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  1. #1
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    Help a first-time TV buyer

    So my TV is about to die and I've never bought any TV before let alone a modern one. I'm not exactly sure what to look for, which brands to trust, what a good price is, etc. I'm hoping I can just list my needs and criteria here and you guys can guide me in the right direction.

    I'm setting a price cap at $80o and my needs are as follow(forgive me if some are obvious):
    Widescreen, flat
    40-inches min
    good for HD gaming and movies
    still good for SD TV as I don't have HD cable right now

    Nothing crazy.The size is debatable since my living area is fairly small right now and I'm only going to be like 6.5ft from the screen so feel free to tell me I'm nuts and I'll go blind with a 40-inch if that's the case.

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  3. #3
    jponry
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    My only suggestion to you is to buy a name brand TV. Don't stray off and buy some Westinghouse, Hundai, chinabrand TV because you're saving $100. All the HDTVs I use are all Sony Bravias. It's just a personal preference and I think they are the best performing.

    Go to Best Buy, look at all the TVs, decide which one you want (style, maker, model), go online, buy it for substantially cheaper. Once you see the TVs in person, since you mentioned this is your first modern TV purchase, you will see the difference between the shitter brands and name brands.

  4. #4
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    First, keep in mind that new models announced at CES are just starting to trickle out - or may be coming in the next few months. Could mean getting a good deal on last year's model, or it could mean you'd be better off waiting for one of the new ones.

    As you may well be aware, you have a couple major technologies to choose from: Plasma or LCD.

    With plasma, the individual pixel elements actually produce their own light. With LCD, you have a couple major backlight methods (CCFL and LED), with variations on them.

    Generally speaking, many A/V enthusiasts prefer plasma. The technology tends to produce more accurate color, does better with motion, and has wider viewing angles.

    The flip side is that they tend to not be as bright, are still subject to burn-in (though permanent/long term is rare now), use more power, produce more heat, and so on. Some individuals also can be more sensitive to possible issues with them that others don't see, such as phosphor trailing or strobing.
    Technically you're also not supposed to transport them flat, they're heavier, etc.

    LCDs have become the more prolific technology to be sure. They're brighter, yet more power efficient. Much less susceptible to things like burn in. The technology doesn't do as well with motion - hence the 120hz, 240hz, etc that give the soap opera look (good for sports, not much else). Optimal viewing angles are narrower - though if you've got like, a single couch, that's unlikely to be a problem.
    Colors are often too harsh, blacks not deep enough, etc. It depends on how picky you are with that sort of thing though. Frankly, many consumers tend to like the bright/intense look of a badly calibrated LCD. In fairness, newer technologies with LCD are getting better - locally dimming LED backlights for example.

    Most often, an LCD will be recommended if your viewing area is brightly lit. Possibly if you will be using it a lot as a PC monitor as well.

    I mention that divide early on, since if you decide that you definitely want on technology over the other, that narrows things down a fair bit off the bat. If you want a plasma, only a handful of manufacturers are currently producing them.


    The next thing to look at, as a gamer, is which product lines have low input lag. This can vary year by year, even for a given manufacturer. The general issue is that when you feed a video signal to a TV, which it then runs filters on, maybe upscales, and so on, that can delay it by a fraction of a second. If you're playing something like a turn based RPG, that's no big deal, and probably not even something you'd notice. If you're playing a fighting game, where you've got a window of 5 frames of animation to time something, having the picture lag behind is a big friggin' deal.
    Some games, such as Guitar Hero, actually have calibration to compensate for this. Many TVs also have a "Game Mode" that disables most/all processing to minimize lag. It's also something that'll hit playing older consoles more, since if the picture is already 1080p, the TV doesn't have to upscale it to fit the screen.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/ would be a good place to look/ask about that. Professional reviews may also measure/note lag.

    Usually, there will be a brand or three per product cycle that will stand out for lag, and at least one or two that should be avoided due to it. For example, if I recall correctly, many of last year's Samsung products had relatively high lag - several years ago though, they were the ones to buy if you were concerned about it.


    Between those two considerations, and your price range, you should be able to narrow things dow to a few models.

  5. #5
    Failed Sex Ed
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    goddamn what a post


    FWIW, I have a calibrated plasma, and I sometimes regret it because I cannot play games with static huds for long periods of time(think ffxi, cod, games you play for months at a minimum). For movies and TV though, it's fucking awesome and I got 60" for a lot cheaper than an LCD with comparable picture quality would run me.

  6. #6
    Pandemonium
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    I am a big fan of the Samsung Plasma TVs. They look amazing. It's mostly personal preference, but I think it's a really solid brand. Here's a 720p 3D ready 50" plasma for $800: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-401-_-Product

    It's resolution is pretty low and it's only 720p, but to the untrained eye you probably won't be able to tell the difference and it -should- look better in SD than one with a larger native resolution.

  7. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by Isiolia View Post
    They're (LCD's) brighter, yet more power efficient. Much less susceptible to things like burn in. The technology doesn't do as well with motion - hence the 120hz, 240hz, etc that give the soap opera look (good for sports, not much else).
    Sorry, but this is very incorrect. 120hz is always active because it's the refresh rate of the screen and cannot be changed (on any I've seen). The "soap opera effect" comes from motion interpolation (called Auto Motion Plus on Samsungs) which adds frames to the picture to create a smoother effect (if you've ever watched a CG pixar/Animated movie with interpolation all the way up you'd realize just how useful it can be outside of sports; but to each their own). I find it very useful, but have to enable/disable on a case-by-case basis because frankly some things just look too "Soap Opera". For instance I f'ing love watching Top Gear with it cranked all the way up. I feel like I'm sitting beside the track watching the Stig drive.

