[advice] Recommended TV brands?

edited October 12 in Hardware / Software Hell
So I've subsisted on my 27" CRT TV by JVC for 20 years now and think it's finally time to move up. This isn't easy for me in my crowded condo.

I may need to pay a junk service to remove the old TV (it's gotta be like 120 pounds or something; my college pal and I just about died moving it up stairs to my place in 1997) and a couple old cabinets. I have a modest IKEA entertainment center that I can move over as a proper platform for a flatscreen in the "43-48" range.

But I'm completely flabbergasted by the brands, choices, features and options. I never find anything consistent in terms of consumer reviews online for any brand. Everybody loves every brand, everybody hates every brand, or so it seems. While I think the newer curved screens are neat, it's just me and my cat :), I don't think we really need to be able to see the screen from the corners of the room.

I'm not a huge media junkie. Don't have a modern videogame console, and use a Roku player primarily for Netflix. I only have a BluRay player on my PC, but will probably get something once I get a flatscreen TV.

I think 1920X1080 for me is fine; I don't think 4K is something my miserable eyesight would even appreciate. I'm on Cox cable and have its HD minibox.

Mainly I just wanted to ask if folks here would recommend any particular TV brand and why? Perhaps it'll be the same as elsewhere and there'll be no consensus :), but I would still appreciate any input/insights.


  • 15 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • rittchard
    GT Member
    What's your budget range?

    I've had good experiences with Samsung mid-tier TVs, but currently my "mains" are both Sony. Honestly I think upgrading from a 27" CRT you will love anything you get, so I'm excited for you :) I've read the best picture quality is still OLED (I think LG was mentioned) but that may be overkill for what you want. They do seem to have the deepest blacks and best contrast from what I can tell, but again, it depends on what you are looking at side by side.
  • disarm
    GT Member
    I would suggest buying whatever offering from Samsung best fits your size and price criteria. While there may be cheaper options from other companies, it's been pretty hard to go wrong with anything from Samsung for quite a few years now. In the sub-50" range, I think you might be surprised how little money you have to spend...and the improvements over your current CRT will be pretty mind-blowing no matter what you choose.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    I love my samsung 55" 8000 series. :P Not cheap, but not OLEDspensive.
  • rittchard
    GT Member
    I took a quick look at Best Buy last night and was shocked at how far the prices have come down. For what BJ described, there was a pretty nice looking LG for under $300!


    That's why I asked about budget. If you go up to $500, things can change drastically.
  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited October 12
    Thanks guys. Price is no object (within reason :)), Rittchard. It's more I guess what's overkill and what makes sense for my modest interests. :) Yeah I was visiting a Best Buy just last Saturday and noticed how inexpensive nearly all the TVs in the 43" range were. I think actually the 43" LG had the image that seemed most attractive to me in the showroom though I don't know how meaningful that is. The demo videos were not like sports events or something where I could see how the motion blur was and stuff.

    I think around 43" or so is good for my limited space, and I tested the boxes (17-19 lbs) at Best Buy so I know I can get those in my car and carry them solo up stairs etc. without pain. Lighter than cat litter bags. :)

    Yeah I got my mom a modest size Samsung (I think 20" or 23") to replace her ancient Sony tube TV in her bedroom last year. It's been fine. I've been happy with my Samsung 23" widescreen LED monitor for my PC for years now. And heck, I guess Samsung probably makes the screens for my iPhone 7 and iPad Air. :) So I agree it would be a safe bet, judging from my past experience. :)

    My best friend's sister has used about a 48" LG for many years now, and I like its screen when I've visited them to watch a game on TV now and then, fwiw.

    I'm pretty sure my 27" JVC tube went for about $399 back in 1997. I think I had a BB coupon then that brought the price down a bit. My college pal suggested I consider a 32" but I wasn't convinced we could fit it in his Ford Probe hatchback, nor that it wouldn't give us hernias as we took it down the stairs and then up the stairs at my place. :D

    I assume you'd all say these inevitable extended warranty options aren't worth it? I mean, I've bought some extended warranties on this and that over the years, but not usually; it's just never paid off as far as I can remember.
  • Purge
    GT Member edited October 12
    So your concerns are going to be based on configuring it for rapid motion (AKA turning most post-processing), colour depth, resolution, and black levels.

