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# 78251 2-Mar-2011 02:28
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Hello all. First time poster here. I am hunting for a new TV, either Plasma or LCD, to upgrade from an old CRT TV. I am a young university student, so my budget is in the range of about $900-$1100, with a max of $1200. Ideally the two most important features are for the TV to be Full HD, and/or 40"+ in size. The two best candidates I have found so far are the Panasonic THP42U20Z and the Samsung LA40C550. I am wondering if the knowledgeable people here could help inform me about the benefits of these TVs, or any other TVs within my price range that are good for a starter HDTV, so I can make the best decision possible. Thanks in advance.

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  # 444665 2-Mar-2011 07:57
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i know you want a Full HD but Bond and Bond have a LG 42" plasma HD ready tv for $695 which is a really good price




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  # 444666 2-Mar-2011 08:09
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Firstly I would be wary about the size. 32" sets look tiny in the shop but when installeed at home look rather large. Anything over 40" would look massive in the average room.
Also remember that 2 meagpixels (1920 x 1080) on a 32 inch will look much better than on a 40 inch plus set (roughly double the area but the same number of pixels). What happens to a .jpg picture when enlarged? Quality diminishes! My daughter has a 40" Sony Full HD and I don't think the picture looks any better than my old Panasonic 32" 1 megapixel.
Shopping around I have seen a Sony 32ex710 (top of the line LED) for $1039 in recent sales and a Panasonic 37" LED at $1599.

 
 
 
 


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  # 444677 2-Mar-2011 08:58
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Teeceezy: Hello all. First time poster here. I am hunting for a new TV, either Plasma or LCD, to upgrade from an old CRT TV. I am a young university student, so my budget is in the range of about $900-$1100, with a max of $1200. Ideally the two most important features are for the TV to be Full HD, and/or 40"+ in size. The two best candidates I have found so far are the Panasonic THP42U20Z and the Samsung LA40C550. I am wondering if the knowledgeable people here could help inform me about the benefits of these TVs, or any other TVs within my price range that are good for a starter HDTV, so I can make the best decision possible. Thanks in advance.


With some haggling you should be able to get C650 (rather than 550) under $1200.

I'd be comparing these three models:

Panasonic THP42U20Z
Samsung LA40C650
Sony 40EX500




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  # 444680 2-Mar-2011 09:08
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My Mum got a Samsung 40" LCD for about $950 in a sale a month or two ago.

I have a 2 year old 40" LCD, and a new 55" LCD, both Samsung, and both are great. The newer one's clearly better, being full hd instead of 720p. In my lounge 40" would look tiny, i'd actually like more like 65" but it was too expensive. My 40" is in my office, it's about 3m from where I sit, it's a decent size, definitely not too big.

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  # 444692 2-Mar-2011 09:47
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Ragnor:
Teeceezy: Hello all. First time poster here. I am hunting for a new TV, either Plasma or LCD, to upgrade from an old CRT TV. I am a young university student, so my budget is in the range of about $900-$1100, with a max of $1200. Ideally the two most important features are for the TV to be Full HD, and/or 40"+ in size. The two best candidates I have found so far are the Panasonic THP42U20Z and the Samsung LA40C550. I am wondering if the knowledgeable people here could help inform me about the benefits of these TVs, or any other TVs within my price range that are good for a starter HDTV, so I can make the best decision possible. Thanks in advance.


With some haggling you should be able to get C650 (rather than 550) under $1200.

I'd be comparing these three models:

Panasonic THP42U20Z
Samsung LA40C650
Sony 40EX500



I spent a lot of time researching this a few months ago and settled on the Samsung UA40C5000. Consumer did a thorough test on a range of models including all models mentioned above and the UA40C5000 was a clear winner. It scored 8.4 for picture quality - the next closest was 6.8!

http://www.consumer.org.nz/reports/televisions-plasma-and-lcd/products/testtable1

Another factor for me was the low energy use as an LED, much cheaper to run than a plasma, and better even than an LCD. Some plasmas I have seen even have to have fans to help with cooling, and the noise can be annoying.

http://www.energywise.govt.nz/node/16722

I purchased the Samsung to replace a 42" but have decided I want a bigger set so have purchased a 55"

Mine is for sale, so if you want a near new one and can collect from Auckland check out the auction:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/TVs/LCD/40+/auction-358444527.htm

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  # 444700 2-Mar-2011 10:07
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I would say go for the largest screen you can reasonably afford.

