Help me buy a TV, please.

We’ve been able to avoid having a TV for a really long time, about 9 years, maybe more, since my spouse Imp of the Perverse killed our cathode ray version* with a death glare. Since then we’ve pretty much downloaded stuff and watched it on a laptop, or read books, or done without. It’s been fine. However, lately it’s getting to be a less satisfying experience, especially with movies that have special effects, or something subtle going on, to be peering at a laptop across the room. Also, we’re getting constant requests for gaming, so [thread=631976]a gaming system may be in our future.[/thread]

Here’s the deal: It would go in a basement room. We don’t have cable, and don’t particularly want cable, so it would need to interface with a macbook and/or our wifi and show downloadable content such as itunes, miro or netflix as the primary input.

Image quality is important, I’m not a fan of a huge TV with pixilation, blurring and stair stepped edges, and I’m pretty sure Imp will give it the death glare if it gives her a headache.

Any suggests are welcome and solicited. Thanks.
*She turned it on, it displeased her, she glared at it, it went pop and never worked again.

What are you looking to spend?

The room in question is about 12 foot by 9 foot, with the likely postion of the TV in the center of one of the 9 foot walls. I was thinking a 40" TV, but that’s based on the consumer reports website.

When I go to the store, the store and stroll around, the 40" seems pretty big, while the 32" seems more proportionate. This drops me into the $400-500 range, based on my latest foray to The Source/Radio Shack.

What size should I be considering? Help.

I doubt you would regret getting the 40" over the 32". You’ll get used to it very quickly and you’ll soon be looking wistfully at those 50" sets. :slight_smile:

Look for online consumer reviews such as these. Not all are created equal. Samsung seems to get high marks. I have a Sharp Aquos which I like.

Is it a Quattron? When I was shopping, I wanted a Quattron for the geek factor, but the picture didn’t seem any better than a regular RGB LED screen. We ended up with a Sony Bravia (46", 1080p), which has a very nice picture.

Samsung and Sony both have good pictures, but a huge difference between them is glossy screen versus matte finish screen. In a basement room which perhaps wouldn’t have windows, it might not matter, but if the OP will have light reflecting off the TV screen, they need to decide if those reflections off the glossy Samsung screens are a problem. Personal preference, but this sold us on the Sony, with a matte finish screen.

It’s a completely finished basement, with a southeast window, so some glare is possible, but shouldn’t be much. Also, we’re pretty much of the ‘get outside and play’ philosophy during daylight hours, so it may not be relevant. That said, you never know when you might be moving.

There are so many TV choices out there now that you really just have to decide exactly what is important to you and then find the best deal on it. Samsung makes some of the best TV’s but they aren’t cheap. I would go with on LED or LCD TV in the 40 or 46" inch range. There are lots of good deals on those. There are some off brands that are worth considering if money is a big consideration. I like many of the Visio TV’s for example even though you may need a sound bar or a surround sound system to make them sound decent. The picture is good. Best Buy has the Dynex store brand with some really cheap (sub $500 TV’s) with good picture quality but they aren’t super-thin.

Target, Wal-Mart, and others are about to come out with some incredible black-Friday sales this week on TV’s through Christmas. The criteria you set in your OP are so low that almost any current TV would fit. TV technology is advancing like computers did back in the day. The things that you pay a big premium for now are ultra-thin profiles for wall mounting like a picture, integrated internet access in the TV itself and a higher Hz rate (60 hz is good enough for most things unless you really like action sports. you pay more for higher like 120 hz or 240 hz but it isn’t noticeable for most things). You certainly want 1080 dpi but almost all current TV’s in that size range have it now. The other big consideration is how good it sounds and that is hard to to tell in the store. Some, especially brands like Samsung, sound pretty good on their own but you really need to add a soundbar for $100 or so or some type of surround sound system to make the sound match the quality of the picture.

From what you described, you could walk into Walmart and Target today and buy a 46" inch Samsung or Sony you would like for $800 or slightly less or cut some corners and shave a couple of hundred off for some compromises. It doesn’t sound like you want or need anything more expensive than that. A 40" would be less of course.

Still working on the TV purchase. I’ve made the leap and scored an Xbox 360, which is half the driving force for getting a TV. Looking at the room, and taking the advice above, I’m looking at 40-42".
The first question is Plasma or LCD**.?

We bought our 42" back in the days when they were $1600 (ouch) and now cost about 1/4 the price. Ours is a plasma and the picture is great, but I do admit it throws off quite a bit of heat and supposedly takes more electricity to run than LCD. Also a lot heavier.

And trust those who say that buying bigger is never something people complain about later - and yes, we are indeed eyeing those 60" sets.

Many of the newer TV’s are fully designed to run off only the Internet - so keep that in mind and be sure your TV is compatible. Some of those even have 3D for no extra cost - true, it is a bit of a gimmick now, but there are some films and games where this might be a cool feature to have if there is no additional cost involved.

I just bought my grandson a 42" LG for under $500 from Amazon that got great reviews. He’s lovin’ it.

As far as I am concerned, Plasma is a technology whose time has gone. It’s a huge energy suck, the screens are bulkier, heavier, and unless you are a hardcore picture quality aficionado who is worried about your black being black enough, you’re unlikely to notice a difference.

I’m sure there are some sort of niche applications for which plasma is the hands down winner, but since you are the sort of person who has successfully lived without a television for 9 years, I’d encourage you to go the green route and invest in an LED illuminated LCD instead.

Edit: Oh, yeah, and I’ve never heard anyone say “Oh god, I wish I’d bought a smaller TV”. Go for the largest one you feel is appropriate for the space. For you, it sounds like the 40".

  1. Get an LCD TV.

  2. If it is free-standing, the depth doesn’t matter. And therefore the type of backlighting doesn’t matter.

  3. If it will be hung on a wall, you want minimum depth. Which means you want an edge-lit TV.

  4. There are two kinds of screens on LCD TVs: shiny/reflective and matte/non-reflective. The former has a better image quality, but it absolutely *sucks *unless the room is 100% dark; if any light is on in the room, you will see it in the screen. So get a non-reflective screen.

  5. When in doubt, get a bigger TV.