Advice please - holy trinity purchase (55" TV, UHD Blu-ray + Atmos Surround Sound)

BeefyB

Standard Member
Hey everyone, I am a long time ready of AV Forums but this is my first thread - go easy on me!

I have been swatting up over the last few months, getting ready for my first major AV update for about 10 years and I would love the hive mind advice on the following

Requirements
  • 55" 4K TV
    • Mainly for Freeview Play, streaming Netflix and Disney+ and watching Blu-rays (probably in that order too!)
    • We have a brightly lit living room where this will go
    • I am quite a fan of google eco system and thus would be keen to go with Android OS
    • eARC capabilities is obviously important
  • UHD Blu-ray player
    • eARC input
    • ideally like it to cover the most common 4k Blu-ray formats (yet to buy any as i don't have a player!)
    • I don't think i need it to have audio out channels for driving speakers as the Soundbar will be doing this (I think, but advice would be good!)
  • Atmos Surround Sound
    • Ideally I would like the front to be a soundbar so its nice and neat
    • Wireless sub for neatness also
    • Wireless rear speakers - again for neatness
    • It would be great if it supported for most common formats from Netflix and Disney for surround sound plus whatever 4k Blu-rays output

Current thinking
  • TV -> Sony 55" XH95
  • UHD Blu-ray player -> Panasonic UB820
    • Could the PS5 work well here instead?
  • Surround Sound
    • Samsung Q950T
    • Samsung Q90R
    • LG SN11RG

Any advice would be great on any alternatives I haven't looked at that would play nicely together as a 3 piece purchase.

Thanks,
Mark
 

mikej

Well-known Member
Make sure you read the review on the XH95 here on AV forums for the pros and cons.

Looks like the XH95 is in OLED price territory - have you ruled OLEDs out completely ?

If you really want Android OS on your TV then you'll be limiting your choice a bit. I'm very much in the Google eco-system too, but I wouldn't want to let it restrict my choice and I haven't been 'left wanting' by ending up with a TV without. This won't be an issue if you're a Sony fan, but it would be a shame to rule out the likes of LG and Panasonic (more for their OLEDs, admittedly). Adding a Chromecast to a non-Android TV would presumably give you the same - and possibly better - functionality as you'd get in an Android TV, I suspect ?

The U820 Blu-ray player has been on my hit-list for a while but I'm likely to be getting a PS5 once they're available, so I'm holding off until then because if the PS5 is also a decent 4K Blu-ray player, then that will off-set £300 towards the price of the PS5, which is obviously substantial. The large size of the PS5 might also restrict how many boxes I can fit under the TV ! Hopefully it'll support all the 4K HDR video and audio formats, but there's been no official confirmation yet. I've been using my PS4 as a Blu-ray player for many years without any issues or complaints at all.

One thing to bear in mind is that the XH95 doesn't appear to have any HDMI 2.1 features, so isn't particularly 'future-proof' for PS5 gaming. Only tell will tell how much of a difference the lack of those features will actually make, though.

If I was in your position, I would do all my research over the next few weeks and be prepared to jump on any Black Friday deals - it wouldn't make sense to buy a TV between now and then if you can afford to wait a bit longer.
 

BeefyB

Standard Member
Looks like the XH95 is in OLED price territory - have you ruled OLEDs out completely ?

...

If I was in your position, I would do all my research over the next few weeks and be prepared to jump on any Black Friday deals - it wouldn't make sense to buy a TV between now and then if you can afford to wait a bit longer.
Hey Mike, thanks for the wicked reply.

I have not ruled out OLED at all, it was more that I wouldnt be using this in a home cinema dark room setting. It will be in a bright room with patio doors next to it and a few lamps etc. I figured this moved me more towards LED.
If i was to look at OLED, based on what I have said, anything stand out?

In terms of when I am buying, I am absolutely getting this all aligned for black friday. I just want to make sure my research is all done on the compatibility between the three so i can pull the trigger as soon as there is a sale without then having to hunt around for info.

I was only considering the PS5 as mainly a blu-ray player with a bonus of been able to play some games with the kids, but we don't have a console now so I wont miss it if I go for a pure Blu-ray player.

Ta
 

BeefyB

Standard Member
If you really want Android OS on your TV then you'll be limiting your choice a bit. I'm very much in the Google eco-system too, but I wouldn't want to let it restrict my choice and I haven't been 'left wanting' by ending up with a TV without. This won't be an issue if you're a Sony fan, but it would be a shame to rule out the likes of LG and Panasonic (more for their OLEDs, admittedly). Adding a Chromecast to a non-Android TV would presumably give you the same - and possibly better - functionality as you'd get in an Android TV, I suspect ?
Valid points Mike on this, just feels silly to be buying a high end TV to then buy a streaming device too. I was more looking at Sony for great processor and upscaling. I could probably be convinced by a non-Android TV if the price was a chunk cheaper. Especially with the new Google dongle chromecast replacement thing
 

mikej

Well-known Member
I have not ruled out OLED at all, it was more that I wouldnt be using this in a home cinema dark room setting. It will be in a bright room with patio doors next to it and a few lamps etc. I figured this moved me more towards LED.
If i was to look at OLED, based on what I have said, anything stand out?
Yes, OLEDs definitely shine the most when being viewed in a darker environment but you shouldn't rule them out for daytime viewing though. I don't have any problems with mine in a fairly bright lounge, although I must admit I do most of my watching in the evenings. I also need the wider viewing angles that OLEDs provide.

