Question Help choosing 50" TV - now bought

Tim O

Novice Member
Long term lurker, first time posting, be kind.

Moved home a few months ago and our rural location has thrown up problems of connectivity – poor aerial reception and weak broadband. Found a setup that works but it’s cumbersome and awkward. So, I’m looking for advice on simplifying our set up, and #2 daughter needing a television (give her our old one) creates an opportunity to upgrade!

Current TV is an ~8 year old Samsung UE40ES5500. Nothing wrong with the television, happy enough with picture but it has some drawbacks. Viewing distance about 11-12 feet from the TV depending which end of the sofa I’m on. TV is mounted on an old chest and screen is at approx seated eye level. Sound quality is not great.

Reception over normal aerial is poor so I’ve installed a Freesat dish and a Manhatten HD box, and that’s how we watch the ‘usual’ terrestrial channels, but we are watching more and more Netflix and Amazon Prime, and can’t see that changing.

Rural location, no chance of fibre broadband so I’m streaming TV over a 4G system (roof mounted antenna/modem to a WiFi router next to the TV). Again, this works well enough but download speed fluctuates - time of day, weather, trees – between 10mbps and 40mbps. Usually around 20mbps. Broadband not likely to improve in the short term.

Using an Amazon Firestick (excellent) to stream Prime, Netflix, iPlayer etc.. Probably signing up to Mubi or similar soon.

Firestick WiFi's to the router. TV not connected by Cat5 cable to router (but could be).

All working well enough but getting a bit cheesed off with having three remote controllers (TV, Firestick, Manhattan box) and having to switch HDMI source frequently. Would really like to simplify everything, no swapping between sources, just one remote for everything, and also get rid of the miles of cables behind.

Yes, I know, first world problems.

So, always looking for an excuse to buy tech toys I’m thinking of a new TV. My thinking:
  • Onboard Netflix, Prime, iPlayer etc.
  • Similar size to the current one, so 43” (or possibly 49, but might struggle to get the latter past my wife’s Aesthetics Committee).
  • Built in Freesat tuner limits choice a fair bit.
  • Not interested in recording anything (gave our Humax away when we moved), nor playing DVD or BlueRay (gave our DVD player away, too).
  • Can’t think I’ll get much benefit from 4K, perhps not enough BB to support it?
Budget moderate, maybe up to £750, plus something for a soundbar if necessary.

LG range offer a bewildering number of suitable sets. There’s even a 43” NANO model, but not sure I’d get any benefit at that size over standard LCD?
LG? Panasonic? Samsung? Others?

LG 43NANO796NE 43" Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TV with Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa

or something like this:

LG 43UN81006LB 43" Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TV with Google Assistant & Amazon Alexa

Photo attached of where it will be situated.

Thoughts and suggestion please. Thanks.
 

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Dodgexander

Moderator
Have you seen my guide here: New My best value TVs, 2020-2021 Edition

It has some basic steps to follow when narrowing down TVs. I'd advise determining which type of panel is best suited to your conditions between IPS and VA. Your current TV uses a VA type panel.

I've gone through every TV on the market and narrowed out what's good value and whats bad. A general bit of advice is to buy bigger if you can since smaller TVs (particularly 43" models) are not great spec. If you can stretch another £100 to the Sony 49XH9505 you'll be getting the best LCD TV money can buy smaller than 55".

Don't be tempted to think by spending more money on a 43" model you'll be buying into a better TV. All models have low end specs, so it makes more sense to spend less rather than more if you are size limited.

At your viewing distance there will be next to no benefit with 4k resolution, especially on a small TV like a 43"/50" model. However if you invest in a TV with good HDR picture quality like the Sony 49XH9505 you'll benefit from HDR material.

Streams generally recommend around 20mbps connection delivered to the TV for UHD, but you may get away with 15 for UHD. HDR should also be a factor when it comes to making a decision nowadays, as its that will give you the biggest picture quality difference than 4k itself.

Should be explained in the opening post of the guide.
 

Tim O

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply. I've looked at your guide and was pleasantly surprised that in some instances it suggest sticking with your old TV as quality improvements at this size/price are minimal at best.

Am I making too much of a drama about getting rid of my Freesat box? It's an extra remote, and a change of source on the set and it annoys me (unreasonable, tbh). Getting Freesat built in is limiting.

I'm wondering now whether I should buy a programmable remote and stick with what I've got. :confused:
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
HDR luckily doesn't require 4k, so it will still work with streaming services if your connection limits you to HD only.

The Freesat EPG has just been added to Sony's firmware, so the 49XH9505 I mention will work with it too.

