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Is there a dpreview-like site for LCD monitors/TVs?
February 15, 2008 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Is there a dpreview-like site for LCD televisions and monitors? Alternatively, suggest a good LCD television or monitor.

I do not have cable. I currently use a standard CRT television with coaxial input hooked up to a DVD player, a computer, and a VCR. All of those get routed through a receiver whose output is then sent through a modulator before going to the TV.

I'd like to replace this with an LCD monitor or an LCD television. I'm leaning more towards a "computer" monitor since I don't need speakers and would be mostly viewing things sent from the computer. Getting an actual television would give me the tuner input, which would be nice, but here's where I have some questions.

Almost every LCD television I've seen in person has horrible picture quality. I'm not sure why - but it looks like there are severe differences in software or hardware that does the scaling and rendering in the TV when showing something from the tuner input.

What I can find online only goes as far as telling me which inputs a product has and other technical specifications. Most sites don't have anything about picture quality. Is there a site like dpreview for LCD monitors that would help me pick the correct model by providing actual metrics related to picture quality?

Also, should I look into getting something with a digital tuner in preparation for the nationwide move away from analog broadcast signals?
posted by odinsdream to Technology (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm leaning more towards a "computer" monitor since I don't need speakers and would be mostly viewing things sent from the computer.

I too was leaning toward this type of setup about a year ago. I've since decided that a built in tuner is a nice, hassle free option if you're in an area that receives over the air hdtv broadcasts.

Generally the price difference between LCD monitors and LCD televisions is very small and shrinking. Indeed, real LCD monitors from Dell and elsewhere are often more expensive than comparably sized LCD televisions.

every LCD television I've seen in person has horrible picture quality

Wah? Really? Where have you been shopping? Even a big box store like Best Buy has reasonably good demos.

should I look into getting something with a digital tuner in preparation for the nationwide move away from analog broadcast signals?

Seriously, if this is a major purchase for you that you see yourself living with for sometime, then by all means buy a real LCD tv (even one with built in speakers) you'll be glad a few years from now if your usage or needs change. 30"+ monitors are great for some applications, but I think for many users they are just too big for daily computing.
posted by wfrgms at 6:56 AM on February 15, 2008


I found the reviews at prad.de extremely helpful when I was deciding on an LCD monitor recently. It has the most thorough informed reviews of any LCD review site I found. A warning though, the side has very annoying (sound) ads..

Another resource frequently mentioned here that leans more towards LCD Monitors (but also has some TVs) but is wonderful for background information about LCD technology is the LCD Thread at anandtech.

Personally, I ended up buying a Viewsonic VX2435wm, which has HDMI input and speakers (but no digital tuner), and am thrilled with it. I plan to get a TV Card for my computer though, so the lack of tuner was not that disturbing to me.
posted by everybody polka at 7:28 AM on February 15, 2008


AVS Forum is the go-to site for insane home-theater people. If you can wade through the incredible geekiness and bias that comes from it being a forum site rather than a "professional" single-reviewer site like DPReview it is packed with good and interesting info. The LCD forum is here. Good luck and ignore the snark.
posted by The Bellman at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2008


Plasma, plasma, plasma
posted by A189Nut at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2008


The advantage of plasma is that it is equal brightness when viewed from the sides. If you always watch from one position, it might not be worth the extra expense. This issue can be so pronounced with LCD monitors that when you sit close to a 30" monitor the far edges start to fade out.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:39 AM on February 15, 2008


2nding Avsforum.

I researched for several weeks and ended up buying a 50" Panasonic professional plasma "monitor" (th50ph9uk) which has an amazing picture and a great price. Had it over a year and have not seen anything come close to it yet. It also came with a 7 year warranty w/ in home service.
posted by mphuie at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2008


NO PLASMA, NO PLASMA, NO PLASMA! especially if it is going to be primarily a PC monitor. The burn in is quite real.
posted by Gungho at 9:11 AM on February 15, 2008


Gungho: I've been running my plasma on my HTPC for almost 2 years and no issues. Granted, there is very faint ghosting when the TV has been showing the same image for a long time, but it goes away in a couple seconds.
posted by mphuie at 9:34 AM on February 15, 2008


Plamsa for low-light rooms, low-def viewing, and fast motion (sports and video games).

LCD for high-light rooms and not much else.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2008


Avsforum is good. Also try cnet.com.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2008


3rd'ing AVSForum. The way I learned to use it was to figure out what my budget was, find the 4 or 5 models that are decent in that category (size is a chief divisor here), and search the forums for opinions on them. It cut way down on the amount of wading that I needed to do.
posted by rhizome at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2008


AVS Forum is simply the best site around for these sorts of discussions. The next best thing, I've found, is to peruse NewEgg buyer comments and ratings. But if you want real dialogue, avsforum is THE place to go.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2008


Plamsa for low-light rooms, low-def viewing, and fast motion (sports and video games).
LCD for high-light rooms and not much else.


Additionally, if you don't mind toting around 500 lbs. of glass, direct-view CRTs still have the best picture quality for television/movies. There is simply no comparison. I own a Sony 36XS955--one of the last tube models to come out of Japan--and I plan on keeping it until LED televisions become affordable. LCDs and Plasmas are both inferior technology from a consumer perspective (better off-axis viewing, better refresh without ghosting, better viewing in either dark or light conditions, lack of burn-in, and most important: longevity--they'll last a solid 10-15 years before you have to shell out for a new one.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 AM on February 15, 2008


DigitalVersus can provide some interesting comparisons between displays. HardForum may also be of use.

If it's going to be used as a TV, you probably want an S-IPS panel; the cheaper techs, TN especially, are significantly poorer at coping with significant viewing angles.
posted by Freaky at 10:57 AM on February 15, 2008


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