Clueless About New TV Sets - Advice Welcomed

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Thanks to everyone here who helped me out with my Mysterious Baird LCD TV:smashin:

I'm asking for new help now since it's time to purchase a new set. I live near a large Tesco store and came across (what looks like) a good deal for a Toshiba 32 Inch LCD TV.

Model Name: BV502 HD Ready LCD TV
Tesco Price: £208.00 (Recently reduced)

So, I went to Tesco's website. Here I noticed a Technika 22" Full HD 1080p LED TV is on sale for a mere £110.00... Quite a saving over a Tosh!

Here's my question (since I'm from an Era when Colour TVs were luxury items and 20 million people tuned-in to watch Morecambe & Wise).

Should I save £100 and buy the Technika 22 Inch, or "go wild" and invest in the Tosh 32" ? (I've heard good things about Toshiba Sets).

Here's my basic problem: I don't understand the specs....

Technika Set has a contrast ratio of : 1000:01:00
Toshiba Set has : 100000:1

An instore rep at Argos told me "the higher the contrast ratio, the better the set"... But since I don't understand the difference, how can I make an informed judgement?

Another problem is I love my old PlayStation2 Console (that uses S-Video). On my current Baird LCD TV I have the useful S-Video input sockets. These appear to missing on newer sets... So how do gamers plug in their PS2s or PS3s on new sets?

Tecknika Set: S-Video Connection - No
Toshiba Set: S-Video Connection - No :rolleyes:

Advice welcomed.

Kind Regards, NB
 

Orson

Moderator
<<< Thread Moved >>>
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

To "test the market" I visited Currys TV Store today. Just to see what advice and pricing they would offer on a Toshiba 32 Inch LCD TV....

The Contrast Ratio Question:

After keeping me waiting for about 10 minutes, a Currys Instore Rep approached me. I asked him if he was a technician - he said he "knew about the TVs" (I think this was code for no, he's not a technician). :p

Then he decided to argue with me about the picture quality of Toshiba TVs. I said "The picture looks better on Toshs", he said "No, there are better ones" (without naming any).

I soldiered on with this nonsense, asking about "Contrast Ratios". He said "It's a measure of purity" (how pure whites and blacks are). This made sense since eggheads on the net provide examples of lower contrast ratios and higher ones. (With lower contrast ratio the blacks and whites are washed out, less pure).

The S-Video Question

My Currys Instore Rep claims: "There's an adapter that comes with the new set". (At this point, I should have asked to see one). Instead, I said "Good" and took his word for it.

Currys Vs Tesco:

Making my way upstairs, I bumped into a "store manager" and got into a long and fruitless conversation about "price matching". I said: "You're up against Tesco, their Tosh 32 is priced at £197". (Currys have a sale price of £220 approx). "We can match that price", she claimed. Then we visited the tesco website to check.... The Toshiba 32 Inch at tesco has a "built-in DVD Player" so she said "It's not the same model." (In fact, it is the same but she had made her decision).

Tesco is likely to get my business (even though they don't deliver when buying a set direct from the store). If they can prove that the Toshiba 32 LCD TV comes with an S-Video adapter then its a deal. Tesco also have "money off vouchers" which could send the price of the Toshiba LCD TV tumbling to £170.. A very good deal indeed.

Note: I had to ask three times about the Toshiba 32 LCD TV at Tesco to find out about the "Money Off" Vouchers. The vouchers are available to customers spending over £40 (I think).

If I hadn't approached different Tesco Staff, I would not have known about this saving. :rolleyes:

Kind Regards, NB
 
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vickster

Distinguished Member
Just to let yopu know and you may not care a jot, but that Toshiba is probably not a Toshiba but a generic Eastern European brand with a Toshiba badge

If you are happy with the picture from the TV, go for it :)
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
Contrast ratios are a measure of how dark the screen can get to how bright they can get.
TV companies over state there ratios. Take my st50 its advertised as having a contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1.
In reality i think avf measured 8000:1. A huge difference.

My advice avoid currys and go to a proper dealer like richer sounds or tps. They have demo enviroments like what you would have in the home.
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Many thanks to vickster and Insanity202 for their thoughts :smashin:

Okay...

"Toshiba is probably not a Toshiba but a generic Eastern European brand with a Toshiba badge..."

Well, vickster... Since I've worked as a technician for many-a-year, even considering CRT TV rebuilds, I do care and appreciate your input. We had hours of "fun" deciding on who really builds Baird TVs (on my original thread).

