TVs & Home Theaters forum


Flat screen recommendation with the following parameters.

by Gregness / February 4, 2013 8:25 AM PST

Hi Folks,
Hey, I want to get a new TV and need some advice. I know are lots of posts asking for recommendations and I've read a bunch. It's hard to reconcile all the answers as applied to my needs so I thought I would ask some questions myself!

I would love to hear what TV you might think would meet the following criteria (most important first)

40-46 inches
Best Picture
Minimal spotlighting and good uniform dark blacks*
good with sports.

*A little back story: I'm taking back a recently purchased Vizio 46 inch TV for $650. It looked pretty decent until I watched movies with scenes that take place in dark settings and the dark backgrounds were showed brightness towards the edges. (spotlighting?) The bottom left corner had more spotlighting than the others. I played around with all sorts of setting, eventually setting the backlight to about 5 reduced the problem a good deal but then the picture ended up too dark. Next I read a bunch about calibrations and adjustments, tried them, followed various others settings but still, I could not get the image to my liking.

Wifi, smart TV, 3d, etc would be fun but none of these are critical. Best picture and minimal spotlighting (now that I know what spotlighting is) are key for me. I'm willing to go smaller if that helps. My maximum budget max is around $750. (Actual price). I'm looking for suggestions for a tv that just really looks great given my criteria.

Thanks so much!


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All Answers

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Sounds like a Plasma to me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 4, 2013 8:45 AM PST

LCD might be ok but at that price point it may be a rough search. Did you look at plasma sets?

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You won't find plasma smaller than your range
by Pepe7 / February 4, 2013 11:45 AM PST

Also, most of the 42" plasmas don't have the same PQ as the 50" models either. That would be the size plasma where you would be getting the most bang for your buck IME and O.

Most of the LED models in your price range aren't strong performers either, so that's probably not going to be the choice. See if you can find a Samsung plasma or two that you like and post the model numbers back here so we get a sense of choosing between A & B.

Is there any reason why you would have to stick with 46 or less, btw(?)

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Don't think I can fit (or afford) a 50 inch plasma
by Gregness / February 5, 2013 1:02 AM PST

Thanks for your help guys.

I still have the Vizio mentioned earlier, and I have 30 days to determine whether I want to return it or not.

The spotlighting is noticeable when the room is darkened and the scenes are dark, but when watching during the daytime, or when the lights are on, the picture is quite good. Ideally, I thought I could just set it up, tweak things a touch and not have to adjust the image thereafter. But it seems that I'll be setting it to "movie" for movies and during and set it to "sports" for sports, etc. Do you folks typically change the settings depending on what you are watching?

There is a fair amount of reflection however on the screen however, especially from a window that's directly behind my seating in this room. I had a 27 inch Sony before this one and I guess the reflections weren't as noticeable due to the much smaller size. Is it typical to have some reflection effect on these bigger TVs?

So I have a little time to keep playing around. I don't think I can fit a 50" plus TV. The sofa is only about 6.5 feet from this TV and I think bigger might be too much. Also a smaller screen might not "amplify" problems as much as a bigger one I'm guessing.

Again, thanks for your help.


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I use custom settings most of the time
by Pepe7 / February 5, 2013 5:13 AM PST

It depends on the source though.

You should be looking at obtaining inexpensive blinds/room darkening shades to help maximize PQ & the overall viewing experience. A large, wide flat panel will indeed be reflecting more than any SD TV ever would. You are correct that discrepancies/faults are definitely more noticeable when you blow them up to such large pixel sizes.

Finding a 42 or 46 plasma of any kind is getting harder by the day unfortunately. Most of the better quality Panny plasmas now start @ 50".

I'm not a huge fan of Vizio for PQ reasons, and for the fact that getting parts to repair them can be a chore.

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If you were me, what would you buy?
by Gregness / February 6, 2013 8:59 AM PST

So, if you were me, which tv would you buy?
Budget, $650.
Best picture for the money.
Don't need smart, or 3d.
I can go down to 40 inches or so. i do like sports so reasonably fast.
Minimal spotlightin-uniform background
I should also mention that I would keep the Vizio (I still have it) and could tolerate the spotlighting except that it's uneven and very proonounced in one corner) So minimal and at least even spotlighting or cloudiness.
My 2 leading canidates are Philips 46PFL5907 and a Samsung UN46ES6003F.
Thanks, an this should be the last of my annoying quetions!

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You can eliminate the Philips right away...
by Pepe7 / February 7, 2013 12:15 AM PST

...since they're terrible, and support is nonsense.

That Samsung LED seems like it may fit the bill. Just make sure whoever you buy it from has a decent return policy if you aren't satisfied vs what you have now.

Also, make sure you get the 46" size if possible to maximize your bang for the buck.

If you want to come back with comparisons between two difference plasma models, that would work too.

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Couple of Ideas
by Dan Filice / February 8, 2013 8:43 AM PST

I purchased a 46" Panasonic 720p Plasma for a guest room and it's fantastic. Bought it at Costco for $450. They now sell the same TV but it's 1080p, and it's slightly more $$. My youngest son bought last years Panasonic 50" 1080p Plasma at BB for $800 (less now), and it's also has a great picture. But my 720p Plasma is a better performer than any LCD or LED in that size, especially for sports and movies. No blotches, no pixel or image lag. Only negative is that it's not "sun burn" bright like most LED sets, but in a reasonable room it's great.

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You were right, I was wrong....
by Gregness / February 9, 2013 3:13 AM PST

I bought a plasma! I ended up buying the Panasonic TC-P50U50 (plasma). Love it. Despite what I said about not wanting to go over 47", this one (at 50") offers a picture that is so easy on the eyes that it doesn't overwhelm. It's perfectly bright when you're not seeing it next to uberbright LCD's.

It is annoying that Panasonic bills it as "smart" and "3d" yet they do not package it with the wireless or the 3d glasses to enable smartness or 3d-ness.

Thanks again for pushing me in this direction and all your help.

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If you look around a little...
by Pepe7 / February 9, 2013 10:53 AM PST

...Panasonic is known for being the 'premium' brand that is chosen for great PQ and not for freebies. That's why other brands package the whole shebang.

Why does 'smart' necessarily imply that it has wireless built in(?) [Hopefully we aren't having another such discussion on CNET Wink ] Heck, just plug your new Panny in into your router with a basic ethernet cable. Save yourself the hassle of dealing with wireless issues on an HDTV and enjoy the fun of having a networked display.

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