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  1. #1
    Member stang8118's Avatar
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    What to look for in LCD TV's??

    Ok well first off I must admit I am pretty noobish when it comes to LCD/Plasma TV's. With that said here is pretty much what I will be using it for, and what I am looking to spend.

    What I am looking for:

    1) 40-46" LCD
    2) Something under $1,000
    3) 2+ HDMI inputs
    4) A TV I can hook my 5.1 surround sound up to

    What I will be using it for:

    1) Xbox 360... mostly sports games + CoD4
    2) Movies and regular TV

    Stuff I am no clue what it is/means

    1) What is a TV tuner built in mean? Is that important?
    2) Brightness? (I'd assume the higher the number the better?)
    3) Contrast? (Assume that is the clarity of the picture?)


    With that said, what would be an ideal model TV? I don't want to deal with Plasma, just because the short life of the screen really worries me.
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  2. #2
    Epic Fail Guy JamesXP's Avatar
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    TV tuner built in means that you can hook up an arial and watch TV, if it didnt have tuner, it couldt tune into TV channels, hehe


    If you use a cable TV service, the tuner isnt much of a thing to worry about, although most new LCDs come with freeview or freesat built in.
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  3. #3
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    A tv with a resolution of 1366 x 768 is always 720p.

    1920 x 1080 is 1080p and is 16:9. 1920 x 1200 is 16:10.

    Contrast ratio is important. The higher, the better. 1000:1, 2000:1, 5000:1, etc.

    Make sure TV has optical out. That's if you want 5.1. If you go HDMI from your cable box to your TV, the audio is in that cable too, but if you want 5.1, you'll need to output that from your TV to your receiver, or go from your cable box to your receiver then to your TV and eliminate the optical cable altogether.

    The bigger the set, the larger the pixels.

    a 46" tv with a resolution of 1366 x 768 is .746 dot pitch.
    a 40" tv with the same has a .648 dot pitch.

    46" 1080P tv has a dot pitch of .530 (1920 x 1080)

    I would look at 1080p only TV's. Once Blue ray comes down, this will be the norm.

    1600p is just around the corner... which is 2560 x 1600.

    TV's with digital tuners will be needed without a cable box to get "air" TV. As of February 19th, 2009. Analog air TV will be gone.

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  5. #5
    Member Illah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR-FIX-IT View Post
    I would look at 1080p only TV's. Once Blue ray comes down, this will be the norm.
    Agreed, anything less is uncivilized. Not sure if they're sub-$1000 yet in the 40-46" range, but it'll be worth going a little over budget, it's much more futureproof than 1080i/720p.

    As for the specs, in many cases they're fudged and can be pretty meaningless. Contrast ratios, brightness, etc...don't rely too much on that.

    Here's my recommended scenario:

    1. Head to Best Buy or whatever, look at all the sets. Pick a few that stand out to you for whatever reason.

    2. Read reviews on the sets you chose. Usually within the review or comments you'll find if there are better alternative choices.

    3. Find deals online somehow.

    I knocked several hundred off a *local* purchase by finding a Circuit City online coupon, stacked it with a sale, and ordered online with local pickup. Even with tax it was cheaper than online prices, and if there were any issues it'd be a snap to return.

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  6. #6
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    I wouldn't buy a 720pm TV as your Xbox360 does 1080p so you'd get immediate benefit.

    Contrast ratio figures are only comparible amongst the same manufacturer - each manufacturer measures them differently. Especially when they say "dynamic" contrast ratio.

    Personally, I'd go for a Samsung (series 6 or 7 if you have the cash, series 5 if you don't) or a Sony (V4000 series has won awards already over here afaik).

    You may struggle for under $1000 though, after having a quick look at some US electrical sites. Best Buy has the 40V4000 on sale at $1250ish.
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  7. #7
    Member Illah's Avatar
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    Yeah, another addition about specs, brightness can be even more meaningless as most calibration tools will put a sets brightness super-low. It's the only way to get deep blacks with an LCD. Just set a brighter preset for sunny daytime viewing.

    For example, at night for movies I run my backlight at a 1/10 setting with brightness low (in the 20's I think). In daytime I just keep the same basic settings but crank the backlight to the 5-7 range.

    --Illah

  8. #8
    Member stang8118's Avatar
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    Awesome! Thanks for the tips guys
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  9. #9
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    Great info in here. In the market for a new screen also as my 60 DLP just is not doing it for me anymore after seeing all the new LCDS.
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  10. #10
    Member SteveLord's Avatar
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    Not sure if you knew and since no one explained it...contrast ratio is the rating for the darkest black to the whitest white.

    Smaller ratios would have blacks looking more like grey for example.

  11. #11
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    Hm this is kind of off-topic, but I just got the 32" Sony Bravia 720P TV and I hooked it up to my computer and I was able to go all the way to 1920x1080 resolution, which is even higher than my main Samsung screen.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiggity View Post
    Hm this is kind of off-topic, but I just got the 32" Sony Bravia 720P TV and I hooked it up to my computer and I was able to go all the way to 1920x1080 resolution, which is even higher than my main Samsung screen.
    What input were you using? Most of the time when tv resolutions are listed (in pixels not format), they refer to the vga input.
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  13. #13
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    i would have to disagree a little on the 720p vs 1080p.
    on the set size he is looking at he would be fine with a 720 set.
    anything over 50-55" i would go with a 1080p though.
    you will not mitice that much of a diff if any between the 2.
    when i bought my 50 dlp samsung. they had the same thing in 720 and 1080. of course they had the sets not even close to each other. i made them move the tv's next to each other. watched some bd movies on both and i personally could not tell a diff. so i saved the 400 and got the 720. that 400 bumped me up in a better reciever and speakers.
    before i bought i did a tone of research over at avsforum.com.
    i suggest you do the same.
    there was an article/post over there that explained all this but i couldnt find it
    good luck and do lots of research

    a couple 720 vs 1080 articles
    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6810011-1.html look at 9 and 10
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=768167
    Last edited by rabiddawgs; 09-15-08 at 10:19 PM.