What I heard (somewhere) is that Toshiba have invested in television technologies, rather than farming out clones... Although, your suggestion gives me pause for thought...

The only real differences in the specs (between a Technika and a Toshiba for example) were the Contrast Ratio and something called a Picture Enhancement Engine.

The Toshiba BV502 LCD TV features a picture enhancement engine... But how consumers are meant to work out what this does is anyone's guess...

Contrast Ratio Again...

Advertised "contrast ratios" and real ratios, Insanity202 appear to be a "controversial issue" for tech eggheads. The crucial question is... How do we measure the real contrast ratio? In fact, how do TV manufacturers measure the ratio? Since you mention "avf measured 8000:1", I'd be interested to know what an "avf" is please? (Forgive my ignorance).

Your advice about Currys (and Tesco in fact) rings true. Both use HD feeds for all their TVs on display. (Today at Tesco, they couldn't even take the TV off the wall so I could check the rear sockets). It appears I'll need a SCART adapter to run my old PS2 on this new TV, its not supplied "in the box", so Currys appear to have been telling me "porkies".

When I get my new LCD TV back home, it will be plugged into a non HD Schnieder DVD Player... Being german-made, this DVD Player refuses to breakdown :) So, I see no reason to replace it.

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 

vickster

Distinguished Member
Have you considered looking for a high end CRT in the Classifieds etc - will cost you pennies and produce far better pictures than a cheap supermarket LCD :)
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
Contrast ratios are measured by displaying a pattern on screen of large black and 100% white squares.
Using a meter the light output is measured for black and white. Eg my sets black might be 0.01cdm2 and white might output 120cdm2 giving a ansi contrast ratio of 8000:1 (just exampels numbers for correct figures might be different this is just to give an idea).
Panasonic dont say how they got such mind blowing figures, infact i dont think any tv company states how they get them.
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Thanks to vickster/ Insanity202 for continued feedback...

Let's discuss the points raised:

Have I considered a CRT ?

Your idea echoes my older son's comments that CRTs are still used by some graphics wizards due to better "color depths" and "resolutions". I'm not really sure what "color depth" is, but raster-driven displays are a mature, analog technology that is only just being matched by LCD/LED/Plasma units.

The two basic problems I faced with CRT Sets are as follows:

1. It was impossible to get replacement parts for failing sets.
2. Working on CRTs is very dangerous. While live, the HT circuit runs at 20,000 Volts. Capacitors hold electrical charges, even after the unit is disconnected from the mains.

In one tech job, I even had to turn down the opportunity to work on CRT monitors (since I didn't have training on high-voltage equipment). The manager was not a tech and unaware of the high voltage issues. :facepalm:

Contrast Ratio: Further Analysis

"Using a meter the light output is measured for black and white.."

I've heard of "calibration disks" that can be popped into a DVD player (but never actually used one). So, this might be how black and white squares can appear on a screen?

Some eggheads claim TV Manufacturers "exaggerate" contrast ratio claims.
Personally, I think it's down to consumers to be tech-savvy and research. In this case, Insanity202, I'm guessing "meter" refers to a light meter (as used by the Old School cameramen).

Since no-one has said, "No" Currys Rep was wrong, it's not a measure of black and white purity" the best way forward appears to test a set in a "real home environment" (which of course Currys and Tesco are not doing).
The egghead article I reviewed included a picture of a cityscape by night.

On sets with lower "contrast ratios", a "nightscape" will have a washed-out appearance and any light sources (white or yellow spots) are less crisp.

Back At Tesco's...

They decided to take the Toshiba BV502 32 LCD off special offer! It's risen back to £228... One member of staff also mentioned I might have "trouble" scanning all my vouchers (I was given 5 x £5), since only 1 voucher can be used per transaction (although he wasn't sure..)

So, here's what Tesco are not offering:

No delivery (if TV bought in store)
No "home environment" to test a TV properly
No use of vouchers (if TV purchased online)
Use of only one voucher instore (although I was given 5)

Nil points to Tesco... Time to checkout the other retailers...;)

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 
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OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Just for fun (and in an attempt to get the best deal) here's the prices quoted by different retailers for the same TV model:

Baseline Model: Toshiba 32 LCD 32BV502

Tesco: £228 (£223 with voucher)
Asda: £249
Argos: £230
Richer Sounds: - £250 (In built DVD)
TPS: No Toshiba LCDs on sale

Tesco still come out on top... Despite their patchy in store customer service. Tesco don't do TV trade-ins, either. (I think all retailers should do trade-ins to ease the pressure on the environment, but maybe that's an issue for another thread?) :)

Due to Insanity202's advice, I've included Richer Sounds and TPS. (TPS, the TV retailer, took a few "google-attempts" before I tracked them down. The TV retail website can be found at: http://www.tps.uk.com/tps/home.html

I liked Richer Sounds website - they pack it with tech information which always appeals to me. (Although I'm not a fan of combining good tech info with sales patter... Modern tech is complex enough without sales claims...)

