23 Tips for Buying the Best HDTV

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RockinRocky

What about all the LED TV's on the market, are they LESS than MORE, as the ad's hype? I have a Samsung LED computer moniter, and to me, at least, the display is sharper/brighter then the moniter's that are not LED. Is this just my wanting to justify the extra I paid for LED?
Thanks,
Rocky

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JTM

These are great tips, thanks. While I agree that watching still photos is good reference, I also think it's important to watch some live action. Or a bluray action movie at 1080p for example and see how well the tv performs. I've noted some big differences on varying displays with this. Yes it is subjective, but for me the differences stand out. In some poor models (or perhaps a model where the settings are not ideal) I can see heavy pixeling and poor coloring during transitions...

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RaymondSoneira

Watching an in-store video to evaluate motion processing and motion artifacts is really hard to do and get meaningful results. The best place to get that kind of information is in a good review article. I discuss motion artifacts in my "Display Myths Shattered" article on maximumpc.com and in greater detail in several articles in my Display Technology Shoot-Out article series on displaymate.com.

If you want to evaluate motion issues in a store then you'll need to bring along a Blu-ray disc, but you DON'T want 1080p - you actually want to feed the TVs1080i in order to evaluate their deinterlacing, and the best source for that is the Over America disc that I mentioned in the article. It's shot in HD 1080i video, not film - a source from film is equivalent to 1080p because it doesn't need any motion processing when deinterlacing. Make sure the Blu-ray player isn't set to deinterlace the video - make sure the HDTVs are doing that.

Note that with fast motion video some of the artifacts are already in the video signal and also human visual processing generates its own optical illusions and artifacts. Finally you can't watch more than one HDTV at a time with fast motion so you'll need to play the same segment over and over again to do the comparison.

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Slugbait

The wife gave me permission to move on from CRT last Sunday and I've been researching ever since. The place I've been hanging out is AVSForum: lots of knowledgeable people up there, including short reviews from ISF calibrators. After many hours of reading and then hitting the b&m to change every setting to get accurate color, I'm pretty certain I will get a Panny G25.

One more tip: unless physical space is a major factor, go larger than you think you want...you'll regret going too small. With all those big TVs lined up in such a large area, they will seem smaller in your HT room.

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shalana

The stores lighting and hd feed and viewing angles may differ from yours at home. Just buy one, keep it for 29 days then return if you don't like and try a different TV.

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RaymondSoneira

Very cute... but it's a really bad way to approach buying an HDTV or any other product for these reasons: (1) big waste of time (2) the retailer won't let you do that more than once or twice before they refuse to sell anything more to you (3) you won't wind up with the Best HDTV just one that isn't awful (4) many retailers charge a restocking fee to protect themselves from this attitude. Excessive returns significantly raise the costs of selling things for both retailers and manufacturers - it hurts them and as a result they raise prices, so in the end it hurts all consumers.

That said, it's very important to buy from a retailer that gives you a 30-day return privilege - hopefully with no restocking fee if you can demonstrate that the unit is defective, performs poorly, or not as well as the floor model. If any of these apply you should get another sealed box brand new unit as a replacement with free delivery and no penalties.

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AndyYankee17

my dad could've used this, god knows how many times i heard "but this one looks better" that day.

 

lcd != crt when making comparisons 

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lunchbox73

Nice outdated photo there...

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RaymondSoneira

Oops, that was from our LCoS Shoot-Out in 2006. We've updated the photo to a recent LCD-Plasma Shoot-Out.

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TheTrevon

Thank you for all these types of articles.  I'm looking into getting the Google TV and this is all good stuff.  Granted i'm sure Sony should come out with something good, but if it's too far out of my price range I will need all this info when looking into other options.  Keep up the good work!

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