Budget upgrade now or not: Please help an undecided Plasma TV lover out! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-09-2014, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Budget upgrade now or not: Please help an undecided Plasma TV lover out!

Hi folks,

I've owned a very budget, Panasonic TC-P42C1 Plasma TV for the past 4 years and it is still in great shape. It was initially bought for a great price when I was in grad school and has served me well so far. I've always meant to upgrade to a larger TV now that my wife and I bought a house but I haven't been in any hurry to do so.

However, the recent announcement of Samsung shutting down their Plasma TV product line has really alarmed me. I always imagined myself buying a higher end Panasonic Plasma TV a few years down the road but with Panasonic also getting out of the Plasma TV game, alarm bells are ringing and I figure that I really need to think hard about whether I want to go ahead with a Plasma TV purchase right now.

The tradeoff with purchasing now is that I am the proud dad of 6 month old twins who are costing me an arm and a leg with daycare so my budget is low at the moment ~ $800, which isn't much. If I hold off another year or two, it could go up to 2X that ~ $1600, but in 2 years time, there definitely won't be a good Plasma TV out there to purchase.

My requirements for a TV are:

1) 55-60" size
2) Wide viewing angles - This is very important as the layout of my living area is such that one couch is placed at ~45-50 degree off center to the TV and I'm pretty sure most budget LED TVs are going to look quite washed out compared to Plasma TVs (my TC-P42C1 looks fantastic at that viewing angle)
3) No soap opera effect or at least a way to turn it off
4) Backlight uniformity is a MUST if going the LED/LCD TV route
5) Reasonably good black levels...at least better than my current Panny plasma
6) Ability to calibrate to reasonably good settings and with reasonably accurate color representation for minor photoshop/lightroom editing
7) Reduced screen glare - I'd prefer this, but my current Panny has no anti reflection filter/coating and is quite glossy and I can make do with it. Don't love it when the sun is streaming in the room, but I can tolerate this if necessary.

Things I don't care for:
1) Smart apps, Wifi, or any other bells and whistles - I have this hooked up to my mini-HTPC that is on 24x7 and I will watch everything on my TV via my HTPC
2) Slimness of TV.
3) 4K resolution

Given my requirements and my lowish budget - You can see why I am leaning towards Plasma TVs.

As it stands, I can purchase a Samsung PN60F5300 (Plasma) for under $800. This seems tempting and will be a decent step up in PQ from my current Panny from what I can tell. Glare situation will probably remain unchanged. Is there any other Plasma TV I should consider for a current purchase that is <$800?

If I choose not to purchase a Plasma TV now, I have a budget of $1600 at my disposal in a couple of years. However, my concern is that the LED TVs with good PQ and viewing angles will be priced out of my reach and I would have to settle for an LED TV with worse PQ than the PN60F5300 Plasma TV. It seems like manufacturers place far more emphasis on stuff I don't care about at the expense of PQ at the lower price point. I can't stand the backlight non-uniformity of most edge-lit LED TVs and I'm worried that will be what I will end up stuck with. That being said, I am not well versed with progress in LED TVs in the last 4-5 years and I'm open to suggestions on whether I could attain Plasma like PQ and viewing angles with an LED TV for ~$1600 in a couple of years.

Given this giant wall of text (for which I apologize), I would really really appreciate suggestions on what I should do. I'm worried that I will be kicking myself for not grabbing a 60" Plasma TV while I had the chance...but I'm not sure if that is the right thing to do given that I have no pressing need to upgrade yet and that I could have a $1600 budget in a couple of years if I don't upgrade now.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-09-2014, 11:18 PM
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I'm not an expert on this segment of the market -- at all. But because you asked nicely in a PM, I'll say that you are suggesting a reasonable alternative. One other possibility is a 2014 Vizio M Series LCD, which I guess is slightly beyond your budget ($1150 for a 60 inch)... I suspect that model will continue to improve such that it will be an even better choice in 2 years than it is now.

Of course, if you are happy with an $800 Samsung plasma today, it could easily given you 4-5 good years. At that point, the $800 you don't spend in 2 years might be another $1200 by then... And that $1200 could buy you a really nice replacement.

I'd take a long hard look at today's option and see if you think it will make you happy.

There is no difference in HDMI cables. If you can see the picture without visible dropouts or sparklies, the cable is working at 100%. No other cable will display a better version of that picture. You're simply wrong if you think there is a better digital cable than one that is already working.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rogo View Post
I'm not an expert on this segment of the market -- at all. But because you asked nicely in a PM, I'll say that you are suggesting a reasonable alternative. One other possibility is a 2014 Vizio M Series LCD, which I guess is slightly beyond your budget ($1150 for a 60 inch)... I suspect that model will continue to improve such that it will be an even better choice in 2 years than it is now.

