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The lesser of 3 evils? Post-research q's please...

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Old 09-13-2011, 03:43 PM   #1  
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Default The lesser of 3 evils? Post-research q's please...

Hello from a newbie -

I'm sorry to give you so much to read! Starting to get frustrated here and would love your feedback!

I bought a Samsung 46" LCD (LN46D630) - our first flat screen - and I've had it only a week and am still able to take it back. I liked the look of LCDs better than of LEDs (a lot better - at least in the store) and while realizing plasmas look better I was concerned they'd be too dark in picture and or would reflect too much light from our windows or lamps (I don't like to watch TV in the pitch black dark, and lined curtains closed in the day still reflect light on shiny tvs). We'll be watching mostly movies and Direct TV tv shows. We're also thinking about getting a Mac Mini to access Netflix etc. so that we'll be able to also check email and do more. Our TV is internet-ready, only (no apps).

My concerns with the 46" Samsung that I bought:

- it really does feel HUGE in our living room, to me. Bigger than I thought it would look. I have small kids and I feel like it's going to become a religious altar to them (our old TV was bad enough) and that they're going to get sucked into TV land and their little brains will get over-stimulated and that the message we're sending them is "look at the screen" instead of "look at real life!" We're already weak when it comes to putting limits on TV time even though we try. And I worry about eye strain for them too as already I can feel the difference on my eyes when watching this. This TV's presence is like a new, huge, family member. I feel like I should introduce it as Aunt Bertha! 40" seems too small though.

- I'm willing to get it calibrated but so far the picture isn't as nice as I'd hoped (and I - like others - HATE that ultra-realistic, soap-opera, motion-enhancement effect. Ridiculous)!! I've since been told it's worse on Samsung. Not sure if that's true or not. Can this effect be taken away with calibration?

- I wish it were thinner and with less of a frame (like Samsung's newer LEDs) but I can live with it. We'll be putting it on the wall.

I was wondering what a good compromise would be. Maybe when it's put on the wall (they're coming to do it sometime soon) it will appear smaller but it's a small wall (pillar-type things on either side of it). It will certainly be set back a bit further which is good - though by only a few inches since we're getting one of those wall racks that are on an extending arm (also a necessity I think, which is another story).

I thought going down to a 42" would be a great compromise, but that would mean a different brand (which I'm starting to think ain't such a bad idea). I wonder if 42" would be too small though, when in wide-screen movie mode (picture gets smaller) - and for those sitting furthest from the TV (14-15' - though that's only one chair in the corner).

The Panasonic plasmas are offered in 42". The Panasonic is supposed to be the best picture for plasmas in that size but in addition to my plasma concerns (reflection and darkness) I'm also turned off by their god-awful frame. Sorry to be so superficial but blech! I've also thought of moving up in quality to the Sony high-end ones that are back-lit as opposed to edge-lit but they don't come in smaller sizes and even if I stayed at a 46" size, their 46" is even bigger in overall dimension than our Samsung! Plus I don't want to jump from having spent $850 to up to $2,500. Lastly, I thought I could give in and get the Samsung 46" D8000, because their overall dimensions are noticeably smaller even though their screen size is the same - and it would be so super flat that these two size-lowering details could make it all feel less altar-like - haha. But then I'd be stuck with that awful, fake, bright LED screen! Can calibration give them a less ridiculous look? I was also told that the higher the Hz, (I think it's something like 240 in that model), the MORE you'd get the motion-enhancement effect - particularly w/ Samsung - that looks too much like a homemade video. Is that true?

Well, those are the choices I'm aware of. I take reviews very seriously so would like to stay with one that has good reviews.

p.s.
Re. our living room and distance from TV: I have an older home without a separate family room - it just has a living room. The living room is long/rectangular-shaped but the only place the TV could go is on the long wall - so you're pretty much forced to sit a shorter distance away from it than if you could watch it length-wise (if that makes sense). From the wall the TV is up against, there are about 11 feet before hitting a chair you'd sit in or else you could say there's about 13 or so feet from wall to wall. The couch is unfortunately not easily able to be across from the TV (long story) so instead sits perpendicular to it. The person at the end of the couch closest to the TV sits about about 4.5-5.5' away from it. And in the opposite corner farthest from the TV is a chair that would sit a person about 14-15' from the TV.

Below are pics of our living room (odd pics sorry but were taken when a friend from Japan was visiting and that day they wanted to take pics of her playing the game Go for a book). We've since gotten rid of the armoire and have a console the TV is sitting on before it gets put on the wall...

Any advice, warnings, suggestions, feedback?? Thank you so much in advance!
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File Type: jpg Pic of the armoire (for HD forum).jpg (76.5 KB, 13 views)
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:37 PM   #2  
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Well plasmas do give a much more realistic picture, without the artificial "Disney" look of overly bright LCDs. They also don't suffer from Soap Opera Effect.

Samsung makes a decent 46" plasma too if you don't like the Panasonic bezel. I would not go below 46" personally. Your eyes adapt to bigger screens amazingly fast. Hell, I'd even say to go 50"

So it would definitely seem that plasma would be the way to go...but...I worry about all those windows and lamps. I'd make sure to get a plasma with one of the better AR (AntiReflection) filters.

