Which one of these three 37" LED 1080p HDTVs should I buy for my bedroom?
October 28, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Which one of these three 37" LED 1080p HDTVs should I buy for my bedroom?

Samsung UN37C5000QF
Contrast Ratio: 3,000,000 : 1
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz

Panasonic TC-L37D2

Contrast Ratio: 2,000,000 : 1
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz

LG 37LE5300
Contrast Ratio: 3,000,000 : 1
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz

I looked at Vizio's website and their 37's seem to have worse contrast ratios and refresh rates. Also, Sony only makes 40's and that's too big for my bedroom.

Anyone have any advice from experience or know of a good website for reviews of these 3 sets? Thanks!
posted by decrescendo to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
my mother, father, brother, best friend, and i all did our research independently and and we all ended up buying samsungs. i think they're the best reliability and quality for the price. my husband and i are actually going to get a second 37" samsung so we can both play video games at the same time and not have to fight over who gets the good tv.
posted by nadawi at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2010

Those contrast ratios are dynamic, which is not that meaningful. The most important thing to look for is static contrast ratio-- that will have the single highest impact on picture quality, even more than resolution. Thing is, it's hard to find advertised. (Dynamic is the TV's full range: the ratio between white with the backlight all the way up, and black with the backlight all the way down. Static is the contrast ratio between black and white on screen at once.) If you hunt around, you may be able to find each set's static contrast ratio.

Refresh rate of 120 is good for watching Blu-Ray movies in their native 24 fps format.

I like my 1080p 40" Samsung, which I've had for two years. When I last looked, they made the best LCD TVs.
posted by supercres at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2010

Oh, and whichever one you get, make sure you calibrate it. If you're the sort of person who can/would hire an pro AV installer to do it, that's a great choice. Otherwise, get this Blu-Ray (or DVD).
posted by supercres at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2010

I've done a fair amount of shopping on LCD's lately. Of the three TV's presented, my pick is the LG. Panasonic has been making the bottom-tier LCDs as of late. The price savings you will get on one is not worth the quality. Picture quality tends to be the worst, and the controls are not favorable, i.e. bad remote, difficult menus.
Samsung has been the best quality LCDs on the market, but have been at a price premium. Best picture quality and decent controls. The reason I'm not picking it out of this group is the 60Hz refresh rate. Most new generation LCDs being sold right now are of the 120Hz variety, and as supercres stated: 60Hz will not play 24fps Blu-ray discs appropriately. If you want to see this in action, go to one of the big box electronics stores and they may still be showing the comparison videos.
LGs have been mid-high tier LCDs, and with the good contrast and refresh, it's probably going to be the best of those three. Consider a few thoughts though: Do you want the fancy internet TV services (Netflix, Hulu, etc. built in)? Are you willing to wait until black friday? There are industry rumors that there will be huge price slashing on LCDs of all flavors due to a glut of panels in the market. Some are saying 32" LCDs down around $200-250. If you have a Fry's nearby, they are running weekly ads for 40" LCDs down around $500, which are usually Toshiba, LG or Vizio.
And when you buy and hook this up: do not buy a Monster brand HDMI cable. Buy a $5 cheapo. (but that's another Ask.MeFi question)

Disclaimer: My recent LCD purchase was a Toshiba 40" 60Hz, right when 120Hz was brand new and expensive and just before LED/LCD tv's came out. A close friend purchased a Panasonic 52" 60Hz and it looks like crap IMO. I recently guided friends to buying Samsung, LG, Toshiba and Vizio due to their particulars on price and availability. LCD everything changes very quickly right now, faster than the pace of computer hardware at the moment.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:25 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

AVS Forum has all the information you could ever possibly want. Contrast ratios are virtually meaningless. Proper lighting and set-up will have more effect on final picture quality than choosing between those three brands. Most users find the AVIA calibration disc easier to understand and navigate than Digital Video Essentials. Don't forget a VGA input if you want to be able to connect your computer to it. A digital signal is a series of ones and zeros, an HDMI interconnect will either work or it won't: $5 or $500, it makes no difference. Never, under any circumstances, ever buy any product with the Monster brand on it.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:59 PM on October 28, 2010

FWIW, the contrast on my 37" Vizio is much, much better than the ratio on my friend's much more expensive Bravia, though that may just be him not adjusting his settings properly. The viewing angle is also much wider.
posted by InsanePenguin at 5:00 PM on October 28, 2010

I have a Samsung 40" with 120Hz that I spent a lot less than $999.00 (the MSRP of that 37") on last year. I'm very, very happy with it. Not sure what you want to watch, but I'll say that sports (one of the more difficult things for older LCDs to do well) just "pop" on it. You should be able to find a 120 Hz Samsung fairly easily for way under that price, and if you do, I'd suggest going with it. Samsungs these days are just tops.
posted by General Malaise at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2010

Those contrast ratios are bullshit, btw. They're the "Dynamic" ratios, which means the difference between when the screen is at it's brightest, and when it's at its darkest.

What actually matters is the ratio between the brightest and darkest pixels at the same time.

These days you can't even find out what the real contrast ratio even is. It's ridiculous!
posted by delmoi at 7:00 PM on October 28, 2010

Oh, and whichever one you get, make sure you calibrate it. If you're the sort of person who can/would hire an pro AV installer to do it

Uh, be careful with that. Some stores do rip of "calibrations" that don't do anything.
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some stores do rip of "calibrations"

No kidding. Best Buy's "Geek" Squad ≠ pro AV installer.
posted by supercres at 7:21 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

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