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New LED LCD TVs and how to choose one

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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt-Kach



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Posted March 30 2010 - 08:43 PM

I started this thread to hopefully get a lot of technical information and advice on the newest LED TVs that are coming out all into one place.  I hadn't looked into buying a TV for a very long time(~8 years) until now and found I had a whole lot of catching up to do, but I think I finally caught up and I want to share what I've learned and see what others have to say.

I plan on purchasing a 50-60" Samsung or Sony 240Hz LED LCD with local dimming, below I explain why.  Feel free to ask questions, try to alter my opinion, or simply applaud my choices.

Opinion - The most fluid picture you can get, some say it looks super real or fake because its so fluid, unquestionably great for gaming and sports. I think watching a blu-ray and it looking like the people are really on the other side of a piece of glass in your living room is amazing, some people don't.
Facts - All the signals sent to your TV have a maximum of 60 frames for every second, whether its HD cable or Blu-ray, 60 frames per second is all you get to work with.  Plasmas have 600Hz but they are just taking those 60 frames and flashing each one 10 times to make the picture appear smoother but still only display 60 different images a second.  240Hz LCDs(Samsung and Sony only) create 3 completely new frames between each already existing frame using interpolation and display 240 different images every second.

LED LCD vs Plasma
Opinion - Really slim TVs are sleek and sexy.  I don't want to have to baby my new TV, its supposed to be relaxing not a chore to watch TV, worrying about burn in sucks.  I don't want to have to be in a cave to enjoy a Plasma when I can sit in a sun room and enjoy a LED the same amount.  Local dimming is super fantastic.
Facts - Even new Plasmas have burn in and you have to make sure you don't have the same thing sit on the screen for too long especially when the TV is new.  LCDs have no burn in, take it out of the box and pause a video game on the screen and let it sit for 4 hours, still no burn in! awesome!  With LED local dimming you get contrast ratios just as good as any Plasma, Samsung even has edge lit LED TVs with a light diffusion system that allows for local dimming now, so slim and locally dim.  LED TVs are brighter and therefore are better for viewing in a wider variety of locations and conditions.

Samsung and Sony
The only two companies I found that have true 240Hz technology, all others display only 120 or 60 images a second and use backlight flashing to achieve 240Hz, similar to Plasmas.  These are also two brands I trust and they make some nice looking televisions.

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 31 2010 - 04:02 PM

Hey, if you want the best set to pause video games on in a sunporch for 4 hours at midday, one that smooths out classic films so they look like cheap soap operas, that adds picturesque clouds to nightime scenes, must be watched from no more than 30 degrees off center lest the colors shift and blacks turn grey, don't mind having 80 milliseconds of processing delay playing havoc with your video gaming, and want to spend at least twice as much for the priviledge, go for it.

(Rant Off)--Backlit local dimming will reduce clouding and flashlighting and will give many more "zones" for the local dimming, but the set won't be quite so razor thin.  Of the latest edge lit models the Sonys seem to have less clouding and flashlighting.  Sharp LCDs have the least gaming lag, if that's a factor maybe wait for their new models to arrive.  The high end ones will use a new type of LCD panel that aside from the perhaps overhyped four color pixel should significantly improve black levels and off angle problems--this panel will also appear on some high end Sony models.

If you have to buy one of these right this minute try to find a Sony XBR-8, a discontinued model that not only has local dimming and back rather than edge lit, but also has RGB instead of just white LEDs.  If you can't find one of these the second choice among sets you can buy right now would be the also discontinued Samsung UNxxB8500--a backlit LED with local dimming.

Local dimming edge lit LED sets just can't have enough separately dimming zones to be as effective as backlit local dimming LED, and are more prone to the "flashight shining in from the edges" effect.

I think overall if you must have one of these instead of a plasma it would be better to wait for more of the new models to arrive in showrooms.  What you really want is a backlit local dimming led, preferably with rgb instead of white leds, with the maximum number of "dimming zones". 

Sony and Samsung are good brands, and of the sets available right now the two I recommended would be, imho, your best choices,  but some others--notably LG, Sharp, and Toshiba, have some reallly exciting stuff coming out that you really owe it to yourself to check out if you can wait a month or so.

Or you could just go out and buy a Panny G-20 plasma and be done with it.
Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt-Kach



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Posted April 01 2010 - 12:16 PM

I'm not buying a TV until early June so all the new LED series from Samsung and Sony, and maybe a few others, should be released by then.  This will let me compare the older models with local dimming to the newer ones, price is not a big factor right now for me though so I am willing to pay twice as much for a slightly better TV.

The Samsung UN55C8000 is looking the best so far, though I have not seen it in person.  I have not been able to find out how many dimming zones it has since it is edge lit with "pinpoint dimming", but pinpoints are really small so there should be lots of zones.... right?

Some 240Hz LCDs have the ability to turn off/adjust the interpolation process (Auto Motion or whatever each manufacturer calls theirs) incase you don't like the way it looks for movies, but still wanted to use it for video games or sports.  I assume it would still display at 240hz but only use the given images instead of creating new ones.

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted April 01 2010 - 05:08 PM

They all have the ability to turn off or adjust the amount of interpolation going on.  Higher end Samsungs also have separate adjustments for blur reduction and judder reduction that can give you most of the benefits of the frame interpolation without too much of the "soap opera effect".