I noticed Richer Sounds have a : LG 32" 32LK330U LCD TV priced at £179.
So, I took a closer look...

The specs are (almost) the same as the Toshiba 32 LCD. A slightly lower contrast ratio at 70,000:1 and no Picture Enhancement Engine. But I'll be saving £50 ... Getting a 32 inch screen and a branded model (which presumably affords me a proper manufacturer's warranty).

Since I found a way to plug in a decent stereo amplifier to my Baird LCD TV, sound quality will not be a big issue. (I use an old Hitachi HA 12 Amplifier that, more or less, produces "home cinema" audio. Not "true surround sound" or "NICAM" but near enough).

So there we have it... The old adage of checking out the market pays off.
The TV Retail Market is huge... I think this works against consumers who don't have time to check-out all the retailers. That's why AVForums is a good idea ... Live long and prosper. :smashin:

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech

Born: 1965
NASA Training: None (though I like their test routines)
City & Guilds: Yes

RIP: Neil Armstrong 1930 - 2012 (A real engineer and my boyhood hero)
 

Texy

Active Member
FYI, I've never had one, but your ps2 would of originally come with a scart adapter. Assuming you can't find it, you should be able to get one from poundland or similar. The adapter will allow the s-video signal from your ps2 to connect to one of the scart inputs. However the ps2 should be able to output a rgb signal, which will also need to connect to your tv via its scart socket. So there are 2 scart connection types - rgb and composite (s-video). A lot of tv's will have both types.
Hope this helps,
Texy
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Thanks to Texy for new feedback :)

Currys claimed the Toshiba 32 LCD comes with an "adapter". (I don't believe this is true). It may be worth asking all retailers if S-Video Adapters are supplied. Tesco certainly do not supply them.

The real problem is modern LCD sets aren't being fitted with 2 SCART sockets. (The old CRT widescreens did sport this feature).

Texy: "So there are 2 scart connection types - rgb and composite (s-video)"

"S-Video" to me means those three coloured input sockets that used to be fitted on TVs. My old widescreen had this handy feature, as does my lowly 22 Inch Baird LCD TV.

When I visit Richer Sounds to purchase a new LG 32LK330U LCD TV it will be a wise idea to take a list of which sockets I require. New sets can be missing inputs required by the customer. I suspect this "trend" is manufacturers trying to save a few bucks... :(

I can beef up the audio on LCD TVs due to audio sockets (one red/one white) being fitted on my (old but good) DVD Player. The amplified signal is fed back through the SCART to the TV. The TV itself does not have the two audio input sockets.

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech

Note: I'll be honest, I don't know the technical difference between RGB and "composite". Thoughts welcomed.
 

Texy

Active Member
For RGB- (red, green, blue) each has its own wire in the cable.
The composite option has all the colour signals joined as one in a single wire.
Both of these are analogue signals, and RGB is much the better of the two.
Texy
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
"S-Video" to me means those three coloured input sockets that used to be fitted on TVs. My old widescreen had this handy feature, as does my lowly 22 Inch Baird LCD TV.

No S-Video is usually a round 4 pin connector

S-Video - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you are thinking of 3 coloured plugs (Red, White and Yellow) then you are thinking of composite video - the yellow is the video, the red and white are the left and right channels of stereo sound.

Composite video - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The SCART connector which is mostly rectangular with 21 pins can support many different formats including

Composite
S-Video
RGB

Note, just because the SCART connector can support those, doesn't mean the TV can but it usually does.

SCART - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you are talking composite then it is still common to find composite connectors on TVs and failing that composite to SCART connectors are common - you probably even have one with your PS 2. Like this one

http://www.amazon.co.uk/RCA-SCART-Adapter-Composite-PlayStation/dp/B0035XB4Z4

If you are truely talking about S-Video then you can also get SCART adpators with an S-Video socket.

