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726 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 445096 3-Mar-2011 10:48
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The first thing I'd look at  is your viewing distance. 3m gives you a 52 inch 720p telly. Alternatively if you really want a 1080p you'll be looking at at 42 inch sitting 1.6m away. (theres loads of info out there on ideal viewing distances so check that out). Clearly you will need to compromise something - sitting distance or full HD.

Given you are going from an old CRT (which I presume is 4:3 square TV) to a 16:9 widescreen I reckon you'll get a lot of enjoyment from that simple move - the rest becomes  bonus. 

I'd be inclined to compromise the HD. I reckon its unlikely you'll really want to move your sitting distance up to 1.6 m to make the most of full HD - even though you have blue ray. So this leaves you in the market for 720P which means you get to take full advantage of Freeview HD broadcast and get to enjoy blue ray in not quite its full glory. Also since you haven't got a Home Theater system you probably aren't maximizing the whole "home theater" experience so you can get away with some compromise.

As luck would have it Noel Leeming have a 50 inch 720p panasonic plasma at $1199. Panasonic is a highly respected brand. Plasma may still have the edge on LCD at this size, 720P will be fine for you. And its just in your price range. Shop around and you might get it cheaper.

OK - so you are going to compromise your HD. But I reckon if you get the 50 inch home and take the time to calibrate it you will do much better than buying any HD off the shelf and just plug and play once at home. Calibration is a MUST!

(And its been said earlier - no one ever regrets getting the biggest TV they can afford. You will regret getting a little TV even if it is full HD cos you'll always be wanting that extra few inches.) 

15392 posts

Uber Geek


  # 445101 3-Mar-2011 11:05
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I don't think i'd buy a 720p TV any more, even though you get a bigger TV I expect it'd be lower quality overall. I know that 720p plasma, after looking at it I discounted it, but I guess it'd be ok for some people.

My older Samsung LCD is 720p and is definitely inferior to my new 50" 1080p LCD TV, though a lot of that will just be general improvements not 720p vs 1080p.

5.1 sound really does make a big difference with a home theater.


3624 posts

Uber Geek

  # 445102 3-Mar-2011 11:08
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I'm not sure if you're 100% with how film is shown at the movies.
If it was displayed on the big screen at 24 frames per second it would look terrible.
Each frame is actually displayed twice... I guess we should call it 48Hz.
Now obviously 48Hz doesn't quite 'fit' into NZ's 50Hz TV's, and unless your TV is capable of showing 72Hz footage (often listed at 24p film mode or similar), you'll either get audio that isn't at the correct pitch, movies running under time or juddering while panning. I do not believe the 5 Series from Samsung is capable of true '24Hz film mode' however.
If you want an example on your LED, watch the rolling credits on a BluRay like Avatar - they judder as they roll up the screen, to the point that it's almost unwatchable.
Another example that a lot of people noticed (but no longer can) would be the Freeview HD demo channel when they showed the Galapagos Islands. The scene with the lizards on the rocks features slow panning across a challenging background, and frankly, even the Samsung 100Hz panels struggled. The likes of the decent Panasonic, Samsung and LG plasmas shone though. As did the 100Hz Sony's. Pity the demo is no longer on TV as it would be easy for the OP to view at his local Big Box store.

Re: Black levels, I think that's a thing you only ever notice when two sets are sitting side by side, showing the same content.
However, after owning a 46V Panasonic, every time I see an LED in a dark environment I'm always glad I went with the plasma, no washed out greys :-)
Also, check out a movie that displays the black bars at the top and the bottom - now turn out the lights in your room. You'll see light leakage at the top and bottom of the display. That's an LED fault, very common too.

How does weight come into it?
It's not as if people lift up TV's except for the initial trip home? Sure, in theory LED's cost less to manufacture, need smaller boxes and weigh less to ship home... yet we still get charged more for them!!
I'm picking we must be paying more... for less?
Re: size, I'm guessing you're talking thickness?
Well unless you fork out for the Samsung ultra-low profile wall bracket, the benefit of a slim TV escapes me...
It's not like I ever sit side on to my TV to watch it.

