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Thread: TV buying advice

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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    TV buying advice

    So my 17 year old box style 54cm TV finally packed up and it seems I need a new one according to my family.

    We are not big TV watchers, but we have children... So maybe its time for a LED flatscreen.

    What does one have to look out for when buying a TV?

    Smart versus normal?
    Curved versus flat?
    Resolution?
    Hertz?
    Contract ratio?
    Wifi/LAN/internet?
    Is a long warranty worth its salt or neglible because they pretty much all last as long as the warranty?
    Fancy global brands vs SINOTEC and HISENSE and co?

    And what technical specification is important and which not so important?

    Any advice/tips welcome.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    What kinda budget are you working with for the replacement? What do/would you use your TV for ie do you just watch mnet or would you use it connected to your home network to play movie files. Would you use it for gaming? Would you use it for internet browsing, online shopping and skype etc?
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    What kinda budget are you working with for the replacement?
    Maybe around the R5k mark, but I do not really have a budget, just do not want to spend a fortune.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    What do/would you use your TV for ie do you just watch mnet
    I do not have a dish and will unlikely get one. Even if I do I would expect that any new TV nowadays can handle that, correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    or would you use it connected to your home network to play movie files.
    Nope, never watched a movie from a computer file - at least not yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Would you use it for gaming?
    Definately not, no time and will not set a bad example for my kids either. Maybe one day a XBox Kinect if the pressure becomes too big. The body moving games I would consider.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Would you use it for internet browsing, online shopping and skype etc?
    [/QUOTE]
    Skype and internet is the only use I can image I might use.

    So in short pretty low spec use, but I do not want to buy some technology which is on its way out right now. Thanks
    Houses4Rent
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Lol, so you don't have DSTV, you don't have movies on your network, you don't use it for consol games.....so what do you need a TV for or do you watch SABC maybe? If you're looking for a device to browse the web and use skype maybe rather look at a tablet or IPad.
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Some SABC, ETV and .... kids (videos, DVD, etc)
    Houses4Rent
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    We got rid of the TVs long ago. I also considered buying a big screen TV but decided against it. Local TV is terrible and the news is totally biased. I can't stand being constantly interrupted by advertisements when I'm trying to watch a movie. ETV reached a point in the late evenings where it was 5 minutes of porn ads to every 3 minutes of movie.

    We put a PC in the lounge with a nice big screen. The machine isn't state of the art or anything, just a basic machine with a remote mouse and keyboard. The machine does have internet and is connected to our router. We store all our movies and stuff on the machine as well. It works like a charm because we get to watch movies, TED Talks and whatever else is on the internet or on a memory stick. We've even taken to downloading all our personal photographs and GoPro video on the machine. I want to put video and image editing software on it because the girls want to blog their stuff. This way we can all sit together and mess around with the imagery before they post it.
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Sounds good Adrian, but my girls are to young to control al that. Besides are big PC screens not far more expensice then TV's? At least that is my perception as I think a PC screen must be able to handle static content, while TV's only have to cope with moving content?
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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    I have not had a TV or DSTV for at least a year, before that I never watched SABC or E.
    I found that I either watch more if it is a series or spent less time watching a documentary because there are no adverts that you can't skip after 3 or 4 seconds so a programme taking an hour on any of the TV stations is over in 40 to 45 minutes, so in 4 hours you can watch what would normally take 5 and you don't feel brainwashed.
    Also the choice is much wider and very much more up to date and you watch what you want, not what they programme.
    For live sport, which is the only thing I miss, I meet some friends at the local pub, much more social.
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    I might even agree with you, but the discussion point is TV buying advice, not whether SABC and ETV are worth watching.
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    Gold Member irneb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houses4Rent View Post
    Sounds good Adrian, but my girls are to young to control al that. Besides are big PC screens not far more expensice then TV's? At least that is my perception as I think a PC screen must be able to handle static content, while TV's only have to cope with moving content?
    I have found that to be the case with truly "large" screens yes, well the effect actually. But when you refer to LCD / LED backlit / true LED the actual difference between a PC monitor and a TV is that the TV has a tuner and speakers built in, while the monitor is not made in such great quantities - other than that they are the exact same thing.

    If you're simply replacing your 54cm tube, that would be around a 21" screen ... those you can pick up at any computer shop for around R1000 to R2000, you'd most likely have difficulty even finding TVs that size these days (I think the smallest I've seen is 24" ... i.e. around 61cm). However, when you start looking for those 40" (100cm) to 60" (150cm) stuff you'd actually be hard pressed to even find a PC monitor. So generally you should be able to find a much larger TV than a monitor for the same price (unless you go for "very" small - read similar to old TVs).

