Is my TV buying research accurate?

leejenson

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
4
0
4,510
0
Hi,

I said to my mum that I will go and do a little bit of research to help her choose a nice TV. I wanted to ask this community if they would kindly review / critique what I am going to email my mum before it goes. Or add anything that I have not thought of or if I have just got something wrong, I welcome your feedback and your experience. I want to send my mum accurate information. This is my draft email:-

-----cut-----

Hi mum,

Here is what I have researched for you about a new TV.

Smart TVs allow you to connect to the internet for various reasons like using catch up TV services (last weeks TV). Those services will require an internet connection and I can't guarantee how it will work as your internet connection is ok but not very fast. Some also offer pay services for watching a new film for example, this will also require an internet connection.

New TVs are also starting to be able to receive High Definition (HD). This type of picture is massively better quality. People can buy HD films on disk to play on their HD TV called Blue ray (the replacement to DVDs). I know you don’t buy DVDs but Freeview has started to make available HD channels. On your TV guide you will start to see channels with a littler HD sign against them.

Your current Humax Personal Video Recorder (PVR) is not HD compatible, this will mean if you record a HD programme, when you watch it back it will not be in High Definition but will still work. Looking forward when buying a new TV my advice would be to take advantage of High Definition TV rolling out.

Here are some different scenarios to think about, no rush. Let me know which one you lean to and we can go from there to narrow the vast amount of TV and recorders down to your personal needs.

Scenario 1 (TV with it’s own recording)
Some TVs have a recording facility also so you don't need another recording box. In this scenario your current PVR can be moved to the TV in the spare bedroom but the TV will be more expensive.

Scenarios 2 (Using your current stereo to improve the sound)
Flat screen TV speakers are not very good. If you see a TV you like then it should be possible to connect the audio to your stereo to give you a nicer sound with your nice new picture if the speakers are not great. But your current old stereo is not Surround Sound.

Scenario 3 (Flat screen with no TV tuner but upgraded personal recording recorder PVR)
At the moment you have two TV tuners. One in the TV and one in the personal video recorder. As you always use the recorder to watch TV through plus it's guide you never use the TV tuner that comes with the TV. This is a waste. It's possible to upgrade your Humax Personal Video Recorder to accept High Definition TV. This will mean that you won't need a flat screen that has a Freeview TV tuner in it as well which will bring the price down. The downside to this is that you could not fall back to TV tuner in the TV itself if your PVR is too busy recording multiple channels to allow you to watch TV, like what happens currently.

Scenario 4 (Smart TV connected to the internet which allows you to watch the previous week’s TV, catch-up service, and pay TV)
As I said earlier, this may offer you a lot of facilities. But if you use your recording facility a lot anyway, think about if you would actually use it. I also cannot guarantee how good it will work with your internet connection. We could possible just send it back if that’s the case and get another one.

Scenario 5 (Surround Sound)
Surround sound speakers will compliment your TV purchase nicely. The sound won't be just in front of you but all around. I have been reading that flat screen speakers are generally not great because there is not much room for them on any type.

Scenario 6 (Built in DVD player)
Some TVs have built in DVD / Blu-ray players. So this would be another way to watch pay TV if you never went for one that connected to the internet.

===========

I think the most expensive option would be a combination of 1 and 4 + 5

The cheapest option I think would be scenario 3.

Somewhere in the middle would be 3 and 5.

Thanks

Lee
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
smart-tvs are quite limited as to what they support. some include web browsers for surfing the internet but they are very basic and generally junk. they do include apps such as netflix, hulu, and other streaming media players but are known to not get updated after a certain period of time so eventually there may come to be a time where they no longer work how they should and some are paid subscriptions. for streaming you will want a connection faster than 2mbps but something 10mbps or more is ideal.

hd content has been around for years. typically this was an extra you had to buy but its becoming more and more common on standard subscriptions now. this is more based on your tv provider (your cable tv service) than it is on the brand of tv you buy.

keep in mind that the vast majority of cable channels and internet streaming video is not hd either. an older pvr will fit right in but it might be worth upgrading eventually to something hd compatible. as it stands right now some content is hd while some is not depending on where you get your video content from. even paid cable tv is not entirely hd yet and many older movies are standard definition only since they were not shot in hd.

#1 you would still need to connect up a hard drive to record using the tv.

#2 tv speakers are not ideal but arent often terrible on good models. whether the stereo system is compatible or not depends. if the stereo supports 3.5mm input, rca red+white input or spdif optical input then buy a tv with either a headphone jack (or red+white rca... same thing basically just split apart) or spdif connector on it already.

