TVs & Home Theaters forum


Really need some TV buying advice

by karismom2 / January 18, 2013 10:36 AM PST

I have read so many of the television reviews here and they are incredibly helpful.

I really could use some advice. I realize much of this is personal preference but I'm at the point where I am not even sure what my personal preference is.

I am looking to purchase a TV for a newly-designed (large) family room on the second level of my home. It is over the 2-car garage and is approximately that size.

Until now I've been using a 36 inch LCD (LE brand) which is about 6 or 8 years old. It isn't working properly anymore and this will be my first "real" TV.

I'm a divorced mom of 3 (two who live with me) and I'm a researcher by profession so I have researched this to death.

Originally I was going to go with a 50" Panasonic tc-P50st50 based on reviews here and other places and also because everyone told me how much better PQ the plasmas have. The other option was the 51" Samsung plasma 6500 series which has comparable reviews.

My daughter (11) really wants 3D. I could not care less about 3D but she thinks it's fantastic. And I would really like to be able to stream movies from Amazon prime and netflix. To this point I mostly just watch SD television (I don't even pay for HD viewing with my dish service now, but that will change). Thus the Smart TV and 3D.

So, I don't know what I am looking at. I keep reading that the "blacks are so much better" on the plasma, but I don't really even know what this means. The room itself is not overly lit - has only a small window, so light control won't be a problem. But to be honest, I'm really asking myself if the plasma TV will be bright enough for me. I prefer a brighter screen and am used to the LCD. When I went into Best Buy the plasmas all looked washed out and not bright at all and the LCDs looked so much better. From the reviews there is always the promise that you can't trust what you see in the stores and that once you correctly calibrate a plasma the PQ will be so much better than an LED. But then the reviews go on to talk about how the picture is not as bright.

I guess I just don't know what a "high quality picture" is, perhaps... because to me, a dull or dark picture is not a high quality picture. I don't want wild lighting and weird unnatural tones either, but most of the TVs I saw in Best Buy didn't look like that to me.

To top it off, I have decided that I really want at least a 60" so that makes the LED's in that range really expensive.

Currently the 55" Panasonic Viero tc-P55U50 is on sale for a great $859. I almost pulled the trigger on this yesterday, but I'm even more unsure if the lower end model of the Panasonic would be a good enough picture quality and it's a 55" not a 60". Still, the price.... I'm looking at 60" models that cost more than twice as much. But I don't want to settle. I'm confused... any advice/help would be wonderful.

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All Answers

Collapse -
Easier if you avoid analysis paralysis
by samkh / January 18, 2013 11:16 PM PST

1. Stick with top tiers like Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG
2. Start at the middle of their price-feature range and look up - PQ is very very subjective: if you like what you see, buy it no matter who else says what
3. Don't overinvest; buy only features you need - DumbTVs can be quickly smartened via media player like WD TV Live
4. Plasma in the home is not as dim as it might seem in the showroom compared to LCD; I have both, I love both
5. Today's 120Hz LCD is pretty good on motion; only fastidious fast motion sports fans & gamers would quibble
6. Pay for fashion; who wants a bulky plastic frame of 50"-70"?
7. 3D? sigh, if she wants it and you can't say no, what is your choice?
8. Don't forget Costco and Sam's Club if you are a member

Good luck.

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You really need to search this forum
by Pepe7 / January 21, 2013 4:12 AM PST

There have been dozens of similar threads on plasma vs LCD/LED.

That said, I will repeat what I have said previously. Plasma is capable of providing a superior picture, provided you have adequate light control.

I would go up one level though from the U50 since that's where the Panny's start to shine, PQ-wise. You were probably referring to the UT50, which includes the fast switching phosphors/infinite black panel technologies. I'd steer you up one level to the ST50 if your budget permits though. A much better panel, but in a very controlled light environment, the UT50 could suffice.

Tell you daughter that 3D still is really very toy-like and not worth worrying about on a home flat panel. Future version of 3D will be much, much better.

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