Which TV

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by Early riser, 3 Dec 2020.

  1. Early riser

    Early riser

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    Going to buy a new 40 to 50” television set and am limited to £500.00. Clearly I want as many extras like Netflix etc but am unsure which ones I should look for. Any recommendations as to which make would be reliable and give me most for my money?
     
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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    Far better to buy a non-smart television and a separate device for the online services.

    If it's all integrated into the TV, you can only use it as long as the manufacturer supports the services and provides updates. Once that ends, you will have to buy a separate box anyway.
     
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  4. Iamchamps

    Iamchamps

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    Buy a Samsung or LG you be good for 5-10 years or so
     
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  5. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Budget LGs are turning out to be a bit of a poor choice for reliability. There are high rates of back-light failure.


    The company has always aimed to offer more features for a comparable price to its main competitors. These are Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. For example, if everyone else's TVs have 3 HDMI sockets then the LG will have four; or it would include a Freesat tuner when everyone else is just Freeview; or the set would include Wi-Fi where the rest needed a cable Ethernet connection. Whatever the trending feature du jour happened to be, LG would be the one to offer it at the most competitive price point.


    Whilst the approach certainly appeals to those buyers who like to tick a lot of boxes, inevitably there's a price to pay. Often it would be something the buyer wouldn't realise until well after purchase. Currently, the LG Achilles Heel is its LED backlights.


    - To put it simply, the company is fitting far too few, and then driving the ones that remain much too hard.


    There are three consequences to this. The first is that LG screens look a tad duller than the big brand competitors. It's not enough to be an instant turn off, but when watching ordinary TV the image doesn't have quite the impact of its rivals.


    Second, there's not much extra oomph left to make HDR images noticeably brighter than the TV's non-HDR performance. The real WOW factor is missing when switching to premium HDR content from disc or streaming.


    Third, and most concerning, is the premature failure of the backlights. Early signs of failure are purple colour staining in parts of the screen. Eventually the screen goes dark completely as one or more LEDs die. In extreme cases it is accompanied by the smell of burning plastic. That's rather worrying.


    Within the trade we first started noticing complaints about the lack of brightness of the budget LG sets around five years ago. About 2 year later there were enough cases of premature backlight failure to say with some confidence that LG had made a problem for themselves.


    Fast forward to today and I can spot the consequences of LG's cost cutting. Both Richer Sounds and John Lewis include a 5-year warranty FOC with their TVs. Now consider the cost to them of having to fix all the LG sets with bad backlights. That tells you why John Lewis has quietly scaled back on LG, and why Richer Sounds appears to have dropped the the smaller cheap sets all together.


    It's important to emphasise here that LG's higher-end regular LED and premium Nano Cell LEDs don't appear to be affected. LG's OLED are similarly immune since they don't use LED back-lights at all. It's a different tech.



    Alternative budget brands:

    Sony - A 43" UHD set will be at the top end of your budget, and you won't get quite so many bells and whistles, but all the basics should be there. What's important is that the panels are good and so is the image processing. This is important when watching anything that isn't a native UHD/4K image. Sony KD43X7052


    Panasonic - The TX40HX800 has support for all the HDR formats and great motion processing and image scaling for a 50Hz set. The app support is good too. The caveats are price (discounted to £550 but still more than you can afford) and the narrower viewing angles on the panel. There's a cheaper range, the HX580, which seems to be a staple of Argos and Currys. The paper spec seems on a par but I don't know if the picture performance is up to scratch. Also, Panasonic's cheaper-end sets are now made out of the same factories that produce Bush, Alba, and the rest of the supermarket/catalogue shopping cheap tellies. The TXxxG and TXxxGS series are almost undoubtedly Vestel models. Tread carefully.


    Samsung - UE43TU8000 is £379 at John Lewis. Worth a look. It will have a decent panel and better scaling and motion processing than an equivalent LG


    Philips - slightly controversial because the Philips brand was sold off to a company called TPV. However, this isn't just a badge stuck on some or other cheap TV à la Toshiba, Hitachi etc. TPV is the worlds largest supplier of LCD monitor panels, and has been for over a decade. The Philips TV deal included the Philips technologies such as their scaling and motion processing tech. It also took over Philips European manufacturing plants.


    In this part of the market Philips isn't going to go head-to-head with the likes of Sony, Samsung and the better-quality Panasonic sets. However, compared to buying say a Hisense or Sharp or any of the remaining brands I'd definitely give their products a good look first. The Ambilight tech in the 43PUS7805 @ £399 is also very effective.


    Hisense - a Chinese TV brand aiming to rock the boat by following LGs model of offering a lot for fewer £££s than the competition. Be careful when looking up reviews for the brand in general. It makes some higher-end product (with higher-end prices to match) which is very good. This isn't the same as the budget/mid-range product though. The picture quality isn't on a par with Philips or even Sharp IMO.


    Sharp - made in Slovakia by a firm called UMC. They, and Vestel from Turkey, make a lot of the catalogue/value brands. Sharp is improving in quality to the point where the Japanese company has now repurchased a share in the TV brand. Much like Hisense though, there are different strata of products and none that is equal to when Sharp was a wholly-owned Japanese brand. The scaling on the budget UHD 4K TVs I've seen so far leaves something to be desired.



    With the exception of TCL and Cello, the rest of the TV market whether its Bush, Alba, Hitachi, Toshiba, Technika, Polaroid or anything not covered above is probably rebadged product from UMC or Vestel or some faceless Chinese manufacturer with varying degrees of cost cutting depending on the price points it is targeted to hit.
     
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  6. Lucid

    Lucid

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    What the manufacturer specs don't tell you...