#3 also consider that without a HD capable television just upgrading to HD service will not make a difference. HD content will look as bad as SD content on an older SD television. afaik all tvs come with a tuner. by pvr likely this is also acting as the cable box from your tv service provider? in which case you would need to update this if you want HD content since the service *might* not work with your internal tuner (depends on if the service is compatible with it or not.. you need to research)

#4 there are some capabilities of smarttv but i'm not sure about watching last weeks shows on it though.

#5 a surround sound is certainly good, however not everyone needs such things. internal tv speakers arent great but can be okay for at least awhile if there is no budget for anything better. an alternative for limited space is a soundbar which improves upon tv speakers but takes up less room and is cheaper than a surround sound.

#6 you dont want a built in dvd player. if it breaks you're screwed.

--

i would personally recommend against smarttv. if you want that functionality i would instead suggest something like a roku or one of the various other streaming players. they get updated more often (since that is the sole reason they exist) and are replaceable if they get out of date easier. also you pay more money for a smarttv with the features then it would cost adding a roku or other device to a non-smart tv.

you might want to update your cabletv box if you use one with your subscription tv service to get hd if your service is not compatible with your internal tuner and needs such a box.

for speakers you could make do with internals if you buy a good tv, if not you might want to think about a soundbar. most older folks do not need surround sound and would be more than happy with a soundbar.

use an external dvd/br player. less hassle and if it breaks you can replace it. all in one type solutions are convenient but lead to issues down the road if something goes wrong.

you forgot to mention the hz rate. here in the usa it would be 60hz/120hz/240hz but in the uk its going to be 50hz/100hz/200hz if i'm not mistaken. generally i would say stay with a 50/60hz tv as typically you will end up disabling the gimmicky 120/240 (100/200) hz junk since it looks odd and makes people look plasticy.

you forgot to mention brands. certain brands are better than others. i'm not sure about the uk but here the ideal brands to go with are sony, samsung and lg.

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
smart-tvs are quite limited as to what they support. some include web browsers for surfing the internet but they are very basic and generally junk. they do include apps such as netflix, hulu, and other streaming media players but are known to not get updated after a certain period of time so eventually there may come to be a time where they no longer work how they should and some are paid subscriptions. for streaming you will want a connection faster than 2mbps but something 10mbps or more is ideal.

hd content has been around for years. typically this was an extra you had to buy but its becoming more and more common on standard subscriptions now. this is more based on your tv provider (your cable tv service) than it is on the brand of tv you buy.

keep in mind that the vast majority of cable channels and internet streaming video is not hd either. an older pvr will fit right in but it might be worth upgrading eventually to something hd compatible. as it stands right now some content is hd while some is not depending on where you get your video content from. even paid cable tv is not entirely hd yet and many older movies are standard definition only since they were not shot in hd.

#1 you would still need to connect up a hard drive to record using the tv.

#2 tv speakers are not ideal but arent often terrible on good models. whether the stereo system is compatible or not depends. if the stereo supports 3.5mm input, rca red+white input or spdif optical input then buy a tv with either a headphone jack (or red+white rca... same thing basically just split apart) or spdif connector on it already.

#3 also consider that without a HD capable television just upgrading to HD service will not make a difference. HD content will look as bad as SD content on an older SD television. afaik all tvs come with a tuner. by pvr likely this is also acting as the cable box from your tv service provider? in which case you would need to update this if you want HD content since the service *might* not work with your internal tuner (depends on if the service is compatible with it or not.. you need to research)

#4 there are some capabilities of smarttv but i'm not sure about watching last weeks shows on it though.

#5 a surround sound is certainly good, however not everyone needs such things. internal tv speakers arent great but can be okay for at least awhile if there is no budget for anything better. an alternative for limited space is a soundbar which improves upon tv speakers but takes up less room and is cheaper than a surround sound.

#6 you dont want a built in dvd player. if it breaks you're screwed.

--

i would personally recommend against smarttv. if you want that functionality i would instead suggest something like a roku or one of the various other streaming players. they get updated more often (since that is the sole reason they exist) and are replaceable if they get out of date easier. also you pay more money for a smarttv with the features then it would cost adding a roku or other device to a non-smart tv.

you might want to update your cabletv box if you use one with your subscription tv service to get hd if your service is not compatible with your internal tuner and needs such a box.

for speakers you could make do with internals if you buy a good tv, if not you might want to think about a soundbar. most older folks do not need surround sound and would be more than happy with a soundbar.

use an external dvd/br player. less hassle and if it breaks you can replace it. all in one type solutions are convenient but lead to issues down the road if something goes wrong.

you forgot to mention the hz rate. here in the usa it would be 60hz/120hz/240hz but in the uk its going to be 50hz/100hz/200hz if i'm not mistaken. generally i would say stay with a 50/60hz tv as typically you will end up disabling the gimmicky 120/240 (100/200) hz junk since it looks odd and makes people look plasticy.

you forgot to mention brands. certain brands are better than others. i'm not sure about the uk but here the ideal brands to go with are sony, samsung and lg.

