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6 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 65005 27-Jul-2010 17:38
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I have moved into a new two level flat and am looking to buy a new TV and home theatre system. After looking in a great many retailers, and being told a lot of different things im still wanting to know a few key things, and any help would be much appreciated.

-I am looking at a 40-42" LCD tv (as this is within budget), and am under the impression that this is the way to go over plasma due to the life of the tvs, burn-in etc. I am not sure who manufactures the best LCDs, or what to look out for, as this would mainly used for HD DVDs and a bit of gaming. I just want a good picture, and reliable TV. Within budget are a Sony and Samsung (not sure of model numbers) 40" LCD, is there anything I should be looking for?

-the reception coming from the wall into the existing tv is pretty bad, and I want to know if a built in, HD tv tuner is going to improve this, or if I will need to spend money on the arial as well.

-My flat is over two levels, and I would like to have a couple of speakers upstairs to play the same music as on the theatre system when I want, but then have surround sound downstairs (where the TV is). I cant seem to get a straight answer from any shop person, and am wondering if wireless back speakers will transmit the 6 or so meters with reasonable sound quality, or if I run some cables and double up the wiring going into the amp (not wanting to blow the thing up).

-The systems I have seen range from $500-900, with Yamaha, Onkyo, panasonic and Samsung all offering an amp and 5:1 surround speakers. Some are very small with 100 RMS and some are thin ground speakers with 1000. I want decent sound quality for music, gaming and DVDs etc, but am sure will only notice I have purchased a substandard system once I am at home with it.

Any advise would be fantastic, also with any links comparing LCDs and sound systems as I am pretty new to this and dont anticipate buying another tv or sound system for another few years.



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  Reply # 357534 28-Jul-2010 07:41
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Don't buy a HTIB




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  Reply # 357570 28-Jul-2010 09:18
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You're essentially talking about Zone 2 with the speakers upstairs. Onkyo's do this but the source has to be connected to the amplifier by analogue input cables. It's a little known situation whereby the Zone 2 input can not be off an hdmi/optical/dig coax cable, which is often how you connect your CD/DVD player etc.

Honest advice, for on a budget... Buy another stereo for upstairs.

If you don't get good prime reception already then budget on taking a look at your existing aerial, plain as that. Try it and see by all means, but keep in mind you may need a bit of extra work/$ to sort the aerial.

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  Reply # 357624 28-Jul-2010 11:32
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miksom95:

-I am looking at a 40-42" LCD tv (as this is within budget), and am under the impression that this is the way to go over plasma due to the life of the tvs, burn-in etc. I am not sure who manufactures the best LCDs, or what to look out for, as this would mainly used for HD DVDs and a bit of gaming. I just want a good picture, and reliable TV. Within budget are a Sony and Samsung (not sure of model numbers) 40" LCD, is there anything I should be looking for?



LCD vs Plasma (imo)

- Plasma's offer more vibrant colours and smoother motion (higher refresh rates) than LCD's.
- Plasma's are worse in sunny rooms than LCD's because they have a glass fronting over the panel.
- LCD's are generally less bulky and thiner than plasma's.
- LCD's are generally more common and more popular than plasma's now.
- LCD's offer higher resolutions in lower sizes (hardly any full HD 40-42" plasmas) but have lower refresh rates.

For LCD's I would be looking at these two (below) which you can typically get for $1500-1600ish after bargaining, they are both solid mid range models with: quality panels, 1920x1080 resolution, 100hz refresh rate, freeview tuners, plenty of hdmi inputs and other inputs/outputs.  I would avoid LED backlit LCD screens for now as they are too expensive for too little benefit.

Sony KDL-40EX500
Samsung LA40C650

For Plasma's with full HD (1920x1080 res) in the 40-42" size there is only really the Panasonic Viera model I think (Samsung and LG have 720p 40-42" models but I would go for Full HD 1920x1080).  Plasma's have really high refresh rates 400-600hz so that's not a concern when picking one (unlike LCD's).

Panasonic TH-P42U20Z

There are of course cheaper models in the 40-42 size range but you probably want to avoid models old tech (last years or a couple of years ago model etc).  I would avoid LCD's that are only 50hz and don't have 100hz refresh rates.  Also avoid lcd's and plasmas that are only "HD Ready" aka 720p (rather than full HD 1920x1080).

Basically I think the 3 models I mention above are the best price/performance bang for buck right now in the 40ish and $1500 range.

Go compare them in stores and get a feel for the size/look and feel of them!



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Master Geek


  Reply # 357654 28-Jul-2010 12:21
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I have same problem with the signal coming out of the socket as well.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 357712 28-Jul-2010 13:40
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Thanks for all the help. May start looking at Plasma now as it will be in a fairly dark room.


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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 357775 28-Jul-2010 15:35
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If watching a lot of movies, esp ones with a lot of dark scenes, and you can shut out direct sunlight - go plasma. Life of new Panasonics is still over 40,000hrs - I won't watch that in 20 years. The biggest downfall of plasma is the glass screen (reflects a lot) and the lower luminance levels. If you watch in a dark room tho, they are far better for black detail and easier on the eye.