I didn't buy any 2011 model TVs this year so I haven't kept up with which ones have good AR filters and which don't.

So, in conclusion...plasmas offer the picture quality you want, but you'd better make sure you get a good AR filter for the aggressive lighting situation in that room.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by TwoPlusTwo; 09-13-2011 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:38 PM   #3  
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On the size issue:

I installed a 42" in my previous house because that was the most that would fit between the windows where hit had to be placed.
My seating distance was 13'.
I lived with it for over a year and given the total aesthetics of the room I never felt that it was too small although I could "feel" that at that viewing distance a larger set would have been more than tolerable.

When I moved to a different house where my viewing distance would be in the range of 8'-10', I agonized over 46" vs 50" but finally erred on the side of aesthetics and went with the 46".
I have had it for over a year now and am overjoyed that I did not take the step up to a 50"; I'm totally comfortable with the 46" screen, and a 50" display would have seemed too large both for viewing and room aesthetics.

From your post, I'd encourage you to go with the 42" in whatever your choice of display technology.

BTW, both sets were Panasonic plasma - very happy with both.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #4  
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I think you can turn off the motion enhancement in some of the menus. From what you have said, it may be you need to give the current set a bit more time.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:17 PM   #5  
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As mentioned I would suggest looking in the user menus for anything called auto-motion or any sort of enhancement mode possibly even true motion (every manuf seems to have their own term) You should be able to get rid of that Soap Opera Effect (SOE) and that should go a long ways toward unlocking what you had hoped for with your tv.

After that I would suggest a calibration disc such as Spears and Munsil, Avia or DVE (DVE probably the most confusing & poor menu's for the novice) - these are simple user adjustments for things such as color, contrast, brightness, hue etc. that, depending on how far off you are may improve your tv even further.These discs are readily available at $20 or less and are an inexpensive solution that can be quite good for many. At this point I would re-asses whether you don't like your tv enough for a return, are very satisfied where you are (the one I would bet on) or wish to have it furthur professionally calibrated using high tech equipment and service menu/technician adjustments.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:29 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresse View Post
Hello from a newbie -

I'm sorry to give you so much to read! Starting to get frustrated here and would love your feedback!

I bought a Samsung 46" LCD (LN46D630) - our first flat screen - and I've had it only a week and am still able to take it back. I liked the look of LCDs better than of LEDs (a lot better - at least in the store) and while realizing plasmas look better I was concerned they'd be too dark in picture and or would reflect too much light from our windows or lamps (I don't like to watch TV in the pitch black dark, and lined curtains closed in the day still reflect light on shiny tvs). We'll be watching mostly movies and Direct TV tv shows. We're also thinking about getting a Mac Mini to access Netflix etc. so that we'll be able to also check email and do more. Our TV is internet-ready, only (no apps).

My concerns with the 46" Samsung that I bought:

- it really does feel HUGE in our living room, to me. Bigger than I thought it would look. I have small kids and I feel like it's going to become a religious altar to them (our old TV was bad enough) and that they're going to get sucked into TV land and their little brains will get over-stimulated and that the message we're sending them is "look at the screen" instead of "look at real life!" We're already weak when it comes to putting limits on TV time even though we try. And I worry about eye strain for them too as already I can feel the difference on my eyes when watching this. This TV's presence is like a new, huge, family member. I feel like I should introduce it as Aunt Bertha! 40" seems too small though.

- I'm willing to get it calibrated but so far the picture isn't as nice as I'd hoped (and I - like others - HATE that ultra-realistic, soap-opera, motion-enhancement effect. Ridiculous)!! I've since been told it's worse on Samsung. Not sure if that's true or not. Can this effect be taken away with calibration?

- I wish it were thinner and with less of a frame (like Samsung's newer LEDs) but I can live with it. We'll be putting it on the wall.

I was wondering what a good compromise would be. Maybe when it's put on the wall (they're coming to do it sometime soon) it will appear smaller but it's a small wall (pillar-type things on either side of it). It will certainly be set back a bit further which is good - though by only a few inches since we're getting one of those wall racks that are on an extending arm (also a necessity I think, which is another story).

I thought going down to a 42" would be a great compromise, but that would mean a different brand (which I'm starting to think ain't such a bad idea). I wonder if 42" would be too small though, when in wide-screen movie mode (picture gets smaller) - and for those sitting furthest from the TV (14-15' - though that's only one chair in the corner).

The Panasonic plasmas are offered in 42". The Panasonic is supposed to be the best picture for plasmas in that size but in addition to my plasma concerns (reflection and darkness) I'm also turned off by their god-awful frame. Sorry to be so superficial but blech! I've also thought of moving up in quality to the Sony high-end ones that are back-lit as opposed to edge-lit but they don't come in smaller sizes and even if I stayed at a 46" size, their 46" is even bigger in overall dimension than our Samsung! Plus I don't want to jump from having spent $850 to up to $2,500. Lastly, I thought I could give in and get the Samsung 46" D8000, because their overall dimensions are noticeably smaller even though their screen size is the same - and it would be so super flat that these two size-lowering details could make it all feel less altar-like - haha. But then I'd be stuck with that awful, fake, bright LED screen! Can calibration give them a less ridiculous look? I was also told that the higher the Hz, (I think it's something like 240 in that model), the MORE you'd get the motion-enhancement effect - particularly w/ Samsung - that looks too much like a homemade video. Is that true?