 

leejenson

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
4
0
4,510
0
ssddx,

This is the email I have send to my mum to help her upgrade. I will post it here in case it helps others.

This is a great forum regarding the speed and quality of the reply to my post.

---

Hi Mum,

Here is what I have researched far you about a new TV, with some help from a website called Tom's Hardware, they had more experience than me.

New TVs are able to receive High Definition (HD). HD content has been around for years. Typically this was an extra you had to buy but it's becoming more and more common as standard. This type of picture is massively better quality. People can buy HD films on disk to play on their HD TV called Blu- Ray (the replacement to DVDs). I know you don’t buy DVDs but your Freeview Terrestrial TV has started to make available HD channels. On your TV guide you will start to see channels with a littler HD sign against them.

Your current Humax Personal Video Recorder (PVR) is not HD compatible, this will mean if you record a HD program, when you watch it back it will not be in High Definition but will still work. Keep in mind though that the vast majority of channels and internet online video (streaming) is not HD either. Your current PRV will fit right in but it might be worth upgrading eventually to something HD compatible. As it stands right now some content is HD while some is not depending on the Freeview channel. Even pay TV is not entirely HD yet and many older movies are Standard Definition only since they were not shot in HD.

Here are some different scenarios to think about. Let me know which one you lean to and we can go from there to narrow the vast amount of choices to your personal needs and budget.

Scenario 1 (TV with its own recording)
Some TVs have built in their own PVRs. In this scenario your current Humax PVR can be moved to the TV in the spare bedroom but the TV will be more expensive. But some things to think about regarding this:-

1. If an internal PVR breaks, it's integral to the TV so the whole TV equipment will need repair or replaced.
2. If it is separate from the TV it can be replaced or repaired more easily with less disruption.
3. An external PVR can be upgraded more easily as technology improves.
4. An external PVR can be moved elsewhere if you wish (EG: upstairs, if you upgrate it)

Scenarios 2 (Using your current stereo to improve the sound)
Flat screen TV speakers can vary in quality. If you see a TV you like then it should be possible to connect the audio to your current stereo to give you a nicer sound with your nice new picture if the speakers are not great. But your current old stereo is not Surround Sound and you will have another remote to play with as you have to switch to the sound on your stereo system. We would also need to check compatibility first.

Scenario 4 (Smart TV connected to the internet & pay TV)
Smart TVs allow you to connect to the internet for various reasons e.g.: pay TV/Films. Some Smart-TVs are quite limited as to what they support. Some have Internet Browser applications which is what you use to go on the internet (you use a browser when you do your internet shopping) but they are very basic and generally junk. They do include apps such as Netflix, Hulu (film rental online), and other streaming media players but are known to not get updated after a certain period of time so eventually there may come to be a time where they no longer work how they should and some are paid subscriptions. To use online film/TV services you will want an internet connection faster than 2 megabytes per seconds but something 10mbps or more is ideal but your current internet speed is 1.07 megabytes per second.

Scenario 5 (Surround Sound or Sound Bar)
Surround Sound speakers or a Sound Bar will compliment your TV. Surround Sound is great with films, but I don't think you watch many films so although they would work in the basic sense the surround sound part of the speaker would not be used as much I think. A possible a compromise is something called a Sound Bar which is as it sounds, a long thin bar that sits with the TV to improve sound, if needed.

Scenario 6 (Current PVR but new [not smart] HD TV)
This will allow you to keep using your current Humax PVR for your TV and recording but start to take advantage of the HD TV channels appearing on Freeview.

Scenario 7 (New PVR and new [not smart] HD TV)
When we upgrade your PVR we can make sure it has HD and twin TV tuners. This will allow you to record more TV, watch more channels at the same time and of course record in HD quality against a HD channel. (Currently you are restricted to a smaller selection of channels to watch when recording multiple channels in your current setup).

This scenario can also be reached in stages, e.g.: buy the TV first, then upgrade your PVR later putting the older PVR in the spare room.

---

Well respected brands are LG, Samsung and Sony.

Thanks

Lee
 

leejenson

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
4
0
4,510
0
Hi guys,

My mum is at last going to get a replacement TV this Christmas - wahooo... and we'll upgrade the PVR another time...

We have gone for :-

Samsung UE40J5100 40 Inch Full HD Freeview HD TV.

Thanks again

Lee

 
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