To be honest, the latest OLED offerings from most of the manufacturers are pretty good these days. Some have their strengths and weaknesses (eg. motion handling, near-black performance, HDMI 2.1 etc) so it depends where your priorities lie. Panasonic (eg. HZ980 or 1000) and LG (eg. CX) would be the two I'd be interested in this year if I was looking. Sony OLEDs, while seemingly excellent, are just too pricey for me.

Valid points Mike on this, just feels silly to be buying a high end TV to then buy a streaming device too.
Yes - I agree but when you look into it, the OS on TVs can often disappoint. Android on previous Sony TV generations wasn't without issues, but I believe it's supposed to be much better now. The Panasonic OS is nothing special but the streaming apps work well for me so I've no complaints so far, although the lack of new apps (eg. Disney+) is disappointing. LG is supposed to have one of the best according to reviews.

I watch Netflix, Prime and YouTube in 4K HDR (when available) on my GZ950's own apps without issues and plug in my 4K Firestick for the occasional bit of Disney+.

The new Chromecast does look like a good option for anyone wanting Android on their TV.
 

Tim2049

Well-known Member
Hard not to agree with your logic regarding the 4k blu ray capabilities of the PS5.

However, incremental though I'm sure it'll be, the HDR optimiser technology on the UB820 really is good. So, if money isn't really an issue and you want that extra 'cherry on top' I'd wholeheartedly recommend the 820.

Key word being 'incremental' though, to remain level-headed about it...
 

BeefyB

Standard Member
I popped into JL yesterday to look at the XH95 and the Samsung HW-Q950T sound system and i think might have been swung towards the 55" Q90T QLED as there is a crazy deal on them both together.
it should play nicely with the soundbar too and their Q symphony feature is cool.

I think i might leave the UHD player until Black Friday and maybe get the TV and Soundbar now while this crazy deal is on.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
The Samsung QLEDs were also on my short-list when I was looking towards the end of last year but one downside to Samsung TVs is the lack of Dolby Vision HDR, as they are championing the HDR10+ format instead. Anything you watch in Dolby Vision (on 4K Blu-rays, Netflix, Disney+ etc) on a Samsung TV will default to HDR10.

This isn't the end of the world but, with a £1000+ TV especially, it's definitely something you need to be aware of. Why not pick out some Netflix shows you're likely to start watching and check which HDR format they're recorded in ?

Brands like LG and Sony support Dolby Vision (and not HDR10+) in their current TVs and Panasonic and Philips support both.
 

BeefyB

Standard Member
The Samsung QLEDs were also on my short-list when I was looking towards the end of last year but one downside to Samsung TVs is the lack of Dolby Vision HDR, as they are championing the HDR10+ format instead. Anything you watch in Dolby Vision (on 4K Blu-rays, Netflix, Disney+ etc) on a Samsung TV will default to HDR10.

...
Its a great point Mike, to be fair, I don't really understand what happens if my TV doesn't support Dolby Vision, what will that do when watching a UHD disk or Netflix etc?

I wouldn't have considered the Q90T tv if it wasnt for the fact that it gives me 50% cashback on sound bars and the Q950T is like £1500, that 50% back is not to be sniffed at.

Will the Q90T just play everything as HDR10+ and just work it out? Or would it not use HDR at all and play in SDR instead?
 

mikej

Well-known Member
According to this article, "Dolby Vision is built on the same core as HDR10, which makes it relatively straightforward for content producers to create HDR10 and Dolby Vision masters together. This means that a Dolby Vision-enabled Ultra HD Blu-ray can also play back in HDR10 on TVs that only support that format."

So it might follow that if you watch something in Dolby Vision on a TV that doesn't support it, you will still get HDR but it will be of the standard HDR10 (static-metadata) type instead ? Maybe a Samsung owner can advise ! One thing you can say for sure though it that if you watch something in Dolby Vision on a non-Dolby Vision TV then you won't be getting the best from it, even if you do still get it in HDR10.

The dynamic metadata HDR formats (eg. HDR10+ and DV) are widely regarded as being better than the static metadata formats (eg. HDR10 and HLG) because they can adjust the HDR effect on a scene-by-scene. frame-by-frame basis. Higher end sets such as the ones you're looking at should, at least, have the capability to display HDR properly, but not all HDR content is created equally though and results can differ.


But to answer your specific question, no - shows in Dolby Vision won't display in HDR10+ on a Samsung TV.

One thing to bear in mind is that to get a certain type of HDR, everything in the chain has to officially support it so that includes the source (TV app, external streaming device or 4K blu-ray player), display (TV) and any audio device you might pass an external signal through (eg. soundbar or AVR).

Speaking of soundbars, do you have room for extra speakers ? A 4-figure sum would get you a proper surround package that would most likely blow any soundbar away. I appreciate that not everyone has the room for the extra speakers though, so they definitely have their place and if you have no choice but to go down the soundbar route, then it does make sense to get a good one to compliment a high-end TV.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
If you have an HDR-compatible TV and you watch something in Dolby Vision or HDR10+ and your TV doesn't support those, you still get HDR.

I'd agree with the above as well. Soundbars can sound great these days, but no match for a separates system.
 

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