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Thanks to Texy / nheather for their clarifications on "S-Video"

So, what I really require is a RCA-SCART Adapter that will allow me to plug-in the three leads from my old PS2. (Though due to new TVs having only one SCART, I will have to unplug the RCA-SCART each time I wish to use my DVD Player) [sigh]

Instead of taking my own advice (and taking in a detailed list of requirements) I realized a Richer Sounds Outlet was almost on my doorstep... So, I wandered in... Hoping to track down their competitively priced LG 32LK330U LCD TV.

Maybe due to my advancing age, or 6th sense, I didn't feel comfortable in the store. I was greeted by that old familiar smell of burning plastic for starters, then approached a disinterested salesman, when I couldn't see the LG Set Of My Dreams.

Firstly, he directed me to the wrong set... Then, he rapidly fired info at me that deliveries of the LG 32 were due in Friday. I said:

"I just need to know if you have any in stock..."
He replied "Well, I can take your details and let you know..."

(I was only trying to confirm they did have LG 32s in stock Friday) Then, it emerged they did have one LG 32 "display set" in store... Progress...

Lo and behold... It was sitting next to the 32 inch Tosh I had originally seen at Tesco. It was instantly apparent the LG set's 70,000:1 contrast ratio gave colours a washed-out appearance. In comparison, the Toshiba's colours were deeper.

Unfortunately, Richer Sounds were feeding a HD signal to all the sets on display... Just like my old friends Tesco and Currys. My heart sank further when I noted the price of Richer Sounds LG 32 was not that stated on their website. It was labelled: £229... £1 more expensive than the obviously better Toshiba 32 at Tesco.

Raising this with the salesman, he asked: "Was it a clearance item?" I couldn't remember for sure. (Why didn't I bring more details?) :facepalm: I left the store considerably underwhelmed...

Richer Sounds did give me an opportunity to see both TVs in action. Beyond that, I felt I should have been better prepared.

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 
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PeeCeeBee

Standard Member
You need to be very cautious in auditioning TV sets in a showroom, as the chances are that many will have been set to a brightness and 'contrast', which, when presented with a calibration disk, will reveal their true horror. It is quite possible that in different surroundings the LG colour balance was much closer to reference than the Toshiba. That said both may have been way off, but in different directions.

It is a really good idea to read reviews from two or three different sources and pick up on sets that do consistently well across the board, and then go and have a look at one for yourself, and ask if it has been checked with something like a THX certified DVD at the very least. Then at least you have a starting point that is recognised as being 'accurate'.

Oh, and there is often a significant difference between on-line prices and store prices!

Good luck with the whole affair, it seems to have become a veritable minefield for all but the most informed.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
I think the Toshiba you are looking at has a Composite input aswell as the SCART.

BV Series 32" High Definition LCD TV from £249.99 | Toshiba

Many TVs still do because it is still widely used for connecting video cameras. Also for backwards compatibility because their are still plenty of devices around using composite.

It's best to check by looking at one in the flesh though (or downloading the manual) because they could equally be saying that composite input is available but through the SCART.

UPDATE

Just looked at the manual. It does have seperate composite input.

44930-albums898-picture12425.jpg



Cheers,

Nigel
 
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OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Well, guys I appreciate your support :smashin: (PeeCeeBee/nheather)

Since I'm a Starwars Nut, THX is well-known to me (And I'm pleased to see it mentioned here). I instantly equate better sound quality with THX although since THX is a Quality Assurance System, possibly the post-processed video output is crisper, too?

A testimony to THX's audio clarity can be discerned even when playing old star wars movies through my "bargin" PC Speakers. Ah, if only all movies were made to THX standards...

Anyway, I digress....

nheather's provided link on the Toshiba BV 32 makes interesting reading...

Composite Input = Those three coloured sockets, right? (Yellow, White, Red)

Since the Tosh does have "separate composite" that means I can plug in my DVD and well-loved PS2 Console at the same time... I think? (Nice selling point).

After the "Richer Sounds" experience, I'm veering back to the Tosh. Okay, maybe the calibration's out on the LG, but I'm a sucker for good build quality and tech wizardry like "Picture Enhancement Engines".

Just for fun, I researched whether or not Toshiba list "Picture Enhancement Engine" in their glossary of terms... Would you believe it? It's not listed! :confused:
Possibly, it's a software program that sharpens picture quality (but this is a bit of a guess, backed only by a brief google search).

PeeCeeBee: "It's a really good idea to read reviews from two or three different sources.."

