Finding it difficult to buy a TV based on what's in the shops. Please help!


My wife and I are looking to replace our old Sony 25" TV with a nice new 32"/36" widescreen set which has been narrowed down to the usual suspects (Philips 9617/9607 and Toshiba ZD26/29) along with a couple of others. However we are finding it very hard to justify spending a large amount of money on something we have yet to see working properly!

Everywhere we go (comets, currys, etc) all of those TVs look absolutely horrendous, especially the Philips whos picture looks almost like a painting (thats the best way I can describe it). All of our attempts at at adjusting the settings, based on what we have read here, have met with a little success but the feed in these shops is obviously the main fault. But asking to connect a DVD player to any of these is met with such looks that would put Medusa to shame!

Obviously we know that these sets must have excellent pictures otherwise they wouldn't be getting such a great deal of praise from people here but it is hard to put the cash down on something which we have yet to see. Are we being too picky? How did you lot decide on the TV you have?

On another point, most of the sets we are looking at do have dolby digital/dts sound built in and we want to know if they are any good. Again we have yet to hear the sets working so would like your opinions please. We know they will not be as good as seperates but our budget only goes so far at present.

Thanks for reading this and we hope someone can help us.


I know exactly what you mean about the picture quality in the places that you have mentioned.

I thought about buying a sony KV28SL35 I found a local shop that sells mainly Sony televisions the picture on the set was very good but this may be due to the facrt that they only had a few TVs on display.

I have now deided to buy a Sony KV28LS60 based on what I have read on this forum.

My advice would be to find a small locally run shop that sells the ets you are looking you will get a far better service from this type of shop than from a high street sho. They just want your money


Thanks for the reply mikejb.

Unfortunately we don't have to many small independant shops are our area (which is Swansea if anyone wants to know) otherwise we'd be round there like a shot.

To be honest we are very unlikely to be buying from the bigger stores as their prices verge on the ridiculous sometimes, and will probably try and get HOF to price match.

However it doesn't solve the problem of finding these sets being shown off to their best, so if anyone knows of a shop in or around the South Wales area (Cardiff being the best bet I suppose) where this is the case then we'd be most grateful if you can let us know. TIA


Well-known Member

Shoot up the M4 to John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway (Bristol).
They have all the sets on demo with good feeds. Play with the brightness, contrast and sharpness though because the default settings are always wrong IMHO.

I have the 9607 and believe it to be the best CRT picture ever, but there are those who find it overprocessed and cannot get on with it. But once I saw it at JL displaying a good digital signal I was won over.
Be guided by the forum, but you must do your own demoing before buying.


Active Member
I have to agree, before i bought my tv, i looked everywhere, and everywhere was bad, even my local john lewis.

the only way to check picture quality was to see which tv / dvd set up they had that week. how these people sell tvs at all is beyond me, i have heard some of the most incredible claims made by sales staff as well.

I have a KV36FS70 bought over the phone from a magazine add, far cheaper, and no problems at all, great picture too.

good luck


The problems you mention in the big stores are caused by the feeding of a signal - which usually starts off quite good - into one or more RF distribution amplifiers, which feeds all the store outlets with the inevitable distortions and degradation involved.

That's then compounded by wrong or innaccurate settings on the individual TVs - sometimes caused by customers fiddling with them I might add!

The only way you will know if you have bought the right thing is to go to somebody who will bring it to your house, attach it to your aerial or whatever, and let you see it in your own front room.

And if you don't like it, they change it.

Most properly calibrated sets nowadays should give a good picture, but sound is still a mixed bag.

Sound is a million times better than the old one speaker sets, but you need to fiddle with the audio settings to see if you can get what you want - most don't have enough bass frequencies if that's what you want.

Having said that, you may not want a noisy TV anyway.

No set has sound good enough for my use - and thousands agree with me - so we all use a separate hifi/audio system to deliver the TV sound.

I until recently used Box Clever to rent a widescreen set and they would change it anytime I wanted...


Many thanks for the replies to our post. It appears that we may have to take our chances on what we buy.

We understand about the fact the feed is generally poor in the places but feel that there should be some way in which you could watch a dvd on any set you wanted such as a distributed signal.

The JL store in bristol sounds promising philipb, and as soon as we can we'll be up there (isn't Ikea not that far away form there?). However if anyone can recommend anywhere local we would appreciate that.

We would be the first to admit we are no experts when it comes to audio equipment and that coupled with a fairly limited budget has pushed us towards getting a set with 5.1 built in. The Philips 9617/9607 seems to get high praise for this and we are sort of swaying towards that. Unfortunately every set we have seen has look frankly awful. Can anyone comment on what the picture quality is like with sky or digital terrestrial?

Once again thanks for your comments so far!


Active Member
Digital Terrestrial can be stunning, especially with BBC1,2 C4, C5

Also it is widescreen

And it is best integrated!

And you can still have DCable or Sky

If you don't you have No subscriptions and a free RGB Scart for DVD


Thanks for the reply Martin but I think we've got our wires crossed (or more than likely my post didn't make any sense)! What we were enquiring was what digital terrestrial or sky looks like on the Philips 9617/9607 rather than the quality of d/t itself.

We have seen d/t on a panasonic 32DT3 and a Sony 32DX40 and the picture quality was very good but these are both 50hz sets and so would not have any of the additional processing that the Philips has (correct me if I'm wrong please!).

Come to think of it the picture quality was excellent and did not show any flickering that the larger 50hz screens are supposed to produce, although we only looked at them for a couple of minutes.

How do you find your set Martin as I believe that is a 50hz set.


Active Member
Well I haven't seen Pixel plus in action but digital signals are normally cleaner than analogue (DVD Like), so are easier for any digital process to handle.

If you go DTTV without IDTV wait for the new Pace PVR!

Phillips are normally well socketed.

My TV!

Well with high bit rate transmissions the picture is stunning, however I spent ages adjusting the settings to get the picture right, (out of box looks yuk - too bright)

DVD usage is also good

However I have not yet disabled SVM - the evil of all modern TVs - this affects all Composite and SVid and also PAL inputs unless in movie mode.

I originally didn't notice due to RGB DVD and RGB DTTV internal link - thinking it was the screen size making composite look ropey.

I found that SVM actually looses detail - I was unable to spot differences between Nokia box and taped Nokia box except for very slight wobbling.

I find 100 Hz processing irritating and will only get one if I ever started noticing flickering.


Active Member
IKEA is just off JNC 2 on the M32


I agree that the first thing I would do on any new widescreen TV is switch off any so called digital improvement facilities.

I would experiment with 100Hz settings - my Samsung TV performs well with it on - but filters and noise reduction buttons are generally bad news.

Both digital terrestial and satellite can give outstanding pictures, but really that depends on the programme material and the bandwidth allocated to it.

Pixel plus doesn't impress me so far, I'd rather make more effort on providing a decent source signal, but others disagree and that's OK with me.

As a certain former PM in the papers today said, it's back to basics in these affairs...

As he said: "Does anyone fancy a Currie tonight...?"

Sorry, I usually try to stay on topic.

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