Which LCD Full-HD TV to buy?

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  1. #1

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    Which LCD Full-HD TV to buy?

    I am thinking about buying a TV in a few days. The Philips 42PFL9532 is too blury when it comes to sports.
    The LA46N81BD screen from Samsung looks quite nice actually but I have been recommended to buy the latest Sharp LC-46GX3H.
    Anyone has this model and can tell me the pro and cons?

    Mainly I want to use the TV for watching movies and gaming.

    Any other suggestions?


  2. #2

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    I have the Olevia 242FHD 42", I am very happy with it, you have to remember there are only 3 makers of lcd screens. The Olevia supports true 1080p, I use it for my ps3 and my computer and I find it is very clear. It also allows you to update the firmware yourself and it has a 2yr on site warranty. Also the price is very good, you can get one for under 9k. It is limited to 1 HDMI input, but you can use a switcher or a receiver.


  3. #3

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    Without disclosing exactly which input was feeding sports to that Philips set, the blame can't entirely be shouldered on the hardware. When configured in any of the following manner, any HDTV set will look less than spectacular:

    • signal splitters at a showroom redistributing a single feed to the point it turns into garbage (resolution loss, TBC misalignment, artifacts)
    • footage originally shot in standard definition (SD) being fed to an HDTV set (via coax, composite, S-video)
    • SD footage carried on a Digital TV (DTV) signal fed to a HDTV set (via component, DVI, HDMI)


    Most HDTV flatscreens, even those that scrape the bottom of the budget barrel, are capable of displaying a very nice image provided it's fed a decent high-definition signal (and preferably calibrated)

    As for chosing between the LA46N81BD versus the LC-46GX3H, my personal choice would be for the Samsung for one overwhelming reason. As of this post, it's the ONLY HDTV offered in Hong Kong with a built-in digital HD tuner (aka High-Tier, DTMB, DMB-TH). I triple-checked the specs of the Sharp model and it only has the older ANALOG tuners (PAL, NTSC, SECAM), IOW, standard definition onboard tuners in a high definition display. A seperate High-Tier tuner box is required for the vast majority of flatpanels sold in this region. (taking up valuable space and/or occupying a precious HDMI slot) The Samsung series ending with "BD" are the only exception (onboard High-Tier & 3 HDMI inputs).

    HK's HDTV situation feels very much like the US in 2004/2005. High flatpanel pricing exacerbated by an overwhelming portion of those sets being HD tunerless "HD ready" models than not. (most only have the analog PAL tuner)

    With the February 2009 analog shut-off looming in the states, virtually every HDTV set sold features a digital High-Definition tuner(ATSC for North America). No one wants to touch a tunerless "HD Ready" model, so they've all but disappeared from american showrooms. Pricing there has also dropped considerably. The 46" Samsung LCD I purchased in 2007 for $2500usd now routinely sells for under $1700usd. The 52" flatpanel HDTVs have now slipped into the $2500usd pricepoint.

    2012 is the planned shut-off year for Hong Kong & China's old analog signal. Both analog and digital signals will be simultaneously broadcast until then. My best prediction is that pricing on 40"-52" flatpanels in this region won't begin to plummet until 2009/2010 -- and among those sets, only a third to half will feature a High-Tier tuner onboard. Hong Kong's 2nd HDTV broadcast tower is supposed to be up and operating as of this post. According to the Government's PDF coverage map the two installations already blanket a large portion of Hong Kong with the digital HD signal. Those surrounded by super-dense building canyons and mountains may have to wait until all 7-8 HDTV towers are installed throughout HK (2009 completion).

    Beyond watching (OTA) HD broadcast content, I've found my stateside Samsungs (32" & 46") to exhibit spectacular image quality from its other input sources. "Transformers" in HD-DVD high def (1080) is brutally crisp & vivid on the 46" LCD. BBC's 4-disc "Planet Earth" series in HD drove me over the edge and converted me into a self-professed card-carrying HD SNOB. If it's not 16:9 and HD, I'll go find something else to do. The 32" Samsung is connected via VGA cable to a desktop PC. When not serving as an HDTV, it's used as a monitor for Half-Life2 and heli training. Half-Life2 in widescreen high-def an arm's length away? Amazing. Immersive. Intense. Did I mention "Amazing"?



    These are all the reasons I'm eager for HK to get moving with its HDTV adoption.

