Advice on getting a 40-42" 1080p LCD

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Elphaba, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Elphaba

    Elphaba Stunt Coordinator

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    So, I have cash in hand, and I have a little more than I'd expected.

    My seating distance is fixed at about seven feet. Lighting will vary from very bright in the day to dimly lit at night.

    I want a 40-42" LCD. I know plasmas have better contrast and black levels, and I'd jump on that if I could, but when I go to the stores and look at the 42" plasmas at seven feet (I use the floor tiles to measure it out), I can see the pixel structure. I wish I didn't, but once I started seeing it, it just jumped out at me. I can't get further away than seven feet (possibly eight, if I did some major rearranging of my living room, but I rather fit the set to my situation rather than build my living room around the set). So I've decided on the LCD. Sometimes I can see a difference between the 1080p sets at this distance, sometimes I can't. Again, if I could go a foot further back, it would be easy to go with a 768 x 1366, as everything looks nice and smooth at that distance.

    So after doing some online research and heading to the stores, I've narrowed things down a bit. One thing that surprised me a bit was that everything, even the cheap sets, look fantastic compared to my 25" SD Magnavox CRT. Even the dirt cheap Polaroid (which I am NOT considering) at Wal Mart looks very nice by comparison. Maybe I just don't have that critical an eye.

    So, I'd prefer a 1080p LCD for the reasons stated above. A 768 x 1366 might be acceptable if the price is right.

    Here is what I that I'm considering:

    Philips 37PF9631D: It's a 768 x 1366, 37", with the Ambilight feature. I compared it on the HD loop they had at Sears, and it looked, to my eye, comperable to the Samsung sitting next to it, with only slightly worse black levels. It's on closeout right now for $999, which is why a 37" set made my final list.

    Sharp LC42D62U: This is a 1080p Sharp Aquos., $1499 at Sears currently. CNET gave the 46" version high marks for excellent contrast and black levels that rivaled a good plasma, but poor marks for color accuracy and it has a well reported banding problem. Because of Sears restocking policy, the only way I'd consider buying this is on a price match at Best Buy, which has a more liberal return policy. The picture looked excellent at Sears, but not so good at Best Buy. I'm pretty sure there was a problem with the feed at BB. Still, this is a $2100 set that I suspect has been marked down because of the widely reported banding problem. If I could get one without the problem, I'd probably be happy with it.

    Toshiba Regza 42HL167: This is a 1080p, $1709.99 at Sears currently, which I could pricematch at Best Buy. It looked very nice, but I can't find much about it online because it's a fairly new set.

    Samsung LNT4061F: 40" 1080p, currently $1799.99. I like everything about this set. It's the nicest looking of the sets I looked at, had an excellent picture, had a nice, sturdy swiveling stand, deep blacks. The 46" version gets a very good review from CNET.

    Philips 42PFL7432: This is the new Ambilight 2 1080p 42" Philips. I liked the picture a lot in the store, but haven't been able to find much about it online. I'm not sure if the Ambilight is a gimmick or not. It lists 1080/24 as a display resolution. Is this, when paired with a 1080/24 player, actually going to make a visible difference in playback?

    Never mind, I found the big thread at AVS. It accepts a 24hz signal, but still does 3:2 processing and displays at 60hz. It just enables the user to feed the signal into the TV and have it to the processing instead of the DVD player.

    And finally, the cheap budget set,

    Vizio VX42L: Just under a thousand bucks at Sam's Club. It looks nice to my eye, but seems to have grayer blacks, especially compared to the Samsung next to it, and the colors just seemed a little off. At the price, I was thinking the Philips for roughly the same price would be a better way to go if I decide to get a 720p set.

    The set will be used for digital basic cable and watching DVDs, a combination of Blu-Ray and regular DVDs. I do understand that the basic digital cable isn't going to look all that great, but I'm fine with that, and the over the air HD broadcasts are all going to be in 1080i or 720p, so the 1080p is all but lost on anything but a 1080p high definition source. I do want my DVDs to look the best they can, and don't want to skimp on this part of my system.

    I am ready to buy, cash in hand, but I do want to make a prudent choice. Any advice will be welcome.
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    There's a big thread about the Toshiba Regza at avsforum.com. Biggest issue is an apparent green cast out of the box, though if you are comfortable getting into the service menu it seems this can be fixed. Value Electronics' HTF page (www.valueelectronics.com/HTF.htm) also has the Toshiba at a lower price than Sears, if you don't mind an online order. I have no doubt the owner Robert Zohn will do whatever he can to make the purchase a positive experience.

    The Samsungs have had big problems with HDMI, though it appears it has officially been resolved. I'm assuming only the latest builds will have the new board that remedies the problem, but there's always the question of whether that's what you will get from a store's warehouse.
     
  3. Dean L

    Dean L Stunt Coordinator

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    Amazon had some good reviews on it. Mixed reviews on AVS forum. Some complained about a green tint problem, while others did not notice it.
    I saw it at Best Buy and it looked superb, better than the other displays, though they were feeding it Batman Begins HD-DVD, and all the other TV's were being fed HD broadcasts.
    I too would like too hear some feedback from member of this forum on this set. I started a thread here over a month ago and yet to get any replies on this set.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...d.php?t=258027
     
  4. Elphaba

    Elphaba Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I saw that. I'll check out the AVS thread. I've been reading the AVS thread for the Philips I have listed here also, and it seems to be getting a very good reception. There are two Philips representatives posting replies and suggestions for solving problems in the thread, and there have been two user installable firmware updates since its release, all of which makes it very appealing to me.

    I'll probably be buying this weekend. I have a little cleaning out to do in my living room to make room, need to put down some new carpet, and assemble my AV furniture, and I'll be ready to go.
     
  5. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I work in a Sears electronics dept, and am familiar with the sets you mention except for the Vizio.

    IMHO the Sharp offers the best bang for the buck, nobody's returned one to us for banding but maybe they just don't know what to look for.

    Our demo Toshiba has the greenish tint, the Philips sets don't have the deep blacks of the Sammy, Sharp, or Sony sets, and I regard the Ambilight as a useless gimmick meant to disguise the lack of contrast ratio. Philips and Magnavox reliability is a bit questionable.

    Samsung excels at neon-bright color but falls down in fleshtone accuracy and subtle detail.

    Well worth consideration are the new S3000 Sony 768p models.
     

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