Another new 50" thread! Advice sought

calumd

Standard Member
Hello - I feel like I've exhausted myself looking at reviews, forum posts, articles and youtube videos about this, so I'm wondering if anyone can offer any advice.
I've got a fairly basic full HD 32" Samsung from 10 years ago. It's connected to a virgin box and a chromecast, and we watch various things, often streamed, generally in the evening, in a small room, from a settee pretty much straight on to the telly. It's used a tiny bit with an old PS3, and it's possible we'll upgrade that at some point but nobody is clamoring to do so. The box itself is ok, but it seems small and a bit visually lacking in pop compared to other people's TVs I see. (Also, maybe just me and my deteriorating sight, but I suspect contemporary programmes are made for a larger screen? I feel like I'm squinting more lately.)
So I'm thinking of buying something new, £400-600, and the space I've got allows a maximum of 50", so it seems to make sense to go for that. Models I've looked at include -
  • Philips 50PUS8555 (I like the idea of ambilight)
  • Philips 50PUS8505 (from Argos, though I'm not sure how it differs from the 8555)
  • Philips 50PUS7805 (the same screen as the 8 series, minus Android TV I think? Though I quite like Chromecast and android things generally)
  • LG 50UN81006LB (seems good value)
  • LG 49NAN0866NA (bit out of my price range though)
  • Samsung UE50TU8500 (best of the 7&8 series perhaps?)
  • Sony KD49X7052PBU (though the reviews don't really enthuse)
  • Hisense 50U7QFTUK (part of me resists this as I don't feel I know the brand, but everyone says it's good)
Whilst I could imagine watching some 4k material on Netflix or other streaming services now/this year, there doesn't seem masses of content at present - but presumably this will change and become the default in the not too distant. As you can see from holding on to my current telly for 10 years, I'm not crazy about upgrading and I'd like my new one to last on for a while - but it doesn't seem like any of the TVs in this price bracket really handle 4k very well? Would I be better off getting a cheaper £300-400ish one, and bracing myself to get something else when the 4k material becomes the new standard? If so, would I really see much benefit from upgrading from the current Samsung, beyond a bigger screen? If not, and I really do need to save up and spend more, how much more to get something that would last on for a while?
Thanks for any thoughts people have on this!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
There's some decisions to make before picking out specific TVs, in part because of the different types of panels TVs can use, but also your prospected HDR use.

Should be all covered, including best buys in the guide:

The guide is in order, and you'll see the Hisense U7Q at the top of the low tier section. This is because it can display HDR better than others. Beware though, it falls short of the recommended 1000 nits, so still may be a problem in some HDR titles more than others.

Ideally you want to look at raising the budget for a high tier model to make a choice with less compromises.
 

bydandie

Active Member
If you check the Sony refurb site tomorrow morning, you’ll easily get a 49” XH9505 grade a refurb for £579 or the 49” XH8505 for £479. You can add 5 years warranty to either afterwards.
I have the latter which is really good, but the 9505 is arguably worth the extra £100 if you have a choice of either.
 

calumd

Standard Member
Bydandie, thanks - I'll have a look. Yes, the 9505 particularly seems well reviewed, though it would be at the top of my budget. The 5 years warranty - I wonder how much that would be, and if it would be worth it. I'm right in thinking they both use VA panels?

Dodgexander, also thanks - I've been reading your knowledgeable guides. I'm thinking VA would work best for me, though I'm still vexed by the compromises around HDR.

It seems to me there isn't much HDR content about at present - I think I'd come across some things I'd like to watch on Netflix, but it wouldn't be an issue at present with, say, BBC or Mubi. So I don't know if those cheaper TVs I was listing would make the things I watch look more engaging than they currently do on my 32", or just bigger (and possibly make the flaws in source material more jarring).

I'm struck by the contrast in reviews; lots of expert reviewers are really dismissive of TVs at that price range, and I also note how badly people on the Philips site, for example, rate the models I mention, stressing the HDR problems are blockiness, washed out colours and so on. Yet reviews on other sites, such as Amazon or Richer Sounds, are often really enthused about the same sets. Seems curious that the lay person can have such a different experience of the same hardware?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Its because it heavily depends on what you watch. It was a bit similar when people first bought HD TVs, with the added modern complication of HDR.

When we first bought HD TVs, we bought them because we wanted to enjoy HD material looking good compared to SD. Their forte was never displaying SD material which frankly looked a lot better on older tube televisions, but HD material was plentiful, and the future was HD with TV channels following suit, Blu-Rays and streaming in HD becoming popular.

Nowadays the principle is similar, except its UHD and HDR instead of HD. The fundamentals stay the same, UHD TVs show up the worse in HD content, and even worse with SD and their forte is now their own native content; UHD.

The difference between then and now however is that broadcast TV hasn't really updated as well to UHD as it did to HD, and a lot of content is still not available in UHD.

This, coupled with the fact HDR (which usually comes hand in hand with UHD) is something that only higher end televisions can display properly, and without problems makes cheaper UHD models a negligible upgrade.

