Goodbye CRT, hello world of confusion
September 5, 2011 3:30 PM   Subscribe

After resisting the call of the flatscreen tv for an embarrassingly long time, my boyfriend and I are finally saying farewell to our twelve-square-foot CRT and taking the LCD plunge. After much research we've settled on the Samsung UN46D8000, but I have two special-snowflake hardware concerns.

One: look at that stand! It's awful. It actually doesn't look nearly as bad in the picture as it does in real life, but trust me: this is a really unpleasant looking tv stand. So question the first: is it possible to buy an off-brand replacement stand for a flatscreen tv?

Two: We really would prefer not to wall-mount the tv, but if there really is no way around the hideous stand, that might be our best option. The only problem is that the wall we want the tv to be on is an exterior wall, and I've heard horror stories about that. So question the second: Is it really a terrible idea to mount a tv on an exterior wall? and related to that, is there any way to ensure our wall is tv-mounting-friendly before we shell out a couple gs for the tv?

And I guess finally, did we pick the wrong tv? Does anyone have any kneejerk reactions along the lines of Holy crap, you are making a terrible consumer electronics decision? This whole process feels very overwhelming and confusing to me, and I would really welcome any straight talk.
posted by firstbest to Shopping (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
2: Why would mounting on an exterior wall be bad? Find the studs, don't drill into wiring, pipes, and other vitals. It's the same problem as with interior walls. The fact that there's insulation between the studs doesn't change anything with respect to mounting.

3: Feature- and viewing-wise, our Samsung TV (a 52" LCD, I believe) is awesome. I will note, however, that we've had chunks of its guts replaced twice due to failures (one logic board, one power supply). I eventually ended up having to talk to (very politely argue with) four different people at Samsung customer service to get an entire new replacement shipped to me because the first one was so horribly broken. Basically we owned the TV for almost a year before it really worked 100% properly. My wife had vowed we will never buy another Samsung product again. I know that one person's experience doesn't make a trend, but caveat emptor.
posted by introp at 3:53 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

You know that TV is LED, right?
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:02 PM on September 5, 2011

Any current Samsung model will be fine for wall mounting, and there's no problem at all with mounting on an exterior wall. The only reason I can think of for someone to have trouble with that is if they accidentally penetrated to the outside of the house and, well, if you're the sort of person who accidentally drills ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE WALL in the process of trying to hang something on it, you should probably be hiring help for a project like this regardless of whether the wall is an exterior one. That said, current TVs are so light and curent mounts so standardized that it's barely harder than hanging a framed picture. As long as there are studs back there and you can locate them, everything will be fine.
posted by contraption at 4:04 PM on September 5, 2011

Monoprice will save you big bucks on quality HDMI cables and wall mount (if you go that route).
posted by buggzzee23 at 4:09 PM on September 5, 2011

> You know that TV is LED, right?

"LED TV" is largely a marketing term used to make new LCD sets that use LEDs for backlighting sound sexier and radically different from the older LCDs that had fluorescent backlights. Both technologies generate the image by means of an LCD panel, but the LED style uses a little less power, should last a bit longer, can be made thinner and lighter, and has the debatable advantage of being able to kill the backlight entirely in one rectangular chunk of the image while keeping it lit in another, technically improving black levels while creating an awful mosaic effect whenever you have non-rectilinear borders between areas of light and dark (this wonderful feature can be turned off, don't worry.)
posted by contraption at 4:18 PM on September 5, 2011 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the rapid and thoughtful answers, folks! Any insights on swapping out the Samsung stand? That's my best-case option and I'm really hoping its workable.
posted by firstbest at 4:27 PM on September 5, 2011

We bought a new TV recently, but it came with such a wobbly stand that we had no confidence it would survive ten minutes around our kids. What we did was wall mount it, but with a normal tv stand below it to hold everything (video games, dvds, etc). It's mounted with an articulating stand that can be pulled out from the wall, so basically it hovers a couple of inches above the tv stand in the same spot it would be in if it were on the stand. The difference is that a grown adult can hang on the tv and it won't move.