One of my main objections to too much of this magical processing is that it often detracts from basic picture quality, contributing digital anomalies ranging from a "swimmy" look to backgrounds to strange artifacting at high contrast boundaries (i.e. around text edges) to my all time bugaboo-- a sort of clayface or posterized effect on closeups of people's faces.  I prefer a display technology that inherently doesn't require frame interpolation to overcome slow pixel response time and the resultant motion blur, or "local dimming" to disguise the fact that an LCD pixel can't block light effectively enough to produce as true a black as a CRT or Plasma set.  A 1080/1920 CRT or Plasma has 2 million independent "dimming zones".  I don't know of any local dimming lcd that can match that.

Go to a good store that has a Samsung PN50B850/860 or Panasonic G20 or higher series plasma on display in something less than new car showroom lighting and compare the smoothness and subtle color variation to what you see on a LED/LCD.  Look carefully especially at closeups to see how realistically fleshtones, wrinkles, etc are reproduced.  Do the faces look like real life or do they look like someone's slathered latex orange paint over them?  Look at grassy scenes--does the grass look like real grass or neon tinged astroturf? 

(Rant off again)

The C8000 series set you're considering is also 3D capable, if you add a 3D BD player or do the upcoming firmware update on a PS3 and get some of the glasses.  It also has a setting for applying "faux 3D" processing to 2D sources.  I've seen the latter in action on a C7000 and it isn't like real 3D but does give a definite impression of "depth" to the picture.  I wouldn't specifically seek out a 3D capable set but it looks like the really high end stuff is gonna have it anyway and nobody's forcing you to get the glasses and such right away.

I've always (or I should say usually) been more than a little reluctant to grab the latest and greatest new tech, preferring to get what was latest and greatest last year or the year before and has been around long enough to have the glitches ironned out.  Early editions of everything from HDMI connections to 1080p native resolution to frame interpolation were really buggy in their first year.  From what I've seen of 3D so far it's about the most "ready for prime time" gimmick to come along in the last 10 years.  Some minor ghosting at times that might very well be fixed via firmware update or improvements in disc mastering and the picture fades out if you turn your head on it's side.

Since you've got some time before you make your decision I'd recommend you go to mfgs. websites and download the owner's manuals for anything you're considering as they become available--can be pretty informative as to just what they can and can't do and avoid any surprises when you get your new toy home and find out it doesn't do what you want it to do.  It also reveals which models have the most adjustability available in the user menu so you can do a decent job of setting things up to get the best picture.  Initially you can benefit greatly if you order one of the available calibration discs such as Video Essentials just to familiarize yourself with the functions of all the controls and get it dialled in a bit.  This makes a tremendous improvement over just leaving the set on the factory default settings, not only in pq but also in power consumption and reducing wear and tear on your new set.

Since budget doesn't seem to be a major concern I'd strongly recommend that you get a professional ISF calibration on the set after it's had a month or three to settle in.  Don't get the calibration offered by Best Buy--too variable in quality.  There are lots of folks here who can recommend someone good in your area, or you could PM Greg Loewen who posts here often.
Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   EmilioMills



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Posted April 01 2010 - 11:07 PM

I like your information about LED TV. I am always look for this type of interesting and good information. Also people are interested to read this type of information.

Home Theater Seating | Theater Seating

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Matt-Kach



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Posted April 06 2010 - 11:13 AM

After doing some more research it sounds like Samsungs UN55C8000 has a few issues with clouding and the "precision" dimming only has about 12 zones, so I'm going to get a full led backlit model.

I've read a lot on the UN55B8500 but the viewing angle seems to be horrific and I would like for more than just one person to be able to enjoy my TV at a time, if they are still on display when I get around to looking at TVs I will give it a chance but its not looking good.

Sony doesn't seem to be coming out with anything worthwhile anytime soon so now I will probably be getting a LG LE8500 or LX9500.  I'm going to wait until the LX is released and try out the 3D to see if it will be worth dropping the extra money for.  Both these LGs are fully backlit with 1200 LEDs for the 55" LX, not sure how many zones, and 240 zones for the 55" LE, not sure how many LEDs.  I previously thought each LED would be a zone but the more I learn about new TVs the less I trust anything to make sense.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Brian Serene

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Posted April 07 2010 - 04:03 AM


First, I would go to Best Buy/Magnolia and look at the Panasonic 50VT20.  This TV will only be sold at BB/Magnolia.

In preliminary tests it outperformed the 7000, and 8000 series Samsung LCDs in many areas. 

The "infinite black" technology seems to be working; with viewers saying the 50VT20 has the best blacks of any TV since the Pioneer Kuro.  VT20 also said to have great picture detail and great blur reduction circuitry.  Even without the new motion blur reduction circuitry, plasma doesn't have the kind of problem with motion blur, that all but the best "true 240" Hz LCD have.

Note: The new motion blur circuitry in the VT20 can be de-activated.

Unless something unexpected comes up, the VT20 and VT25 plasmas are going to be GREAT TVs, with both 2D and 3D material. 

Right now, I would be thinking seriously about the 65 inch VT25.  With a little care, burn-in doesn't have to be a problem but you do have to get used to the possibility of Image Retention which goes away quickly.  

It seems to me that since Panasonic has the Pioneer Kuro patents and is gradually improving plasma, it it worth your consideration.

LCD is more concerned with cost saving measures, like side lit, and chintzy local dimming.  And of course, how thick the panel is.

Samsung seems to be more concerned with style over substance.  

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