The basic thing to think about when buying a new TV is to buy one with the mind to pair it with the latest and greatest quality material. Don't buy one expecting it to display everything to a higher standard, and to polish everything you view. Likewise, buy a TV on its merit at displaying HDR material too, so when you do enjoy the latest content, it looks good and doesn't give you the problems cheaper TVs do.

So when you add these things up, it becomes clear there's less value in cheaper TVs now. You can end up buying something that has to upscale more, and gives a worse picture than what you're using right now, and also buy something that can have problems displaying HDR content, which comes hand-in-hand with UHD.

There are ways to work around it if you don't intend to use the built in smart TV. You can disable HDR on the HDMI port of the TV blocking any external devices from sending it. That way you can strip HDR data from UHD and enjoy only the increase in resolution, without the drawbacks of HDR on a cheaper model.

In instances there is also UHD content available without HDR to begin with, for instance the Sky UHD sport channels, or pre HDR era TV shows shot in UHD like Breaking Bad on Netflix.
 

bydandie

Active Member
Bydandie, thanks - I'll have a look. Yes, the 9505 particularly seems well reviewed, though it would be at the top of my budget. The 5 years warranty - I wonder how much that would be, and if it would be worth it. I'm right in thinking they both use VA panels?

Dodgexander, also thanks - I've been reading your knowledgeable guides. I'm thinking VA would work best for me, though I'm still vexed by the compromises around HDR.

It seems to me there isn't much HDR content about at present - I think I'd come across some things I'd like to watch on Netflix, but it wouldn't be an issue at present with, say, BBC or Mubi. So I don't know if those cheaper TVs I was listing would make the things I watch look more engaging than they currently do on my 32", or just bigger (and possibly make the flaws in source material more jarring).

I'm struck by the contrast in reviews; lots of expert reviewers are really dismissive of TVs at that price range, and I also note how badly people on the Philips site, for example, rate the models I mention, stressing the HDR problems are blockiness, washed out colours and so on. Yet reviews on other sites, such as Amazon or Richer Sounds, are often really enthused about the same sets. Seems curious that the lay person can have such a different experience of the same hardware?
TVs are up now on the site, list price for 5yr warranty on mine was £60. Stats for the TVs are here
 

calumd

Standard Member
Thanks! I've bitten the bullet and ordered the XH9505 - it is more expensive, but it seems like quite a step up in terms of quality. The refurb price seems good value, all things considered. They quoted me 5 years warranty for £90, 3 years for £60, but as I can buy at any time in the first 12 months I'll hold off for the moment and see how things look. I'm not sure how prone TVs are to dieing? As mentioned, my Samsung has been going 10 and shows no sign of aging.

Thanks Dodgexander - I see exactly your point, though it's an uncomfortable one to hear when you're not looking to spend a lot of cash. Hopefully the XH9505 will be a reasonable compromise, and allow me to watch current content and UHD/HDR material as it becomes available. Otherwise I'll have to listen to the radio, or take up bank robbery.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I know its not what people want to here, and it can come as quite a shock when you look at TV marketing. It seems from looking at specs even cheaper UHD models are decent TVs. Sadly HDR has changed that quite a bit, pushing the recommended price of a TV up.

The good thing is true HDR TVs are getting cheaper and cheaper, so hopefully in the future those budget priced TVs will also be capable.
 

shep1968

Active Member
Thanks! I've bitten the bullet and ordered the XH9505 - it is more expensive, but it seems like quite a step up in terms of quality. The refurb price seems good value, all things considered. They quoted me 5 years warranty for £90, 3 years for £60, but as I can buy at any time in the first 12 months I'll hold off for the moment and see how things look. I'm not sure how prone TVs are to dieing? As mentioned, my Samsung has been going 10 and shows no sign of aging.

Thanks Dodgexander - I see exactly your point, though it's an uncomfortable one to hear when you're not looking to spend a lot of cash. Hopefully the XH9505 will be a reasonable compromise, and allow me to watch current content and UHD/HDR material as it becomes available. Otherwise I'll have to listen to the radio, or take up bank robbery.
I have the XH9505 which i bought after a long correspondence with Dodge. Its a lovely TV, i'm watching HDR wit hit and have no issues. relax, you have made a good decision.
 

calumd

Standard Member
Thanks! It does look like it's a good model - hopefully the refurb will be ok. Being delivered tomorrow (which is faster than I thought) so fingers crossed.
 

calumd

Standard Member
Quick update - it arrived today, and the box had some signs of wear but the TV itself still had the plastic protectors round the edges, and looking at the diagnostic screen this evening it shows the screen to only have been on for 4 hours - which I think must just be me this afternoon. So, refurbished, but new.
Really blown away by the TV itself - SD material looks decent, HD material really good, and the bits of UHD and UHD HRD stuff I've looked at look amazing - really, astonishing. The sound is surprisingly clear and nuanced, and the android operating system snappy and comprehensive. So thanks everyone for your help! Delighted.
 

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