I have NEVER heard anyone I know ever say that they got a screen that was too large. I have heard many people say they should have gone larger.

We have a very small lounge/TV room and had a 32" Samsung LCD for about 2 years (now in the bedroom). Seemed good at the time. We upgraded that to a 50" plasma (panasonic and very pleased with it) and it seemed huge for the first 24 hours. By day 3 my wife said - we could have probably gone bigger.

Personally I still like the colour on plasma TVs. The gotcha could be that as they are a glass panel they can be subject to reflection. I find the colours a bit more 'natural' - but a lot of that can depend on adjustment on any TV. I would suggest that you be very careful when looking at TVs in shops. What looks good there can look terrible at home and vice versa. The flouro lighting is pretty horrible to judge a TV under. Also, you will find that you are attracted to the extra vivid sharp images that some TVs display - personally I find that after a while that tends to make my eyes a bit tired.

Its hard to choose these days - there are soooo many choices.




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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  # 444747 2-Mar-2011 12:32
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B1GGLZ: Firstly I would be wary about the size. 32" sets look tiny in the shop but when installeed at home look rather large. Anything over 40" would look massive in the average room.


Our 50" Plasma is too small for our average sized lounge, even my wife says the next one will be a 65" Then the 50" will replace the 42" in our bedroom Laughing

 
 
 
 


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  # 444868 2-Mar-2011 16:48
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polglase: 

I spent a lot of time researching this a few months ago and settled on the Samsung UA40C5000. Consumer did a thorough test on a range of models including all models mentioned above and the UA40C5000 was a clear winner. It scored 8.4 for picture quality - the next closest was 6.8!



LED prices were still to high when we were looking, checking the price on the UA40C5000 it's quite competitive now. 

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  # 444967 2-Mar-2011 20:25
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Okay - you'll get a lot of opinions and 'expertise' when buying a TV.
First step, ignore pretty much everything that Consumer tries to tell you about TV's.
The advice is almost cringe worthy... I don't know if they've even turned on the sets they're testing.


To allow us to help you more, here's a few questions.
1: What do you watch on TV? Sport? Doco's? Movies (BluRay's or DVD's)? Downloaded content?
2: What is your room like at the moment? Lots of windows / bright light?
Do you watch TV at night, during the day... with the room lights on or off?
3: What else are you plugging into your TV? DVD player? PC? BluRay player? Console? Camera?
4: Do you have a home theatre system? If so - what one, what type, how old?
5: How far do you sit from the TV?
6: Do you have Sky? Or will you be wanting to use Freeview? Are you in a Freeview area?


Once you give us that info, we can help. Until then it'll be a bunch of posters throwing up their fav. brands / type of TV.

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  # 444972 2-Mar-2011 20:48
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Dunnersfella: Okay - you'll get a lot of opinions and 'expertise' when buying a TV.
First step, ignore pretty much everything that Consumer tries to tell you about TV's.
The advice is almost cringe worthy... I don't know if they've even turned on the sets they're testing.


To allow us to help you more, here's a few questions.
1: What do you watch on TV? Sport? Doco's? Movies (BluRay's or DVD's)? Downloaded content?
2: What is your room like at the moment? Lots of windows / bright light?
Do you watch TV at night, during the day... with the room lights on or off?
3: What else are you plugging into your TV? DVD player? PC? BluRay player? Console? Camera?
4: Do you have a home theatre system? If so - what one, what type, how old?
5: How far do you sit from the TV?
6: Do you have Sky? Or will you be wanting to use Freeview? Are you in a Freeview area?


Once you give us that info, we can help. Until then it'll be a bunch of posters throwing up their fav. brands / type of TV.


Interesting, can you give a specific criticism of consumer's coverage. Not many people get to take 10+ sets into a controlled environment and test them with different footage over a reasonable period of time and then give an unbiased opinion. Can you recommend any other on-line resources for group tests?

Quite frankly comparing a set you saw last month at a mates house to the one you're now looking at in Noel Leeming (or something to that effect) is ridiculously difficult assuming both sets are reasonably modern and comparable. There are a bewildering array of options and although many geekzoner's are extremely knowledgeable I doubt many have seriously spent time evaluating all of the available options.

Having spent a few months with the UA40C5000 I can say its an excellent set that is light, thin, hangs on the wall easily and is amongst the best in the class for energy consumption and heat output. With many years spent in the film and TV industry I can say I am very happy with the picture, night and day, lights on and off.