As for how it compares to a dedicated box, well you can't expect any advance recording functions, but if its just watching live you intend to do then it will be fine using an integrated tuner.

I think moving to a new TV should be more about enjoying sources that use HDR, and viewing those. If you are thinking a new TV is going to be better at watching regular TV you may be quite disappointed.
 

Tim O

Novice Member
Dodgexander, thanks for your input. I've taken good look at your guides on this site, gone away to check position, distance, consider what we watch etc. and returned.

Managed to get a 49"/50"TV past the Aesthetics Committee. 55" was turned down flat. So 49"/50" it will be.

Our seating positions are not square to the TV, i.e one end of sofa is further away than the other - so, 4.0m one end and 3.6m the other, with a distance between of approx 1.6m. Calculation gives a viewing angle of less than 20°. Room layout dictates this will not change. See photo in my original post.

TV being fed via Freesat, I'd like to lose the Manhattan box, so would much prefer Freesat built in.

We mostly watch Netflix/Amazon/iPlayer being streamed over 4G broadband. Works well at HD but doubt it would support 4K reliably, and your guide suggests we wouldn't benefit from 4K at that viewing distance anyway.

We don't watch DVD or BlueRay. TV won'y be used for gaming, nor as a computer monitor.

We are probably at the budget end of the market, really wanted to spend less than £700 if possible.

Obvious place to look is LG as they have Freesat onboard. Would we see any benefit from a NANO TV at such a screen size and viewing distance? There are several models - 866, 816, 796 (I think) - would any/all meet our needs better than LCD. How do they differ?

If non-NANO, then there are a number of LG TVs that would suit, and I'm guessing the screen technology is all the same but different features are added as you climb the model range?

A Samsung equivalent?

You have recommended the Sony 49XH9505 but I think it is out of our budget, and I'm unclear if it has Freesat. You mention Freesat EPG firmware but not sure what you are saying. Im assuming it still hasn't got a Freesat tuner?

Would you still recommend a cheaper Sony 49" considering our fairly basic needs?

Many thanks for previous advice. I confess to find all this quite bewildering!
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
I think its pretty confusing when shopping for a TV because its a fair assumption to always presume its possible to get a good value purchase at any price point.

The problem with a £700 budget is it really means you only have mid range options to choose from, which are an improvement compared to budget models with motion, but not an improvement with HDR...since HDR is such a large part of what you buy into nowadays, and something that only higher end TVs can display without problems, it makes it poor value for money to buy cheaper.

And because of this. If someone needs to buy with a limited budget there's a strong argument to be made to spend little, rather than more. If I were you I'd hold on to what you are using and go for a TV like the Sony 49XH9505 when you've saved up another £150 or wait for a refurb deal, see here: Bargain - Sony centre direct refurbished store thread although you may have to wait some time for the refurbs to become decently priced. Last I checked they weren't far off new pricing.

If you feel you can't wait I'd buy one of the low tier 50" models in my guide instead unless you have a particular want for better motion. You are best doing this rather than spending more on something that's only marginally better such as the LG Nano series.

In the opening post of the guide there's some steps to take to narrow down choices. First I wouldn't look at LGs using IPS panels like the Nano series unless you specifically want a TV using an IPS panel, they have weaknesses and strengths compared to TVs using VA panels. Second its important to understand how HDR works when buying a TV now, which ties in with why I'd suggest delaying your purchase and saving up for a higher tier model that will bode you much better in the long term.

At the same time, take note that I've tried my best to include every model on the market in the guide, so chances are if you don't see a model listed at all, it will be in the section 'Alternative TVs I struggle to recommend'. There's a bunch of LG Nano TVs in this section since they are just awful value for money.
 

Tim O

Novice Member
Well, I’ve bought a tv. - LG 50" Nano796. Took advice from Dodgexander, and decided I wanted an AV panel, and wanted onboard Freesat, Netlix , Amazon and iPlayer, the only TV's that fit the bill are 50" LG sets. (49" LG are IPS panels). Slightly worried at its price as not much more than the LG 50UN7400, and wondering whether its actually a lower spec even though its a Nano

Curry’s Taunton (Andy?) were incredibly helpful but they hadn't got what I wanted, not on their website either. However, Argos had it in stock and it was delivered to my nearest Saunsbury's within 6 hours.

All seems good, picture seems dark, but I've not really tested it yet as only viewed in sunny daytime conditions. Tonight!

Next question is what soundbar do I buy, so now off to the relevant section on here.
Thanks all.
 
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