Is finding a good flat panel TV supposed to be so difficult .... - AVS Forum
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I am a long time reader on this forum. Have been researching to buy a new HDTV for quite some time. But the more and more I read up .. I end up getting more confused. My primary reason for buying a new TV is gaming and some movies (BD on ps3 + streaming from my Pc). I am looking at 47-52" with a price range of up to 1500 and my primary viewing is in a dark environment.

After months of research I was almost ready to buy a Panny plasma as it appeared to be the best overall option. Excellent PQ and good value for money. I was even willing to change my viewing habits so as to over come the IR issue. But then this issue of black levels doubling up came about and after reading up pages and pages of people mentioning how their blacks are getting worse, I decided to give up on the G10 as I will be using my TV primarily at night. However, doing that has made my decision MUCH MUCH more difficult.

I researched the Samsung plasmas and they seem to have the horrible buzzing problem which is a big no for me. I finally turned to LCD's and decided to get a sony w series LCD. However, now I am reading how people are returning their TVs 2-3 times just to get one with out a clouding and flashlighting issue. Come on .. sony is supposed to be the premier name in electronics !! Sharp .. banding problems. LG .. poor blacks. And the list keeps on going on.

I havent found anything wrong with the Vizio VF551XVT so far and i might be willing to stretch my budget to get an LED tv. But I am just wondering ... is it supposed to be so hard to find a good reliable flat panel tv. I thought that over the years build quality for LCDs and plasma's would have gone up and up but it appears that actually its the other way around with improvements in PQ but not the build quality.

So in summary I have considered and researched tons and tons of the most popular flat panels but have ended up more confused. Am I missing the big picture over here ? If any one has any suggestions to offer, that will be really helpful for me. And thanks for reading through this long rant !! Cheerz.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:10 AM
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You are both fortunate and cursed to have found these forums, for while these forums are a font of knowledge, there are tons and tons of opinions that can easily confuse an expert, let alone a layman.

Also keep in mind that these message boards are laden with A/V enthusiasts who are extremely anal perfectionists. They look for the perfect display, purchasing, bringing home then exchanging multiple flat panels in order to find the one flawless display that will transform their viewing experience.

Don't let that sway you from finding the TV that is right for you and your viewing preferences.

I myself did around 2 years of research (here and other places) before deciding upon a brand and model then purchasing one. I brought my tv home 1 year ago and am very happy with my purchase.

Was my tv flawless? No. It had a stuck pixel right out of the box. The buttons on the bezel are nigh invisible and thus, essentially useless. The USB port on the side is used for updates only and thus, essentially useless.

1 year later and I've adjusted the settings on my tv to where the picture is awsome. Blu Ray movies are breathtaking. DVD's look incredible. SD Cable is an eyesore, but there's not much to be done about that. (HD cable is a little better than adequate, on average. Some channels being nigh flawless, others crappy, but that's not my TV's fault). The stuck pixel is gone, but today I just discovered another stuck pixel in a different location on my tv. Its unnoticeable beyond 12", so I don't really care.

No color banding (after I adjusted my settings), no clouding, no flashlighting, blacks are pretty good (not Plasma good, but good) contrast is more than adequate (way more) and my family loves the darned thing.

So keep doing your research until you find the one that you want. Understand that all the problems that people on these message boards are having are not universal amongst all tv's of a specific model or brand. Its hit or miss. You might bring home a Sony LCD with flashlighting or clouds...then again (most likely) you might not.

I do recommend you talk to the experts on these message boards...they harbor a ton of knowledge between them and their advice can be invaluable, but take their advice with a grain of salt and realize that it will be tinged with personal opinion. And just remember, it doesn't matter if anyone else likes your tv, only that you like it.

Stand tall and shake the heavens...
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:42 PM
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There are no perfect TVs, and all models have some issues. I just ordered a Samsung plasma--taking a chance with the buzzing--because I decided I liked the colors better and the black level is only slightly inferior to a new Panasonic. Since you are a gamer, I would suggest you again consider a Panasonic Plasma, for the response time is better on them, and to be fair, the issue with black levels changing over time, although real, is not that severe. People on these forums tend to panic too much over each and every flaw they discover--although I reserve my right to be panicking over various issues in the future! I am a "lite" gamer, so I will not be upset that my Samsung's response times will not be as great as a Panasonic, but if that is your main activity, you should read a bit in the Panasonic areas and not worry over the slight drop in black levels over time. Also the Panasonic models have less issues with IR--again a plus for a gamer! I encourage you to do a bit more research--talk to Panasonic owners here at AVS, but don't obsess over finding the perfect TV--it doesn't exist!
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:16 PM
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Actually, Samsung plasma is just fine for gaming. I have a PN50A550, my friends have the 58A550 and 50A650 and all of us are avid gamers and have no issues whatsoever.
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:32 PM
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Actually, Samsung plasma is just fine for gaming. I have a PN50A550, my friends have the 58A550 and 50A650 and all of us are avid gamers and have no issues whatsoever.