What I can't say is how it compares to every other option out there, which is where someone like consumer has a role to play. If you feel that their service is worthless I'd love to hear why... not that I want an argument, just genuinely interested in better critiquing their service in future Laughing

 

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  # 444985 2-Mar-2011 21:27
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After all the reading I did when I was buying a TV I eventually decided to trust my eyes. I generally find consumers recommendations pretty good.

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  # 444989 2-Mar-2011 21:38
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Interesting that not so long ago, Consumer's survey rated Samsung as the single least reliable TV brand in NZ. While at the same time saying that Panasonic and Sony were the best.
If the review you've cited is the one I'm thinking of, it's comparing 10 tellies - ranging from just over 4k through to the cheapest of cheap Plasmas (that sell in the real world for around $600 - $699.
Paying $20 to get a 'generalist' magazines advice on what TV to buy doesn't ring true to me. If you want true expertise, look at AVForums.com, or maybe talk to Masterpiece. He calibrates TV's in NZ for a living - so knows them inside out.

Just to note - I'm not bagging you for buying your TV. If it's a good TV to you, it's a good TV to you.
But as the original poster had not listed enough things about their desires, it wasn't a particularly 'safe' option.

So, if I was to criticise the UA40C5000 in the way that Consumer should have, I'd say...

1: The motion is poor - not only is it sub-par compared to most other sets in its category. Samsung of course offer a 100Hz series 6 for a bit more, and hey, 100Hz certainly isn't for everyone, heck it's not for me. But a plasma's motion performance certainly is.

2: The blacks, like all edge-lit LED's are poor. Turn off or dim the lights in your room and you'll see leakage that simply shouldn't be there. The uneven blacks are a weakness with most LED's though, not just the UA40C5000.

3: The sound, like a lot of the LED's (Panasonic aside) is poor. Take a look at the size of the speakers, then compare it side to side compared to a Panasonic LED (TH-L42D20z). HUGE difference. There's next to no bass and treble is certainly lacking. If you're running a home theatre system that is negated... unless of course it's an older h/theatre... as there are no analogue outputs on the Samsung LED's. Sony and Panasonic LED's offer these.

4: What happens if you want to plug in a non-HDMI DVD player and a black Sky box? Well, you have to reach around and unplug one every time you want to use it. After all, there's next to no analogue inputs (one composite, one component).

5: The reflection issues would drive a lot of users balmy. The high gloss screen is fantastic in dark or dimly lit rooms. But if you have an open plan room with a lot of light (most modern homes) - you're stuck with a very reflective panel with no contrast filter like that found on the V Series Panasonic plasmas. The reflective panels I've owned in the past were annoying for gaming (hard to spot detail in dark parts of first person shooters) and annoying for horrors etc, as all the details in the dark portions of the picture were difficult to make out.

YES - the power consumption is low. BUT, I'd be interested to compare the actual dollar savings when comparing it next to a similar sized NEOPDP set.
As a TV, it works well for someone with a dark room, devices that mostly connect via HDMI and who don't watch a lot of fast action movies / sport. Also, it's definitely cheap, probably the most affordable 40" LED on the market. But for me, it's a hard TV to recommend with its many shortfalls.

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  # 445011 2-Mar-2011 22:45
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 Dunnersfella: Interesting that not so long ago, Consumer's survey rated Samsung as the single least reliable TV brand in NZ. While at the same time saying that Panasonic and Sony were the best. 


92% for Samsung and 95% for Panasonic and SONY not needing repair after five years. They mentioned it in the review but felt it was statistically insignificant. This is the type of information that I find them invaluable for unless of course there are other avenues. For me I agreed that it wasn't significant but with information we can make our own decisions.

 If the review you've cited is the one I'm thinking of, it's comparing 10 tellies - ranging from just over 4k through to the cheapest of cheap Plasmas (that sell in the real world for around $600 - $699.
Paying $20 to get a 'generalist' magazines advice on what TV to buy doesn't ring true to me. If you want true expertise, look at AVForums.com, or maybe talk to Masterpiece. He calibrates TV's in NZ for a living - so knows them inside out.


I get the advice as a member, I don't pay for individual reports, value as always is subjective. I've been very happy with the membership across a range of subjects. Forums are always a great resource, but group tests are also valuable.