    I'm expecting store delivery of the LA40N81BD (40" version) in the next few days. My shortsighted error in designing a flatpanel entertainment cabinet last year (108cm compartment) kept me from going for the 46" model (a better deal at current HK pricepoints)

    CTG

  4. #4

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    how can I thank you for this very good point of view? want some swiss chocolate?

    I read your article around 3 times and changed my opinion a bit. I have just found out that samsung did put out a new screen which is available at fortress. the LA46A610. From the specs better than the LA46NBD, however has no built-in tuner. I think i will watch the news on analog and internet and use the computer to stream some 720p stuff on the tv.
    i might buy the 46A610 today and share my experiences.

    any comments from your side on the new samsung?


  5. #5

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    i'm in the market for a new lcd too and looking at pretty much the same options (40-42" though).

    get a free dtv receiver/recorder for the LA40N81BD and LA46N81BD, free dtv receiver for the LA40A550 etc: ongoing Promotion - promotion - SAMSUNG

    however after reading some online reviews I'd be in the market for a LA40A650, available in china now, anyone seen this model in HK yet? apparently LA40610 has a "Super Clear Panel" while the LA40650 has a newer "Ultra Clear Panel", not sure what's the difference though

    Also been looking at LN40A750 which gets very good reviews (US model, latest samsung model though, can be had for ~1800us$ or less at various us online shops). pondering to get a DBS black card because they offer a "global e-shop" service where you can order things from us stores and they'll ship it to you, shipping cost for 80lb tv would be ~160us$, so LN40A750 could be had for ~2000us$ (~15'600HKD), would need a US power transformer (cheap) + dtv receiver for HK (since the US tuner in that model will be useless here), still that would come up to no more than ~18000HKD, about the same price as a LA40610 but for a supposedly quite a bit better model (and 4 hdmi inputs ).

    has anyone done something similar and has good/bad stories to share? are there any stores in HK that sell parallel imports of US models? (local samsung models seem to be at least 20-30% more exensive than their us counterparts)


  6. #6

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    hi carterTG, thanks for sharing all your info on your LCD. Any feedback on your new purchase?

    If you don't mind, where did you purchase it and how much? Did they have a good exchange policy with regards to dead pixels?


  7. #7

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    Sit tight Blueagles & Boarder. I've got a couple weeks of notes to sort out...

    Last edited by CarterTG; 12-06-2008 at 01:06 PM.

  8. #8

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    so...
    i am still tv-less after 4 weeks. let me summarize it quickly.
    sharp 46gx3h is a nice tv. however comparing the display to samsung it is just too bland. the samsung displays are nice. i like them. of course when there is sunshine or you have the sun in the back then the samsung super clear blabla display has some disadvantages.
    Lets take a look at the Samsung LA46A610, the Samsung series 6. It is the latest modell from samsung. The pro are definitely the dynamic contrast ratio of 30000:1 and it's 4 hdmi slots. However the picture of the so called super clear bs is not as saturated and sharp as the picture of the LA46F81BDX.
    I was actually very disappointed about the new series. When I compared the TVs during a news show in HD they had the stock market rates in a scrollbar at the bottom. Series 6 was extremely blury and it was hard to read them.
    So far the most convincing TV to buy for me is the Samsung LA46F81BDX because of its dynamic contrast of 25'000:1, 3 HDMI Slots and the most convincing feature so far are the 100Hz.


  9. #9

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    Hi everybody,

    I'm also in the market for a 40/42" LCD TV.

    I've been reading the US forums ( LCD Flat Panel Displays - AVS Forum ) quite a bit, but find them very misleading for someone buying in HK.

    Many US models have the same (or similar) model or series numbers as in Hong Kong, but their specs can be very different.

    I too am pretty disappointed with the state of HD tv's in HK. It's amazing how HK can be so ahead of the curve with some consumer electronics and so behind the curve with others.

    Even when I compare the HDTV offerings in HK with a place like Vietnam, HK HDTVs have less features and are overpriced

    Someone in this thread was saying that there's only 3 LCD manufacturers, implying that there's no big difference between the cheaper and more expensive brands. I think this is a very simplistic way of looking at this. There are some very important other factors that make a good HDTV:
    - backlight quality: allows for better blacklevels and more natural colors (ask for a WCG-CCFL backlight! or LED Backlight if you have the budget).
    - transformer: the difference between a quiet tv or one with a buzzing sound.
    - Image processor: a good processor upscales standard definition content much better and handles things like sports matches better (less blur!).
    - Shielding quality: a TV with good shielding prevents other electronic sources from disturbing the image.
    - Speaker quality: while many people have some surround system, I still find it important that my TV has good quality speakers.

