Picking the best 60 inch tv I can find.
December 21, 2010 5:56 PM   Subscribe

So we have decided to buy a new 60 inch tv for Christmas. I have spent a few days running around looking at various models in stores. I have also read that stores to tweaks to the tv to make them look good in the store. Right now I am looking mostly at Sharp, Sony and Samsung

So my family has decided to buy only one thing this Christmas and that will be a 60 inch led lcd tv.
There seems to be a lot of discounted models out there right now.

I am mostly looking at Samsung, Sony and Sharp.
I am currently leaning towards a Samsung model.
I would like a great picture for watching movies, but good performance
with the ps/3 and preferably years of trouble free service.
I dont really care about 3d features right now, but i did hear that 3d tvs have a better processor and can display better pictures???

Trouble is I dont really know much at all about tvs.
Someone told me I would get a better picture if I went with a plasma screen.

The guy at BestBuy was very much trying to sell Samsung models, in another store they were trying very hard to sell Sharp models

So I am looking to be able to make an intelligent decision with the help of the hive mind. what is a good tv? Is there a stellar performer out there?
Are they all pretty much the same?
posted by digividal to Technology (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So, AVSforum has never steered me wrong in this respect. Go over there and search for the model numbers and you'll find threads for each model made by people who own them. You can also post questions over there about specific comparisons.
posted by dnesan at 6:15 PM on December 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't listen to any salesmen in the store. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon and CNET, learned some of the terminology (but otherwise know nothing about tvs), before settling on my Sharp Aquos 2 years ago and I've been deliriously happy and trouble-free since. I was very set on getting a Plasma, as I don't want the glare and reflection of an LCD. And the Aquos line has very rich blacks, which can be a weak point for plasmas I think. I'm a huge gamer with a Wii, PS2, and (yes at one point) a GameCube hooked up to it and have been really pleased.
TVs will generally be cheaper online than in the store, too. Best Buy ironically rarely has the best buy.
My only complaint about the Aquos is that it has a component connection on the side of the monitor, so when I have my PS2 plugged in, my tv kind of looks like the Predator will all those little hoses sticking out the side of his mask.

I'm not trying to sell it by any means, just saying that it takes just a little learning and research and I'm sure you'll find something you'll be pleased with.

On preview: Oh thanks dnesan! I was trying to remember the forum I browsed after considering my Aquos but before buying it. Definitely browse those, digividal. Hell, I even got a good set of color settings from them after the fact.
posted by mostlybecky at 6:23 PM on December 21, 2010

I'll skip all the arguments about picture & build quality, full-panel vs edge-lit vs local dimming, etc, and just mention this:
"… but good performance with the ps/3 …"

If you're a gamer, particularly of the FPS variety, keep an eye out for input lag. While most (all?) sets will have a "Game" mode that theoretically removes most/all of the picture processing that contributes to lag, they're not all equal in that respect.

For example, I'd normally lean to Samsung* as having the best image quality and features for a given price but, while some of their sets are amongst the best for input lag, other models are amongst the worst. Check the reviews for a particular model, especially ones where they quantify input lag.

(* at least for their CFL-backlit models. I'm not a fan of any edge-lit models, or of locally-dimmed backlights of either stripe. I notice too much backlight variation across the screen on everybody's edge-lit models (especially 40" and above), and find the ramping and occasional pulsing of both locally-dimmed types annoying.

But then, I much prefer the image quality of a good (albeit smaller) CRT to any LCD or plasma I've ever seen.)

posted by Pinback at 6:25 PM on December 21, 2010

I have the 55 Samsung LED. It looks awesome, and the built-in Pandora / Netflix stuff is pretty convenient.

Stores do things like hook up the big TVs to digital sources with HDMI cables and show 1080p conent, while they hook up smaller ones to coax showing lower resolution content. They probably also play games with other random settings. Almost every TV has a "load defaults" option you can select from the menu to restore factory defaults.

