What are the best options for televisions around $150 or less?

consptheory77

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I have three setups in the house. There is the TV in the living room which is a 24" SDTV from the mid-2000's hooked up to a PS2. There is a TV in one of the bedrooms which is a Vizio 720p LCD from 2007 (terrible viewing angles, washed out blacks, but it was still an impressive upgrade at the time) . The setup in my bedroom is the most advanced. I have a desktop which I built myself connected to both a Dell UltraSharp U2412Mb 24-Inch (1200p, 300 cd/m2) which is the main monitor, and a LG 27EA63V-P 27" IPS (1080p, 250 cd/m2), which functions both as a secondary monitor, and the display for my Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PS3. Now, I love the LG, the bezel is beautiful, and both movies and games look great on them, but the audio setup is a pain, I have to connect the sound from the consoles through the computer and back to the monitor, something I hadn't considered when contemplating the purchase, as visual is a little more important to me than audio. (So much so that I have a pair of 2W Cyber Acoustics speakers from a decade ago to go with this fine display.) Now, I'm considering to buy two or three TVs to upgrade the other rooms and to resolve this inconvenience. But my budget is only about $150 per TV. What should I buy for that? I am considering either the Samsung UN28H4000 28" (which has the Samsung branded asset of being able to play movies off a USB drive) or the TCL Roku 32S301 32". Both of these are 720p, though. People say "you can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p at that size" but I can, in the sense that a 720p TV broadcast is very noticeably different than 1080p Blu-ray playback, and the 1080p from Netflix looks noticeably inferior to the higher bit rate Blu-ray as well. Do higher bit rates translate to 720p screens? Because I've really found bitrates to be a more relevant issue with HD content. And for games, well, I was thinking of playing games while lying in bed, and the monitor is not currently directed in front of the bed (you would think this would be the case, but my bedroom is small for all the stuff I have in it) so if I reorient the bed in front of the TV, would I do well to buy the 32 inch no matter what or should I hold out for an even bigger (1080p) TV? As it is, the monitor is oriented about 4 feet away when usually play games. Since many games are not even in 1080p, and the original Xbox One I have caps out at 900p or so, does it even matter?
 

consptheory77

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Well, I opted for the Samsung over the TCL because of the differential in reviews of reliability, and also because the TCL is a "smart TV" and I prefer to have that "smart" part separate (with the Roku), but despite the adage "you can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p unless you're up close" I CAN tell the difference. Now, for about $75, which is what I paid, I think that's a fair value, but there's no point in paying $150 for a 720p TV when $50 more will get you a 1080p. (I am thinking of the Samsung UN32J5003.)
 
Most TV broadcasts are at 1080i not 720p. So you are comparing 540p vs 1080p,
An interlaced signal has to be deinterlaced so more processing is needed. If the signal also has to be upscaled to match the resolution of the panel then that processing also affects the quality of the picture.
Cheap TVs haven't got the budget for good quality processing so the difference is more noticeable than on a high end set
There is also no compression in the BD disc while most cable programming is compressed. Netflix uses compression algorithms to mitigate buffering so it too suffers compared to BD discs with the same number of pixels.
Your $300 budget is a big limiting factor even for 1 TV let alone 2. A 2 year old used TV would be a possible upgrade but also a crap shoot since there would be no warranty,
 

consptheory77

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So then, you think, for image quality, I am better off sticking with the setup I have, that is, with the LG 1080p monitor?
 

consptheory77

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I notice that TV manufacturers don't make 720p TVs if the TVs are over 40 inches. I have watched both Blu-rays and HBO HD streaming on the old 2007 Vizio and both did look good on it. Video games looked awful.
 

consptheory77

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Well, I opted for the Samsung over the TCL because of the differential in reviews of reliability, and also because the TCL is a "smart TV" and I prefer to have that "smart" part separate (with the Roku), but despite the adage "you can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p unless you're up close" I CAN tell the difference. Now, for about $75, which is what I paid, I think that's a fair value, but there's no point in paying $150 for a 720p TV when $50 more will get you a 1080p. (I am thinking of the Samsung UN32J5003.)
 
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