Re: Energy use, if it's just $3 per month I'd see it as a great trade off for performance.! Especially as the screen is larger, the picture is better, the colours more accurate etc etc. For me, I'd spend the extra money on getting a TV calibrated (either with a calibration disc or a professional calibrator) as that would typically see an energy saving of 10% over a standard, out of the box TV. If I was off the grid it may matter, but I'm not... although you wouldn't know that right now in Chch. Fan noise? NEOPDP plasmas don't use fans...
BUT - some models do hum slightly when they display a bright white screen. Of course LED and LCD's do too, but some models are better/worse than others.
Oh and as far as burn in goes, I've not seen that in ages. I have however, seen significant image retention (non-permanent) on the Samsung Series 7 plasmas.

Re: Sound - the OP needs to go into stores and compare the sound quality. It really is a HUGE difference. If the budget isn't there (Uni student) to buy a decent h/theatre, then a TV with good sound is key.

If you're on a budget (as the OP has stated) and you have to either buy component cables, or a new DVD player... then you may as well spend the $'s on the next model up... Also, what DVD players on the market use DVI?
And the Black Sky box cannot be connected via HDMI - only MySky has that option. You can run component via scart on the silver Sky box though.

My personal ratings for screens that can deal with bright lights are as follows... Worst to best.
The likes of the Sharp LED's have the most reflective screens, followed closely by Samsung, Panasonic U and X series plasmas.
The Sony LED's and LCD's under 2k all have older 8 bit, matt finished screens (that are brilliant in brightly lit rooms, but suffer from poor off-axis viewing.
Then the Samsung 6+7 series plasmas and the Panasonic V series.
The LG and Panasonic LED's + LCD's offer great IPS panels, so not only do you get anti-glare panels, but you also enjoy 10 (or is it 12?) bit displays that have great off-axis viewing.
The OP needs to go into a store and see this for himself, it is quite noticeable - but make sure the panels are all in a relatively similar position to a bright light source (the stores doors etc).

3624 posts

Uber Geek

  # 445108 3-Mar-2011 11:23
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Well then, make sure your new TV offers a game mode setting. Something that the KDL40EX400 doesn't.
Game mode essentially turns off all the things that impact on input lag (100Hz / picture enhancers etc) - so it's crucial for LED's and LCD's, less so for plasmas, they inherently have lower lag for gaming.
For your seating position, you 'may' be able to get away with a glossy panel if you don't mind closing the curtains during the day and have well lined drapes. If not, my experience that glossy panels bug the daylights out of me for gaming.
With the devices you're plugging in, all the TV's listed below should work just fine.

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) - The U series Panasonic won't pixel map 100% as it's only capable of displaying 1080 lines of resolution for still images, not moving images... so it's not quite there for what you need.

Sony KDL40EX400 ($947/$949) - No gaming mode, there are better choices.

Sony KDL40EX500 ($1400) - This is my pick for you, it features game mode, an anti-glare screen and the 8 bit panel won't be an issue as BluRay is 8 bit, and you don't have an up-scaling amplifier that takes advantage of 10 or 12 bit displays. The XMediaBar menu system will integrate with the PS3, meaning you don't need dual remote controls to control both devices. The sound is okay, not quite the leader (Sharp have forward facing speakers and sound the best, but it's not on your list).

Samsung LA40C550 ($1100) - My number two pick for you, but the lack of direct integration with the PS3 or an anti-glare screen put it into 2nd place.

Samsung LA40 ($1387) - The added features of the 6 series over the 5 won't be necessary for gaming... as the 100Hz isn't required when playing video games. And who cares about internet connectivity on a TV when a PS3 is plugged in!

Samsung UA40C5000 ($1198) - This sits at 3rd for me, but it really is let down by its sound and its ability to deal with bright lights.

Now - take my opinion with a grain of salt and drop into some stores and check out the displays. Take your PS2 or PS3 with you and plug them in, watch a movie of your choice and let us all know how everything goes. Smile

21 posts


  # 445632 4-Mar-2011 18:58
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Finally decided on the EX400 for $950, plus got a surge protector and HDTV aerial thrown in, so I'm happy. Thanks to everyone here for the knowledge and advice. Ended up being a case of LA40C550 vs KDLEX400, and I took the option which I felt would be more beneficial.

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