December 26, 2011

Didn't you get what you wanted?

May I recommend Amazon?

You know, I would consider buying a big new TV— but it just seems so complicated these days. I don't even know the difference between an LED and an LCD screen. Which is supposed to be better? Any advice? Built-in WiFi... is that the future or is the future about to overtake that technology? 3D... does that make the thing worse if you don't want 3D? If I wait 6 months, will everything be better and cheaper?

38 comments:

1e89eb18-2fd8-11e1-9bcc-000bcdcb8a73 said...

The best advice is to buy your TV using Amazon Prime. I bought a 55" Vizio LCD for $899, Prime made the normally $150 shipping by freight free, and no sales tax (another $60 in savings).

Ken Pidcock said...

Can't answer the first three questions but, as to the last, of course. You knew that already.

Ann Althouse said...

"The best advice is to buy your TV using Amazon Prime. I bought a 55" Vizio LCD for $899, Prime made the normally $150 shipping by freight free, and no sales tax (another $60 in savings)."

Even after seeing this?

Scott M said...

I have a hard time getting over the notion that 3D sets, especially those requiring the goggles, are anything but a fad. That being said, on a quality set with a strong signal, watching NFL games broadcast using 3D tech...well, it just doesn't get any better than that. Concerts are likewise incredible. Aside from those two things, though, I don't know if enough content is available. Maybe once they figure out how to do away with the goggles...

FKACato said...

Here's an excellent discussion of the shortcomings of 3-D by Walter Murch, one of the most accomplished film editors in history. Having it doesn't seem worth the trouble.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2011/01/post_4.html

Levi Starks said...

There is really very little difference between the LED and LCD. Essentially its what is used for the backlight source that shines behind the pixels. The LCD uses a florescent backlight, and Led uses an Led backlight. I spent a lot of time looking at the actual pictures of each, and and while in some cases the Led looked a very tiny bit better, I would say that in general the TV's from better MFG's (samsung, sony, phillips) always looked better than the off brands regardless of type.
So of course I bought the LCD which was about 1/2 the price of the LED.

eteam said...

Both "LCD" and "LED" TVs are LCD TVs. As Levi Starks wrote, an "LED" TV is an LCD TV which uses LEDs for its light sources (aka "backlight").

If this is still confusing to you, consider the movie theatre file projector. The film does not illuminate the movie screen. A bright light, shining through the film, illuminates the screen. In the LCD television world, the projector's bright light source would be called a "backlight".

knox said...

We had to get a new TV last month, when my six-yr-old launched the wii controller into the screen. It really was a complicated transaction. Supposedly Samsungs are the best?

With that said, the TV purchase wasn't nearly as time-consuming as navigating the user reviews of coffee makers.

Scott M said...

So of course I bought the LCD which was about 1/2 the price of the LED.

My take is that LCD's tend to be much thinner, but that doesn't necessary have anything to do with the picture quality. I was buying one for a gimbled arm in the kitchen (got to be able to watch it doing dishes or, 90 degrees away, sitting at the island for breakfast).

Scott M said...

Supposedly Samsungs are the best?

I have both a Samsung and a Phillips. Both are excellent.

edutcher said...

I'll through the portal to use the $50 Amazon gift card The Blonde gave me.

(no, she left no instructions...)

WV "subaric" Anything automotive with four stars on it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I was buying one for a gimbled arm in the kitchen (got to be able to watch it doing dishes or, 90 degrees away, sitting at the island for breakfast).

THIS is one of our considerations about a flat screen tv. I need to be able to see the screen from the kitchen, from behind the island and at somewhat of an angle. I understand that some types of screens are not good for viewing at at angle.

In addition, we quite often pause our program to discuss something or just to build up time so we can skip the commercials. We don't want to 'burn' in an image.

In the meantime....I used the althouse/amazon portal and bought THESE Cuisinart pans today.

Some bad reviews and some good reviews. Not as good as All Clad... but hey....for the price, I can deal with it.

Scott M said...

THIS is one of our considerations about a flat screen tv. I need to be able to see the screen from the kitchen, from behind the island and at somewhat of an angle. I understand that some types of screens are not good for viewing at at angle.

