TVs & Home Theaters forum

Question

LED TV and Soundbar - need help and recommendations!!

by dawg220 / April 2, 2013 9:55 AM PDT

I am about to buy an LED TV and a soundbar, but I need several questions answered before I make this large purchase.

I currently have a Sharp Aquos LED TV that is about 8 years old. It works just as good as it did the day I bought it, but I want a larger one. I want to get a smart TV that is 50 to 60 inches. I am not set on a Sharp, but I want to purchase a name brand that will have the best reliability. I know that Samsung makes a really good product, but I am a little iffy on the reliability of Samsung. I am probably going to get my TV from Bestbuy as they do price match and are local. They have a 60 inch Sharp (60LE650U) that is $1200. I was hoping to spend no more than $1000 on the TV, but I am thinking that I may be able to haggle with them since I will be buying multiple items. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. And any input on Bestbuy's warranty program would also be appreciated.

Now for the soundbar... I have a Sony surround sound system right now, but have just moved into a new house and am thinking that it would be easier to buy a soundbar than it would be to install the surround sound system. Hiding the wires for the system is going to be close to impossible in my new house - and I don't feel like paying $500 to get it installed (bestbuy quoted me $480..). I don't want to spend more than $300 on the soundbar. I know this limits me quite a bit, but any input on which soundbar would be greatly appreciated.

Should I get bestbuy to install the soundbar and mount the TV and TV mount? Or would it be easier for me to just do it myself? Also, I know that if I purchase the warranty, Bestbuy will repair or replace my TV if it has even 1 pixel go out. Would it be worth purchasing this warranty? And last of all, do you think they would be willing to work with me on the price if I purchase everything from them?

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All Answers

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Answer
Woah. Smart TV? Are you sure?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2013 10:19 AM PDT

I don't want to pick on that name but when their servers go down you can't use the apps. It's an awful design and until they back off being so pushy maybe I'd consider them again.

I'm not sure if all smart tv's do that but the name you noted does so will you be upset with a smart TV that you can't use the apps when the maker decides to do maintenance or just tosses the services off a cliff?

No sale here.
Bob

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Wow... Thanks for the info
by dawg220 / April 2, 2013 11:20 AM PDT

I didn't realize that the apps required the servers to work.. Does anyone know if all brands of smart tv's are like this? or how often this happens?

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So far, not all.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 2, 2013 11:59 AM PDT
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To be honest...
by Pepe7 / April 2, 2013 3:08 PM PDT

...it's a small inconvenience for most affected by this.

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That is what I was hoping to hear
by dawg220 / April 3, 2013 12:59 AM PDT
In reply to: To be honest...

That is what I was hoping to hear. I know that sony's playstation network also does that on occasion, but it really isn't a big deal.

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My opinion is that Smart Hub as it is, must go away.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 3, 2013 1:07 AM PDT

The company has had multiple outages and then odd issues such as if the date/time of the TV is off, Netflix either doesn't work or buffers a lot. I had a chat with someone at this company and even small problems such as tossing the error message "Error Model Bind" will not be fixed.

You have to have worked with outsourced developers and you get the feeling that while it does change with the person or group you work with, there is a cultural effect that you can't ignore.

This company can't correct the small issues and the outages amplify the design flaw.

As it stands, I can't write that Smart Hub adds value. If anything they should give a discount on models with that.
Bob

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But the convenience of the apps?
by dawg220 / April 3, 2013 2:32 AM PDT

The reason I wanted to purchase a smart tv in the first place is that it has the apps. It would mean I wouldn't have to run netflix through my ps3 - I could simply access it via my smart tv. I realize that Smart Hub has it's negatives, but the fact is that when you are looking at 55"+ models (samsung or sharp) the TVs that do not have the smart hub are few and far between. Also, the TV's with smart hub cost the same or less than the ones without it. And the 3d tvs are only on average 100 to 200 dollars more than the smart tvs (but I do NOT want a 3D tv.. I hate the concept..).

