Best 4K TV for upscaling

dx4100

Standard Member
Hi All

I want to buy a 40-42" 4K TV that has a good upscaler built in so my old SD DVDs are reasonable quality. Any recommendations ?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
They all do about the same with SD material, particularly at that size as no high end models are sold beneath 55" now.

I would advise demoing some on an UHD tv first, too me SD material looks awful on every UHD tv I've seen but you may find a difference between models yourself.
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
Hi All

I want to buy a 40-42" 4K TV that has a good upscaler built in so my old SD DVDs are reasonable quality. Any recommendations ?
Look for Sony, Panasonic or Samsung. No issues in my experience with upscaling from any of these makes. I would personally make Sony and Samsung my frontrunners.
Is IPS or VA important to you?
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
i think SD just looks awful anyway.

Once the screen gets too big, it looks quite gross.

SD material looks no better on my 1080p samsung than my 902b if I adjust how far im sitting so its equal.
 

dx4100

Standard Member
I am upgrading from a Panasonic 42" Plasma which does a wonderful job with SD formats.

What is IPS and VA ?
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
I am upgrading from a Panasonic 42" Plasma which does a wonderful job with SD formats.

What is IPS and VA ?
The two different LCD panel types. Every LCD TV is based around either an IPS or VA panel.
VA panel = great black levels (especially in a dim/dark room), poor viewing angles from left/right (sometimes very poor).
IPS panel = light black levels (in a dimly lit/dark room), wide viewing angles (like plasma).

Honestly, I think you should be looking at the Panasonic DX700/750 (if you can still find them) or EX700 or EX750 series if you want something comparable to what you have now. They have great black levels and Panasonic have excellent picture processing, along with Sony.
I watched many DVDs on a similar Panasonic from 2015/6 and they were stunning! I forgot how good a good DVD can still be!
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
I am upgrading from a Panasonic 42" Plasma which does a wonderful job with SD formats.

What is IPS and VA ?

I have a 40 inch plasma at the family home and I agree, they do well with SD formats partly because its such a tiny screen. Blow that up to 50 or 65 inches and SD shows its flaws.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I really would sample your material on a tv if you can before you buy it.

DVDs, depending usually on the age of coming
film are amongst the best SD quality you can get and in my opinion they look worse on UHD tv's.

You only need to read reviews to see that's generally what people find with an UHD tv versus a FHD one.

You can find threads on here too. Most recently someone posted on here because they were showing normal freeview across TVs in his local Currys and he found it looked awful on UHD tv's.

There's also been people who have opted to stay with FHD for that reason. Including someone who saw a Sony W8xxc series tv next to a X85xxC and bought the FHD model instead because SD looked so much worse..

So those who own them will likely defend them, those that don't may think they look terrible with SD by comparison and it may well be the case its not noticeable to you, but there's a good chance it will be too. Do what I have done and demo material side by side and make your mind up!
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
I really would sample your material on a tv if you can before you buy it.

DVDs, depending usually on the age of coming
film are amongst the best SD quality you can get and in my opinion they look worse on UHD tv's.

You only need to read reviews to see that's generally what people find with an UHD tv versus a FHD one.

You can find threads on here too. Most recently someone posted on here because they were showing normal freeview across TVs in his local Currys and he found it looked awful on UHD tv's.

There's also been people who have opted to stay with FHD for that reason. Including someone who saw a Sony W8xxc series tv next to a X85xxC and bought the FHD model instead because SD looked so much worse..

So those who own them will likely defend them, those that don't may think they look terrible with SD by comparison and it may well be the case its not noticeable to you, but there's a good chance it will be too. Do what I have done and demo material side by side and make your mind up!
I don't agree with SD looking worse on 4K panels vs FHD ones. Not a good SD source like a Hollywood DVD from last 10 or so years. I personally consider this a myth. Unless you're turning all the processing on, a good (mid range and up) 4K TV vs most FHD TVs looks the same with a DVD. I'm talking about 49"-55" sizes. Obviously the bigger you go for any TV and SD will suffer.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
The problem is also with source input, for example a DVD sent at its native resolution to the TV and its going to look better than sending a DVD upscaled to 1080p by something else and then to 2160p.

But the worse of the SD picture quality is to be found with broadcast tv, mostly because its a far far more heavily compressed source.
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
The problem is also with source input, for example a DVD sent at its native resolution to the TV and its going to look better than sending a DVD upscaled to 1080p by something else and then to 2160p.