    I won't say that the manufacturers lie, but lets just say that they can be economical with the truth. [​IMG]


    The TV manufacturing industry is incredibly cutthroat. Samsung and LG both make a profit by virtue of their size and market dominance. Sony and Panasonic both posted horrific losses for their TV manufacturing divisions. Other brands eke out a living either by dominating a market sector (budget TVs from Vestel and UMC etc), or selling the same product under different brands (Vestel and UMC again), or by specialising in certain markets (Cello) or they have some investors with deep pockets.


    Whatever is going on, it can't have escaped your notice that for any given TV size in the UHD market that there's a really wide gap between the cheapest and most expensive products on offer. The difference is way more than can be justified simply by saying product 'A' is a premium brand.


    In the budget end of the market, once all the fat is cut away, then the only place left to reduce costs is in the component quality. A big part of this is the panels. Older generation panels are cheaper but off the pace technically. They find their way in to cheaper sets. The same is true of the motion processing and image upscaling tech. Budget sets just aren't as good, and with some of the poorer ones you're going to see jaggie lines and colour-by-number image processing artefacts if you get within a couple of metres of a 40-43" screen. The TV control software is similarly compromised. The range of picture tweaks I can make to really dial in the image on my mid-range Panasonic GX800 dwarfs what's available in say a Sharp or a Vestel-made Panasonic.


    Another significant image quality difference with cheaper sets is the brightness of the backlights. Cheaper tellies just aren't as bright. Unlike LG though, they don't generally try to overdrive the lights that are there.


    Other differences include build quality, the evenness of the backlighting, the range and speed and responsiveness of any apps, the sound quality of the speakers. This list isn't exhaustive.



    Hunting the unicorn


    "What about getting a good non-smart TV?" or "Recommend me a good non-smart TV" are comments that come up fairly frequently. They're both based on the idea that TV manufacturers are still producing good quality non-smart TVs. Honestly, you'll have more luck finding a unicorn. That's a mythical creature too, just as this 'great but not smart TV' is too. Neither exist.


    The non-smart TVs that are around are very much the bottom of the barrel in terms of performance. Smart features are now ubiquitous and there's no price premium for them. In short, don't buy a non-smart TV thinking that it's cheaper


    - However, the idea of using an external smart device is a good one


    The cheaper the TV then the less processing power it carries to run the apps. This means that the apps themselves taps in to streams from iPlayer and the rest that are written in a way that they'll run on low-spec hardware. This is part of the testing procedure that certifies the TV. The implication of this is that you might be accessing iPlayer on your budget TV, and so is your neighbour on their high-end OLED, but you're accessing different streams even though the content looks the same.


    From time to time old and redundant streams are discontinued. I don't know what the trigger is for this. It's certainly not a best guess that the particular hardware is no longer being used by consumers. There have been several of these extinction events that left smart device owners with inoperable apps.


    The point here is that a smart device with more horsepower is more likely to be supported for longer. Smart-TVs, -BD players, -PVRs, and smart surround systems are going to be earlier casualties than Roku boxes, Firesticks and Apple TVs. If you want good long term support, and something that will run apps smoothly and is likely to support new services when they arrive (e.g. Disney+), then get a Firestick or similar. For £40-£50 it'll run the same range of apps as a TV (no subscriptions required), and if it does eventually conk out then all you're replacing is a £40 HDMI stick and not an entire TV.
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2020
  7. JP_

    JP_

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    I have been happy with my LG, and I bought it from Richer Sounds and it came with a 5 year warranty - I used it once when the HDMI ARC failed. It failed again, so now using optical sound cable, which turns out better as no longer have lip sync issues.

    If I was spending £500 now I'd probably get this
    https://www.richersounds.com/tv-projectors/all-tvs/lg-55un70006la.html - £429

    and a Chromecast with remote - https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/tv-an...omecast-with-google-tv-snow-10216159-pdt.html - £59.99

    Although you probably don't need the Chromecast - my TV webOs doesn't have Disney+ and my son wanted to watch it, so I got a Chromecast.
    IT is a great device - I can press a button and speak, ask for any song and youtube will pop up and play it. Or you can ask to play a radio station of choice, and it will turn on that radio station, etc. etc. Netflix, amazon video, iplayer etc all on there by default, other apps can be installed.
     
  8. SFK

    SFK

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  10. Early riser

    Early riser

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    Thanks Lucid for those 2 most comprehensive replies, I’m sure that other members will benefit from the info you have provided!
    And thank you too for your input jonbey but quoting from Lucid’S post:
    I have decided to go for the Samsung UE55TU8000 which both he, Lucid, and SFK (via his link) highlight.
    Thanks again guys.
     
  11. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I have a Firestick, Firebox and Firecube. In that order, the cube is much faster more responsive.
     
  12. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I bought a discounted 49" LED LG a couple of years ago and I am very pleased with it. I have had a couple of issues with it, or rather the WebOS. Within weeks of buying it, the Guide lost the ability to list or stream past programs in the Guide - I pestered LG UK to get it fixed and they did eventually fix it. It was an incompatibility after the online Guide was modified slightly, a WebOS update fixed it. Just a few months ago, it began switching randomly on and off. I suspected an hardware failure ad pulled it apart to investigate and found nothing amiss. Eventually, I cured it by simply changing absolutely any setting in the configuration. My guess was that something in the configuration had become corrupted, changing any item rewrote the config file.

    It's a nice set, lots of features, good picture and I love the WebOS.
     
  13. Bargain Bucket

    Bargain Bucket

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    I hate WebOs on my LG. The lag of the EPG is horrendous.
     
  14. JP_

    JP_

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    I never use that!
     
  15. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    It can be a bit sluggish, but on the other hand it is very comprehensive with a lot of data to download. It will depend on your internet connection.
     
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