Moving to Europe with HDTV? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-30-2013, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I have a Samsung LNT-4061F. I just received a job offer in Europe and will be moving there in the next two months.
I've done some research online, but there are different answers, depending on the website.

- If I use a transformer (110V to 220V) would my HDTV be "safe" from burning out?
- Do HDTVs accept both NTSC and PAL?

I appreciate your help with this. Thank you!
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-30-2013, 12:41 PM
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Most US sets could be made to turn on in Europe with a transformer. A few might even run on 220. But most US TV's will only display video with a 60 HZ frame rate. Europe uses a 50 Hz frame rate. That means even with an outboard receiver (like cable box or Satellite receiver) US TV's will not display the program. They definitely will not receive PAL. This question has been asked here several times and the response is to buy a TV in Europe. The European TVs will work on 50 and 60 Hz frame rates, so are somewhat useful here.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-30-2013, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you John.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-30-2013, 02:43 PM
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I agree with John, my Samsung and Sony LCDs will not display 50Hz although my LG and Lesser known brands(cheaper) will, none would tune PAL(DVB).
Personally I'd try and sell your Samsung and purchase something in Europe which again as John said will generally work here(although probably not tune ATSC/QAM).
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-30-2013, 04:14 PM
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PAL is dead, replaced by DVB-T and it's latest improvement DVB-T2.

Presuming you use a Transformer that is rated at about TWICE the expected load (in Watts or Volt-Amps) to prevent overheating, they will successfully convert voltage levels from about 220-240 VAC to about 115 VAC, but a much more expensive and much lower reliability INVERTER is required to convert 50 Hz to 60 Hz. Without an INVERTER, if you have any cooling fans in your HDTV or other equipment, they will run SLOW by 20-percent, thereby reducing the cooling design. This MAY cause a cooing problem not only in the equipment, but also in the Fan itself.

The biggest problem using US ONLY electronic equipment is the inability of MOST US equipments to accept 25 and 50 Hz frame rate signals on Video, S-Video, Component Video and HDMI Interaces, such as from Euro SAT, OTA (aka DTT), Cable, PAL compatible DVR's bought in Europe and other sources.

If you are moving into US Military Housing, they may provide access to the AFRTS system, which is compatible with US equipment [HD is still a future upgrade].
Otherwise, you should buy a UNIVERSAL HDTV either before you go or when you get there, whichever is more convenient. The built-in DVB-T (and perhaps also DVB-T2) feature will permit trying to receive (and eventually understand) local broadcasts.

A LOT more on this subject can be found in this thread and the referenced thread re similar question for moving to Australia:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/934779/atsc-hdtv-set-use-outside-atsc-areas/30
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 01:52 PM
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Yep - all European sets sold with the "HDTV" or "HD Ready" (and their 1080p variants) EICTA logos ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_ready ) will display 720p and 1080i sources at both 50Hz (the European frame/field rate) and 59.94/60Hz (the North American frame/field rate). (1080p and 23.98/24Hz compatibility is also widespread - but not included in all 4 licensing standards AIUI) This was mandated for lots of reasons - compatibility with games consoles, Blu-ray/HD-DVD players, 525/60 DVD releases etc. in particular.

You can therefore safely buy a European HDTV and be confident that it will work with all US HDMI and Component sources (if you can power it) - and in almost all cases it will be fine with NTSC composite (and if it has S-video inputs those to) sources (every UK TV I've bought since 1993 has been NTSC & 60Hz compatible). (European HDTVs will NOT have ATSC 8VSB or QAM tuners/decoders though - so they won't receive US broadcast TV without a US set-top box external receiver)

HOWEVER - the reverse is definitely NOT the case. Many (but not all) US HDTVs are definitely not capable of accepting 50Hz European sources (whether via HDMI, component or composite inputs) - and it is often quite difficult to find out which do and which don't (as frame rate compatibility is usually not in the specs - just resolution)