What's really funny about it is that I have to swing it all the way around clockwise to aim straight at the sink area...which faces AWAY from the TV. Thus, I watch a good deal of TV by looking at the reflection in the window glass over the sink.

Paddy O said...

So, we got a new TV back in early September. The old one wasn't doing well, and weighed 100 pounds, and we wanted to save space and a few other things. Problem is we're on a pretty tight budget. So I did a whole lot of research to get the most for the money.

I ended up getting a Samsung LN46D630. Love it.

Here's what I learned in the process:

Everyone says 3-D is a gimmick. Don't pay extra for it. The trouble is that the nicer quality televisions have 3D, so there's almost a sense that if you want the absolute best quality, you have to get the gimmick.

LED's are much thinner and lighter, like 1/2 inch thick. But the image quality isn't necessarily better. They come in two kinds, edge-lit and backlit. The backlit makes for a more consistent image.

The Smart TV rage, where you can watch netflix or all sorts of other stuff through an internet connection on your TV is very useful, but the problem with this is that so many other products come with the same benefits. Any good blu-ray player has all the same apps, so paying for that on a TV is doubling up what you could use.

That's why I chose what I did. It was the only TV I found that had a very high image quality but didn't have smart TV or 3D stuff, keeping the price down.

The other option is plasma, which tend to be a fair bit cheaper, have a very good image quality with very deep blacks (something the LED's tend to struggle with). The old issue of burned in images seems to have been mostly addressed. But the plasmas use a whole lot more energy.

robinintn said...

I chose a tv by watching a bunch together at walmart, paying no attention to the features or brands, deciding which picture I found the most pleasing, and ordering from walmart.com (for some reason it was cheaper than Amazon or the in the store). It turned out to be a cheap "off" brand, and I've been very happy with it. Of course the fedex guy didn't throw it over a fence.

Paddy O said...

We had ours delivered by Prime. It was shipped with a different company, a freight company, not UPS or FedEx. Very excellent service, and free shipping and no tax was entirely lovely.

Paddy O said...

Or, for Ipad owners, there's this option, which I got from Amazon Vine this month. A good speaker system with remote that helps your ipad be a more functional entertainment system.

LarryTheOlder said...

Forget LED and LCD, buy a plasma. Here's the highest rated:

Amazon

Jaw-dropping picture. Forget 3D, there's not enough content. Go with the best 2D video you can get. This is the one.

rhhardin said...

I threw out my TV in 1971.

Denton Romans said...

If you're not sure exactly what you want, buy from Costco. You can return your TV up to 90 days after purchase if you don't like it. For non-electronics you can return things much later. I had a tent that I had only used twice in a year, but on the second time it ripped along the seam, and they returned it no questions asked - one whole year later.

I have a Sony, but I've heard that Samsung is the rising star.

Beldar said...

The thing about the 3D is that it's entirely incompatible with regular (non-goggles) viewing. So there has to be a separate -- and, if I'm not mistaken -- fatter data pipeline for the images, in addition to whatever sources (Blu-Ray, satellite, cable, internet streaming) you also have on-hand. And you cannot possibly rely on only 3D sources right now, because they're still rare -- even in movies, but especially in anything else.

So it's a gimmick now. You might want to pay the few extra dollars to get it, on the off chance that it gets amazingly popular instead of being abandoned. But it smells to me like Quadrophonic 8-Track Stereo (which was terrific, except that it was a dinosaur six months after it was released).

WiFi is another thing you'd like to have, all things considered. But there's WiFi and then there's WiFi: They typical home network, whether connected to the internet through DSL or cable or some other means, is going to still transmit internally at much, much higher speeds and with much broader bandwidth if you're using cables rather than going wireless. WiFi may or may not be practical for streaming HD video, for example, when a cable would be able to handle that. But for replaying video-on-demand downloads, updating the program guide, getting software updates from the TV manufacturer, and other reasons your TV needs to talk to the internet, having an internal WiFi connection is indeed useful. The alternative is something like a dongle that plugs in to your TV and contains a WiFi receiver; that's basically all you're internalizing, so it's really not THAT big a feature; and if it's practicable given your floor-plan and equipment, a cabled internet connection is going to out-performed a WiFi connection for the most part.