1: The motion is poor - not only is it sub-par compared to most other sets in its category. Samsung of course offer a 100Hz series 6 for a bit more, and hey, 100Hz certainly isn't for everyone, heck it's not for me. But a plasma's motion performance certainly is. 


I've found the motion excellent, like you I also don't like 100/200Hz or in fact most any consumer TV processing I have seen. I like film shot at 24p and the feel that gives. Nothing wrong with going to the movies with a refresh rate of 24Hz. Response times on LCDs are such that motion blur is largely undetectable to most people. Of course sport is shot in 50Hz which this model supports. Its enough for me. I'm surprised that you feel this model has sub-par motion compared to most other sets. In my experience it has no perceptible motion blurring.

2: The blacks, like all edge-lit LED's are poor. Turn off or dim the lights in your room and you'll see leakage that simply shouldn't be there. The uneven blacks are a weakness with most LED's though, not just the UA40C5000.


Blacks and contrast levels are the real trade offs between plasma and LCD, motion blur is not the issue it once was IMHO. The black levels and contrast in the UA40C5000 are great for an LED/LCD, but of course most modern plasmas are better in this respect. I'm watching Hellboy as I type and contrast is good enough, in fact fantastic compared to what we would have expected just a few years ago. 

This balances for me in the wins against a plasma. Weight, size, heat, fan noise, electricity consumption, possible burn in (not a big issue these days) but this judgement is subjective of course and the OP will have to make this call for themselves.

 3: The sound, like a lot of the LED's (Panasonic aside) is poor. Take a look at the size of the speakers, then compare it side to side compared to a Panasonic LED (TH-L42D20z). HUGE difference. There's next to no bass and treble is certainly lacking. If you're running a home theatre system that is negated... unless of course it's an older h/theatre... as there are no analogue outputs on the Samsung LED's. Sony and Panasonic LED's offer these.


I'm using a home theatre so sound wasn't a consideration, it does have analogue outputs, again the OP will have to comment. I couldn't make do with the speakers in any TV on the market so they are all equal to me. I doubt the HUGE difference you refer to would make them any more useful to me.

4: What happens if you want to plug in a non-HDMI DVD player and a black Sky box? Well, you have to reach around and unplug one every time you want to use it. After all, there's next to no analogue inputs (one composite, one component).


If you're spending a grand on a TV upgrade your DVD player to one with a hdmi output, money well spent. But even if you don't want to upgrade wouldn't you just connect the DVD player via component or DVI and the black sky box via HDMI? Or better yet plug them both into your receiver and the receiver connects to the TV?

 5: The reflection issues would drive a lot of users balmy. The high gloss screen is fantastic in dark or dimly lit rooms. But if you have an open plan room with a lot of light (most modern homes) - you're stuck with a very reflective panel with no contrast filter like that found on the V Series Panasonic plasmas. The reflective panels I've owned in the past were annoying for gaming (hard to spot detail in dark parts of first person shooters) and annoying for horrors etc, as all the details in the dark portions of the picture were difficult to make out.


I hate high gloss screens, this is no where near the worst, most plasmas are more reflective I would've thought but that comment is only from memory. I've had no problems in a light modern lounge. I'd also avoid the highly reflective screens, but the UA40C5000 isn't one of those. 

 YES - the power consumption is low. BUT, I'd be interested to compare the actual dollar savings when comparing it next to a similar sized NEOPDP set.


From consumer - $27/year for the UA40C5000, Panasonic P42V20Z $57/year. It's the money you save, but also the green consumer in me that likes this aspect of LEDs.

 As a TV, it works well for someone with a dark room, devices that mostly connect via HDMI and who don't watch a lot of fast action movies / sport. Also, it's definitely cheap, probably the most affordable 40" LED on the market. But for me, it's a hard TV to recommend with its many shortfalls.


I would add that its great in a bright room and fantastic for 24p movies (all of them) and 50Hz sport (I watch too much my wife says!)

In summary if it has the connections you need and you understand the trade offs between LEDs, LCDs and Plasmas then it makes a great TV!

As you say the OP could specify the devices they will connect to and then we can do our best to educate them on the pros and cons of the various options.
 