I have worked on UK productions in the US that have run at 50Hz (to avoid standards conversion - and much easier with multi-standard HD production kit being the norm), and sourcing in-vision monitors that run at 50Hz is always fun. (I found that the no-name Chinese LCD HDTV in my hotel room locked to 50Hz fine, but known-name brands like Sony wouldn't)

Plus you still have to ensure you can safely power it (European wall socket mains power is 230V/50Hz)

The advice is still - if you need to watch 50Hz sources in Europe you're better off buying a TV in Europe (which may still be useful if you take it back to the US) than shipping a US TV to Europe. The only real caveat is if you are only watching 60Hz sources (usually US Forces TV in Europe, or only watching Blu-rays or US DVDs etc.)
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkFall01 View Post

Hi, I have a Samsung LNT-4061F. I just received a job offer in Europe and will be moving there in the next two months.
I've done some research online, but there are different answers, depending on the website.

- If I use a transformer (110V to 220V) would my HDTV be "safe" from burning out?
You would want a 220V to 110V step-down power solution to convert European 220-240V mains power to US 110V to power a US HDTV in Europe. HDTVs can be quite high current devices - AND most solutions only change the voltage not the frequency - and so you have to be careful here.

However Japanese mains power is both 50 and 60Hz (the country doesn't have a single mains standard surprisingly) at 100-110V - so some Japanese manufacturers' 110V PSUs are fine at both 50 and 60Hz.
Quote:
- Do HDTVs accept both NTSC and PAL?

I appreciate your help with this. Thank you!

There is a relatively easy way of telling whether your TV will lock at 50Hz frame/field rates (Technically PAL and NTSC are obsolete terms - though many still use them as shorthand for 50Hz and 60Hz respectively...) if you have a computer with a modern graphics card with an HDMI output.

If you connect the computer to your TV and go into the graphics driver settings (on both Macs and PCs) and look at the refresh rates offered, if you see a 25 or a 50Hz refresh rate and it works when you switch to it, then that means your HDTV has told your PC that it will accept 50Hz video - and thus should be good for a European source.

If you only see some of the 23/24/29/30/59/60 values - then it is 24/60Hz (and 23.98/59.94Hz) only and almost certainly won't lock to 50Hz sources (sometimes described as 25Hz in interlaced format)

If you are lucky (and experience suggests it's still quite a big if) and your HDTV DOES lock to 50Hz - then HDMI equipped DVB-T/T2 (for OTA terrestrial) set-top boxes and DVRs are widely available, as are DVB-S/S2 satellite receivers and DVB-C cable boxes.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-03-2013, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post


Presuming you use a Transformer that is rated at about TWICE the expected load (in Watts or Volt-Amps) to prevent overheating, they will successfully convert voltage levels from about 220-240 VAC to about 115 VAC, but a much more expensive and much lower reliability INVERTER is required to convert 50 Hz to 60 Hz. Without an INVERTER, if you have any cooling fans in your HDTV or other equipment, they will run SLOW by 20-percent, thereby reducing the cooling design. This MAY cause a cooing problem not only in the equipment, but also in the Fan itself.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/934779/atsc-hdtv-set-use-outside-atsc-areas/30

Most modern TVs since the mid 1990s use a switch mode power supplies. Anything flat panel surely does just to fit it inside. Most switch mode power supplies , (there are some exceptions) will operate from 87 to 264 volts. 87v is the low end for Japan and 264volts is the high because some of Europe is 250 volts. The frequency difference does not matter either as switch mode power supplies run from high voltage DC. As for any fans, these are most certainly DC powered in any modern TV and will run at the proper speed regardless of the line frequency.

Note that a lot of travel converters these days are nothing more than passive plug prong converters. They warn against using on transformer powered devices but think about it - how do you plug in your laptop or cell charger overseas these days? You typically just use a plug adapter or swap out the power cord.

