“Small” TV recommendation

Hi

I would like to replace the existing 9 year old Sony Bravia 37” LCD TV in our lounge. Our viewing distance is quite short and SWMBO has decreed that an overall set size similar to the current one is the limit. Because current models have much thinner frames this allows me to go for a 40”or 43” model. 

i want to get the best quality screen but it seems that smaller TVs don’t share the more advanced technology of their bigger brothers. I am  having difficulty in getting objective reviews and shop displays are misleading and so I am seeking advice from fellow forum members.

The 3 sets I have identified so far are: LG 43UJ634V (£350), Samsung UE40MU6400 (£430) and Sony Bravia KD43XE8005 (£570). Is the Sony significantly better than the other two? If not then the LG makes more  sense or do I split the price different and select the slightly smaller Samsung? All help, including any other TV suggestions are appreciated. 

Bob

Original Post

Hi Bob, I've had a look on “Which?” for you & although they don't appear to have tested the models you mention, at that screen size and type of TV, Samsung scores the highest points. We've a couple of Samsung sets, and have to agree they are excellent, even the sound's not bad for a modern flatscreen.

I can’t make any specific recommendation as I don’t know the current models. Historically I have tended to prefer Panasonic, however I do currently have an LG 37”, on the basis of which I would hesitate to have another LG for 3 reasons:

1) the programme ‘what’s on’ display has a very short hold time: if you stop moving the cursor for more than 10 seconds or so it disappears and you have to open it again. Very irritating, especially when you’re discussing choices with others. Why on earth they haven’t made the time adjustable I have no idea. If important to you check if you can before buying.

2) it has only a limited range of smart apps, and they are gradually decreasing as LG cease supporting them (utube went recently): intolerable in a TV only 5 years old.

3) I originaly selected this model because its published dimensions gave it as the slimmest on the market at the time, and the protrusion from the wall needed to be minimal - however their information was materially false, it being just as thick or thicker than some others, so I distrust their claimed specifications. (Unfortunately being offshore meant a return wasn’t feasible).

Its all about what looks good to you & 'erself.    I changed a TV a year or so ago & found a visit to a big consumer store - in my case Currys PC World - worked well in the make-your-mind-up dept. They had all the brands set out in screen size rows,  we knew the prefered size & just a slow walk up & down had it done in a pretty short time.  We then went home,  verified the choice with some www reviews,  had a 2nd 'are we sure' & ordered online, delivered the following day.    We went with Sony,  but for reasons in addition to just the usual picture quality.

Hi Mike

I’ve visited Curry’s and walked up and down the rows of TVs but they all look similar with screens over-bright and often playing the same video so it’s hard to assess how they compare in a home environment when using other inputs, HD broadcasts and Blu-ray Discs.

It seems easier at the 55/65 size as the technology is more advanced and some of the sets are outstanding. I would to love to put an LG 55 inch OLED tv into our upstairs music room - at £1800 they seem great value

Bob

I’ve purchased my last two sets from Richer Sounds and have been very pleased. I did try Curry’s last time but walked away when their so-called Sony expert started trashing OLED which was precisely the screen technology  I wanted. Sale lost but a gain for Richer who listened.

Shropshire Hills posted:

Hi Mike    I’ve visited Curry’s and walked up and down the rows of TVs but they all look similar with screens over-bright and often playing the same video so it’s hard to assess how they compare in a home environment when using other inputs, HD broadcasts and Blu-ray Discs.

It seems easier at the 55/65 size as the technology is more advanced and some of the sets are outstanding. I would to love to put an LG 55 inch OLED tv into our upstairs music room - at £1800 they seem great value

Bob

I expect showroom set ups vary & I've seen what you describe with poor set ups,  but I was impressed enough with my showroom to both see what I was interested in & then a helpful sales guy who showed all the features including different inputs, HD video to regular junk TV on the three sets we had short listed.   

Yes the higher end technology & the visual effects of that is best seen at the 55-65 sized screens.   Personally I do not want a room dominated by an overlarge TV.   

I wouldn’t by a 4k TV at the prices you’ve mentioned, they won’t be very good, they’ll be poorly speced. You’ll get a better HD TV for the same price.

 For example the KD43XE8005 (£570) has a 200hz motion processor, the KDL43WE753 (£449) has a 400hz motion processor. I have a Sony HD with a 800hz processor and I certainly wouldn’t swap it for a 4k 200hz.

 If you watch SD TV, how well will a budget 4K TV upscale the picture. Probably not very well.

 Another important thing IMO, is the number of HDMI ports, some TV’s have as few as two.

 

 

I think I need a helpful salesman as I am getting more confused now with talk of different motion processors, upscaling, HD, SD and 4K. I guess we just need a decent picture with good colours, the ability to watch decent SD channels as well as some HD channels and also stream HD from Netflix and other sources. I can improve the sound with optical or HDMI out to a soundbar or Atom/Nova. Looks are important too as our current 9 year old Sony is quite bulky 

I have two small LG’s we bought them a couple of years back and they were about the £350-400 mark then I can’t remember the model no and I’m not at home to look but they are excellent  

when I say small they are 37” but for our rooms 4m x 4m they are perfect. I have friends and family members who have these huge TV’s in small and medium sized rooms and they dominate the room and spoil rather than enhance the viewing experience. 

We used to have a 36 tv toad, but now have a 52 flatscreen up on the wall. Latest sets are really not intrusive and have greater resolution that doesn't need the viewing distance to size ratio.