    TV's in showrooms are wacky in their calibration, so don't necessarily trust what you "see". From feed quality to different color settings, people mucking with contrast, brightness, backlight and post-image-processing stuff (which you'd have turned off if you are gaming / watching sports) then you're not comparing apples to apples.

    My opinion based on my recent purchase (AKA I put my money where my mouth is ;)

    I have the "Canadian version" of UN55MU8000FXZA (maple colours are more vivid ... I kid )

    there are two models above it for several hundred more each... I did not look to spend MORE money but was told the things I'd care about are the same. (9000 has an extra HDMI port)

    I strongly suggest that, unless you don't have the space, to go with a set which impresses you to look at it. When you go below the 55" mark, the value of 4k starts to drop. Consider that (IMO) to appreciate a 4K resolution on a monitor which is less than 2ft from your face anything smaller than 28" sees a similar decline in value.

    I brought my Xbox1S to my buddies store (he's the mgr there and has been selling electronics for 2 decades) and hooked it up to all 4K 55" TV's in the mid-range class. His recommendation (for that class)
    was the Samsung. OLED is upper range, and you're paying way more for that with a much higher ext. warranty and higher repair rate (from their experience).

    While I was there, I used the fall update dash (XB's new dashboard which is rolling out shortly) including testing the 4K along with 8, 10 and 12bit High Dynamic Range. I was also given free reign to use the XB1's TV calibration software and monkey around with TV settings to optimize them to my console.

    The Samsung UN55MU8000 over the LG (sj8000) and the Sony (x900e), is the best balance for gaming goals with how much you're going to spend. The Sony has slightly better blacks, but high glare problems, and the contrast ratio on the LG is a quarter of what the Samsung emits (giving you worse blacks, and less "pop"). I was |~~~~| this close to getting the LG. Like, had the paperwork all in front of me. Frankly, the dealbreaker is that the picture is uglier in the dark, even though it has more customization options.

    I can't speak for the smaller models as it wasn't what I was looking at, but this is all current to the model year.

    I would suggest an extended warranty (5yr, 250? not bad from BB).

    I am LOVING the HDMI pod that the Sammy uses, and the remote is awesome (it even works to control my xb1 dashboard and volume on my receiver, though I really do want a different receiver now).

  • uxFOOL
    GT Manager
    If you're a Costco member I'd go with TCL: https://www.costco.com/TCL-49"-Class-(48.5%22-Diag.)-4K-Ultra-HD-Roku-LED-LCD-TV.product.100340002.html

    Great set with an interface that doesn't make me want to stab my eyes out, mostly because it has a built-in Roku. I have a size up form this and LOVE it

    Mike Dunn
    Executive Producer & Editor-at-Large

  • JCC
    GT Member
    Re-posting since I somehow managed to reply to the wrong thread. (Thanks to Purge for pointing out my stupidity....)


    I have a lot of strong opinions on this topic, since my wife and I bought two TVs on Labor Day weekend. We bought a "low end" Samsung 50" MU6300 for our bedroom and a "medium end" Sony 65" X850E for our movie and video game" room. Both are 4K TVs.

    First off, it's harder and harder to get a 1080p TV once you get to 50". It's nearly impossible to buy a 1080p TV at a size bigger than 50". If you want 50" or bigger it is highly likely you will have to get a 4K TV.

    Today, for me, the value of 4K is very low. I have absolutely zero 4K content, and have no plans to get any soon. I suppose the most likely source for 4K I would presumably get (in the nearest future) is if I decide to upgrade to 4K Netflix, but with Netflix raising the rate on "normal" Netflix - it makes it less likely than it already was. I've already upgraded many DVDs to 1080p Blurays and I think the value of going from 1080p to 4K is minimal.