Also where are all these flat panels made? The manufactures are not interested in making specific power supplies for each country. Just make one that works and can be certified in all places. As for scan rates and digital decoding, that's just a different software load. No hardware changes required. However that doesn't mean however that an end user or service shop can make the change.

So in most cases you simply need to cut the plug off your TV and replace wit the local standard. Again of course scan rates and data encoding are a different matter.

BUT STILL ALWAYS VERIFY MULTI VOLTAGE SUPPORT BEFORE PLUGGING ANYTHING IN !

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-03-2013, 03:06 PM
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As always, careful inspection of the specifications in the equipment User Guides will tell you exactly what voltages and voltage frequencies it is compatible with. DON'T EXPERIMENT, HOPING IT WILL WORK WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT.

And BTW, HDTV's designed for the Japanese domestic market may be targeted for 100 VAC 50/60 Hz, but NONE of them support ATSC or DVB-T, since Japan uses their own unique design: ISDB-T. On the other hand, UNIVERSAL HDTV's are intended for a much wider global audience, with a wide range of voltages and both 50/60 Hz operations, so the cooling design with work with either.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-03-2013, 06:05 PM
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Unfortunately with major brands anyway they don't always label them as being multi voltage, even if they are.
Case in point my grey market Panasonic DVDR(purchased in the US). The back says 220-240v 50hz but it is indeed compatible with 120v 60hz.
AFA N. American LCDs being able to display 50hz, while lower cost brands do seem to use generic parts compatible with 50/60hz, major brands like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic to mention a few, either purposely disable 50hz operation for whatever reason or work on such a large scale that they save a few pennies by making their displays only display 30/60hz(and I suppose 24hz). It's also possible major US companies disable 50hz so their customers have to purchase new displays in the off chance their customers move to a 50hz area.....that or to control if consumers try and purchase DVDs/BDs for regions other than the intended market.
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-04-2013, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Unfortunately with major brands anyway they don't always label them as being multi voltage, even if they are.
Case in point my grey market Panasonic DVDR(purchased in the US). The back says 220-240v 50hz but it is indeed compatible with 120v 60hz.
AFA N. American LCDs being able to display 50hz, while lower cost brands do seem to use generic parts compatible with 50/60hz, major brands like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic to mention a few, either purposely disable 50hz operation for whatever reason or work on such a large scale that they save a few pennies by making their displays only display 30/60hz(and I suppose 24hz). It's also possible major US companies disable 50hz so their customers have to purchase new displays in the off chance their customers move to a 50hz area.....that or to control if consumers try and purchase DVDs/BDs for regions other than the intended market.

Yes - that confirms other people's experience.

I guess another issue, when it comes to PSUs, is that if they label a PSU for a single region (say 220-240V/50Hz or 100-110/60Hz) it gives them flexibility to switch from a multi-voltage to a single-voltage model during the life-time of a product (though this is shorter and shorter these days it seems)?

It is incredibly rare to see frame/field-rates mentioned in literature for mainstream displays - they list resolutions supported (1080p, 1080i, 720p etc.) but seldom all image rates (with the exception of mentioning 24p compatibility in some cases)

** EDIT : Having said that, I just looked at Sony's US site and they do list frame rates in the specs. All the flat panels I could see were 24/60Hz only - but the projectors were 24/50/60Hz (but I suspect these are single global models as they don't include tuners)

I think when it comes to Chinese no-brand TVs, they appear to use universal designs compatible with both 50 and 60Hz sources, and only change the digital tuner/demodulator/decoder sections (whether these are separate modules physically or just separate design blocks I don't know)

Interestingly, DVB-T (European, Aus/NZ and parts of Asia) OTA and ISDB-T (Japan and much of South America) multi-standard chipsets are beginning to appear. I've seen quite a few combined DVB/ISDB USB tuners on the market recently. Not massively surprising - they are both based on very similar COFDM techniques.
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