You've picked good brands. Get something that does hi-res, hi refresh rate. They're all going to look pretty good when you show hi-res content on them.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:26 PM on December 21, 2010

Response by poster: Looking around at different retailers (BestBuy, Amazon, Newegg) am I correct that it seems hard o find a full led backlit (as compared to edge backlit) model?
posted by digividal at 6:29 PM on December 21, 2010

I recently bought a 50" plasma tv. I paid $25 to get Consumer Reports evaluations, confirmed same on Amazon.com reviews for that particular model, and went for it.

Couldn't be happier.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:29 PM on December 21, 2010

Be aware that a 60" plasma tv is likely to be very, very heavy.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:33 PM on December 21, 2010

Order your HDMI cable(s) from Monoprice. Don't get fleeced by the stores.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:35 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You have mail.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:47 PM on December 21, 2010

You can get HDMI cables for free from a Comcast store if you ask nicely.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:49 PM on December 21, 2010

Consider DLP. At 60" it and an LCD will probably take up the same amount of space anyway, which is not much, and you'll get the benefits of better blacks and wider viewing angles.
posted by rhizome at 6:56 PM on December 21, 2010

Viewing angle is why you need to consider plasma:
For virtually all HDTVs the published values are at least 176 degrees (or ±88 degrees) out of a possible 180 degrees (±90 degrees). Viewing angle is especially important for HDTVs because the audience may be seated at significantly different viewing locations throughout a room. So according to this claim, unless you are seated at a ridiculous two degrees from the edge of the screen you will see a perfectly fine picture. For all current LCDs this is absolute nonsense. What we found in both the measurements and viewing tests is that for LCDs the viewing angle where there is noticeable picture degradation is a mere ±10 degrees, not ±88 degrees.

True Contrast Ratio with Viewing Angle

                            0 Degrees   45 Degrees
Panasonic Plasma          3,842          3,502
Samsung LCD                1,877            462
Sharp LCD                    1,330             174
Sony LCD                     1,344             467
The link is an interior page in a great and detailed article. Here is the first page.

please work, non-breaking spaces!

posted by NortonDC at 7:14 PM on December 21, 2010

I have heard very good things about the Vizio brand. It's considerably less expensive than the major players, and apparently very much worth a look; none of the big-box salespeople will want you to buy one, though (commission).
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:19 PM on December 21, 2010

I just got a Samgsung UN55C6800, which does use LED-edge lighting, but I haven't noticed any brightness drop-off from it. (So far, I've been basically 100% happy with it. Game mode works great for both Wii and 360. Regular DVDs look acceptable to good. Only "problem" so far is that with some of the motion plus settings it causes one or two shudders an hour for some content, I haven't quite figured it out yet. I'm crazy impressed to have a 55" TV that's only 70lb, my old 32" CRT was like 120lb.)

Although plasmas do have better off-angle viewing, my experience is that LCDs have gotten hugely better in the last 18 months (which is how long ago the linked ExtremeTech article is from). For me, the trade offs with plasmas (heavier, more power usage, and hotter) weren't worth slightly better performance.

With respect to image quality in 3D vs non-3D, it's not that the 3D makes it "better", but some of the makers are now only doing their top of the line panels in 3D versions (like Samsung's top is the 8000 (the 7000 probably isn't actually as good of a panel as the 6800), which is 3D. The firmware is shared between the 6000, 7000, and 8000 series, as far as I can tell.) The important thing is to get a 120Hz TV since 24 (the standard for movies) divides evenly into that, so pull down isn't needed.

I guess one question is which price point are you looking at?
posted by skynxnex at 8:31 PM on December 21, 2010

My experience has been that good plasma TVs have better blacks and colors, they also have a better viewing angle. But I haven't shopped for a TV since last year. Got a 58" Panasonic G10 (if I remember the model # properly), very happy with it. It also convinced my parents that they want a plasma HDTV (well HD hockey + Planet Earth blu-ray helped a lot), they had been very underwhelmed by the other HDTVs they'd seen (mostly LCDs). I know that were I work (video game company), when we get a big TV to show off stuff it's always a plasma. It's true that the big ones are heavy, this needs to be taken into consideration depending on where you want to put it.
posted by coust at 9:24 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a Vizio, and I have been extremely happy with the picture quality on it. Take a look at them as well. (I do know two people with Samsung sets, and they make a pretty darn fine TV themselves.)
posted by azpenguin at 10:19 PM on December 21, 2010

Do not get an edge light LED. Repeat after me, DO NOT GET AN EDGE LIGHT LED. Unless it is a very high end model, you will see light bleeding through on the corners.