Yes! I did a bit of that with the Tosh 32 BV - Some buyers indicate real delight with the set...

...there is often a significant difference between on-line prices and store prices!

Agreed!The Cynic in me might suggest companies are using their websites to lure customers into their showrooms... Then hitting them with higher prices... :devil:

The LG 32LK330U at Richer Sounds website is still being advertised as £179.95 (An exclusive instore offer) I was "in store"... My eyesight isn't that bad yet.... £229 was on the label!

Maybe I should revisit Richer Sounds armed with info from their own website and see what happens, guys? (I'll report back here with all the juicy excuses the Sales Guy dreams up...) :p

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 

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vickster

Distinguished Member
That's exactly what you need to do with RS - print off from their website and they should honour the price. I've had this before too
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

Thanks for the tip vickster :smashin:

I couldn't help noticing you've experienced the same anomaly when dealing with Richer Sounds... Is this a trend?

My feelings are Sales People should be clued-up about their web pricing. I don't see why I should have to "provide evidence" of pricing they have already published online.

I ran a business for years and was totally straight about my pricing.. It garnered me return customers and loyal customers who appreciated my "no nonsense" approach.

There's been some developments at Richer Sounds, but I won't post here until I get confirmation from the company... Call me Old Fashioned, but I like to play fair :)

Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors,

After some unexpected developments at Richer Sounds- who have achieved a gold star from me for entertainment value - I'll post what actually happened when I paid a second visit to a Richer Sounds Store:

Before entering the store, I noticed a large sign saying:

"We will match the price of any TV you see cheaper elsewhere" (or words to that effect).

The store was empty... No one approached me to offer assistance... I had to approach the same nonchalant Sales Guy I'd had misfortune to endure first time round...

We discussed the Richer Sounds Website ...again... He offered to check the price of the LG32 (verbally) then did not check the price (physically) - Interesting technique, I thought, to ensure customer dissatisfaction.

Next I mentioned I'd seen a Toshiba 32 LCD TV priced at £218 in Tesco. There was a Toshiba 32 LCD in Richer Sounds - directly in front of us - as I said these words- priced at £250 (I think..)

I waited to see if he offered me a like-for-like deal... Nothing happened...
(Remember the huge sign offering like-for-like pricing in the window?)

I left Richer Sounds wondering why I'd wasted another 15 minutes of my time there...

What do young people say about such events? "Massive fail?" :facepalm:
Kind Regards, OldSchoolTech
 

vickster

Distinguished Member
Their Ops Director, John Clayton, frequents this site as user name RicherSounds - might be worth a PM directing him to this thread

Or ask to talk to the manager if you can be bothered to go back
 

OldSchoolTech

Standard Member
Dear Contributors...

Thanks vickster. Interestin' you should mention John Clayton (Richer Sounds) I've been enjoying some "robust" debates with him on PM :p

He contacted me via private message right here on AV Forums. I asked him for permission to re-print his comments... He did not expressly agree to this. Fortunately, I can re-print my own responses :) AV Members might find this interesting? Please let me know :smashin:

Since I go past a Richer Sounds Store on my way home from work, here is the huge red sign I mentioned in my previous post :) (I have to thank Richer Sounds for giving me the opportunity to test out my new, 8mp phone cam. As you can see, it produces nice crisp images).

RSSignOct5%25202012.jpg
Picture taken 5th Oct, 2012

This is what Richer Sounds did not offer me:

An in store demo of the LG32 or Tosh 32
A "lowest price" on the Tosh 32 or LG 32
A price check in store on the LG32 or the Tosh 32
No similar LG 32 (The LG 32LK330U is out of stock even though I saw it reduced on their website... twice... And the Salesman at RS mentioned he was having new deliveries of the set).

What do you guys think? I was not impressed...

Kind Regards, OldschoolTech
 

gill957

Banned
Must be different people or stores you talk to.
I spoke to Richer sounds today ,they price matched for me and got free delivery and 5 yr guarantee.
Too far to go and have a demo , but had already seen the TV in Currys .
 

Insanity202

Distinguished Member
Hi oldschooltech (awesome user name).
Was the Toshiba the same model number as the one in Tesco? If not they wont match, if so might be worth if they will match or better beat the price.

It might be worth asking for the price match either in store or via there telephone order line.
Ive used the phone method last year when dealing with a large plasma and they not only beat the cheaper price i had seen elsewhere they also beat the warranty too.

Remember 'if you dont ask, you dont get'. ;)
 

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