    The refresh rate will be active regardless of AMP's status, and will provide a better picture during motion with no strange side effects, much like a plasma would (I don't mean same speed; I mean less motion blur with no side-effects such as SOE).

    Edit: Also, if you get a good LCD viewing angles are basically as high as they can go (almost 180 degrees), and have relatively little contrast loss.

    Before you decide on any TV google the shit out of it, and read every professional review you can on it first, then read up on forums with peoples experiences. Also, picture quality is not your only concern I would think (unless you are rich). Reliability of the product is usually pretty high on the list as well, and a good picture doesn't mean it doesn't break often. Lastly, keep in mind a 720p tv won't be able to watch 1080p blu-ray if that is a main selling point for you, but as Cephius said make watching SD somewhat better. Personally, I would aim for the future rather than the past since SD is slowly being phased.

  8. #8
    Relic Horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cephius View Post
    I am a big fan of the Samsung Plasma TVs. They look amazing. It's mostly personal preference, but I think it's a really solid brand. Here's a 720p 3D ready 50" plasma for $800: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-401-_-Product

    It's resolution is pretty low and it's only 720p, but to the untrained eye you probably won't be able to tell the difference and it -should- look better in SD than one with a larger native resolution.
    I have the non 3D version of this TV and it's amazing. Can't vouch enough for Samsung plasmas, I use them for gaming (MvC3, other fighting games, amongst other games) and the current gen doesn't have any issues with noticeable input lag.

    For reference sake I've got a PN50C450, love the TV to death, though there have been some reports of faint buzzing noises with the model.

  9. #9
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    I've yet to see a 120hz tv that eliminates ghosting to my eyes without the motion interpolation enabled. Sadly I am also sensitive to phosphor trails....... Where is my SED TV

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
    I've yet to see a 120hz tv that eliminates ghosting to my eyes without the motion interpolation enabled. Sadly I am also sensitive to phosphor trails....... Where is my SED TV
    I forget the name of both settings and not near my TV atm, but on good TV's you have the option of increasing the values individually so you can leave off the judder reduction (pretty sure that's what the interpolation is labeled as in the menu) which is what makes it look cheesy and have the rest up for a clearer picture (this is pretty much what the lower settings like Clear on Samsungs does). I frequently do this if I don't want the chessy look, but want the picture cleared up some.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GentaiShinigami View Post
    I forget the name of both settings and not near my TV atm, but on good TV's you have the option of increasing the values individually so you can leave off the judder reduction (pretty sure that's what the interpolation is labeled as in the menu) which is what makes it look cheesy and have the rest up for a clearer picture (this is pretty much what the lower settings like Clear on Samsungs does). I frequently do this if I don't want the chessy look, but want the picture cleared up some.
    Do you have a UN55B8500?

  12. #12

    Quote Originally Posted by shaddix View Post
    Do you have a UN55B8500?
    Samsung LN46C630 (LCD non-LED TV)

  13. #13
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    Sorry, but this is very incorrect. 120hz is always active because it's the refresh rate of the screen and cannot be changed (on any I've seen).
    On a purely technical level, you're completely right. I stated it badly. A true 120Hz panel is refreshed twice as often as a 60Hz one, which is certainly a technical advantage.

    The catch is more what the TV uses that extra capability for. Few sources are actually 120hz, much less 240hz. Many are lower than 60Hz. The advantage - in theory - of a higher refresh rate TV is that you can evenly multiply more framerates into it. For example, motion may not be smooth when viewing a 24fps film on a 60Hz TV because of 3:2 pulldown - some frames are repeated more than others, which causes judder in fast moving scenes. A 120Hz TV is capable of improving the situation by using 5:5 pulldown, but while it's almost a given now, it hasn't always been. Plenty of sets simply doubled the 3:2 output to feed the panel a 120Hz signal if you weren't using motion compensation, so in that sense, were "120Hz" for the TV, since otherwise it would be nearly the same as a 60Hz set. Admittedly, a fair bit of my impression of the technology came from that, which is again much less common now.

    've yet to see a 120hz tv that eliminates ghosting to my eyes without the motion interpolation enabled.
    "Ghosting" is caused by poor response times, not so much framerate being pumped into the panel. Are you maybe experiencing some other visual issue?

  14. #14

    Maybe he means motion blur? AMP pretty much destroys any trace of it especially with things like scrolling text on a black background (the little side-by-side demo shows that part quite clearly).

    Edit:
    Also, just wanted to say since having moved up to the 1080p 120hz LCD in December from a shitty rear-projection 54" TV that it really is mind blowing lol. The TV supports proper handling of 1080p24hz (a LOT of TV's that are even 120hz won't, I checked mine on AVS Forums and on a couple of other places) and to watch a Blu-Ray set to that in the dark with the wife is truly a blast. Auto motion should be off obviously to see it properly in 24hz though.

    To make matters worse (better now?) the TV I was on prior had a failing convergence circuit so there was a blue/red/green misalignment full-time. Like text was unreadable (on top of the pains SD TV's suffer with modern HD games text) because it had green pushed to one side and the red pushed to the other like messed up shadows.

  15. #15
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    Blur/ghosting, whatever you want to call it. The pixel cannot change fast enough and so motion resolution is compromised. Some TVs like the UN55B8500 separate the blur and judder settings so you can rectify that issue without getting soap-opera effect.

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