Best Plasma or LED at < $1000 @ 46-50"? Internet ready/Smart TV? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-25-2012, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been hemming and hawing about getting a new TV for a long time. Now I have saved up about $1000 for a new TV, and hell, it's my 40th birthday in a couple weeks so why not. It's replacing an 8 year old 32" CRT HDTV that has all sorts of color problems, clearly 4:3 fade since outside that it's much brighter now that I view a lot more 16:9 content than I did 3-8 years ago when I first got it. I respect the advice of users here, as I have lurked here time and again.

One thing that I'm unsure about is about internet connectivity. Some say "Smart TV" some say "Internet ready" but what exactly does that mean? I watch Amazon video on demand/Unbox video and Netflix mainly for my kids, but I also have an HTPC connected to my home server to stream movies. I also watch football and hockey. If the TV can stream movies from my home server and Amazon and Netflix then I guess I'd like that built in just to eliminate the need for my HTPC. But if not, then there's no point in getting it I suppose. Unless there's other benefits of "Smart TV" that I'm not aware of.

So to summarize my primary uses would be:

- Amazon Unbox / Video On Demand
- Netflix video
- HD Movies (streaming or blu-ray)
- Football and Hockey
- Xbox 360 and Wii gaming
- occasional general TV viewing

Stuff I know/want:
- Prefer to stay less than $1000. I know I'll have to buy a wall mount and a new side stand to hold cable box, HTPC, Blu-ray, Xbox, Wii, but that won't be part of the $1000.
- 46 to 50 inch preferred. The TV will be in my living room above my fireplace, and 46-50" would be perfect, as it's about the size of the mirror above it that it would replace.
- I don't care about 3D, just a high quality image
- I have wired ethernet, but wi-fi would be nice
- minimum 3 HDMI, 4 preferred
- decent TV speakers. I'm sure whatever I get will be better than the crappy ones in my TV now. Have no intention of setting up a speaker system.
- Living room where TV will be has a big window, but there's rarely enough sunlight coming into that room except a few hours a day, usually wish there was more light

I have seen plasma and LED side by side and can definitely see the difference in brightness. But not sure if it would matter much once it's in my room. LED would be nice because they are not as hot, heavy, and are light on power use. Not sure how ice hockey would fare on plasma though, I've heard of issues with all the white.

LG and Samsung have been on my radar, but I can't figure out the best options that fit.

I appreciate your input!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-26-2012, 12:25 PM
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I would lean towards plasma nearly 10 times out of 10 if ambient light is a non factor for you, which it sounds like it virtually is. I personally own the PZ950, an LG plasma from last year, and all I do is occasional XBox, watch BD's and football, basketball and hockey. All of which look great to me, no problems with the whites during hockey, and excellent response time for all of the rest. I've watched hockey/football on various LED/LCD's and personally cannot stand the ghosting, may seem small but was incredibly prevalent to me. A friend of mine recently purchased the 51E550 Sammy PDP and had it calibrated and it performs pretty damn well for the price tag, he picked up a 51" for $849. That particular model does have on-board wifi, 3D and a full web browser. The comparable LG would 50PM6700 model, the one thing I do like about the LG's, my set included is the full Color Management System, or CMS which is incorporated, so if you're going to calibrate or having some out to do it professionally that is pretty cool. I do know however that LG plasmas are pretty notorious for not having nearly as good of black levels as comparable Samsung's and Panasonic's. I assume there is a reason you didn't mention Panasonic as a brand you're considering so i'll leave them out, though I would have to say they probably outperform the comparable Samsung and LG models. (However the ST50 model is a little above your budget @ $1099, yet the UT50 is within your budget @ 899 and is the straight across comparison for the Samsung E550 model. Although the UT50 does lack the same in-depth user adjustable menu that both the ST50 from Panasonic, the E550 from Samsung & PM6700 from LG have, and the UT50 does not have on-board wi-fi. I would recommend reading some professional reviews on the sets and see what you think.
Good luck! biggrin.gif

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-26-2012, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the response. The one thing that I've started reading is input lag, which I thought was non-existent on plasma, but it seems to be prevalent especially on LG models for some reason, and even setting to "Game" or "PC" mode hasn't seemed to help many people. I don't plan on playing games much on it, but I will play and since I will likely keep it for a good 7-8 years I'm sure as my boys get older (only 3 and 4 now) they'll get into video games too.

