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Best 42-incher (priorities = black levels and off-angle viewing)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My only TV is a several-year-old Samsung 26" LCD. It's way past time to upgrade.

I live in an apartment and space is at a premium, so 42" is about as big as we're going to get. The problem is the TV makers aren't really making 42" sets with relatively high-end features any more. It seems all the good sets are 50" and up.

My priorities are deep black levels (we watch a lot of movies) and off-angle viewing (our room isn't that big so we can't all sit in the sweet spot). My focus for about a year was therefore on plasmas, but just as I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a Panasonic TC-P42UT50, they disappeared from retail channels as Panasonic decided there wasn't demand for decent 42" sets. And now it seems nobody even makes a 1080p 42" plasma, let alone one with great black levels. Am I really the only one who wants a set smaller than 50" with great PQ?

So I'm finding myself in LCD land and wondering which direction to go. The LG 42LM4200 seems like a contender (LG claims it has a higher contrast ratio than their other 42" sets). Likewise the Panasonic TC-L42ET5 and E50 (is there a difference in contrast ratios between them, or is the only difference 3D? I can't find specs). What else should I be considering?
post #2 of 7
Manufacturer specs regarding contrast ratios are blown out of proportions and do not offer much insight to the actual performance of the display. Let alone, there is no universal way of measuring standard contrast ratio, therefore comparing them
between different brands is just as useless.
post #3 of 7
Panasonic does still make 42" 1080p plasmas, they just don't sell them in the USA. It wasn't Panasonic who decided there wasn't a demand, it was the retailers who were unwilling to try to sell them.
If you only care about size and not price you could just import a P42GT50 from overseas. Or buy a P42ST30 or P42UT50 second hand.

Panasonic's IPS LCDs have decent picture quality with the exception of good black levels. If deep blacks are really important to you then you'll want something else.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by themicah View Post

My only TV is a several-year-old Samsung 26" LCD. It's way past time to upgrade.
I live in an apartment and space is at a premium, so 42" is about as big as we're going to get. The problem is the TV makers aren't really making 42" sets with relatively high-end features any more. It seems all the good sets are 50" and up.
My priorities are deep black levels (we watch a lot of movies) and off-angle viewing (our room isn't that big so we can't all sit in the sweet spot). My focus for about a year was therefore on plasmas, but just as I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a Panasonic TC-P42UT50, they disappeared from retail channels as Panasonic decided there wasn't demand for decent 42" sets. And now it seems nobody even makes a 1080p 42" plasma, let alone one with great black levels. Am I really the only one who wants a set smaller than 50" with great PQ?
So I'm finding myself in LCD land and wondering which direction to go. The LG 42LM4200 seems like a contender (LG claims it has a higher contrast ratio than their other 42" sets). Likewise the Panasonic TC-L42ET5 and E50 (is there a difference in contrast ratios between them, or is the only difference 3D? I can't find specs). What else should I be considering?

If you can still get your hands on a Samsung 40" LN40D630 or 46" LN46D630, I would pick one up. It's black levels are around 0.005 fL or so once fully calibrated to a light output of 40 fL, which is side by side with Panasonics lower to mid range plasmas this year and far better than the Samsung LED/LCDs this year.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Do-It-Yourself View Post

Manufacturer specs regarding contrast ratios are blown out of proportions and do not offer much insight to the actual performance of the display. Let alone, there is no universal way of measuring standard contrast ratio, therefore comparing them
between different brands is just as useless.

Agreed. I was only looking for intra-brand comparisons of contrast ratios.

It's kind of sad how hard it is to find a decent set under 50" in the US. Gosh I wish I could get my hands on a 42GT50 for a reasonable price.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

If you can still get your hands on a Samsung 40" LN40D630 or 46" LN46D630, I would pick one up. It's black levels are around 0.005 fL or so once fully calibrated to a light output of 40 fL, which is side by side with Panasonics lower to mid range plasmas this year and far better than the Samsung LED/LCDs this year.

This sounds like a great option. I see the 46" for under $650 shipped at Overstock, which isn't my favorite store, but is a great deal for something that CNET says has good blacks and handles 24p playback well (one of the few higher end features on my "preferred but not crucial" list). I like the matte screen too.

Is there anything significant the D630 lacks aside from 3D (eh) and internet connectivity (I already have a 1080p Roku), and I suppose being a little thick?

Now I just have to convince my wife that the 46" won't overwhelm the room...
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
As a followup, we decided the 46" was just too big. But I managed to find a used Panny 42ST30 on Craigslist for less than a 40" Samsung LCD and we're pretty happy with that.
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