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Exactly.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 3, 2013 2:45 AM PDT

If you can get it for less or for free, why not. But it has a basic flaw they can't seem to admit. It feels as bad as Microsoft and the start button.
Bob

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Answer
Install it yourself- put that savings toward a better HDTV
by Pepe7 / April 2, 2013 3:02 PM PDT

Truth be told, the PQ of that Sharp is nothing special. If you are looking at LED models, you will be spending closer to $2K to get one with decent picture quality at 60" size. Keep in mind the large the panel, the easier it will be to notice fine details/differences in picture quality. Smaller sizes/longer viewing distances, not so much.

$500 to mostly hide wires? Highway robbery at best . You could take your time on this and learn how to do it yourself. Either consult with a dedicated AV forum such as AVS, or be amazed at what Youtube has available to you freely, describing the entire process (yes, it's there.) Soundbars really don't require anything special for 'installation' other than finding a spot to mount (easy stuff). IMO you would be better off in the long run sticking with a true surround system that can bring out the best in your movies, etc. Soundbars are a step back to say the least if you are used to surround.

We could save you a little more by telling you where you can buy decent quality but reasonably priced HDMI cables, etc. vs what Best Buy will try to squeeze you for the same thing ;). And If the overall cost of a true surround system vs soundbar is the issue, maybe pick up the HDTV now and add the sound system later on when the money is available(?) <Been there, done that.> In general you have to spend quite a lot to get bargaining power when you are buying mostly lower end products from a big box store. You don't have much room for wiggle with margins so slim. Just buy online instead if you want a better price all around.

Whether or not an extended warranty on an HDTV is worthwhile is likely to generate a variety of answers, mostly based on personal experience. My gut feeling is, if you can spare the extra expense, it may not be the worst idea since even the best HDTVs can go bad from time to time. It's definitely not the same as buying an extended warranty on an auto. Consumer electronics are much more fickle. The mass produced electronic components inside HDTVs often have issues. That said, you may do just as well by riding it out on this new HDTV like you did with the first one that apparently lasted quite a long time w/o any problems(?) Also, replacement cost now is a heck of a lot less than it used to be for a similarly sized HDTV.

Regarding the Smart TV issue, keep it mind it may be tough to find one that also has the PQ you want at that $1K price point. The lower end LED HDTV market is nothing special. This is how companies like Vizio get their foot in the door though. They add a lot of 'features' <ahem> on top off very marginal PQ HDTVs with poor support later on. IMO the 8000 series Samsung models would be a great improvement over the 6 series Sharp you are looking at, although it is priced somewhat accordingly.

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I am on a budget..
by dawg220 / April 3, 2013 2:27 AM PDT

I understand that at the $1000 price point I am not going to be able to get the top of the line LED tv, but I can't afford much more than that. The 8000 series samsungs are anywhere from $1800 to $2800, which takes them out of the picture completely. My options really come down to the 6 series sharp or the 6000 series samsung models. I can get either of these for between $950 and $1300. Any suggestions as to which of these might be a better option?

I took your advice and looked on youtube for some "how to install surround sound speaker wires" tutorial videos. I found several for how to run speaker wire through walls, but the way my house is designed, I would have to pull off the baseboards and try to run the speaker wire behind them after running it down the wall. There is not a drop ceiling or an attic above the room I am going to install this in. I think it would just be easier to purchase a soundbar than to spend countless hours/days/weeks learning how to drill through the studs in my wall and then try to repair the drywall. I am also going to need to figure out how to hide the electrical cord for my TV...

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There are other methods to hide wires
by Pepe7 / April 3, 2013 1:02 PM PDT
In reply to: I am on a budget..

If you spend some time around the HT/AV sites, you can learn about raceways that you can install on the cheap in order to hide wires. To be perfectly honest though, you overestimate the time involved to learn how to do this type of install properly through walls. It's the fear factor that's holding you back right now. If you have enjoyed proper surround sound up to this point, you may be quite disappointed at the results from even one of the 'better rated' <ahem> sound bar.

How about buying the HDTV now, and budgeting to upgrade the sound system next year(?)

My choice would be the Samsung over the Sharp at that price point. Sharp is overpriced.

Tip regarding netflix: Don't rely on a wireless connection for this HDTV to get your Netflix content. Go wired with a simple ethernet/cat5 cable from the router. If the router is too far away, use a wireless bridge as a partial solution.

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