Keep in mind that the middle of the tv should ideally be at eye level or even a bit lower as you sit and look at the tv. Most wall mounted TVs are way too high up on the wall.
posted by pekala at 4:28 PM on September 5, 2011

The stands tend not to be at all standardized and vary quite a bit from brand to brand and even betweeen models within one brand. I've never heard of an aftermarket stand, though I suppose someone might make them. The main reason that the stands you get are such flimsy afterthoughts is that almost everybody throws them out immediately and uses a wall mount instead. Could you elaborate about why the tabletop stand idea is attractive to you? As others have said, an articulating mount could put the TV in the same spot more securely than a stand in most cases.
posted by contraption at 4:33 PM on September 5, 2011

FWIW, I saw this TV at Costco recently and it stood out among all the other big flat-panel TVs. The thin bezel really draws you in to the image. I think you made a good choice.
posted by scose at 4:35 PM on September 5, 2011

They do make entertainment centers that have a single board coming up from the base that you mount the TV on. So if mounting the TV on the wall is bad idea there is still that option. Something like this.
I have never used that particular stand just wanted to show in picture form what I was talking about.
posted by lilkeith07 at 4:38 PM on September 5, 2011

i love our samsung. my dad, brother, and best friend love their samsungs*. a few months after we bought it, samsung repair had to come out and replace the board. it took 15-20 minutes and it's been great ever since. we've considered getting a second samsung so we each can have the pretty picture when we're playing different video games. when we have to replace it, i imagine we'll get another samsung.

*they all did a lot of research and price comparisons. we went and looked at the wall of tvs and all the samsungs just looked better than any of the rest. some were too sharp, some too dim. like goldilocks, we found ours just right.
posted by nadawi at 4:53 PM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Contraption, et al: We're drawn to the stand mostly because of the flexibility in terms of moving furniture around. (I have a bad habit of rearranging the whole house on a whim.) Wall mounts are obviously moveable, just a bit more involved. I also just like the look of a tv resting on a stand, I enjoy the visual relationship it has to its console.

There's also the fact that a wall mount is pricey, but buggzzee23's suggestion of using Monoprice has pretty much obviated that.

This thread is definitely helping me move towards wall-mounting.
posted by firstbest at 5:12 PM on September 5, 2011

1. For a while there Costco was selling an entertainment center that had a built-in stand that was basically a wall mount but instead of being attached to the wall, it was attached to a support beam that was attached to the back of the entertainment center, and also doubled as a way to run the power cable up to the TV.
posted by JauntyFedora at 5:34 PM on September 5, 2011

Best answer: (wow I said "attached" a lot) Try searching for "built-in stand"

There's this one, though it's not the one I saw instore.

Amazon has these.
posted by JauntyFedora at 5:40 PM on September 5, 2011

You can definitely get all sorts of stands which will fit into the wall mount brackets. But wall mounting should also be fine.

Although I have the 55" version of that TV and have no issue with the stand -- it works fine, I'm guessing you just don't like the look of it (looks fine to me). I am quite happy with the TV by the way.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:46 PM on September 5, 2011

As said above, there's tons of "stand" options, theyll just cost more than basically anything else (the only common thing is a really fancy wall mount with an arm).

For what it's worth (probably nothing) the stand on the thing isn't that bad, I've seen plenty in person. It's very minimal
posted by Patbon at 5:48 PM on September 5, 2011

Love my samsung, too! In fact, I recommend them here all the time...
posted by jbenben at 5:55 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

> Costco was selling an entertainment center that had a built-in stand that was basically a wall mount but instead of being attached to the wall, it was attached to a support beam that was attached to the back of the entertainment center, and also doubled as a way to run the power cable up to the TV.

Keep in mind that you could make this yourself with most entertainment consoles and a piece of plywood cut to the appropriate dimensions and screwed/bolted to the back. All your wall mount really needs for attachment is a flat vertical surface with some wood to sink a few screws into. Paint it black, hang the TV on it with a flat mount, and move it around the house whenever the mood strikes you (though you'll still have to worry about getting the cable/satellite, power, and probably the network wiring to follow it.)
posted by contraption at 6:23 PM on September 5, 2011

Seeing as you need a cabinet to keep your DVD player in anyway, why not just get a cheap cabinet stand and try it in a few places. It gives you the option of putting it in a corner.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:34 PM on September 5, 2011

Best answer: We like our Samsung - I bought two one for us, one for mom. Get it bundled with the bluray player and the 3d kit. I got both from Amazon, but that was more than 1 year ago.

We wall mounted with one of the mounts from costco. Although they are both on articulating mounts, neither has been articulated since they were installed.

If you haven't wired any of the newer tv's wiring is now much easier. We have a single HDMI cable (buy from the suppliers described above) from the blu ray to the TV, and the bluray can connect to the internet via our house WiFi. With this we can control the TV and blu ray with a single remote as well as stream netflix and movies from a NAS in another room. Hooking up to a 7.1 amp is also simple via is happy and up to speed with the controls without too much extra work.
posted by NoDef at 6:47 PM on September 5, 2011

Most of the supplied stands are really just quick and dirty plastic things. I too don't really relish the idea of mounting it to a wall. There are many options in flat screen TV furniture that allow you to mount the TV to a metal plate on the TV stand- it's a much more secure anchor than bolting to the wall.