    From your replies it seems you most likely don't need a "high-end" thing. BTW, those so-called "smart" TVs are quite literally just a normal TV with VERY low end phone guts [think similar to the feature phones you got just before the first iPhone] built in - you'd be better off (possibly cheaper) by using even an old computer instead just permanently plugged into one of the video ports on the TV. I.e. like adrainh's - just using a TV instead of a screen. In fact, that's exactly what I have in my lounge - a 42" LED backlit with a very low end computer sitting behind it - the computer handles all the "smart" stuff like internet access, streaming across network, able to do normal computing using wireless keyboard/mouse, etc.

    Technical aspects are a bit subjective and depends on your use case. E.g. a high contrast ratio may be a necessity due to light levels in your room, or due to the sorts of videos you watch, then again it may not make much difference. Usually the greater the difference the better. But you also need to check just how black a black is and how white a white. Best way would be to test and see, preferably watching something indicative of your usual stuff in a room lighted like the one you'd have the TV in.

    I would advise you get at least a fullHD TV (i.e. something saying 1080P - not 1080i or lower). You could go with the ultra high definition stuff (usually listed as 4K or sometimes referred to their lines of dots count 4320 instead of the fullHD's 1080). To put this into perspective ... a normal TV (like the one you had) tends to have between 280 and 420 lines - 420 being a very high end DVD quality. The 1080 is what you'd see if you use a BlueRay player instead of just DVDs. Even DSTV's "HD" is just halfHD ... i.e. 720p and not 1080p ... so even if you go for them anything higher is probably wasted.

    Also the aspect ratios have changed. Your old TV was a 4:3 ratio (i.e. 4 parts wide by 3 parts high). The norm for TVs these days is 16:9, i.e. closer to the proportions you'd see in a cinema (though there it's likely much wider in relation). So with a 1080p that means there's 1080 horizontal lines of dots across the screen by 1920 vertical columns. You'd most likely not be able to find anything else these days. Possibly if you go for PC monitors you may run into a 16:10, but the 16:9 is near ubiquitous now.

    Connections ... the LAN/WiFi idea is only of use if the TV has some form of computer built in. And most of these have such a useless computer that you'd most likely use something else anyway. Thus such connections tend to be less than useful. Most common these days is HDMI, nearly all DVD/BR players now send on HDMI cables instead of the old RCA/SCART stuff - better quality and also incorporates both video and stereo up to 5.1 channel sound inside the single cable (don't have such a nest behind the cabinet anymore). If you have an old DVD/VHS with RCA /Co-Ax antenna outputs, you'd need to search for a TV which takes them - they're getting ever more scarce (especially as even the normal TV signals are supposed to change over to digital). If you're thinking of a computer to turn a "dumb" TV into a "genius" (note "smart" is "stupid" compared to this arrangement) then I can recommend a DVI connection (or better as high-end), though you should get reasonable results even with HDMI - it's only in very fast action games where you may notice some glitches. So for lowest cost I'd look for something with at least 2 (preferably 3) HDMI inputs - most that I've seen come with a minimum 4 HDMI input ports these days (unless you go for absolute budget machines).

    Technology: Well, you get 4 types of "flatscreen". The older Plasma (basically each dot is like a neon light bulb glowing when electricity passes to it), LCD (i.e. one long snaking neon light behind a glass panel with LCD crystals to allow the light through or not at the specific spots), LED backlit (this is a LCD with the neon light replaced by LED lights instead - tends to be a bit flatter and doesn't heat up as much), and true LED (where each pixel is in fact a little LED "lightbulb" - this is like the later versions of the iPhone's screens). The true LED screens are extremely expensive (you'd most likely not find a 40" for under R20k), but he backlit stuff is nearly every single one you see in a shop (this may change in the near future as true LED technology becomes easier to build, in fact most of the high-end ultra HD / 4K screens use true LED). LCD and Plasma seems to be less available these days, so I'd not bother about trying them anymore.

    Brand and/or guarantee? Hummm .... personally I've had bad experiences with some "known" brands (in particular Sony), and very good experiences with some "unknown" brands (Hi-Sense). So from my own experience, it seems to either not matter - or possibly you'd be better off going with the non-label stuff. But take note, this is just my own anecdotal experiences. Personally I tend to try for a Samsung or LG before I look at the Sonotec's in the shop. I've yet to have any TV fail on me before the guarantee period (the Sony thing is more about it not working with certain things I plug into it), so most likely that guarantee is a waste. The only thing I've ever gotten fixed / replaced under guarantee was a computer, everything else seems to last at least as long as their pre-calculated obsolescence deadline.
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  11. Thank given for this post:

    adrianh (19-Jul-16), Dave A (21-Jul-16), Houses4Rent (19-Jul-16)

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