    I am mildly disappointed with the picture quality of both TVs. Now, for the record, I am a HUGE fan of (now extinct) plasma TVs. I would argue the cheapest plasmas are orders of magnitude better in picture quality than the best LEDs (or at least the best LEDs I have ever seen including mine). (This is due to my preference to accurate saturated colors and my resistance to "bright" TVs. Also, the wide viewing angles of plasma are vastly superior to any LED I have ever looked at. Note that OLEDs are supposed to rival if not equal or surpass plasma in PQ, but I haven't done major research on this due to their prohibitively high prices.) These two new TVs can't come close in PQ to all three of my plasmas. I haven't spent much time trying to configure the Samsung (since it's just a bedroom TV), but I have spent copious amounts of time on the Sony, and I just can't make it look as nice as my plasmas. Even sitting directy in front of the Sony, viewing "angles" are an issue. Of course, I am arguably sitting too close to it, but the whole idea was to get the biggest "movie" screen possible in a relatively small room. I plan to swap the Sony with my 60" (plasma) "football" TV since I think its flaws will bother me less in that setting.

    One other thing about 4K - 480p content looks AWFUL on both of my 4K TVs. I am not sure if this is due to the nature of them being 4K TVs, or being LED TVs (or both).

    Since you are going from a CRT TV to an LED, I am sure you will be thrilled with the new TV.

    A couple of comments on Samsung vs Sony. If you plan to take advantage of their "smart TV" features (ie. their built in streaming capabilities) Sony is a MUCH better choice than Samsung. Samsung has proprietary "Tizen" smart TV software which is limited in the selection of apps. You can get staples like Netflix and Amazon, but you cannot get some others (like one I use Playstation Vue). Sony on the other hand has Android TV which pretty much has everything but Apple stuff. If you care about Apple stuff, then you will probably use an Apple TV streaming box anyway. Of course if you don't use smart TV apps or plan on using a separate streaming box (Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, etc.) then this is all irrelevant.

    Also of note, if you plan on spending the considerable premium for OLED, Samsung has basically abandoned that tech in favor of their "QLED" TVs. They are similarly priced, and deliver similar picture quality. OLED is still preferred by the PQ enthusiasts for their more perfect blacks, but for most people it won't matter. Again, I doubt you will go down this route give your previous posts, but just a bit more info.

    Finally, if you want the best bang for your buck, you should probably get a TCL P Series TV (only in 55" size) which has great (LED) PQ for the price and has roku TV built in, which is nice.

    Anyway, this is just one man's opinion and advice. I used to do way more research on TVs back when I was making the move from SD to HD, so I am hardly trying to pass on my opinions or advice as being "expert". Good luck and enjoy whatever TV you get.
  • Purge
    GT Member
    not stupidity... oversight. both threads are very similar :)
  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited October 18
    Thanks, guys. I'm processing. :)

    I've been derailed by some plumbing stuff. I'm still that pathetic son who does laundry at his mom's house, and her fancy Maytag began acting like a Windows PC spewing an error code. We've tried many workarounds but think instead of flatscreen shopping tonight, she and I will be washer machine shopping tonight instead. :p

    And I'm having some bathtub faucet and hand shower replacement stuff done Friday.

    And my mom's bday is Saturday, as is my friends Scrabble Night. So anyway the flatscreen stuff will have to wait a while.

    I think for my limited space and needs, a 40-43" flatscreen will suffice. While I could certainly arrange delivery/setup, I'd kind of like to get something I can handle by myself, that'll fit upright in my Corolla's backseat, and that seems the largest I could safely handle. I guess technically the how-to-set-up videos say to get help for anything over 32", so I should be careful.

    I promise if I ever actually grow up and live in an actual house with tons of space and a big room for a giant TV, then sky will be the limit then and the 40-43" that I buy can become my bedroom or computer room TV instead. =)

    I guess an odd thing when I was scoping out 43" TVs at Best Buy's site was that a 43" Sharp model seemed the really best rated. i.e., not a single customer reviewer had a complaint yet. In particular everyone said it was easier to set up than others, and its remote was simpler and less confusing to use.
    Though certainly it doesn't have thousands of reviews like Samsung and other more popular brand models -- I mean the more people that review something maybe the more likely someone will beef.