  14. #14
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    Great articles.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiggity View Post
    Hm this is kind of off-topic, but I just got the 32" Sony Bravia 720P TV and I hooked it up to my computer and I was able to go all the way to 1920x1080 resolution, which is even higher than my main Samsung screen.
    720p TVs will not display in 1920x1080. Some will accept a 1920x1080 input but these will downscale the picture to 720p.

    Quote Originally Posted by rabiddawgs View Post
    i would have to disagree a little on the 720p vs 1080p.
    on the set size he is looking at he would be fine with a 720 set.
    anything over 50-55" i would go with a 1080p though.
    you will not mitice that much of a diff if any between the 2.
    Personally (this is quite a subjective thing) I think the transition point is 37". 37" and under I would probably not go 1080p unless using it as my monitor. Over 37" I would go 1080p. I can tell a difference between 720p bluray and 1080p bluray when shown the two feeds. Everyone will see it differently though.

    OP: Go into Best Buy or somewhere and see a few sets, both 720p and 1080p.
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  16. #16
    Member TommyHolly's Avatar
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    1. Save yourself some money and buy a monitor only. (Why spend an extra $1,000 on inferior speakers built in to the TV and a TV tuner that you will never use because you use a HD-Cable-Tivo box?) This will get you a much nicer TV without useless things you'll never use. A built in TV tuner means that you don't need the Cable Box but that is usually not the case if you want all the expanded channels...in other words, it's useless unless you plan on only watching basic cable with no extras.

    2. If you don't want Plasma because of how long the TV will last, keep in mind by the time that TV breaks down, we will probably have wi-fi signals beamed directly into our heads and live in the Matrix...or Monkeys will rule the planet and Charleton Heston will be fighting them.) I like Plasma WAAAAY better because I hate seeing all those fragmented pixels in LCDs especially up close. Plasmas have much deeper Blacks and to me, look more like film instead of a pixely computer screen.

    3. Did you ever consider a projector if your room is dark enough, you could have a 106" screen...
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  17. #17
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    I am in agreement with those that said go 720 rather then1080.
    Because of your budget you'll get a nicer TV at 720p

    Reasons I went 720 over1080.
    I have a 500+ DVD collection, upconverting DVD players don't look any better from 720-1080, the cost of replacing those DVD's for Blu Ray would be more then a new car.
    I feel TV's will be on a 5-10 Year upgrade cycle, the costs and improvements in TV's will make all techies look to "hand down" there older units for newer ones, this in 5 years when the Norm is 80" screen 1" thick and you still are watching DVD's more then BluRays

    as for Brands

    I love LG, I have no complaints nor do any of my friends who came to me for advice, I am an ANTI Sony person because of there business practices not there technology.

    You should troll around the furniture stores, and places like BB and CC looking for floor model 720p Sets ideally you want a 120hz set vs a 60hz set, with regular action DVD's you notice the difference.
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  18. #18
    Member NiTrO bOiE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyHolly View Post
    1. Save yourself some money and buy a monitor only. (Why spend an extra $1,000 on inferior speakers built in to the TV and a TV tuner that you will never use because you use a HD-Cable-Tivo box?) This will get you a much nicer TV without useless things you'll never use. A built in TV tuner means that you don't need the Cable Box but that is usually not the case if you want all the expanded channels...in other words, it's useless unless you plan on only watching basic cable with no extras.
    Built-in tuners aren't necessarily useless. All of the major networks (Fox, NBC, CBS) broadcast HD OTA (over-the-air). Unless he wants to pay extra for a few more channels (such as ESPN-HD Discovery-HD) then he'll be fine. (Your cable provider may have a better line up than mine)

    I myself, don't like the fact that my cable company requires me to "rent" the set-top for a few more channels (even if I purchased my own set-top I can't use it... it's how they milk extra money from customers), so I'm sticking to OTA.
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  19. #19
    Member Shiggity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NiTrO bOiE View Post
    What input were you using? Most of the time when tv resolutions are listed (in pixels not format), they refer to the vga input.
    It was DVI (computer) -> HDMI (TV)

    I also agree with 720P over 1080P atm, UNLESS you have a gigantic blu-ray collection or plan on making a huge one. I don't think any TV stations broadcast in 1080p either, and HD channels look pretty darn good on my 720P set. Well I guess it just depends on what size you want, anything 40" and over you're pretty much forced to get 1080P.

    All in all, anything in high def (720P and higher) looks amazing anyways.

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  20. #20
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    I disagree with the 720p fans. 720p is a dying standard, like HD-DVD.

    The vast majority of broadcast is 1080i, bluray is 1080p, and even new HD technologies like Dish TurboHD now stream 1080p. Yes, it's compressed, but it looks damn good, it's not Comcastic. XBox360 & PS3 are 1080p most of the time. If you ever hook up a computer for whatever reason you get a bunch more rez.

    And, going by the same logic of a 5-10 year upgrade path, why spend 5-10 years with something that's pretty near obsolete already?

    If you can't afford a decent 1080p set now, just wait and save up a bit rather than wasting money on a lower end set now.

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