Thank you! I don't want to take over the tread, but I am quite happy to learn this. If I avoid a buzzer, I will be extremely happy it appears!
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:23 PM
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I understand your issues EXACTLY!! Should I get the Sammy LN55B650 or the LN52B750? The first is 55", 120hz. The second is 52" 240hz. It's also the 700 series which is better than the 600 series, but the 800 is better still...

60hz to 120hz is a WORLD of difference...120hz to 240hz not so great and I kept reading about the "soap opera"-effect of the 240hz...

Oh, I suffered through this for so long I finally sent the wife to the store and gave her three models to look at and SHE chose!!! hahaha!!!

You will have to sacrifice one thing for another at the price you are looking at but fortunately there are some excellent LCD's at or just above your stated budget as well!! So, decide what features best suit your needs...not what suits me or anyone else...what best suits YOU!

She finally chose the LN52B750 based on how much we watch sports (240 hz) and that huge online .com had it for about 200 more than your stated budget so I ordered it and got it last week.

So far we've only played regular DVD's on it and the Wii so I have YET to see it's full potential - but that won't be long as I have most of my new A/V gear and what I don't have is in transit!!!

Good luck with your hunt!
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies every one !! Yeah ... I think I was over-obsessing in search of the "perfect" tv. Panasonic G10 seemed to be the perfect choice for me thats why I was disappointed to find out about the black levels and now had to choose something "imperfect".
To be honest, when I check out all these models in-store, it is so hard for me to tell a huge amount of difference. When I look at v5100 and XBR 9, same HD input, could hardly tell the difference. Looked at Samsung plasmas today. 5 series vs 8 series, very minor differences. May I can not differentiate much because they were running on in-store settings, may be I don't have very sensitive eyes to begin with. But whatever the case, I think I have obsessed too much. In the end I have narrowed down my choices to the following:

- Samsung PN50b850
- Panny 50" g10
- Sharp LC52D85U (unbeatable price)
- Sony KDL 52w5100
- Samsung 6 series LCD ( may be 7 series if i find a good deal )

Hmm ... will probably visit some outlet center for one last time and make up mind for good. ( Did not consider other things like swivel stand, warranty and looks so far .. which I think I need to look into now)
Ohh and based on my limited understanding, i thought that input lag was not an issue any more with PS3 outputting into 1080p with HDMI ( and for that matter XBOX 360 as well). Hmm .. maybe I did not understood it right but this is what I understood from the master thread in gaming theater section.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:18 PM
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About lag, as I said I am a "lite' gamer, but I do own a PS3 with, of course, HDMI, but I also own an older XBOX 360 that lacks HDMI. I do not own a Wii or currently a PS2, but many people do, so lag time can still be an issue depending on what system you are playing on. I tend to view blu-rays, hdtv and play some games in that order, so my choice to order a Samsung pn50b860 was based more on watching movies, etc., and I was not worrying so much about game performance issues I might encounter with the early Xbox 360, for example.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by akira_dono View Post

Thanks for your replies every one !! Yeah ... I think I was over-obsessing in search of the "perfect" tv. Panasonic G10 seemed to be the perfect choice for me thats why I was disappointed to find out about the black levels and now had to choose something "imperfect".
To be honest, when I check out all these models in-store, it is so hard for me to tell a huge amount of difference. When I look at v5100 and XBR 9, same HD input, could hardly tell the difference. Looked at Samsung plasmas today. 5 series vs 8 series, very minor differences. May I can not differentiate much because they were running on in-store settings, may be I don't have very sensitive eyes to begin with. But whatever the case, I think I have obsessed too much. In the end I have narrowed down my choices to the following:

- Samsung PN50b850
- Panny 50" g10
- Sharp LC52D85U (unbeatable price)
- Sony KDL 52w5100
- Samsung 6 series LCD ( may be 7 series if i find a good deal )

Hmm ... will probably visit some outlet center for one last time and make up mind for good. ( Did not consider other things like swivel stand, warranty and looks so far .. which I think I need to look into now)
Ohh and based on my limited understanding, i thought that input lag was not an issue any more with PS3 outputting into 1080p with HDMI ( and for that matter XBOX 360 as well). Hmm .. maybe I did not understood it right but this is what I understood from the master thread in gaming theater section.


