Looking for HDTV recommendationsr
November 14, 2010 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for 46" HDTV recommendations.

I'm finally looking to make the jump to HDTV and am finding reliable reviews and recommendations hard to come by. I've settled on a size of 46", although I would move around a little for the right unit. I'm in Canada and have a budget of $1000-$1250. I'm hoping someone can chime in with recommendations to finally put me over the edge and make a decision.

It seems like LCD has taken over from plasma, and that LED backlighting is the new big thing. Are these features worth paying for? Is 120 Hz and 240 Hz really that much better than plain old 60 Hz? I'll be using the TV mostly for regular old TV shows and for Xbox360 gaming. Not so much on the sports, but occasional movies.

Thanks for your advice!
posted by sah to Technology (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Shop Fry's online...best deals hands down. Samsung makes an excellent HDTV.
posted by zagyzebra at 8:34 AM on November 14, 2010

LED backlighting is, IMHO, definitely worth paying for in an LCD set. The fluorescent backlights in a traditional LCD set will dim over time and eventually go out. This won't happen with LEDs. Color gamut is generally better with the LEDs, too, making the picture more vibrant and lifelike.

This past summer we got a 52" Sharp Aquos LED backlit set for $1299. It was a closeout on last year's model, but maybe you can find a good holiday deal on one. It's a great set; everyone who sees it has been stunned by it.
posted by kindall at 8:42 AM on November 14, 2010

I'd check out this site to help make an informative decision.

I've used their reviews for a lot of electronic stuff. Personnally, I'm a Panasonic fan.
posted by JohnE at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2010

Since NTSC has both 24fps and 30fps frame rates, multiples of 120hz are actually better than 60 for a mathematical reason; it avoids the necessity for 2:3 pulldown.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:51 AM on November 14, 2010

I once briefly considered getting an HDTV for gaming and then decided it wasn't worth it, and during my research I came away with the impression that a good plasma will always beat a good LCD, especially for gaming where response time is a concern. That was a couple of years ago and I haven't kept up to date, but it seems not much has changed since then.
posted by Bangaioh at 9:08 AM on November 14, 2010

I second checking out cnet's reviews. I don't believe LCD has not conclusively surpassed plasma in terms of picture quality. I would take a close look at the Panasonic TC-PG20 (or PG25, they're essentially the same) series. If picture quality or extra features are not as important as price, take a look at the cnet reviews and see if there's a good set that falls within your budget.

cnet Best Bang for Buck TVs
cnet Best HDTVs (Use menu on left to check out different categories)
cnet TV Buying Guide
posted by roomwithaview at 9:08 AM on November 14, 2010

As a fellow Canuck in the the market for similar (37-40 inch for me), I can say that I'll probably be getting a Samsung 5000 series (LED, 60hz) mainly because of the LED screen, their quality as of late and their thinness, and also because it has a USB port that is supposed to play most media files (handy in my situation). My understanding is that Hz above 60 is mostly a gimmick to sell higher priced screens.

I'm using Wishabi and Canada Post Comparison Shopper (yeah, who new?) to see what the best Canadian deals are for any given model.
posted by furtive at 12:36 PM on November 14, 2010

I bought a new flat-panel TV just under a year ago, and here are my notes on what I did wrong:
  1. First, I would have bought a Panasonic plasma, which are still among the best-regarded TVs out there. Better color, better blacks, better refresh rate, generally less expensive. However, our living room is really bright and plasmas universally have glossy screens, so glare was huge concern. We bought an LCD. Honestly, the plasma probably would have been fine. Though, burn-in is a concern for gaming with plasmas (I don't know if this is current knowledge, though).
  2. Then, for LCDs, I had lots of recommendations to buy Samsungs, from people who handle deployment of such things to, for example, college classrooms. I bought a Sony, and while it's certainly fine, there are times when I've been disappointed in its picture quality. I should have shelled out the extra $100 for the Samsung.
  3. Again, if I had had more money to spend I would have gone with LED, for the reasons kindall explained (except my understanding is that the LED will eventually just go out, versus the slow fade of the standard LCD).
  4. I did, however, get a 120 hz model, which was a good decision, because it syncs up really nicely with the 24-fps rate of Blu-Ray discs with film sources and negates the need for 3:2 pulldown. You definitely get that "film feel." It could be confirmation bias, of course, but it works for me.
  5. Finally, I bought a 40". It felt huge at first, coming from a 27" CRT TV, but man, we should have gone bigger. So don't skimp on size—be sure that you only want a 46".
I wasted a ton of time on the CNET reviews site, and elsewhere, but I'm thoroughly convinced that by sticking with a well-regarded brand and shopping for 1. price point and 2. features, you can't really go wrong. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the best 46" Samsung or Panasonic I could afford with at least a 120 hz refresh rate and be done with it.
posted by The Michael The at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2010

I'm pretty fond of the Toshiba Regza series. I have a 42" now and absolutely love it. 4/5 stars on Amazon for the 46" currently and it falls into your price range.

It seems like LCD has taken over from plasma, and that LED backlighting is the new big thing. Are these features worth paying for? Is 120 Hz and 240 Hz really that much better than plain old 60 Hz?

I think at a certain point a lot of this is splitting hairs and features made more for marketing sales points than any difference for the end user. I spent some time going to various retailers to look at the screens before deciding on the Toshiba. The cheaper bands like Vizio and Olevia use the same tech but looked terrible because of the quality of their panels and other things that are hard to quantify. My brother has a 42" Olevia and its so much cheaper looking, especially when downsampling different resolutions, its incredible how much of a comprise saving a couple hundred dollars is. Generally, I find Panasonic and Toshiba to really good but with the Toshiba costing about 20% less.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:22 PM on November 14, 2010

We've had this TV for almost a year and we really like it. (Here's the 46" version; the 50" version is less than $50 more right now, fwiw).

Things that are good: fantastic picture, suprisingly good sound quality, very nice fit and finish, really easy-to-use with and without the remote.

The only thing that's less-than-optimal (and it's really a minor annoyance very occasionally more than anything) is the glossy screen. The TV's on a wall directly opposite a window, but we find that tilting it 15 degrees one way or another when it's occasionally a problem solves it pretty well.

(Incidentally, I found my TV using a website called Measy , which asks you some questions about what you're looking for in a device and then gives you some recommendations. I recommend it!)
posted by joshuaconner at 6:12 PM on November 14, 2010

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