Sunday, February 9, 2014

TV Type & Format Options (Pro's / Con's)

Lets go over the pros and cons of the four most popular TV technologies available today

  • * PRO's:: Best Picture of the current cheap classes (Usually). Great Color reproduction/matching when calibrated. Black-level reproduction great. Highest Refresh Rate. No light bleed.
  • * CON's:: Power Consumption is Highest per inch. Most Heat Generation. Weight is highest per inch. Not as good in bright locations.
  • * PRO's:: Cheapest Class. Most Variety of sizes.
  • * CON's:: Poor color reproduction. Image Ghosting. Wide Bezels.
  •  PRO's:: Can be extremely bright and useful in bright area's. Can use local dimming to increase contrast ratio. Slightly better color handling due to backlight vs CCFL.
  • CON's:: Light bleed can be more intense depending on Edge-Lit vs Full Array. Image Ghosting. 
  •  PRO's:: Most accurate colors. Can turn OFF individual pixels so excellent black representations. Flexible screen avoids damage.
  • CON's:: Cost. Size restrictions currently. Cost. Did I mention cost?

The differences in these types make each one acceptable if a certain set of environmental criteria are met.
  • If you have a room with fewer windows than average or night-time watching will be the primary use a Plasma is going to be the best option for a set top. Enthusiasts swear by by them as long as the company producing keep the build quality up to the right standards. Panasonic Plasma's are the current go-to brand for HQ Plasma's.
  •  If your budget is limited and size is the most important factor. A standard CCFL LCD is going to be what gets you the best bang per inch. It falters when absolute quality is a concern but can usually fill a blank wall for less and can perform perfectly fine for the news, video games consoles or kitchen/kids room duties. Toshiba, Samsung and Vizio litter the marketplace for the best of the low tier displays.
  •  LED tv's and the above LCD tv's are essentially the same display tech with a different back-light delivery methods. LED's allow for the lower power consumption, thinner bezels, and brighter room playback capabilities. A bright sun drenched room or the NEED for for a thin bezel (Array Lit) or thin profile (edge lit) are reason 1 to get an LED TV over another type. The only other real advantage is the power consumption is much lower so sustained hour after hour use will not hurt your checkbook as much as other formats. Samsung and Vizio have the best quality sets in this category
  • Oled If you can afford one you can put it anywhere you want. Don't worry about bezel size or power consumption. Since it is an emerging tech most units currently out have been pains-tauntingly designed to be best of breed. I assume once they try and go mass market they will find MANY corners to cut resulting in on par to todays units, units. So get them while they are new and expensive. No idea what brands to look at. Maybe Sony.


Smart TV's - Do you want your TV to be the smart item? I personally do NOT want the smart features built in permanently to my $400, $700, $2,000 TV that I don't plan to upgrade at least a few years. It should be the job of the TV to do ONE THING.. Produce a beautiful picture. That is it. No web surfing, no media playback and if I had my way and no reproduction of audio at all!

Instead ignore the smart TV craze and look for a Smart Blu-Ray Player, or dedicated media streaming devices such as a Roku, Boxee, Apple TV, Western Digital Live.


How big?

Do yourself a HUGE favor and grab some cardboard (a big piece). Place it on the wall, table, stand or wherever and measure out 40", 50", 55", 65" and keep bezel size around that in mind. You may be surprised at just how small that HUGE tv is going to look.


1080P or 720?

As for 720p vs 1080p refer to this chart and after you determine your ideal size and placement you can see if going 720p can actually be an alternative. Don't go out of your way to get a lower res TV but don't dismiss the possible savings if you won't benefit at your distance/size.

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