The plasmas will have by far the least input lag if that's a major concern. In game mode (which ACTUALLY happens to look best for them on a 5020--mine was calibrated by D-Nice) my kuro exhibits no discernable input lag. I play a lot of shooters and am ultra sensitive to any lag, whether it from the connection, input devices, etc...In any other mode, I wouldn't play competitive games.

Some of the newer (maybe not newest) Samsungs had some pretty bad problems with input lag. My old 65F and 81F were fairly responsive though, and it was never a major frustration with those two models
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:20 AM
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With all the problems with TVs it makes you want to go cheap for now in hopes that the holy grail comes out in 3 years...
Hence I keep looking at the Sharp LC52D85U... hoping backlight LEDs with tons of zones, 480 hz, wi-fi everything come down in price & get reviewed extensively.
I was going to get a Panny 2010 but I don't want to pay 2 grand & get caught replacing a TV so soon!

PS3 Screenname Tunaman4u2 for COD MW2 & TigerWoods 11
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:44 AM
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Marketer's jobs are to sell HDTVs, and make it appear as though yearly advancements have been made. Marketers have been given far more work than engineers. The dirty little secret is that tech really hasn't improved that much in the last few years.

In the case of LCD, the tech has sometimes taken two steps forward and three back. Especially the edge-lit LED sets are all flash and no substance. In some ways 240Hz tech is a problem looking for a solution. 3D is just a stopgap.

So yeah, if you can still find them, I would definitely recommend the Samsung 6 and 7 series (or the Samsung A950 or Sony XBR8) as the pinnacle of current LCD tech. Amazon's warehousedeals.com often has these as refurbs. They measure better than almost every current LCD on the market. And then wait for honest to goodness advancements on the horizon in 2011, 2012, 2013.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:38 AM
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The differences between sets is there, in almost any display environment. One just needs to train their brain to appreciate and recognize the subtle and glaringly apparent differences in order to find the perfect picture. Then one must shut that part of the brain off to appreciate the rest.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:17 AM
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The differences between sets is there, in almost any display environment. One just needs to train their brain to appreciate and recognize the subtle and glaringly apparent differences in order to find the perfect picture. Then one must shut that part of the brain off to appreciate the rest.

There are some things that one can judge in a store. There are other things that one can not due to the bright environment. However I do agree that there are things that people have learned to look for that don't necessarily equate to a good display, and that one needs to unlearn those things if they're looking for a display that performs well.

There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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Old 02-07-2010, 11:41 AM
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There are some things that one can judge in a store. There are other things that one can not due to the bright environment. However I do agree that there are things that people have learned to look for that don't necessarily equate to a good display, and that one needs to unlearn those things if they're looking for a display that performs well.

But not all stores have such lights in their tv section. The Fry's Electronics where I live has all their TV's in an enclosure that has a lower ceiling to block the harsh light from the other part of the store and the lights in this area are extremely dim, if not off altogether. Thus the whole argument "The harsh lighting of B&M stores doesn't mimic what you would see at home" is null and void there.

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Old 02-07-2010, 11:51 AM
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Forget about the store,buy your tv on the internet.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:57 AM
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But not all stores have such lights in their tv section. The Fry's Electronics where I live has all their TV's in an enclosure that has a lower ceiling to block the harsh light from the other part of the store and the lights in this area are extremely dim, if not off altogether. Thus the whole argument "The harsh lighting of B&M stores doesn't mimic what you would see at home" is null and void there.

Yes, there are some shops that have better lighting conditions - if you can find one of these, that's certainly preferable. However, they're definitely in the small minority of B&M stores and most people buying in such locations don't have that luxury.

There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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Old 02-07-2010, 12:47 PM
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Also keep in mind that these message boards are laden with A/V enthusiasts who are extremely anal perfectionists.

This might be the best quote ever on AVS.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:55 PM
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I'm new here and after reading this thread I am scared that I will end up watching a tv and picking apart every single flaw instead of enjoying the movie.

