazon aside, those places have the best TV prices and selection for your budget. While $400 may be a little low, you can get a decent 42" Vizio for that price, I think.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:22 am

FireGryphon wrote:I'm in the market for a new TV. I'm not after the best picture quality for perfect conditions here. I want a TV with a nice picture that'll reliably work. I'm looking in the 32"-40" range, and would like to stay around $400. That's possible on sales. But what company do I look for? Samsung? Sony? Westinghouse? Just looking for some direction here before I go buy somethin'. Thanks fellas!

EDIT: Suppose I should say I'm lokoing at regular LCD panels. As I said, nothing fancy, just functional.



1. Even though Plasma is not the "cool" thing to have any more, there are still some nice Plasmas out there that you might want to look at (prices are reasonable too). On the plasma side, I have a Panasonic S-1 54" that is extremely nice. I don't know if Panasonic's LCDs are as good, but if they have the same quality as my TV I would recommend them as a brand to look at.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:04 pm

I doubt he will see a plasma TV at $400. Plasmas are seldom smaller than 42" and they are still north of $500.

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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:45 am

After the great Samsung debacle with poor caps (See: viewtopic.php?f=37&t=62360) I have completely sworn off that brand. I dont care how good the LEDs look if it says Samsung on it.....eff them.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:28 pm

It really depends on how much tweaking you are willing to do to get the best picture quality out of your TV set.

Samsung is known for making televisions that are less than optimal at their default settings - for example, extreme over-saturation of colours and over-emphasized deep black levels that cause significant loss of fine detail. Samsung TVs can be tweaked to death, though. You can go to avsforums to find optimal settings for many different Samsung models.

If you prefer to pick a TV that's good to go out of the box, my personal recommendation would be for either a Sony or a Toshiba set. Both of these manufacturers make well-rounded TVs, with Sony having a slight advantage in picture quality. Sony default settings tend to over-saturate colours a bit, but not to the Samsung extreme. Toshiba sets keep "enhancements" to a minimum in their default state. LG is similar to Toshiba in this regard, but in the past I found their picture quality to be inferior to both Toshiba and Sony.

The arguments for and against 120Hz or higher TV sets are numerous; I'd rather not go into it. Some people like the creamy smoothness of interpolated 120Hz; I personally don't and have interpolation switched off on our TV for external devices. One advantage of 120+Hz TVs, as has been mentioned, is that they can faithfully reproduce 24Hz film material without the juddering caused by 2:3 pull-down. Some of the 120+Hz TV sets offer so-called 5:5 or film mode options where they repeat each frame of a 24Hz source 5 times, rather than interpolating, giving you a more "authentic" film look.

It should be mentioned in relation to the 120Hz vs 60Hz issue that some 60Hz TV sets also offer true 24Hz support. They typically achieve this by dropping the panel refresh rate to 48Hz and showing each frame twice.

With your budget, I think "smart" TVs are out of the question, so I'll skip that topic. USB playback features might be present, though. Samsung offers very good support for various video/audio formats and subtitles. Have a look at their manuals on the Samsung website. LG is close second. Japanese brands like Sony and Toshiba offer limited support, usually only for "industry" formats like AVC-HD and MPEG-2. MKV may be out of the question, as is subtitle support. I would not trust Vizio with USB. A Vizio TV set I used for a while was supposed to offer media playback via a future firmware update. One year after purchase the firmware update was still missing in action.

Anyway, my vote goes for Toshiba, closely followed by Sony. If you're not afraid of tweaking and want extra USB functionality then go for Samsung. It goes without saying that you should have a look at the TV in action before you buy.

P.S. Be aware that Samsung has an ongoing quality control issue with power supplies failing in their TVs.
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Re: Getting a new TV, what brand to look at?

Postposted on Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:01 am

If you're not in a major rush, AND you don't mind open box, AND you're in an area with a few Sears - I would suggest scouting Searsoutlet.com for a bit. Last year I was able to pick up a 55" Samsung 3D LED (UN55C7000) for $855.99 out the door (all taxes, etc). The only catch is that I had to drive ~40 miles to pick it up from the Sears that was selling it. Now I think I probably got a little lucky to find one that cheap, and I know you're not looking for a TV that big, or that expensive; but they still have similarly good deals on smaller less expensive sets too.

And your timing is right, since it's March/April that they are phasing out the previous model year (2011's) and shipping the new ones (2012's).

The biggest catch is if you mind buying open box - then this definitely isn't for you. But if you're diligent, it can be great savings. Just make sure you call the Sears before buying it on the site. Call and ask to speak with someone about the TV. Explain you found it on Sears Outlet.com, and it's from their store (they usually know what you're talking about). Then just make sure there are no scratches, scuffs, etc - and verify all accessories are with it (power cord, remote, base/stand). Mind didn't come with a remote or stand (probably another reason it was so cheap) - but I didn't care since I was using the Harmony and wall mounting it anyway. Mine also came with a 15-month Samsung manufacturer's warranty (I registered it to verify that), plus another year after that through my CC. A lot of the ones at Sears are just floor models they are liquidating, but some are returns.

Also, you may want to check out Sams Club or Costco as a few others have mentioned. I think they have open box sections there too (although, those may go to their auction sites now; at least for Sams). Who knows. Anyway, good luck.
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