But the worse of the SD picture quality is to be found with broadcast tv, mostly because its a far far more heavily compressed source.
Ah, good point, well I only ever play DVDs in a Blu-ray Player set to 1080p, so that may well be the issue with other people finding 4K upscaling from SD poor in comparison to on a FHD TV. I have found this method to be best, even with 1080p TVs. I rememer testing my DVD being played upscaled vs letting the TV do it and there being much better deinterlacing in the player (in that case, an old Panasonic) vs the TVs.
All my broadcast TV comes from a PVR again set to 1080p. SD TV is crap quality (and content!) anyways!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Most PVRs, including Sky I think, stick with a fixed output and upscale themselves. When they show an SD channel they are then resposible for upscaling to UHD, not the TV. I don't think UHD TVs make a good job of SD at all, but broadcast and compressed streams look awful upscaled to UHD, especially when its handled incorrectly by the source. You would think that the PVRs would do a good job upscaling, but much like AV receivers, they don't.

In an ideal world you would have a tuner that only outputs the matching source resolution to let your TV do the processing.

Something thats interesting is the new OPPO UHD Blu-Ray player, it has a HDMI input for upscaling to UHD. I bet that does a decent job compared to a lot of TVs and it will be interesting what kind of picture that would produce with those TV channels.

Nontheless, it all comes down to what you use the TV for. If you are a 95% DVD user then there is very little point going UHD anyway. If you have 95% FHD Blu Rays theres little point. If you are starting to having UHD sources and maybe still some FHD ones from time to time an UHD tv makes sense.

The problem is, about 99% of people buying UHD TVs fit into beneath the first point, they still watch SD TV channels and like to use the ITV player in SD and that will look nothing short of abysmal on an UHD TV.

Obviously the more higher end TV you buy, the better other aspects of the picture will be and TVs like the Sony ZD9 are said to do best in class upscaling of SD material compared to others.

From the HDTVtest review:
Scaling Best we’ve seen on a consumer TV
Video mode deinterlacing Decent for SD; excellent for HD
and from the review of the same TV on here:
The ZD9 did a wonderful job of deinterlacing and scaling standard definition images, taking full advantage of the increased processing power and native 4K panel to get the most out of lower resolution content. There isn’t much even the most sophisticated processing can do with some of the highly compressed digital channels but with a good standard definition source like a DVD, the results can be very watchable.
But I have to say, I disagree with DVDs looking just as good on mid range UHD TVs. I think you'd need a TV like the ZD9 for that. They will look better on a mid range UHD vs a budget UHD one.

But I think unless you are buying high end, its still better value to buy a budget FHD TV vs UHD if your sources are often SD, even more so if they are still broadcast SD tv/streams. Especially when most people don't even sit close enough to take advantage of UHD.

But again this comes hand in hand. I would take a bet that the people also saying SD material looks good on their UHD TVs are also the people who are sitting a lot further away than optimal for UHD.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
@dx4100 To return to the definition you asked for in post #5, IPS = In-Plane Switching, VA = Vertical Alignment.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
@Dodgexander I asked on another thread, about the purchase of the 32" television for a five-year-old. Could you please (again) give the link to the graph showing viewing distance against screen size and resolution (SD, 1080p, 4K)?
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
I'd like to contribute more generally to the upscaling discussion. I should say right away that I have no experience of 4K televisions, so I speak as a Full HD man only. I can't agree with some of the comments that have been made about Standard Definition material looking poor on larger televisions. Perhaps I have a particularly good signal, but I use an external roof aerial and then a Maplin splitter, my exact model seems to have been discontinued and succeeded by this model Nikkai HQ Aerial Amplifier with Digital Bypass 8 Way | Maplin and so I get good Freewiew signal strength and quality in all my rooms. As I write this on my PC in the parlour I'm watching Freeview channel 67, CBS Reality +1 on my Samsung, and the programme is Judge Judy and it's transmitted at 576 interlaced at 25Hz. I wouldn't say it was good, but it's perfectly watchable, and that's on a 75" Full HD screen. I happen to watch a fair amount of SD material, from broadcast programmes, from DVDs and also from my computer down VGA cables of resolution 1360 x 768 at 60Hz, and on all my televisions all those SD sources are quite watchable. I would say that between the various sources of SD material, DVDs are better than Standard Definition Freeview broadcast channels like Judge Judy, which in turn is better than VGA resolution. However, as it happens, I think that the Panasonic plasma in my front bedroom is the worst upscaler of SD material, the Samsung and the Pioneer are equal second, and the Sony in the kitchen is the best upscaler. I am NOT saying that upscaled SD material is as good as Full HD television channels, or as good as Blu-ray, but upscaled SD material (VGA, Freeview Standard definition channels, DVD), at least on my televisions, is quite acceptable.

@dx4100 If you're going to be watching mostly SD material, it might be best for go for a Full HD set rather than a 4K set, especially as the optimum viewing distance for a 42" 4K set as given by the link in post #15 by Dodgexander is, for 4K material, only four feet!
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
My in laws have two very large tvs. One 75, one 80. I dread to think what SD tv would look on them if they were UHD models.
I can't argue with that! From what you and several other respected authorities have been saying, SD material upscaled to a 4K television looks poor, especially a large 4K one!