    So while all companies buy their LCDs from 3 manufacturers, the cheaper brands often cut corners on the above points.

    I personally like the Sony W400a series. Be careful with reading reviews of the Sony W4100 series (US Model). Both sets look identical, but have very different specs: W400a has a 10bit panel vs. 8 bit panel, wcg-ccfl backlight vs. standard ccfl panel... just to name a few differences).

    When comparing the Sony W400a with the Samsung 610 series, both seem to have very similar specs. The picture quality seems pretty much equal. Some important differences however are:
    - Sony has a matte screen and Samsung has a glossy screen. If you have a bright apartment, a glossy screen WILL be a problem as you'll see alot of glare and may see your own reflection in the TV when watching a movie.
    - Sony has much better quality speakers as the Samsung, so if you do not have a dedicated surround system, this is an important consideration.
    - The Samsung 610 however has 4 HDMI ports vs. 3 on the Sony w400a (if that is important to you).
    - I've heard people SAY! (but have not experienced this myself) that Sony has better after sales support as Samsung.

    Importing a set directly from the USA is something I would not recommend. Many features that the US set will have will be useless in HK. Adding an external transformer could cause the TV to buzz and could interfere with picture quality. Most importantly, I don't think you can use your warranty here in HK. Imagine the scenario where your set has some defect!

    Finally, I have a question: since many people are talking about built-in HDTV tuners, what channels do you get with these tuners? As an expat, I barely ever watch the two English HK channels, so if that is all I'm getting, I could care less about these tuners.

    I subscribe to NOW TV and IF! I choose to subscribe to their HD channels, they will provide the HD tuner for that anyway. Their HD offerings are however very limited and seriously overpriced, so for the time being I'll be getting most of my HD content from Bluray disks.

    What I'm really hoping for is that Sony will announce the Z series here in HK soon. While it will have more or less the same specs as the W series, it does have a very slim bezel and is thinner. Anybody know if the Z series if coming to HK any time soon?

    Last edited by yellowtip; 18-06-2008 at 08:30 PM.

  10. #10

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    Someone just sent me a PM asking about the Sony X Series.

    I though I'd post my thoughts about that here in case other people are trying to choose between the Sony W and X series.

    If you walk into any store now, you'll see that the current X series (X300a) is heavily discounted and and the sales people are pushing it very hard. They will tell you that the X Series is much better as the W series and that now, they can give you a "special" discount on it so it costs the same as the W series.

    Here's why personally, I am NOT considering the X300a series:

    1. While a W400a is a new model from Sony's 2008 lineup, the X300a is an old 2007 model. The new X series (X6, X7, X8) are expected to come out in the next 2-3 months and will likely be superior to the W series ..and more expensive too ).
    2. I hate the design of the X300a. I know that this is highly personal, but that cheap transparent plastic border around the TV just puts me off. In addition, it would make the TV stand out too much in my living room. It makes a 40" look HUGE! I want my TV to blend into the background as much as possible.
    3. In the US forums you hear many people complaining about the video processor of the 2007 X series. In short, the original X series had high quality components. After some months, Sony replaced those with cheaper components that caused a terrible smearing problem. I have no proof of this or anything, but just head over to the AVS forums and you'll see many people complain about this.
    4. My personal (non-professional) impression when comparing the X300a with the W400a is as follows: It appears that the X300a has a slightly sharper picture, while the W400a has better black levels and better details in dark areas. To me, the better black levels outweigh the slightly! sharper image.

    In defense of the X300a, it does have more calibration features. So if you are a AV geek that loves to spend countless hours calibrating your TV, you might be better off getting the X300a. Then again, all the AV Geeks are waiting for the 2008 X series to come out

    While the X300a is an awesome tv that can currently be bought at a very attractive price, point 2 is the biggest deal breaker for me. I just dislike the design of the X300a. The W400a (to me!) looks a lot better, although I wish Sony would release the ultra slim Z series in HK. It has the best design for the tiny apartments here in HK.

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited by yellowtip; 18-06-2008 at 09:53 PM.

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