    It doesn't have the faster 120 refresh rate that's supposed to help ensure good performance with fast motion stuff. I'm not sure that would matter to me. I know my best friends' sister's LG 48" is a few years old, doesn't have the most current 'features du jour," and the football, baseball and hockey stuff we've all occasionally watched on it has looked great to me (no motion blur).
  • Purge
    GT Member
    Does your Corolla's seats fold down? I believe Best Buy also has delivery / install options available too ... and an 8000 series is a fantastic display.

    Free Delivery on TV 51" or Larger
    Best Buy will provide Standard Local Delivery of your TV. Charges apply for delivery outside local delivery area.

    Delivery Details:

    TV will be delivered into the room of your choice. TV will not be removed from the shipping box.
    Delivery and installation may require two appointments.

    #notagoodinfluence ;)
  • JCC
    GT Member
    I did forget to mention one thing I do NOT miss about plasma TV's. The weight! My oldest plasma (A Panasonic 50" 720p plasma) ways over 90 lbs. I am no strong-man and I would never even think of trying to move it by myself. (Of course this TV is nothing compared to my first HD TV - a 32" CRT HD monitor - that sucker was around 170 lbs. Me and a buddy almost died getting it in my house. I ended up giving it away to someone a few years later on the condition that he get someone (or someones) else to help him get it out.) My slightly newer Panasonic 50" 1080 plasma is around 8 lbs lighter, and I did recently move it from one room to another. It was difficult, but I did it. However the stand banged into my leg once a bit too hard and part of it broke off! Thankfully most of the stand is in tact, and it still rests with the same stability on it's table. My 60" (and last) Samsung Plasma is only around 5 years old and it probably 10 lbs lighter than my newer 50" plasma. I moved that one by myself, and while it was heavy and awkward, it was much easier than the previous TV was.

    Anyway, to get to the point, moving the bedroom 50" TV around is a joke. It's not heavy or awkward to move at all. In fact, I move it from my bedroom on the main floor to the basement every weekend to add another screen for college football (I am a bit crazy for CFB). And, my new 65" LED is also significantly lighter than all of my plamas. It's a bit awkward to move due to its width, but the weight is no issue. I hauled the 65" home, unpacked it, put it on its stand, and moved it to its location by myself with zero issue. I'm amazed at how light and thin these modern TVs are.

    Anyway, my point is, until you get to more than 50-55" in size - with modern TVs, setup is trivial - as long as you have space. Of course I wasn't mounting any of my TVs, which is probably a touch more difficult. Don't let that dissuade you from buying a big screen. Now if you drive a small car, getting it home may require delivery or borrowing a truck/SUV/Van from someone. A 50" LED should be trivial to get home in even a small SUV.

    One more note, I did move my Sony 65" x850e into the big room of my basement, and I like it much better sitting farther away. It's a fine football TV.
  • Blackjack
    GT Member edited October 30
    Bathtub facuet and handles replaced, check.
    New handshower installed, check.
    '96 Corolla traded in and 2017 VW Jetta purchased, check.

    OK I'm almost out of excuses for postponing the flatscreen TV upgrade. :#
  • Purge
    GT Member
    I just watched the Netflix broadcast of Planet Earth II in Ultra HD 4K.

    Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous ( and that's with all post-processing turned off - I'm sure it would be even better with the bells and whistles).
  • rittchard
    GT Member
    Yeah I'm pretty sure any regular car can handle at least a 55" TV, and as JCC mentioned, I think moving one around on your own is no problem. I am by no means a super strong guy, but I had no problems mounting a Samsung 55" TV. I think they are only around 30-35 pounds or so.

    That said, if you are happy with a
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Bathtub facuet and handles replaced, check.
    New handshower installed, check.
    '96 Corolla traded in and 2017 VW Jetta purchased, check.

    OK I'm almost out of excuses for postponing the flatscreen TV upgrade. :#

    lol, that Jetta can probably fit a bigger TV in it =)
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