In my post I will be discussing in part, or in whole, the following HDTVs:
LG 55 LW5600
Panasonic Viera 55 GT31
Sony Bravia - 55 unknown model, older model with matte screen.
Sony Bravia 55 NX720
My main focus with a new HDTV was to get an LED set with low input lag for gaming. I tested each model for input lag by hooking up my Xbox 360 with Beatles: Rock Band
and performed the calibration test 5-7 times on each TV. I know this isn't as accurate a method as the dual-monitor trick, but the average ms delay reading is pretty damn close to accurate.
My HDTV priorities (prior
to my adventure):
- Budget under $2k
- Low input lag (until recently, I thought this was represented by the advertised MS response time)
- Picture quality
My HDTV priorities (after
- Budget under $2k
- Low input lag
- Picture quality
- Functionality/menu options
- Heat output
I'm an avid gamer. I don't take it too seriously, but I consider myself to be quite skillful when it comes to first-person shooters. Additionally, I edit video, edit photos, and regularly use post-production programs such as Adobe After Effects. I am one of the lucky (perhaps unlucky?) people that has a keen sense of input lag. Also, a single extra black frame in the middle of a single shot in a movie will drive me nuts - despite the majority of people that won't notice it at all. I say this because I want to give you guys an idea of how much the slightest amount of input lag bothers me; and how much I tend to obsess over small details.
It amazes me that manufacturers don't seem to care about or be interested in advertising input lag times. I would imagine that there's a big opportunity for television manufacturers to pull in the majority of gamers by making a TV designed specifically for low input lag gaming. I'm also surprised that there isn't a reliable review site for TVs in the US. The sites I can find don't seem concerned with input lag.
Prior to starting my HDTV purchasing adventure this last week, I had a 32 Samsung LCD for a few years. This had served me well for my purposes, but I never liked how muted the picture looked when I set the TV to Game Mode.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -LG 55LW5600 LED 3D - $1699.99:
I went to Best Buy and looked at TVs. From the appearance, I chose to get the LG 55LW5600. I have never had an interest in 3D from my home television until I saw this model with the passive Cinema 3D. If you want to read a good review of the movie playing abilities of this set, read this review:
(Sorry for the line break here, this is my first post and is prohibiting me from posting a URL)http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...9&postcount=25
I agree with pretty much everything that Chad B says about this set; however, he doesn't mention anything about gaming on this TV. If you're looking to buy a TV solely for watching films or TV, this set is the one to choose. It is absolutely astounding, and in my opinion, the 3D from this TV is the best on the market. Anyone unsure about the quality of this TV's 3D capabilities should read this review:http://www.flatpanelshd.com/review.p...&id=1301662476
And the corresponding follow-up review of this set's 3D abilities after the LG firmware updates:http://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php...&id=1313938337
Unfortunately for me and any other gamers out there, this TV is horrible when it comes to input lag. Even after sifting through the entire dedicated thread for owners of this TV, trying every suggestion in the book, I couldn't get it to anything less than a 140ms delay. Needless to say, this is completely unusable for any game in the world that requires the least amount of timing.LG 55LW5600 RESULT:
Average input lag: 135-140ms
, even Game Mode or PC mode.OPINION:
If you want to buy a TV just for watching movies
, buy this set right now. There is even a nation-wide bundle that gives you an Xbox 360, 3D glasses and Halo: Anniversary
. Unfortunately, you'll have to use the Xbox on a different TV or simply sell it.
If 3D is what you'd want, you'll need to get a standalone Blu-Ray player, as PS3s have an issue with this set, where they show 3 lines of discolored pixels horizontally across the sreen. (This issue is only present when playing a 3D BR on a PS3 hooked to this TV.)
Remote control was ridiculously frustrating to use. Poor design and felt awkward in my hand. (Yes, that's what she said.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Panasonic Viera GT31 Pasma 3D - $1799.99:
I returned the LG to Best Buy and told the employees of my situation. They all unanimously informed me that I was a complete moron, telling me that LEDs can't have low input lag and that the only kind of TV that would work for gaming is plasma TVs. I've always hated the way that plasma TVs look, but decided I would give one a try and got the one they said was the best seller.