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  # 445023 2-Mar-2011 23:23
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Dunnersfella:
To allow us to help you more, here's a few questions.
1: What do you watch on TV? Sport? Doco's? Movies (BluRay's or DVD's)? Downloaded content?
2: What is your room like at the moment? Lots of windows / bright light?
Do you watch TV at night, during the day... with the room lights on or off?
3: What else are you plugging into your TV? DVD player? PC? BluRay player? Console? Camera?
4: Do you have a home theatre system? If so - what one, what type, how old?
5: How far do you sit from the TV?
6: Do you have Sky? Or will you be wanting to use Freeview? Are you in a Freeview area?


1. I watch a large variety of content. No SKY will be in the room, so there will be little sport I will watch, unlesss I view it via my computer. Lots of movies via PS3, be they BluRay or stored on portable media. Big time video gamer as well. The two main things that will be watched are video games and movies.

2. The side of the room where the TV will be is directly opposite to the windows in my room, so there is lots of natural light shining where the TV will go. There is a curtain to cover the windows luckily. Usually I watch TV both during the day and at night. The lights will usually be off, but sometimes I watch with a light on overhead.

3. Own a PS3 and multiple PS2s so more thank likely one of each will be plugged in. Also I like using my laptop on HDTVs as it has a HDMI out.

4. Not in the room where the TV is going no.

5. About 3 metres from the TV.

6. No SKY in the room where the TV is going. Freeview definitely is intended for use with the TV, as there is good Freeview HD coverage where I live.

Done a little bit more looking around, and just going to add some thoughts on different models.

Panasonic TH-P42U20Z ($988) - Good price for a Full HD 42" Plasma, but have heard bad reviews about it.
Sony KDL40EX400 ($947/$949) - Looks like it's great for it's price. Not sure about the visual performance. Has a lot of connectors for both HDMI and more traditional composite and component sources.
Sony KDL40EX500 ($1400) - Looks even better than the EX400, but a bit out of my price range.
Samsung LA40C550 ($1100) - Looks alright, but maybe slightly overpriced.
Samsung LA40 ($1387) - Same as the EX500.
Samsung UA40C5000 ($1198) - Looks very good and seems to be a steal for that price. Lack of connectors could be an anooyance, but I am not sure.


Thanks for your help.

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  # 445045 3-Mar-2011 02:46
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polglase:
Dunnersfella: Okay - you'll get a lot of opinions and 'expertise' when buying a TV.
First step, ignore pretty much everything that Consumer tries to tell you about TV's.
The advice is almost cringe worthy... I don't know if they've even turned on the sets they're testing.


To allow us to help you more, here's a few questions.
1: What do you watch on TV? Sport? Doco's? Movies (BluRay's or DVD's)? Downloaded content?
2: What is your room like at the moment? Lots of windows / bright light?
Do you watch TV at night, during the day... with the room lights on or off?
3: What else are you plugging into your TV? DVD player? PC? BluRay player? Console? Camera?
4: Do you have a home theatre system? If so - what one, what type, how old?
5: How far do you sit from the TV?
6: Do you have Sky? Or will you be wanting to use Freeview? Are you in a Freeview area?


Once you give us that info, we can help. Until then it'll be a bunch of posters throwing up their fav. brands / type of TV.


Interesting, can you give a specific criticism of consumer's coverage. Not many people get to take 10+ sets into a controlled environment and test them with different footage over a reasonable period of time and then give an unbiased opinion. Can you recommend any other on-line resources for group tests?

Quite frankly comparing a set you saw last month at a mates house to the one you're now looking at in Noel Leeming (or something to that effect) is ridiculously difficult assuming both sets are reasonably modern and comparable. There are a bewildering array of options and although many geekzoner's are extremely knowledgeable I doubt many have seriously spent time evaluating all of the available options.

Having spent a few months with the UA40C5000 I can say its an excellent set that is light, thin, hangs on the wall easily and is amongst the best in the class for energy consumption and heat output. With many years spent in the film and TV industry I can say I am very happy with the picture, night and day, lights on and off.

What I can't say is how it compares to every other option out there, which is where someone like consumer has a role to play. If you feel that their service is worthless I'd love to hear why... not that I want an argument, just genuinely interested in better critiquing their service in future Laughing

 


Re consumers testing, do they say the method they use for testing. How is each TV set up ? Are all TV placed next to each other or not. What about the room and lighting ? Do they have a panel of so called
experts looking at the screen, and who are these experts ?
Choosing the best picture is a bit like art. For example I like my picture to be more 'film' like. while others like a bright in your face picture.
At the end of the day it is all subjective.




"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -
  --  Abraham lincoln

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