As for what kind of screen and what brand:

The rule here is VERY much "De gustibus non disputandum est," and there is absolutely, positively no substitute for comparing different types and brands and models with your own Mark One eyeballs, in person. Any review you read is going to be largely (but not entirely) subjective in the end, and your own subjective (and possibly inarticulable) preferences can't be determined by anyone but you.

Look for a store that displays them in a setting as similar to your anticipated setting as possible (e.g., not under fluorescent tube lighting in a big-box warehouse store). If you are willing to risk the service issues that still exist to some degree with buying on-line (and you don't entirely avoid those by buying locally either!), *THEN* you can shop using what you've learned by looking.

You have to ask about sound separately to do that right.

If you end up connecting via HDMI cables, don't waste money on (literally) gold-plated ones. That makes sense sometimes when you're dealing in analog transmissions, but for digital, the bit either gets through or it doesn't, and whether the connecting cable has gold-plated connections doesn't affect that one way or the other. Amazon's house-brand cables are excellent choices for this, IMHO, just don't end up buying cables that are too short.

Will Cate said...

LED screens also use less electricity than LCD screens. But, as has been mentioned about, plasma screens still offer the best picture.

cubanbob said...

If you watch a lot of movies, go for a good plasma set such as Panasonic. The deepest, richest colors, more like photographic filem. If by some chance you can find on the net a Pioneer Kuro left (the company stopped making them two years ago because of the recession and the mfg expense) buy it immediately.

3-d, pass. It gets tiresome after a while. Wireless, not needed, save the money. As mentioned by others you already probably have a wireless DVD player for Netflix or Blockbuster. If not, consider an Apple TV ($100) or a Roku player (fully loaded $100). The only thing the TV needs wireless for is for the occasional firmware update and that you can always download to a USB drive.

Do consider getting a surround sound system, it really does add a movie theater like feeling when watching a movie on the big set.

Rabel said...

I bought an LG 55LK520 thru your Amazon link about three months ago.
I hope that worked but I wonder if having to go thru the sign-in at Amazon drops the link?

Anyway I'm completely satisfied. It's a 2011 model 55" LCD.

A few opinions:

Smart TV with internet capability will be better in a few years. It's troublesome now, but a nice, if expensive, feature if you don't mind the complications.

Plasma better than LCD/LED in2011? - No. Just no.

LED is just LCD with a different backlight system. Almost no difference in picture quality but a fairly big difference in price.

3D? Not worth it. Limited content available, glasses, angles. Go to a movie if you want 3D.

Viewing angles on today's LCD's are great. You have to get way out of the line of sight to notice anything.

That said, a swivel base is nice to put you directly in front of the set so you can look right into Aaron's purty eyes pre-snap.

Thinness don't matter. They're all thin.

The set will be delivered to your door after a phone call from a freight company. It won't be tossed over the fence. Free shipping with Prime. I set mine up by myself. You can do it while Meade watches.

Be nice, use Indy's link.

Extended warranties are not usually a good idea, but I got a 5 year in home parts and labor from LG for $130. Seems like a win.

Prices have stabilized on the LCD's. The "smart" sets will come down but only gradually.

You will need hi def TV service and you will have to make adjustments in screen ratio when going from hi def to standard. I've got comcast and almost all of the good stuff is hi def.

Do it. You'll be glad you did. Also, go big. The most common complaint of buyers is wishing they had gotten a bigger set.

Joe said...

Not to confuse you further, but LED has ONLY to do with backlighting; and LED TV is still an LCD.

To make this slightly more complicated, there are two types of LED TVs. The cheaper ones place the LEDs at the edge as a simple replacement for the fluorescent light of traditional LCDs. The more expensive screens place the LEDs in a matrix behind the LCD, creating more uniform light.

That said, if you don't adjust your TV correctly, it really doesn't matter what kind of backlighting is used. While a little expensive, calibrating a TV with modern equipment can make a really big difference in the viewing experience.

(I bought my LCD on closeout sale last summer. It was $300 less than the LED replacing it and you really can't tell the difference. Incidentally, I looked at several plasmas, but ultimately preferred the artifacts and problems of LED over the artifacts and problems of Plasma.)

kimsch said...

