Saturday, 14 May 2011

Considering a new TV

Yes I think I am almost ready to update my four years old Bravia. 2011 looks like a good year for flat panels. Large OLED displays are still a few years away and plasma, LCD and LED technologies have come a long way. The prices are not crazy high and 3D is here.

So I am doing some research;

- FlatPanelsHD this is a very good review website... no BS or extra fluff. Mostly just CalMAN calibration data derived info

- HDTVtest also a good review website
- this is what FlatpanelsHD recommend, think I agree... more or less
- good forums for (too much) info; AV Forums and AV Science Forum

My requirements are;
Fast response time as I will be playing games, around 20ms (30ms max). Most if not all of the new LEDs have slow (~50ms) response times.
  • 3D, I know active stereoscopic 3D is not ready/working yet... but yes! I tried it and I like it. Anyway I need it for work, also 3D processing means the TV has a kickass image processor and that makes for better looking 2D.
  • I am also looking for exceptional image quality and user customisation controls/settings. Something like or close to the Panasonic VT30.
  • Also I like to stay around 40-50" do not want the TV to take over the living room.
  • Not a deal breaker but would be nice; USB record so I can record errors/video anomalies for QA when I am testing.
  • The last maybe not a must have feature; media play over LAN or wifi, so I can stop using the PS3 to access the NAS/video library.

my (not so) short list...
  1. Panasonic VT20 (50", 54", 60" Plasma) - The Winner - I got the 50"... will write a personal review in a few weeks...  
    + very good price - exceptional value
    + THX reference image quality (still the best on the market)
    + excellent response time
    + very good 3D
    + good customisation features
    - some strange buzz/hum and flickers reported

    Ok so it is a 2010 model and it is a plasma. Actually the VT20 has only a few technical difference to this years VT30. Most importantly the VT20 response time is 16ms that is much better then the VT30. The price I can get it at is just amazing. I spend a long time at Myer Melbourne and it is without question the best most natural and deepest looking TV in the whole store and it's a huge store. There are countless ecstatic reviews of the VT20 and I can see why.
    AVS Forum Review, FlatpanelsHR review,...

  2. LG PZ950 or PZ750 (50", 60" Plasma)
    + good response time
    + good price
    + ok 3D
    - retention
    - not the best black levels
    - somewhat limited customisation

    Yes this TV has a few problems but I like what I am reading. I dislike plasma noise and hate phosphor trailing so reading that the PZ950 addressed these inherent plasma problems is music to my eyes. Still I think I may have to wait to test the VT30 or GT30 and nanoLED. More then anything I like PZ950's response time and it's price... and I already know the nanoLEDs TVs are more then double the price and the Panasonic VT and even the cheaper GT are significantly higher priced and have substantial plasma noise. FlatpanelsHD review

  3. Panasonic VT30 (50", 55", 60" Plasma)
    - high price
    + (almost) THX reference image quality
    + ok response time
    + reference quality 3D
    - some strange buzz/hum and flickers reported
    + extensive customisation

    It is a plasma so I am not jumping for joy here, still it's one of the best looking plasmas around. The price is a little high but not too crazy. There are countless ecstatic reviews of the VT30. But I am feeling that is it is not the best gaming TV out there extra so next to the Panasonic DT30 unfortunate that one is available in 37" max and that is too small.

  4. Panasonic GT30 (42", 46", 50" Plasma)
    + Exceptional image quality
    + ok response time and very good 3D
    - some strange buzz/hum and flickers reported
    + ok price
    + good customisation

    Almost the same as the VT30, a few image processing features less and no Infinite Black Pro panel.

  5. LG LW9500 (47", 55" NanoLED)

    o official reviews/reports yet, but if the response time is good and I hear it is, the LG 47LW9500 may jump to the top of the list! Also I read some good reports about NanoLED technology...

  6. Sony EX720 (40", 46", 55" LCD/LED)
    - I hate the light up sony logo in the front wtf?
    - slow response time
    + good mediaplayer features
    - 3D is not the best (some crosstalk)
    - limited customisation

    I think I had a Sony for too long and need to change. But I am still happy with my Bravia and after four years it still stands up to the best of them... So if there is a setting to turn off the shinning logo in the front I may just stay on the Bravia train... or maybe not.

  7. LG LW7700 (42",47", 55" NanoLED)
    - it is silver... who thinks a silver TV is a good idea?

    No official reviews/reports yet, anyway if the response time is good it will move up the list!

  8. Panasonic DT30 (37" LED)
    - too small
    + ~10ms response time is fantastic
    + good price
    + ok 3D
    + ok customisation

    Not many review of this model as it just came out, but looks very good for now... AVForum review

  9. Samsung C8000 (40", 50", 63" LED)
    - I do not love the silver...
    + many good media player features
    - 3D is not the best (bad)
    - very slow response time
    + ok customisation

    A huge maybe, from a gaming perspective there are too many thing wrong with this TV. Samsungs are no good for games! at the moment they all lag 60-140ms that's 3-10 frames at 60fps.
I am not rushing into anything... but come Uncharted 3 and Skyrim November... I want to play them on my new TV... or if there is a amazing deal to be head, I be happy to use my new TV to view the extended bluray version of Lord of the Rings coming out next month...

Interesting AV/TV related things I came across...
Specifications to ignore
Screen size vs. seating distance