Well, those are the choices I'm aware of. I take reviews very seriously so would like to stay with one that has good reviews.

p.s.
Re. our living room and distance from TV: I have an older home without a separate family room - it just has a living room. The living room is long/rectangular-shaped but the only place the TV could go is on the long wall - so you're pretty much forced to sit a shorter distance away from it than if you could watch it length-wise (if that makes sense). From the wall the TV is up against, there are about 11 feet before hitting a chair you'd sit in or else you could say there's about 13 or so feet from wall to wall. The couch is unfortunately not easily able to be across from the TV (long story) so instead sits perpendicular to it. The person at the end of the couch closest to the TV sits about about 4.5-5.5' away from it. And in the opposite corner farthest from the TV is a chair that would sit a person about 14-15' from the TV.

Below are pics of our living room (odd pics sorry but were taken when a friend from Japan was visiting and that day they wanted to take pics of her playing the game Go for a book). We've since gotten rid of the armoire and have a console the TV is sitting on before it gets put on the wall...

Any advice, warnings, suggestions, feedback?? Thank you so much in advance!
Welcome to the Forum

The eye strain you are experience could most likely be from the light output of an LCD. They look nice and vibrant out of the box, but after a few minutes can be taxing on the eyes unless calibrated properly.

A reason you may want to consider going with a plasma would be the seating angles in the room. LCDs are fine when sitting in the sweet spot, or within 25 degrees of it, but if sitting in the chair, or a different part of the room, you will find the picture degrades. This does not happen with plasma.

With plasma, depending on the model, you may have an issue with reflections. The higher you go in model, the better anti-reflection coating/filters they tend to have. But simply closing a curtain/shade or two can help minimize the reflection issue.

Soap Opera Effect can be an issue for many when watching LCDs. (by the way, LEDs displays and still LCDs displays, they are just back lit by LEDs rather than a flourescent bulb). Turning off the motion enhancement settings (interpolation) is a trade-off. You can minimize the SOE, but then you may experience an issue with fast action programming. This is not an issue with plasma.

Personally, I would go with plasma unless you're willing to go high end LCD, or backlit LED LCD.

As far as size, displays tend to shrink over time (see my signature). I went from a 25" to a 35" CRT display 17 years ago. My wife and I looked at each other and thought it was too big for a seating distance of 12-15'. After two weeks it looked fine. From there I went with a 58" display (same seating distance) and that again looked huge. Over time, guess what? It started to look fine, and now I wish I had gotten a 65" display.

If there is someone viewing 4.5 feet away, get smaller, if viewing 8 feet+, go larger.
Putting it on the wall is a good option, as it moves the display back a few more inches, plus it will prevent someone from knocking it over.

If it's about your kids being mesmerized, they will anyway...it's the new toy, and it's HD. IMO, kids will watch too much TV even if it's a 25".

Panasonic and Samsung both make excellent plasmas. If you're looking for a good AR filter, the Samsung PN(insert size)D8000 has the best anti-reflective filter on the Samsungs, then there is the D7000. Panasonic TC-P(insert size)VT30 has the best, followed by the GT30 and ST30, for Panasonic.

The ST30 has a very good picture and is very affordable. If you can control room lighting, Samsung D550 also provides a very good picture as well. I give the D550 the edge for color accuracy, and the ST30 the edge for color accuracy and screen filter.

I hope that my post has helped, but basically it's for you to decide, you'll be watching it, not us. So go with your gut.

-Best,
John

P.S. If you're wall mounting, Monoprice.com has very good wall mounts (around $15-$20) for a fraction of what you pay in the stores. That goes for cables as well ($4-$6).

Last edited by dsskid; 09-14-2011 at 08:32 AM..
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:45 AM   #7  
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Thank you so much everyone!!

Due to a temporary problem I'm having with time (not having enough of it at this moment!) I cant' write back individually but will, later.

For now, the only question I have is this:

If I get a Mac Mini to to with the TV, is there a reason I couldn't use the Plasma, e.g. burn in or font that's fuzzier or anything like that? I know that might have been a past issue or concern but maybe things have improved enough that it no longer is? Or, maybe things haven't improved enough yet so it's not worth the risk? It sounds like I'd like the look of a plasma more and I'd be willing to take one home to test it out (after all the 30 days isn't up yet) but I won't bother trying if I learn that there's no point, if it will occasionally be used as a computer monitor. It would be mostly for occasionally checking emails, looking up directors/actors while watching movies, and ordering movies through Netflix and choosing apps like Pandora to listen to music, etc. Oh yes and also to look at some still photos on occasion.

Thanks again - you guys have been so incredibly helpful and I really appreciate it. More later...
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