It is finally TV time!

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  • 10-18-2011, 08:10 AM
    Johnny B. Galt
    It is finally TV time!
    OK, over the past year we've picked out tile, stone, fixtures, paint, blinds, and carpet (installed today) while all the while I've had a very good idea of the TV for me in mind. Actually, last year's model and now the one that has replaced it. However, I visited a Big Box retailer yesterday to finalize my selection. I was a little underwhelmed by what I saw- it may have been because the set next to it was much brighter and svelte. I know, bright doesn't necessarily mean better but now there is a seed of doubt planted in my mind in regard to my initial selection.

    I'm interested in recommendations for an under $1200 TV. I know we are six weeks from Black Friday but the loss of any potential discount is just the price of having a month of immediate enjoyment of it. It will be wall mounted with the prime seating area nine feet from the screen. The room is fourteen feet wide so the kids might get to view it off-axis a bit. 3D is not a priority. Ambient and overhead light is not an issue. Will be used for viewing HD sports, blu-ray dvds, standard cable and Roku (so the TVs internet app suite is irrelevant.) I also have Cat6 run to it so WiFi is not desired.

    I'm appreciative of any of your input and will not bother you for help picking out the new sofa! I'll also list my original choice and one that I'm considering after I hear some other alternatives. Thanks!
  • 10-18-2011, 09:23 AM
    Jack in Wilmington
    Well since light isn't an issue, I'd definitely go for a plasma. Since Panasonic has had the top rated plasmas for a couple of years now and being that we have a 50 inch and a 46 inch I'd go for the TC-P50S30 which is going for around $800 online. If you'd like a second choice try a Samsung PN51-D6500 running around $1050 on the net.
  • 10-18-2011, 09:43 AM
    I second the Pany plazma. You can't go wrong with them. I'd try to go 60+ inch if you budget allows.
  • 10-20-2011, 12:36 PM
    Based on the things you listed (light not an issue, plenty of off-axis viewing), I would also look into a plasma set. Samsung also does very well with their plasma performance, although I believe that Panasonics are more reliable. I've had my Panny for three years now, and it has worked great.

    I agree with GM, at 9' you should definitely look into a larger set. I use a 50" set at 8' distance, and that's about as small as I would want to get.

    Costco is currently selling a 1080p 60" Panasonic plasma set for $1,500. Yes, it's out of your price range, but it at least gives you a benchmark.

    Whatever you do, just make sure that you calibrate your set after you buy it (either with a calibration disc or ISF technician). Getting the settings right is crucial (the factory settings for nearly all TVs are way off from reference levels).

    Also, with the Pannys, your best picture quality is with the "Cinema" mode. Most TVs' "Normal" modes are too bright and/or sharp, and exaggerate the HD images. This might be why you've not been impressed so far with the TV demos. For one thing, most stores are running poor quality source signals for their demos. And even if the store takes the time to correctly calibrate the sets (most of them don't), customers can always tinker with the levels or hit the reset button and make the picture crappy all over again.
  • 10-21-2011, 07:46 AM
    Toss another chip in the hat for the plasma flatscreen. Something larger than 50" will do nicely.

    I've owned several Panasonic plasmas over the years, currently have a 42" in the bedroom in addition to the 54" in the main room, but I will let others suggest brands, since I haven't seen any of the recent batches of plasmas currently on the market. (Which is a periphrastic way of saying that I am perfectly content with the Pannys that I own.)

    Lastly, having a seed of doubt while you're at the store is fine. But have confidence that after you've thoroughly done your homework and made an informed purchase, those doubts will be the furthest thing from your mind once you get the TV home and set up properly. Watching your favorite sports team in HD or a blu ray movie on a large flatscreen will leave you as giddy as a little school girl.
  • 10-21-2011, 11:09 AM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I agree with the other on Plasma. At 9ft distance, you should be looking into 55 to 60 inch set.
  • 10-23-2011, 03:22 AM
    Get the plasma, definitely. You'll appreciate the bigger set. Avoid the LG.
  • 10-23-2011, 02:35 PM
    There's a significant price jump from a 50" to a 55" but it's worth it. I recently bought a Panasonic Plasma 55ST from Amazon and couldn't be happier. My friend has a 46" and after seeing mine he's hot for a larger screen. The only draw back with a large plasma is their weight. Mine must weigh close to 100lbs. Sam's Club has a great stand on sale for $150 and you'll need one as you don't want to wall mount anything this heavy. The Sam's Club stand accepts my 55", a center speaker and all my HT gear. It also meets WAF.
  • 10-28-2011, 04:03 AM
    I won't suggest plasma or LCD, instead I'll just mention my experiences.

    Plasma -
    The very best Plasma TV's and the very best LCD/LED are equal in picture quality, except the off angle viewing on the Plasma is better. The lower priced plasma's are not nearly as good as the lower priced LCD's and look washed out compared to the LCD.

    Plasma's still have a burn risk if used improperly. They also use more power as compared to a LCD.

    LCD -
    If ambient light was an issue, then LCD is better. They use less power and burn is not an issue.

    Personal experiences...

    I was in Best Buy's Magnolia Theater where they display the best TV's they carry. Of the very best pictures, there was a mixture of plasma and LED/LCD. I couldn't tell them apart except when viewing off angle. When viewing off angle the picture of the LED/LCD's began looking a little washed out, the degree depending on how far off angle I was. This may or may not be an issue depending how far off angle you are.

    I have 3 TV's, all LCD, and off angle viewing is different for each of them. My older TV's off angle viewing is the best and the picture looks good from almost any angle. My LED/LCD has the worst off angle viewing, but for my setup, it's not an issue.

    When I walk into a store and I see a wall of TV's from a distance, it's easy to pick out the plasma's, they all look washed out. Even when I walk into a persons home, I can generally tell if their TV is plasma for the same reason. They remind me of LCD's in their earlier years of development. Keep in mind, that in these cases, that these plasma TV's are not top of the line.

    Something else to consider is heat. If your room is small, a plasma will heat the room more quickly than an LED/LCD. In a larger room, this isn't an issue.

    A number of people have seen my older TV (cable guy, DSL/phone guy, and others) and they all said it was one of the best pictures they've seen and thought it was a plasma. I also have a friend that has a plasma and he likes his better. To be fair, my TV was new at the time and I had not adjusted it yet. I would never put my TV up against a top of the line plasma or LED/LCD.

    The point is that both plasma's and Led TV's can have a good picture (depending on the model). For plasma, the best I have seen is the top of the line Pioneer and Panasonic. For LCD, Samsung and Sony sets are the best I've seen. (This is from my experience!)

    To be totally honest, my older LCD TV black levels are not up par with some of the better sets, but since I never watch TV in the dark, it's a non issue.

    My suggest to you is to buy whatever technology looks best to you in the conditions in which it will be used.

    If off angle viewing were an issue and money wasn't, I would buy the top of the line plasma. This is true only if I used it for occasional movie viewing. For everyday viewing in varying light conditions, I would buy a LCD.

    If off angle viewing was not an issue then I would buy a LED/LCD
    TV and be done with it.

    I would never buy a lower cost plasma in any case.

    Well, that's my 2 cents and it's only from personal experience.
  • 10-31-2011, 12:43 PM
    i'm not sure why everybody is saying plasma. i have a lcd samsung and love.