I had one, was not happy with it, spent many hours on avsforum, and then took it back for a plasma.

Contrary to what today's marketing says, plasmas still offer the best picture, period. And, due to them not being trendy anymore, they are usually cheaper than LCD/LED. Unless you really want the thin design of an LED, just get a nice Panasonic or Samsung plasma and you will be happy.
posted by eas98 at 6:56 AM on December 22, 2010

This comment from herrdoktor got me to stop obsessing over review sites (seriously was losing sleep over this) and to just get the Samsung LED.
posted by bDiddy at 7:56 AM on December 22, 2010

If you're interested in getting one of the best plasma sets ever made, and not interested in 3d, a thin profile, built-in Netflix/web access, go to your local Best Buy stores and ask if they've got any Panasonic plasmas in. Earlier this year I did this, and even though they weren't on display, and even though they're not listed on the BB web site, most of the stores had a couple in stock. For cheap.

But seriously, while I'm very happy with the set I got, looking back it wasn't worth the hassle. But now you can benefit from my misfortune and either go straight to a Kuro if you're lucky enough to have a store with one in stock, or just skip the whole hand-wringing process and buy an LCD.
posted by herrdoktor at 10:03 AM on December 22, 2010

Panasonic plasma is the way to go.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:49 AM on December 22, 2010

Are there any plasmas smaller than 50"?
posted by canine epigram at 10:57 AM on December 22, 2010

This article about LEDs from the nytimes.com may help point you in the right direction. They make the argument that LEDs are really just a way to sell more expensive TVs.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:01 PM on December 22, 2010

Again, that NYTimes article is 18 months old. LED TVs have come down in price a lot (the current version of the 46" 8000 goes for ~$1,899.10, instead of the $3,200 they quote, and it now does 3D) and they've solved (it seems) a lot of the problems with earlier models.

Frankly, I'm completely blown away with current LED-LCD TVs. I was never super impressed with LCD TVs I saw in stores or at friends' houses, until the last 6 months or so. I'm not sure any article comparing LED-LCD or CCFL-LCD TVs to plasmas from more than 6 months ago have anything to do with today's market.

If the plasma trade-offs make more sense, get that. If the LED-LCD trade-offs make more sense, get that (LED-lit TVs are only only a $200-$500 premium over conventional LCD TVs, if that). I love me some plasma brightness, but newest LED-LCDs finally get close enough and have fast enough refresh rates I can get a lighter TV that uses less power and isn't a space heater!
posted by skynxnex at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2010

LED tvs are just LCD tvs using a different light source. Ignoring image-worsening BS like local dimming and dynamic contrast, the lights are always on in both "LED" tvs and the traditional LCD tvs. It's the actual LCD panel that controls how much of the light that's already being produced is allow exit the panel as a picture.

So both "LED" and LCD tvs are LCD tvs.

The LEDs can allow for improvement in color gamut (the range of colors a tv can show) and may reduce power use, but they are not relevant to viewing angle. That depends on the LCD panel itself, and that LCD panel may be illuminated by either LEDs or cold cathode flourescent lights (CCFLs).

Knowing that tv is illuminated by LEDs does not tell you that its viewing angle is better than one illuminated by CCFLs.

Knowing a tv is a plasma DOES tell that its viewing angle is better than LCDs, now matter how the LCD is illuminated.

This is current information. See Crutchfield's 2010 comparison of plasma vs both types of LCD.
posted by NortonDC at 1:32 PM on December 22, 2010

Let us know what you pick.

So we know who won.
posted by NortonDC at 8:16 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

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