Wait until after September and get a great price on outgoing models.

We’ve settled on 40-43” as the biggest size for us. The tv is sited at one end of the lounge and we view from just under 3 metres away and we don’t want it to dominate the room. The new screens are less intrusive and no bigger overall than our old bulky 37” Sony Bravia 

Thanks for all the comments which are very useful although I am still a bit baffled by the options.  I feel better able to go and view now and ask pertinent questions.

These smaller sets don’t have, or probably need, the same high specs as larger more expensive models. I don't think it is possible to go beyond 400Hz for the motion processor with Sony, LG & Samsung. 

Bob the Builder posted:

I have two small LG’s we bought them a couple of years back and they were about the £350-400 mark then I can’t remember the model no and I’m not at home to look but they are excellent  

when I say small they are 37” but for our rooms 4m x 4m they are perfect. I have friends and family members who have these huge TV’s in small and medium sized rooms and they dominate the room and spoil rather than enhance the viewing experience. 

Until I bought a projector I was very much in the bigger is better viewing camp because my main use was watching films, and however now I just use the one 37” which is in a 10ft wide room (so viewing distance about 8.5ft) and to me is the smallest I would want:if replacing it I’d probably go for a slim bezel 42”.(My projector screen is 160” (12ft wide), viewed from about 11.5ft, for a real cinema-like experience)

To the OP: in my earlier post I should have added that picture quality is good, and so far same for reliability, and the niggles I mentioned may be irrelevant to you, or even rectified now.

What is the best screen technology these days (I don't really keep up with TV tech) ? Our wall mounted 43" Pioneer Plasma is getting on for 12 years old and whilst still going strong, is a bit of a bulky thing compared to the slimmer options available today.

Shropshire Hills posted:

Thanks for all the comments which are very useful although I am still a bit baffled by the options.  I feel better able to go and view now and ask pertinent questions.

These smaller sets don’t have, or probably need, the same high specs as larger more expensive models. I don't think it is possible to go beyond 400Hz for the motion processor with Sony, LG & Samsung. 

I really wouldn't get too tied up with the various technical specifications Mr Hills, all the sets you mention will give excellent results once you've got them in your home & you can set the picture quality to suit your taste. Having been a member of the Consumer's Association for many years, and even sat on a test panel, I do tend to trust their rather more objective evaluations of most products, TVs included.

Mike-B posted:

My Sony KD43XD8305 (43") has 800Hz  

Hi Mike

Yes I see that’s correct. The trouble is Sony along with other manufacturers  make a number of very similar sets distinguished by slight changes in the model numbers - yput 8305 is 800Hz but the 8005 which John Lewis sell for around £570 is only 200Hz and an 8004 which Curry’s sell for a similar price is only 100Hz and there is even another similar numbered Sony on sale that is 400Hz. It seems a minefield to me although as Tony says perhaps I am getting too hung up about specifications. I’m not sure if I would notice the difference between 400 & 800Mz on these ‘smaller’ screens particularly as we are coming  from a 9 year old Sony

Bob

I think you’re probably correct, there won’t be much difference between 400 and 800, but there might be a difference between 100/200 and 400. When I bought my last TV about 5 years ago, I remember standing in curry’s checking out the 43” TV’s. There was a football match being shown on all the TV’s, occasionally the ball would actually disappear on some of the screens.

The way I see it, sony aren’t going to use a poor quality screen with an 800hz processor. Mike’s 800hz TV probably uses sony’s best 43” screen and very high spec upscallers. At the other end of the scale, they’re not going to match a high quality screen with a 200hz processor.

Also, I found it quite easy to identify which TV’s have the best picture (and usually the most expensive) from quite a distance away. Walk into JL or currys and view a group of TV’s from 30 foot.

I’d consider Beovision Horizon 40”.  B&O tends to be 25%+ better at 10x the price, which can make sense to those for whom the cost does not matter — better being “better”.

I love my BeoPlay V1 32 TV, now discontinued and obsolete; but I’ll have it in 2025, playing through a BeoCenter from 1995, even then (bet you).

Closer to the “affordable luxury” latte than the S-Class MB, no?

Nick

NickSeattle posted:

I’d consider Beovision Horizon 40”.  B&O tends to be 25%+ better at 10x the price, which can make sense to those for whom the cost does not matter, at this level — better being “better”.

I love my BeoPlay V1 32 TV, now discontinued and obsolete; but I’ll have it in 2025, playing through a BeoCenter from 1995, even then (bet you).

Closer to the “affordable luxury” latte than the S-Class MB, no?

Nick

NickSeattle posted:

I’d consider Beovision Horizon 40”.  B&O tends to be 25%+ better at 10x the price, which can make sense to those for whom the cost does not matter — better being “better”.

Nick

You pay a lot of money for the name. The set you mention hasn't got HDR, which, if you're going for a 4K TV, is a serious omission. 

james n posted:

What is the best screen technology these days (I don't really keep up with TV tech) ? Our wall mounted 43" Pioneer Plasma is getting on for 12 years old and whilst still going strong, is a bit of a bulky thing compared to the slimmer options available today.

Best I've seen is OLED, James. Trouble is I think the smallest OLED screen is 55".  Mind you, over the years I've noticed that while the screen sizes get bigger, the viewable area is increasingly stretching out to the edges of the TV so the bigger screen TV's aren't 'bigger' in the same proportion, if you know what I mean.   

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