This TV disappointed me in so many ways:
- Any time there was movement on the screen, there would be a pixelated/fuzzy snow look to the details of the image - especially in video games.
- Any white on the screen was accompanied by major ghosting to the sides of the image.
- If there was any bit of white/brightness on the screen, the panel itself would make a buzzing noise.
- The TV emanated too much heat. I had to open my window to get some winter air into my room.
- The 3D had so much cross talk that I felt my eyes were trying to go cross-eyed.
- Deceptively heavy.
- TV mount didn't swivel at all.
- Remote lit up, but it was big and bulky.
- WiFi adapter was too big to fit in the optimal USB slot.
- Navigating the menus was a chore.
- Couldn't use this with my PC, as it would insist on scaling up the image, despite me setting it manually. Additionally, it kept getting fuzzy and then would get clear again. The only way to stop this from happening was to enable the THX mode, which made the screen too dim to use.
- This TV literally made me sick. Even when not in 3D mode, I got headaches and felt like throwing up.
The input lag on this was better than the LG, but I could still sense it was more than my 32 Samsung LCD. My tests put the input lag at an average of 30-37ms. For some people, such as my brother-in-law, this won't be a problem (he couldn't even tell). But for the price, I feel like this TV is a bit of a rip-off.Panasonic Viera 55 GT31 RESULT:
Average input lag: 30-35ms
, despite my research online and all modes.OPINION:
This set has some of the worse picture quality I have seen in a larger HDTV. The bright parts of the screen completely washed out the dark portions, or the TV would crush detail from the darks. This completely surprised me, because even on this site, people rate it fairly well. But overall, the image was too dark. I had to close my curtains just to see what I was watching. For the money, this TV isn't worth it. This TV is too dark. The picture quality is laughable, especially with video games. The input lag was very noticeable to me. Reloading in Gears of Wars
was tough. Trying to sprint around corners in CoD: MW3
was difficult, let alone attempting to aim accurately from a distance.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Samsung UN55D6000 LED - $1499.99:
I returned the GT31 to Best Buy and trotted off to RC Willey, a local home furnishings store in the Mid-West. They agreed to let me bring my Xbox 360 into the store and test out different models of TVs to help me make a decision (something Best Buy wouldn't let me do).
As most Samsung TVs do, this set's design was cool. I felt like purchasing this TV before I even turned it on (although, I didn't end up with this one). It lacks the 3D capabilities, but I don't care because LG's passive 3D is the only one I like. I popped this TV to Game Mode and got amazing results; however, the Game Mode does the same thing that my 32 Samsung LCD - mutes all of the colors.
The input lag averaged 5-9ms! I tried CoD: MW3
, Gears of War
, and Skyrim
. The input lag on this TV is virtually non-existent. This TV felt the most true of any TVs I had tried so far. But the muted color was a bit annoying to me.Samsung UN55D6000 RESULTS:
Average video input lag: 5-9ms
in Game Mode.
Average audio input lag: 60-65ms
in Game Mode - best to use a home audio system.
This was the only set that I experienced a noticeable gap between audio and video input lag.Opinion:
This TV played games perfectly. Unfortunately, my deciding factor was the picture quality. Obviously its LED screen was bright enough, but everything just looked lifeless in Game Mode. Additionally, when in Game Mode, you're unable to adjust any color/display settings. This TV also lacks local dimming, which I hadn't considered as a potential deciding factor, but ended up playing a major role as it made a huge difference when playing CoD: MW3 & Skyrim.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Sony Bravia - 55 unknown model, older model with matte screen:
I tested two Sony Bravia models. I apologize for not remembering the model of this one, but it had a price point of $1499.99.Sony Bravia - 55 unknown model RESULT:
Average input lag: 5-11ms
in Game-Original Mode.OPINION:
This TV's matte screen served one purpose, to reduce the vivid nature of the colors displayed on its screen. I typically favor a matte finish, but looking at this TV next to the NX 720
or the Samsung made me realize just how much of a disservice it was for this set.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Sony Bravia 55 NX720 LED 3D - $1998.99:
This is the TV that I decided to keep. It was a bit more expensive than the Samsung UN55D6000
and the other Sony (unknown model)
, but when comparing the quality of the image to the other two TVs, this is far superior.