About the TV itself- Samsung was definitely a budget player years ago but have really stepped up their game in flatscreens and smartphones. I actually bought a Sony (whose reputation in the CRT era was spotless) flatscreen years ago and had power supply problems with it. I'd have no reservations about buying a tv from them, but I opted to skip 3D for now. Have you went to Best Buy or whatever and tried out the 3D TVs? I have to say I wasn't super impressed, at least enough to spring for all the extra money. While the active shutter glasses are way better than the polarized ones, the dark screen and limited 3d selection just turned me off of the whole thing. And it made the rest of the equation more painful- you need a 3d blu ray player, for one- not so bad- but if you plan to use a home theatre 5.1/7.1 amp, the HDMI pass throughs have to support 3d- and that cuts out a good amount of contenders. I really would want to have Avatar in 3d, in which case I'd have to buy a Panasonic, they have the exclusive.

So,in my case, I bought a 42" Panasonic plasma (no 3d, 720p too) for about $425 new with a 2 year warranty, REALLY happy wih that. I could have spent MUCH more, certainly, but put the extra money in audio stuff. Maybe when the catalog is vast, and if there ever is a day when you don't need glasses I'll give em some more thought.
posted by tremspeed at 7:24 PM on September 5, 2011

I just made the CRT -> flat screen jump a couple of months ago, and I should have gotten a bigger one. I got a 42", which for regular-TV programming (SD, or square frame), a 42" has not much more screen height as my old 27" CRT TV. Next one I get will be a 50", and that's not even because I watch a lot of NASCAR.
posted by rhizome at 7:40 PM on September 5, 2011

i saw this set at best opinion: i love the stand...very charles&ray...but if you absolutely loathe it (and, as you're not very likely to find a different contraption said, they're all pretty different), why dont you try disguising it in some way...a slipcover perhaps? ornamentation? a custom-made wooden box with a nice veneer/finish and a hole drilled in the top (for the top post to fit through) could fit over the base before you put the tv on it...sort of like the philco tvs of yesteryear...what kind of decor are you trying to match it to?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:58 AM on September 6, 2011

Have you seen the Samsung's stand in person? Before you go to the trouble of buying a whole new console or a wall mount you don't necessarily like, maybe just try setting it up with the included stand in your actual house, on your actual furniture. You might find that it's a lot less obtrusive-looking there than when it was floating in space against a stark white backdrop in the product photos.
posted by contraption at 8:31 AM on September 6, 2011

Best answer: We looked at the D8000 series in-person at the local big-box retailer, and my spouse did not like the silver-colored bezel at all. Great picture, and neat features, but even with the thin bezel it really stood out as 'shiny'. Didn't even notice the stand.

So we ended up with the D7000 instead. Believe it or not, at least for the 55" model, it is a clear polycarbonate, that actually blends into the backgroun. We like the look a lot better.

We ended up doing the external wall-mount route (kept the stand though 'just in case'), from Monoprice.

As far as looking at alternatives, we had a Sony Bravia for about a year (a 46" model) that was so much thicker, bulkier, and had a huge (in comparison) bezel. And a simple lightning strike took it out, so much so that the electronic board needed replacement at $400. Not very good interface / connectivity, the Samsung is leaps ahead in terms of both thinness, connectivity, etc. (Their DNLA networking to share photos and movies across a home network is a nice touch.)
posted by scooterdog at 10:40 AM on September 6, 2011

a simple lightning strike took it out

To be fair, a lightning strike is simple in the way that a blow from a wrecking ball is simple. I've seen huge racks of expensive gear (like, tens of thousands of dollars) with copious power protection fried by lightning; circuit designers can't do a whole lot to protect their boards from the kind of voltage that leaps across a thousand feet of open air in a fat, sizzling arc. It's way, way outside the tolerances anybody could reasonably be expected to design for, and I sincerely doubt that a Samsung or any other brand would've fared better than the Sony.
posted by contraption at 12:05 PM on September 6, 2011

contraption wrote: the LED style uses a little less power

For future reference, the difference is more than a little. A 46" Toshiba edge-lit LED draws about 140 watts at full brightness. My 47" florescent lit TV draws over 300 watts. I'd say half the power consumption is more than "a little less," although if you rarely watch TV, it doesn't really matter.
posted by wierdo at 2:40 AM on September 7, 2011

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