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All I care about is Black Levels and Picture Quality...Help!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'll try to keep this post brief, although I could write a long, sad book on this. I have been searching for a replacement to my awesome Sony KDL-46S3000 for about six months. It's a 720p LCD that has great black levels and an overall great picture. Unfortunately I really want a bigger TV. I bought the 55" Panasonic ET5 on Black Friday but quickly discovered the black levels didn't even come close to the 7 year old Sony it replaced. Sure it looked great in the day when the kids are watching hi def cartoons, or at night with the lights on when my wife is watching Modern Family or whatever.... But when we turn off the lights and watch a movie, it's just terrible. So I returned it for a Panny plasma.

The Plasma has an unbelievable image. Blacks are awesome and so are the colors. It's plenty bright. It's a great TV. But I've discovered that I'm in the unlucky 15% of the population that sees flicker in plasmas due to the effective 60hz refresh rate. It's like the old days of CRT computer monitors. Most people didn't care what the refresh rate was set to. But I had to be at 72hz or above or I'd go crazy. Anyway, whether you know what I'm talking about or not, it doesn't matter, trust me, I can't have a plasma.

So what's the consensus on the best black levels and PQ for dark room movie viewing in a 55" LCD TV? I can't go back in time and do a million hours of research like I did before for the previous two TVs. I need to get rid of this plasma and get the replacement and be done with it. I don't care about anything but the black levels and overall dark room picture quality for movies. Please help me figure this out? I can get a good deal on a WT50 but the reviews on that are mixed at best. Budget is about $1700 but I'd much rather spend closer to $1200 or so. Thoughts? Thanks!!!
post #2 of 15
Look at the higher models for Samsung, their panels have great black levels.. Stay away from IPS type panels.. Excellent colors but relatively lower contrast levels.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow, I always thought that IPS was better in every way. So better colors and viewing angles but worse contrast and therefore bad black levels, eh? Interesting. Thanks for the info.
post #4 of 15
Honestly its not only about BLACK levels...its mainly about contrast between the blackest and brightest picture....

Black levels without a good contrast ratio is uselesss...

just trying to clear things up and keep it real.... wink.gif
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndeaverouX View Post

Honestly its not only about BLACK levels...its mainly about contrast between the blackest and brightest picture....

Black levels without a good contrast ratio is uselesss...

just trying to clear things up and keep it real.... wink.gif
I appreciate it. But in the end, what I noticed about the ET5 was that the blacks were a hazy bluish grey. The colors looked good. It was otherwise a great TV. But I could not get anything that even approached what I was hoping for with respect to the blacks. If you're saying it's all related, that's fine. I'm just hoping some one can help me cut through the chase and recommend a current model that isn't $4,000. It's frustrating reading reviews and then finding that the model is no longer available.
post #6 of 15
You sound like the perfect guy to buy someone's Pioneer rear projection CRT based HDTV. As long as you have the room for the big box, the images are as good as they get at 1080i resolution.

If you need 1080p, then you are probably just gonna have to settle for what Hollywood and their manufacturers will give you these days... content protected, lightweight to ship from China, high margin, excuses for HDTVs. Sorry.
post #7 of 15
Black Levels and Picture Quality = Panasonic ST50/GT50/VT50
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnett 
Black Levels and Picture Quality = Panasonic ST50/GT50/VT50
right. And that is why the OP wrote ''I've discovered that I'm in the unlucky 15% of the population that sees flicker in Plasma's due to the effective 60Hz refresh rate''. ''trust me, I can't have a Plasma''. Panasonic ST50/GT50/VT50 smile.gif
post #9 of 15
I would think for black level Sony HX 950 or even HX 850.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincevega44 View Post

I would think for black level Sony HX 950 or even HX 850.

Out of the 2, the hx950 will have the better blacks if your wallet can afford it.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincevega44 View Post

I would think for black level Sony HX 950 or even HX 850.

I concur. you seemed to have good luck with Sony in the past, why not try another? My HX850 is completely black with the right settings, i absolutely love it. I'm sure the 950 will be much better.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Sounds great on the Sony, but they are EXPENSIVE. I was hoping to keep it at $1600 or lower for a 55".
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
It's kind of interesting, the Sony TVs don't seem to be nearly as prevalent as they used to be. What's with that? They don't sell them much on Amazon and I just don't hear about them. At any rate are any of the lower end Sonys good? My old S3000 was definitely not top of the line, but as I said, the thing rocks. There is a part of me that wants to put it back on the wall and call it quits...wait for OLED. But I've been looking at a 55" for a couple of months. I'm afraid of how small that 46" will look!
post #14 of 15
A couple of sources: cnet.com and televisioninfo.com say the Sony 850 is a good choice. I have a LG LM7200 which is similar to a LM7600, and it's rated pretty well as well. I do not think the black levels can come as close to plasma, but you can calibrate it to be decent.

I have the same issue with Plasma refresh rates. 60Hz bugs the heck out of me.
post #15 of 15
For what it's worth. I have the Sony ex645 and the black levels are not that great to start. After calibration and a backlight though I'm quite happy. Much better than my SXRD XBR1 was and that had a reputation for good black levels.
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