The average time for input lag matched the unknown Sony model, but the NX720
TV had a few more features that the others didn't.
The deciding factor for me between the NX720
and the Samsung D6000
was the glossy finish, which the salesman referred to as gorilla glass or gorilla gloss (then rapped on the screen with his knuckle - not sure why though). I actually like this finish more than the alternative matte finishes. I never thought I would like a gloss finish, but this one seems different. The blacks and colors are much more clear and vibrant than the other TVs. Additionally, when the TV is powered off, the entire front of the unit is a sleek, shiny black front with no visible border - which makes for a very cool looking TV. That said, if you're going to have a window opposite the front of the screen, the reflection may be a bit overbearing. In my opinion, screen actually reflects less light than the matte finish, in the sense that it doesn't blow out the reflection and diffuse the light to make an even bigger reflection area.
The screen is brilliantly bright. I don't feel like I'm squinting or straining to register the images. I don't have to keep my room completely dark either, which means I can now see which buttons I'm hitting on my remote control.
I also love the settings options with this TV. It actually has two different Game Modes
: Standard and Original. Both of these modes still allow you to have full control over most settings such as color, contrast, sharpness, etc This results in a better looking image, while maintaining low input lag. I love the ability to have this much control.
I have my PC connected to this TV via HDMI. For this input I have the TV set to auto-detect for the video mode. The great thing about this is that it is displaying my desktop image at the perfect ratio with perfect clarity, unlike the LG LW5600
and the Panasonic Viera GT31
. Additionally, when I watch videos in full screen, the TV detects the change and adjusts its settings to make the video look amazing. This results in 1080p rips of Blu-Ray films playing almost as well as they would straight from the Blu-Ray player.
The 3D on this TV is much better than the Panasonic Viera GT31
, but nowhere close to the quality of the LG LW5600
. But 3D isn't why I'm purchasing a TV. I'm using it mainly for games.
A few other pros:
- Processed local dimming. Enabling this feature only added 1-3ms delay and helped to increase image quality when displaying brights and darks at the same time in Skyrim
and CoD: MW3
- The system menus are very likeable, after you learn where everything is.
- Very comfortable, attractive and non-intimidating remote control.
- Built-in WiFi adapter.
- Ability to turn off the glowing SONY logo at the base of the front panel.
- Doesn't run hot, even after five hours of gaming.
- Swivel base.
- Very fluid PiP and P&P modes - I haven't tested for lag while using either of these modes.
- Mute notification hides after a few seconds
- Smart apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and a built-in web browser. (I've only tested Netflix so far.)
- Lots of extras that I haven't checked out yet, like a camera/sensor to tell you if you're sitting too close to the screen crazy stuff.
- Gorilla gloss screen may be a bit reflective for some, but it really does make everything more vibrant. I suggest going to a show room and comparing it with other sets.
- Had to sign up on a Sony website and register to get Netflix working. This was a bit obnoxious.
- 3D isn't perfect, but is better than most active 3D sets I have seen (Which has only been the GT31
and the other models on display at stores.)Sony Bravia 55 NX720 LED 3D RESULTS:
Average input lag: 5-10ms
in Game-Original Mode.
Average input lag: 6-11ms
in Game-Standard Mode.
Average input lag with the local dimming feature enabled: added 1-3ms
to the above modes.OPINION:
I'm struggling to find negative things to say about this TV. I'm absolutely in love with it. I spent a few hours last night playing CoD: MW3
and Halo CE: Anniversary
and all I can say is that I don't regret this decision in the slightest. The picture quality is amazing. The only downside is that I can no longer blame deaths in CoD: MW3
on input lag!
I hope this wasn't too much information to throw at you guys and I really do hope that this helps someone out with making a decision about which HDTV to purchase.
**As stated above, I paid $1989.99 for this TV. I feel the difference in picture quality - without sacrificing input lag - justifies the price difference between this and the two prior TVs listed. Also, the salesman let me know that on black Friday, this TV is going to be discounted over $300.00 and that I just have to bring in my receipt that weekend to get the difference in price refunded to me! If you have an RC Willey store in your area and are considering this TV, I say go grab it now and beat the rush. In fact, most stores have price-match guarantees. May as well guarantee your purchase by getting it now, and then get savings next week.**