I hadn't really discounted the Panny's only that Samsung and LG seemed to offer best bang for the buck. But I will look at the 51E550 again.

Another thing that I find is unless you go with more features you don't get as many HDMI ports which doesn't make sense to me. If I get a bare bones TV I'm going to want MORE inputs to make up for what's not included. But whatever, I digress.

One thing that made me nervous about the 51E550 is this review at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-PN51E550-51-Inch-1080p-Plasma/product-reviews/B007BG47IW/ref=cm_cr_dp_text?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0#R3UBJPQ0V69IV8

Primarily this:

"1. This I already mentioned in an update here or the original review - Brightness pops when watching hockey. I could not take it anymore, the screen was starting to quickly flash every time there was action. I noticed this a little for Basketball but very noticeable in Hockey. The brightness would automatically dim or return to bright levels randomly.
2. Fade to black problems when watching Blu Ray movies, the screen on the set will start to flash on and off. I ran into this problem when watching Thor and Super8.
3. Buzzing sound started at a certain level and distance, close up you can't hear a thing but at a distance, the noise is noticeable.
4. Not much of a difference when turning Cinema Smooth feature on when watching Blu-Ray movies - I watched Movies from Action to Pixar flicks and didn't notice any change.
"

I do like to watch hockey (although with NHL on strike not much for a while it seems) and the fade to black problems. However I always find there's fixes for these things somehow.

And the glossy screen scares me too. I don't now why they don't make that an option to have glossy or matte.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-26-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, the LG 50" PA6500 is only $650. But it's glossy. Wonder if I should bite the bullet with that. Otherwise it looks like I'm going to have to go about $1100 with Panasonic ST50 or LG PM6700. Gah!
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-27-2012, 11:01 AM
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I was going back and forth between ST & UT Panasonics. I finally decided on the P55UT50. I had a 51" RPCRT for 8 years and it had a glass front so I have been used to glare (or moderate lighting). I was originally concerned about purchasing plasma without a glare filter and considered LED. I finally realized I wanted plasma so then the decision was ST or UT. For me, the UT picture & colors looked sharper than the ST. Maybe it was just mental because I knew the ST had a filter but I purchased the UT and am very happy at this point..
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-27-2012, 11:31 AM
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One thing to consider when buying a new TV is to NOT pay for too many extra features packed into the set. In particular, internet streaming/Smart TV functionality. Unless you want this to be a total fire & forget, one stop shopping purchase, you are probably better served by getting a TV that you only use as a video display device. Internet streaming services and technology are evolving rapidly, and pushing that functionality off onto a PS3/Xbox360/Roku or a new Blueray Disk player makes for easier upgrades without having to change out your TV. Today's TV's have upgradable firmware via the internet, but there is still a limit to what this can accomplish, and it could be a PITA if this subsystem fails in the TV set.

Likewise I am a fan of outsourcing the audio to a separate home theater system, and not paying a premium for sound in the set. You don't have to pay a fortune to get a home theater setup that will fill a small to medium room with great sound, and you can add to that system incrementally as you wish. Want a bigger sub or a more detailed center channel? Want more amplification? All no problem with a separate component system. The higher quality sound and the room tuning you can get with a receiver that has Odyssey automated speaker calibration will lead to a more immersive experience. You don't have to buy all of this at once.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-27-2012, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help guys. I went with a Panasonic LED TC-L47E50. Seemed best combination of features for the price. My issue was the sets without all the extra stuff, which I'm fine with, just want a good quality screen, were also limited on inputs and most had glare screens which I just do not want.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-28-2012, 06:10 PM
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Are you happy with that LED???

C-Net wasn't thrilled with it
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-28-2012, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikewarrior View Post

Are you happy with that LED???
C-Net wasn't thrilled with it

No kidding... I wish I had caught this thread earlier as I can't believe that was the outcome after reaching out to the AVS community - how did that happen? I'm not taking a stance on LED or Plasma, just more curious how that LED out of all options was ultimately the one chosen. Though I guess if that's where he was steered with this thread, so be it but seemed kind of out of left field to me too.
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