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Master Geek


  Reply # 358033 28-Jul-2010 23:51
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There are quite a few recievers which will do a 2nd zone but I agree with Jaxson, a seperate setup upstairs will be much easier. The wireless options aren't great either sorry.
If you're set on doing it though either get a reciever with zone 2 or a 7.1 reciever and run the extra 2 channels upstairs.
I'd stay away from home theatre in a box units which are very limited in their operation and sound quality.
Look for a seperate AV reciever and speakers

There are more cheap full HD plasmas than just the panasonic U20, there is samsung's C550, LGs PK550 etc.
In a dark room I'd go for a plasma, it'll give you a better picture for the same money as an LCD. However I'm going to have to disagree with ragnor here, instead of going for a 42" full HD set I'd go for a 720p 50" set which can be had for the same money ($1500) the extra 8" will make a much bigger impact than the marginal benefit of the extra resoloution, especially considering how far most people sit away from their tvs. I'm sure most guys here will agree, bigger is always better :P
Both lifespan and burn in should be non issues for any tv bought these days.

So I'd factor into your budget: tv, 7 speakers, subwoofer, av reciever and aerial.

If you plan on keeping this setup for a while definitely take your time, it'll be worth it in the end, good luck :D




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  Reply # 358142 29-Jul-2010 10:09
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samwooff: If you're set on doing it though either get a reciever with zone 2 or a 7.1 reciever and run the extra 2 channels upstairs.
The risk of doing this is what sound are you going to get out of these rear speakers?  If you just took the rear two upstairs and had it on any sound processing setting, you'd get all these weird chirps and stuff out of it as they are meant to be rear surround speakers.  If need be you could set the receiver to a full stereo setting to ensure you got the full range out of the speakers, and definitely have them downstairs when you do a mic setup, then take them upstairs.

When you can't change volume or tracks easily on the downstairs setup from upstairs, you'll be happy you got a second stereo for up there.

samwooff: instead of going for a 42" full HD set I'd go for a 720p 50" set which can be had for the same money ($1500) the extra 8" will make a much bigger impact than the marginal benefit of the extra resoloution, especially considering how far most people sit away from their tvs. I'm sure most guys here will agree, bigger is always better
Myself, I wouldn't go 720 over 40".  I guess it depends on what signal you are feeding it, but bigger the screen, the more you're going to notice the lower resolution.  50" is getting pretty big to still be viewing 720, which is not that far up really from straight DVD at 576.  That said, yes bigger is always better, and 720 projectors still smack that wow factor at you. 



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 358160 29-Jul-2010 10:27
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Again,thanks for the comments.

The issue with surround 7.1 is that the rear speakers wont put out a great sound, and will be a bit echoey due tot he nature of the set up. I dont really want another stereo upstairs, as i want music running through the whole flat, and not two seperate systems.

With the tvs, the LCD in my price range, from what i can see have only 50Hz, compared to 600 of the plasma. A friend told me that 100hz is all im going to need, and I can find this in LCD.


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  Reply # 358356 29-Jul-2010 13:29
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We have a system that is 7.1 and has a zone 2 which has two separate speakers which we have in the next room. One thing you need to be aware of though is that when you have zone 1 and 2 enabled zone one is only stereo. But then we never want zone 2 going when we are watching a video so it is no problem.







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Master Geek


  Reply # 358641 29-Jul-2010 18:35
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miksom95: Again,thanks for the comments.

The issue with surround 7.1 is that the rear speakers wont put out a great sound, and will be a bit echoey due tot he nature of the set up. I dont really want another stereo upstairs, as i want music running through the whole flat, and not two seperate systems.

With the tvs, the LCD in my price range, from what i can see have only 50Hz, compared to 600 of the plasma. A friend told me that 100hz is all im going to need, and I can find this in LCD.



The 50 and 100hz of LCDs is very different to the 600 etc that you see on plasmas.
For simplicities sake assume all video is fed to your tv at 50hz, a 600hz plasma will refresh each frame 12 times in a second times that by the 50 frames it's fed to give you 600. This is part of the reason why plasma is usually associated with smooth motion compared to LCD. To try and combat this the LCD manufacturers came up with 100/200hz where the tv takes the 50 frames and uses algorithms to insert its own extra 50 or 150 frames to give 100 or 200 frames per second. The plasma method doesn't give as smooth an effect but also introduces no flaws, the LCD method on the other hand looks very smooth and soap opera like, which some people prefer but because it is essentially estimating these extra frames it can get it wrong sometimes.
See if you can actually check out an LCD in 100hz mode next to one in plain ol' 50hz or even a plasma to decide if you actually like the effect or want to pay extra for it. I see people all the time just come in and ask for a 100hz LCD without even having seen one or know what it does, thats the power of marketing for you.




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  Reply # 362282 3-Aug-2010 12:29
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Nety: We have a system that is 7.1 and has a zone 2 which has two separate speakers which we have in the next room. One thing you need to be aware of though is that when you have zone 1 and 2 enabled zone one is only stereo.


On the Onkyo's the 7.1 drops to 5.1 when zone two is being used.  For us this worked fine as our indoor setup only allows for 5 speakers inside anyway.

We have our zone 2 feeding outdoor speakers.  There is no mic setup type eq applied to the zone 2 outputs so it's all pretty basic sounding.  There's a delay too, so if you use the same source on the two zones you get a weird echo effect if you are standing where you can hear both zones.  It's also hard to configure a zone 2 into the harmony (universal remote) as selecting the next activity tends to turn off the current one so we tend to use the zone 2 rarely and very manually.  I'm not a fan.

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