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What Is The Best TV Deal For 2013?

Since I am getting the same question, “what is the best TV deal”, I decided to give everyone my personal choices and some quick tips.  Because the pricing is going to be all over the board this holiday season, what I will tell you is what I like, why I like it and how it compares so when you see the Black Friday Deal, you know what you are looking at.

What Is The Best TV Deal?

What Is The Best TV Deal?

One of the picture qualities I am hearing more and more about is the “soap opera effect”. I don’t have another name for it and I have seen it a couple of times now.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to “tune” or “calibrate” the TV so I am not 100% sure what causes it.  I see this most often in 40″-55″ TV’s connected to Cable TV and Standard Def DirecTV boxes. My guess is the TV’s need a tune up and are simply over correcting the Standard Definition signal.

Right now I have a Toshiba 50” which isn’t even on my radar but was a smoking cheap deal last year at Costco.  It will eventually move to my office and be replaced by a 70”.  I say eventually because things are changing so fast, and there is another remodeling project that will happen at the same time.

 Something odd that has happened is the disappearance of Cinemawide TV and the appearance of 4K or UHD TV.  In order to watch a movie and see everything the same way as the theater, you need the Cinemawide Screen.  If you don’t get one, an 80” screen will have black bars at the top and bottom making it effectively a 75” screen.

You can of course stretch the picture to fill in the black bars, bet then you lose something.  You aren’t watching what the director so painstakingly created for you.  I was hoping Cinemawide screens would have done better,  Since TV is in 16:9 format and that is most of what people watch at home, that the 16:9 TV’s would be the most popular though.

Testing:

One of the bests tests is to check out a TV is to watch a sitcom in HD or a movie.  Don’t watch Cartoons or Animated movies, they look good on everything.  One of my tests is the movie “Men In Black”.  If the suits look grey or washed out in the night scenes it means the TV can’t keep up.  Sharp is the winner here for LCD and LED TV’s.  Plasmas are better, but at that size they are heavy and expensive if you can even find on.

Tell Me Where It Hertz:

One big variable is refresh rates, usually listed in hertz.  All TV’s are 60hz unless they say otherwise.  If you are a gamer or serious movie buff, 60hz won’t cut it.  Your body is also running at 60hz so you subconsciously can see a bit of flicker in the screen.  60hz means the screen is refreshed 60 time every second.  Your eyes capture about 60 images every second.

For gaming, 120hz is the minimum, and 240hz is better.  For 3D, 120hz is also the minimum, and I haven’t seen a 60hz 3D TV yet.  Check the box.

There is another factor in the speed at which a screen can refresh, and that is latency.  Latency is how quickly the dots on the screen go back to zero or black.  If the TV refreshes faster than it goes to black then the picture blurs together a little bit.  This is another reason to watch live action where you can see the blurring.  Most TV’s I have seen this year don’t have a problem with latency rates.  The technology has caught up to the speed in the LED and LCD world.

 Going Shopping:

If I were out today on Black Friday 2013 looking for a new TV, here are my thoughts:

I really like the Sharp Quatron 3D series for the 60” 70” and 80” screens.  All of the big stores have good prices on these units.  If you can make your room very dark, they have good black levels and excellent color saturation.

The surprise value for me is Vizio.  In the past their picture quality was noticeably different then the Shart and Samsung.  Now Vizio looks very close to the Samsung and Vizio is a bit less expensive than the Samsung in many cases.

There is a low end Ultra HD brand, Seiki, that has a Ultra High Def or UHD 50” TV for under $1000.  The higher definition is cool if you sit very close to the TV and have good eyes, otherwise who cares.  At that price I have to wonder about black levels and color quality, so for now I am saying avoid it.  If they send me one to demo, I’ll let you know.

Sony of course always looks good, and there are some deals out there because they are now turning their focus on UHD/4K TVs.    Picture quality wise Sony is usually on par with Samsung and Vizio.  Sony’s electronics and cases are usually higher quality and a better finish which is why they usually cost more.

For TV’s in guest rooms, kitchen or anywhere there is light most of the time, Go for the best deal.  I wouldn’t tell you to skip the $98 32” Black Friday Deal at WalMart for a quick Kitchen TV or kids room TV.

Computer Time And Getting Smart:

If you are thinking about using a TV as a second monitor, then get a better brand, and use one that is also a computer monitor maker like Samsung or Toshiba.  HDTV’s sometimes look funny as a computer monitor if you get a cheap one.

So that moves us to “smart tv’s”.  Personally I use Apple TV.  The interface for Netflix on Apple TV is better and I can run it through my stereo first.  The options with “Smart TV’s” are ok if you are going to use the TV speakers and nothing else.  Eventually I will buy a ReQuest Media Server with a Media Player.  ReQuest Media Players are hands down the best way to watch movies and online content.

I also like the ability to to put stuff on my TV from my iPad and iPhone.  If you have a Samsung Galaxy, then a Samsung TV makes a lot of sense. 

So there you have my favorite list, and you can adjust the order to fit your budget and whatever Black Friday deals you can find.

So there you have it, don’t worry about “Smart TV”, get Apple TV or even Google TV for now unless you have a Samsung Galaxy phone.

The Quick Tips:

1 Buy a TV no bigger that the distance you sit from it.  If you are 6 feet away, don’t get anything bigger than 70”  60” would be the best for image quality at 6 feet.

2. Sharp Quatron with four colors is the best picture for non plasma

3. Sony, Samsung and Vizio if you get a smoking deal are all good.

4. TV’s under 40” go with the deals

5. If you get a big TV don’t forget the Monster HDTV tune up or some other home calibration kit.  That is money well spent.

Oh yeah and if you don’t have a big enough truck, Amazon delivers.

 

 

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