Hey there all, hopefully the week has been kind to you so far, even though it’s been starting to get just a little cold. We’ve been asked to put together a bit of a guide for anyone considering picking up a new TV in the run up to Christmas. It’s something people seem to be a little reluctant to ask about, but the fact is that between LCD and LED TVs, there’s plenty of choice depending on what you’re looking for and how much you’d like to spend.
Of course, a lot of change amounts to an awful lot of study before you know just what you’re looking for. It’s a bit of a headache, so when a few people asked us about new TVs in the last week we figured you guys might appreciate a quick bit of a write up on getting what you want from a nice display.
Without going mad, we’ll go straight to our recommendations :)
Samsung 32” LCD-TV:
We’ve already said a few times on the blog how much we appreciate Samsung’s displays. There’s something about the combination of elegant design in the body of the devices themselves and the general high quality of Samsung displays that makes them eminently recommendable.
This Samsung 32” has the usual Samsung flare, but given its low price point you likely won’t be surprised to hear that it’s a little less sleek than some of the more expensive models. The edges of the casing aren’t the same, bevelled finish as on some of the higher end models, while the bottom lacks the rose-glass finish, but the fact is that it’s still a solid display and it’s looks aren’t doing it any disservices.
It’ll handle high definition content at 720p and boasts an output resolution of 1366 x 768. Of course, the fact that its an LCD will mean that it boasts some advantages and disadvantages if you’re comparing it to other display technologies, namely that the blacks won’t be quite completely black. It’s not something that’s always noticeable, but if you’re at all into sci-fi or thrillers it can be a very real concern.
Still, that’s something people seem to have decided is a small price to pay considering the fact that with a plasma display you’re exposed to a certain amount of risk of burn-in… particularly for anyone interested in videogames, where persistent in-game elements can be a bit of an issue.
For those interested in checking it out in more detail there’s a very in depth breakdown of what it offers over at our detailed product page for it.
Despite any of the usual concerns around LCD TVs it’s worth noting that this is a 32” display for just €387, which makes it nice and cheap. Moreover, due to their popularity, we’re stocking this display at our Dublin Pickup Point, so if you’re interested in buying one then you can just drive out to us and pick it up, no need to order :)
Philips 32” LCD TV:
For those who are considering an LCD but would like something a little more elegant than the Samsung but in a similar form factor, there’s a similar Philips offering that’s also 32” and also boasts a reasonable price tag.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Samsung 32” and the Philips 32” is that the Philips outputs at 1080p (FullHD) rather than 720p (an output resolution of 1920 x 1080). This is something that’ll be most important to those who’ve already moved on to Blu-Ray or high-definition digital TV packages for the majority of their viewing. For those who are sticking with DVD for the moment, it’s less of an issue.
Similarly, those gamers among our readership will likely prize a 1080p output because, let’s face it, it’s something the games industry has been driving for for a very long time indeed. The fact is that there are an awful lot of games that benefit significantly from being played on something with a high enough resolution to handle them neatly, so for those who are into their games, the extra €120 to go for the Philips over the Samsung will likely be well worth it.
Technical specifications aside, Philips’ 32” LCD TV is a touch more pleasant, aesthetically, than the lower-end Samsung above. Between the combination of a nicer look and the fact that it offers 1080p, the Philips makes a reasonable case for dropping the extra money on it now, rather than regretting it later.
The Philips 32” LCD TV is €497, and there’s some video from Philips to intro the whole thing, if you’re interested enough to check it out, we’ve included it on our product page for the display.
Panasonic Viera 42” Plasma:
When you start looking at plasma based displays, you’ll probably need to be aware of two things. The first is that plasma tends to be reserved for bigger screens, if only because of the fact that it’s more suited to use as a cinematic display, rather than just for day-to-day stuff. The second ties into the first – plasma displays are heavy.
Panasonic’s Viera is nice and big; at 42” it’s pretty much guaranteed to become a central feature of almost any room you care to put it into. Moreover, as we said above, it’s pretty heavy, weighing in at fully 27KG; this isn’t a display you can expect to comfortably wall mount (Denis from RMA had an tragicomic story about a man who had tried to wall mount a Sony plasma display with disastrous results).
Aside from concerns about its size and weight, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Viera will handle 1080p, so you can get the most out of your various high-definition devices and channels.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that because this is a plasma display you’ll see better contrasts and darker blacks than on an LCD. While there is some risk of burn-in from a static image left on the screen, it’s something that’s far more widely reported than it is an actual problem with modern plasma displays.
Panasonic’s Viera 42” is €707 and looks absolutely gorgeous. If you’re at all interested in a plasma display you’d do well to check it out.
Samsung 40” LED TV:
It’s always nice to come full circle when you’re talking about a product range. Samsung has the pleasure of being both the cheapest of the low-end LCD TVs that we’ve recommended today and the most recommendable LED TV.
Whatever we might have said about the Samsung LCD’s appearance, its LED based display is absolutely gorgeous, tapering to a rose finish at the edges of the body, which gives the whole thing a nice, warm feel. For those who haven’t encountered an LED TV before, we should probably point out that they’re fantastically thin; the best reference point is probably offered by notebook displays, which are based on the same technologies.
LED TVs are generally seen to combine the best parts of LCD and plasma-based displays. They boast none of the burn-in risk or awkward weight of plasmas, and manage darker blacks through selectively dimming of LEDs than LCDs can offer. Of course, the tradeoff is that you’ll pay more for an LED display than for a comparable sized LCD/plasma, usually significantly more.
This LED TV is, as you might have guessed, capable of outputting in 1080p and weighs in at the €1,137 mark. If you’d like to check it out in more detail, then you should have a look at our product page for it, but it’s a gorgeous device, if you can justify the cost.