Check out my 3D TV Blog for all the latest 3D TV news.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:22 PM
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I'm new here and after reading this thread I am scared that I will end up watching a tv and picking apart every single flaw instead of enjoying the movie.

You can learn a lot here. Just make sure to forget everything later.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have found the BB in my area to be the best store for comparison, as they have all the Flat panel displays in a separate part under reasonably dark lightning conditions. I guess the factor which weighs in even more when comparing sets in B&M stores is the picture mode and color settings, on which those sets are being run. I have even seen TV's set at 100 contrast and ultra high brightness levels just to make them more visually appealing.

And I will mostly be playing ps3 and 360, so i am not really much concerned about input lag. (especially when I won't even be playing any FPS on these, got a good gaming PC for that ) I was much more worried about reliability issues, since I don't really have a lot of free time to get into replacement hassles and arguments with sales people, in case some thing was to go wrong with my new TV. But it seems like there is really no way to eliminate that risk, so all I can do is to use my judgement to make the best possible choice.

Hmm ... and I am just leaning towards buying from a B&M store like BB. I have found better online deals for most models. But then I read stories about the shipments coming damaged and then waiting for weeks to get a replacement which kinda leans me towards buying it from a store. And then with the price match, I will feel more content knowing that I am not getting ripped for buying something a month in advance when the prices are gonna further plummet down. Although, with the way prices for LCD's are hitting rock bottoms, I dont know if they have room to go down any further when the 2010 models come out. I guess it will just be the newer models replacing the old ones at same price range, like it is the case with any new technology in general ......
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:51 PM
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I'm new here and after reading this thread I am scared that I will end up watching a tv and picking apart every single flaw instead of enjoying the movie.

Just don't get caught up in the madness. Its easy to do, but once you get a set you like home and just sit back and watch the movie, you'll forget about everything else.

Stand tall and shake the heavens...
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by akira_dono View Post

Hi, I am a long time reader on this forum. Have been researching to buy a new HDTV for quite some time. But the more and more I read up .. I end up getting more confused. My primary reason for buying a new TV is gaming and some movies (BD on ps3 + streaming from my Pc). I am looking at 47-52" with a price range of up to 1500 and my primary viewing is in a dark environment.

After months of research I was almost ready to buy a Panny plasma as it appeared to be the best overall option. Excellent PQ and good value for money. I was even willing to change my viewing habits so as to over come the IR issue. But then this issue of black levels doubling up came about and after reading up pages and pages of people mentioning how their blacks are getting worse, I decided to give up on the G10 as I will be using my TV primarily at night. However, doing that has made my decision MUCH MUCH more difficult.

I researched the Samsung plasmas and they seem to have the horrible buzzing problem which is a big no for me. I finally turned to LCD's and decided to get a sony w series LCD. However, now I am reading how people are returning their TVs 2-3 times just to get one with out a clouding and flashlighting issue. Come on .. sony is supposed to be the premier name in electronics !! Sharp .. banding problems. LG .. poor blacks. And the list keeps on going on.

I havent found anything wrong with the Vizio VF551XVT so far and i might be willing to stretch my budget to get an LED tv. But I am just wondering ... is it supposed to be so hard to find a good reliable flat panel tv. I thought that over the years build quality for LCDs and plasma's would have gone up and up but it appears that actually its the other way around with improvements in PQ but not the build quality.

So in summary I have considered and researched tons and tons of the most popular flat panels but have ended up more confused. Am I missing the big picture over here ? If any one has any suggestions to offer, that will be really helpful for me. And thanks for reading through this long rant !! Cheerz.

Get a Panasonic 2010 model. They said that it's been corrected going forward. The black issue is hard for the unwashed of us to know exactly how long it takes for the sets to level off, but it's entirely possible that Panasonic's response may amount to "by the time we would actually be able to get a working fix out there, black levels should have returned to normal". Just buy on a credit card that you can issue a chargeback with if you notice an abrupt black level rise and they aren't willing to do anything. honestly, I wouldn't worry about it if you get a 2010 plasma. For 2009 series, not everyone gets the black level issue. Many do not actually have it. I would wait till the new panels come out and get one of those. Even with the black level issue the Panasonic plasmas tend to give much better picture than those junky LED flashlights. The only good LED is the Toshiba cell and that's about $10,000 when it comes out next year.
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