@SonOfSJ which room do you not have a tv? jk
Well, my parlour is shown in my avatar, but apart from the two bedrooms in my signature, there is this very small bedroom off the kitchen.
upload_2017-7-30_19-45-18.jpeg

Unfortunately, it's currently full of junk and piles of newspapers, but it's my ambition to get rid of all the clutter by my birthday, 3rd October, and then I'll be able to install one of the Samsung televisions that I've been recommending, either the 28" size or the 32" size, this one SAMSUNG T32E310 32" LED TV

And then I'll be maxed out for televisions! :clap:
 
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jon9001

Active Member
I'm a big proponent of TVs that upscale SD well, or even the sub-SD of some Freeview channels. Partly as low-def channels/content may be some of the most annoying content you'll watch, quality-wise. (I remember seeing the original freeview BBC News channel that was so compressed the logo in the corner was popping around all over the place, despite not being animated - luckily it's a little better now.)

The problem with TV viewing distances is they are resolution dependant, so where you'd sit to watch 4k on a 4k TV is not where you'd sit to watch a high-numbered non-HD Freeview channel. Hence IMHO good scaling is very worthwhile.

Anyway, I find the Sony TVs with the better versions of their scaling engine do well, as does my Panasonic 4k TV (which was one of the cheaper ones). Not a fan of the rest and it is something I look for (by annoying shop staff to stop the hand-crafted 4k content playing and let me watch non-HD freeview, or just doing it anyway).

Tips (OTOH) -

(1) Try to scale stuff once. So set the TV not to overscan but to show the actual pixels if the content is getting scaled before it arrives at the TV. (I always do this anyway, you can occasionally see something at the top or bottom edge of the screen, it's very rare though.) Remember the TVs usually have pretty good scalers.

(2) The processing TVs do can be harmful for low-res content, turn most of it off and just have what you feel you need. For example on the Panasonic I had:
Adaptive Backlight Control - Off
Ambient Sensor - Off
Noise Reduction - Off
Mpeg Remaster - Off
Resolution Remaster - Off
Intelligent Frame Creation - Min (Off can give assorted issues)
Contrast Control - Off (!! - Auto is very bad)

(3) Set the TV up to give a natural picture, many have lots of sharpness/contrast/saturation which all help show up picture defects. BTW I used the Disney WOW disc as a starting point then tweaked it a bit, mostly (IIRC) reducing the brightness as it was a bit much for the room's illumination level.

(4) Watch content at 4:3 aspect ratio if it is 4:3, don't stretch it as you're growing any defects.

Hope that's some use, just my opinions...
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Very true, we could all do with sofa's with rails. Get 1m close to a 55" for UHD and 3m away for SD stuff and it will start to look a hell of a lot better.

Given those who have UHD TVs generally don't sit close enough for UHD to be optimum, they are also probably the ones that state SD looks fine upscaled. If you buy an UHD TV, you want to sit closer, so SD is going to look even more worse, without having to factor in most, if not all UHD TVs do a worse job at upscaling compared to FHD models.

Thos that kind of sit inbetween will find SD doesn't look as bad as people may make out. Perhaps because they already sat too far to even notice the difference between 1080p and 720p.
 

jon9001

Active Member
I will say good 720p looks excellent on my 4k TV and noticeably better than on my 1080p TV. It also has a good 3D effect (it's 2D, but just looks to have more depth than the 1080p TV). It still looks good up close, provided it's encoded really well. You can sometimes (content depending) see loads more detail on 4k content, but it doesn't add that much to the experience for most things. Of course that's for really good 720p!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Yeah 720p is usually fine, it has enough detail to look decent upscaled to UHD. If you read about Sony talking about upscaling with their new engine in the ZD9 and A1 they pretty much talk about how it manages to do a great job with 720p compared to before with no mention of SD material. With SD it really is like polishing a turd unfortunately.
 

bryfly

Active Member
I will say good 720p looks excellent on my 4k TV and noticeably better than on my 1080p TV. It also has a good 3D effect (it's 2D, but just looks to have more depth than the 1080p TV). It still looks good up close, provided it's encoded really well. You can sometimes (content depending) see loads more detail on 4k content, but it doesn't add that much to the experience for most things. Of course that's for really good 720p!
dr_jon, interesting read your two posts here, I see you mention your Panasonic, which model is that as you said not an expensive model. Cheers
 

jon9001

Active Member
Sorry for the late reply, I missed the bit about "there may be additional replies" on the notification, which was about something I'd seen. I have one of the Panasonic AX630 models, which are discontinued (I must have had it 18 months, which is ages in "TV years"). I don't know if I'd recommend it overall as the panel is great head-on but loses out rapidly at an angle. Also it's not quite as good for football as my Sony (although after a lot of tweaking it's not bad, which wasn't true in its shipped setup).
 

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