DBQ it's the plasmas that are very hard to see from the edges/angles. They also have shiny screens like smart phones / iPhones / iPads and reflect everything that hits them. The LCD/LED screens are "flat" versus "glossy" and the only thing that reflects off our LCD TV is off the frame.

3D isn't worth it at all, at all.

Smart TVs don't come in any size under 32". Smart TVs can be great in a room without a cable box. You can use the built in WiFi to watch on-demand items from the cable company's website, Netflix, Hulu (plus) and others. But then again there are Roku boxes and the Logitech Revue or Google TV. The Revue and Google TV will also let you surf the web. Smart TVs may as well. I don't think the Roku box lets you do that.

wv: flubut

Cheryl said...

Knox, I feel your pain. We had a brand-new, 59" Samsung that was really gorgeous--we had intentionally bought a really nice tv for that spot. Two months later my ten-year-old launched the Wii controller into it. UGH.

So we just (four months later) replaced it with a 55", much less expensive one. I don't even know what it is. We shopped on price. And we've moved the couch back a whoooollleee bunch.

Jose_K said...

Panasonic is the best. Since we have a Wii , we dont need smart Tv..

Rabel said...

Make that:

"Be nice. Use Insty's link."

roesch/voltaire said...

Bought a LED Sony from Cosco and saved $500 dollars over the big box stores. Whole family played Wii during the Christmas visit and loved the images. At least for this model, I prefer LED over the previous LCD that we had.

Rumpletweezer said...

At Maison Rumpletweezer we have a 25-year-old Sylvania SuperSet that we keep waiting on to die. It's 19 inch with a picture that occasionally goes black-and-white. I think I paid $600 for it in 1985 because it was one of the first stereo sets. Why it keeps going, I don't know. It doesn't want us to have an HDTV.

caseym54 said...

I hate 3D. But the thing about 3D sets is that they are fantastic 2D sets to be able to be sharp and accurate enough to produce 3D images. Get a 3D set and forget the 3D part.

I bought an absolutely fantastic 59" Samsung plasma (PN59D7000) a few months back for $2400, now it's down to under $2000. Oh, well. A great set. Even old TV shows look great on it. And you will NEVER EVER watch sports without HiDef again.

Short guide: for excellence buy Samsung for LCD, or Samsung or Panasonic for Plasma. Get plasma if you need a bright set, or if you have issues with motion sickness (which LCD can provoke).

caseym54 said...

Larrytheolder's link is the best Panny plasma. Its only competitor is the Samsung (there's a higher cost Samsung (-8000), but it mainly adds internet widgetry that you don't need)

Danno said...

I am surprised you'd want to subject yourself to this, being so close to the date you posted the FedEx video.

Nick said...

http://www.amazon.com/Sharp-LC60LE835U-Quattron-60-inch-LED-LCD/dp/B004NOXMJK/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1324997675&sr=1-4

This is an absolute winner. Only thing that might be improved is going to the larger size. That is completely dependent on your space and the viewing distance.

Nick said...

Also, forget the plasma sets. You are way overpaying for that production technique.

LED is a big deal. It has a much lower cost to operate. Produces very little additional heat. It has a lifetime of 50,000 hours. The regular LCD have hi output bulbs that dim over time and have to be replaced on average every 2-3 years. 175-300 bucks per shot.

RigelDog said...

We had occasion to buy 3 large flat-screens in the past year. Went to BJ's warehouse, and Best Buy, and just looked at the picture quality we liked best. We ended up with two Samsung LEDs and one Samsung Plasma. The plasma was on a deep discount and the picture is awesome! We use the plasma in the room where we are most likely to watch movies, as it gives a vibrant, cinema-like experience. The other LEDs are also great. As far as prices, something was always on sale and we saved by getting the model that was just a few month older than The Latest Rage. Three-D was prohibitively expensive...maybe that has changed in the past 6 months.

Dave said...

I'd suggest avoiding a Plasma screen, as they tend to draw much more power than either the LCD TVs
I'd also suggest getting a 120hz (or 240hz if you aren't on a budget. I love our 46" LED (120hz) backlit Samsung. My wife was marveling over the picture quality. I'd steer clear of the 3D personally, because I literally can't see an advantage.