Of course, if you are happy with an $800 Samsung plasma today, it could easily given you 4-5 good years. At that point, the $800 you don't spend in 2 years might be another $1200 by then... And that $1200 could buy you a really nice replacement.

I'd take a long hard look at today's option and see if you think it will make you happy.
Thanks for the reply rogo, I really appreciate it! Do you think that an LCD TV costing ~ $1600 will be able to achieve similar viewing angles as Plasma TVs without washing out colors/contrast? Are we already there yet with any of the available LED TVs? Also, isn't backlight uniformity still an issue with edge lit displays, especially on the <$1500 budget scale?
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by orion2001 View Post
... and I'm open to suggestions on whether I could attain Plasma like PQ and viewing angles with an LED TV for ~$1600 in a couple of years.
My guess is: no, LED viewing angle will still be an issue. I just got a 4k LED which I am happy with, generally, but it does not have good viewing from off center, nor looking down at it from a standing position.

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:05 AM
 
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Depending on the particular plasma model, it may too fail the vertical angle test due to employed AR coatings and/or light filters, though this doesn't affect the horizontal field typically. OLED is the replacement you'll ultimately have to grab if viewing angle is at the top of your list of prerequisites in a display.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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My guess is: no, LED viewing angle will still be an issue. I just got a 4k LED which I am happy with, generally, but it does not have good viewing from off center, nor looking down at it from a standing position.
Thanks a lot for your reply Greg. I decided to pull the trigger on the PN60F5300 for $699 + tax via Sears. They have a 30 day return policy and I should be able to fit the box in my minivan and return it to a store if I don't like it. I'm figuring that I'll try the TV out and if I like it and if it works for my living room, I'll keep it. If not, I guess I'll just wait a few years before seeing what is the best that is available then. Like you, I highly doubt that I will find a good LED/LCD tv with comparable PQ and viewing angles to a budget Plasma TV.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vinnie_RIP View Post
Depending on the particular plasma model, it may too fail the vertical angle test due to employed AR coatings and/or light filters, though this doesn't affect the horizontal field typically. OLED is the replacement you'll ultimately have to grab if viewing angle is at the top of your list of prerequisites in a display.
vinnie, thanks for your input. I'm less concerned about vertical angle as my TV is placed at eye level when seated and all seating locations are at similar height. Additionally, with the budget Plasmas, they lack any AR filters so this is likely less of an issue, though obviously, glare will become a bigger concern.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by orion2001 View Post
7) Reduced screen glare - I'd prefer this, but my current Panny has no anti reflection filter/coating and is quite glossy and I can make do with it. Don't love it when the sun is streaming in the room, but I can tolerate this if necessary.
If you can continue to live with this, the PN60F5300 has been on sale for <$800 on and off for a while (Sears, Walmart, HHGregg, etc.).
No extra junk. At least two threads here about this specific model, others on the 51".
Congrats on the twins. You and Mfusick need to start a thread!

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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475769/de...ently-authored 

Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
If you can continue to live with this, the PN60F5300 has been on sale for <$800 on and off for a while (Sears, Walmart, HHGregg, etc.).
No extra junk. At least two threads here about this specific model, others on the 51".
Congrats on the twins. You and Mfusick need to start a thread!
Thanks! You might have missed my earlier post (don't blame you for glossing over the wall of text ), but that is exactly the TV I was considering and I just placed an order for it from Sears. With some discounts and 5% cashback via Shop Discover, I should get it for $715 including taxes and weekend delivery at home! I'm going to trial it out and if I like it, I'll keep it. If not, I guess I can return it within 30 days and just hold off on an upgrade for a couple of years and hope that OLED TVs make big strides in becoming affordable and reliable.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:29 AM
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I should get it for $715 including taxes and weekend delivery at home!
Excellent! See you on the calibration threads.
Hint: Warm2 and gamma = -1
Michael

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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-10-2014, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent! See you on the calibration threads.
Thanks Michael! Kicking myself for not picking up an i1 Display Pro for ~$140 a couple of weeks back, but money is a bit tight and my wife has been supportive of my gadget purchases off late (Yamaha Receiver + Infinity Primus Speakers + subwoofer for HT after my Z5500 kicked the bucket) so I didn't want to push my luck with her . I'll definitely be on the calibration threads and use other folks settings to get to a decent baseline. Shared settings worked quite well for my current Panny TV as well.
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