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Is my TV broken? - The limitations of technology

RomanATT

Active Member
Steve thanks for the great review.

I am reading and learning throgh reviews and forum threads ....

If we are talking about prices than it should be taken into consideration that retailers have more than 60% margin (add on price) when TV sets are imported and stored in to the warehouses (payed inport taxes and VAT). The market in GB is not so different to the other markets arround the Europe ...
 
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Old Bones

Active Member
An excellent article, and a reminder that no technology is perfect. There are always going to be compromises, especially when you consider the constraints manufacturers are under - the bulk of the market cannot afford, and could not justify the cost of a Pioneer Kuro or similar, but would be perfectly happy with something for considerably less.

Good stuff costs money, sometimes plenty money. Televisions like these are luxury items after all.
And the fact that Pioneer did leave the market shows the way things have gone - we all generally want more for less. I remember selling the last Kuro off the wall - even with a decent discount, it was still almost twice the price of the nearest Panasonic. It was lovely, but it was a connoisseurs TV.

I personally tend to say a set is 'decent', rather than good or bad. A 'decent' set should deliver what its expected to considering its cost, niche, use, etc. If it has a good picture, the number and sort of connections I'd expect, a useable remote, EPG, etc, as long as its fits with what the customer needs, then I'm happy. And thats what customers are generally looking for - good value and a solid, reliable TV. And these days, they dont have to spend a huge amount of money. A Samung 48in J5500 is currently £409 - thats very good value, considering what you get. Would I go for a higher spec? Personally, yes, but it fits what many customers need, and I have no problem recommending it. A good solid TV from one of the big four is easy to find, and its arguable that for the average customer, there is possibly too much choice.

I know that the electrical retailer that I work for are more than happy for customers to have a demo set at home for a period of time to test them in their own surroundings, it's called " Being On Approval". I'm sure we can't be the only ones to offer this service??
Gigglebug - you might the only retailer I'm aware of that offers such a service, although one or two customers have asked! The reason why pretty much nobody offers such a scheme is simply that the margin on TV's are generally now so thin, that returning a 'used' TV to stock and discounting that set by even a reasonably small percentage pretty much wipes out any profit at all. Its could be that very high end sets could be sold like that, but it would potentially be horribly expensive for most retailers.

My employer is relatively generous over returns, and during the World Cup some years back, someone noticed a number of big sets that all got returned just after the end of the Final, for various reasons, having been bought just at the start. I suspect that 'borrowing' was the best way of describing what had happened to them!

Well forewarned is forearmed, so we would recommend researching your choices thoroughly........we strongly recommended demoing them before making decision on which one to buy.
Thats excellent advice.The best thing anyone can do is to come and look at a set. Its obviously wise to do some research first, however, buying a TV, any more than buying a suit or shoes, should not just be a paper exercise. What someone regards as wonderful, someone else just may not like. It has to fit and be comfortable.
And even if all the reviews are saying something is a must buy, its your eyes that will be looking at it. If its good, then it will show. Then you pays your money, and takes your choice.
 
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PC1975

Well-known Member
I love my Panasonic GT60 plasma but ... it suffers from judder with frame interpolation turned off so I have it set to mid which creates artifacting in the form of shimmer around moving objects. It's not very noticeable but is present and to my eyes is the lesser of two evils in that respect. Line bleed is also occasionally present on scrolling credits on a black screen but that's not really an issue to me as I haven't noticed it on anything else.

It also suffers from image retention so I manage my viewing to ensure the same logo isn't on screen for hours at a time or night after night. Colour banding is also mildly present but to such a marginal extent that it doesn't bother me at all. Power consumption is higher than LCD & OLED but as another member recently pointed out, it's marginal and probably amounts to under £30 extra per year in electricity.

Brightness wise it's fine and I have no problems whatsoever during daytime. The image quality is really good as is contrast in that it displays shadow detail very well. Colours are rich but natural looking and objects have a solidity to them that just seems to escape any LED LCD I've seen. Black levels are, at times a sheer joy to behold - they're just wonderful and at the same time never crush anything, a real treat for the eyes if you appreciate it.

I've tried replacing it with LED LCD a number of times including some of the highest rated models around, namely Sony HX723, HX853, W905 & Samsung F8000. I gave them all a good try but just could not make what was to my eyes a step down in picture quality.

The plasma has perfect screen uniformity and to some extent all of the LED LCDs suffered from panel banding, light bleed and clouding. The colours just weren't as rich or natural, even on the W905 with it's 'triluminous' quantum dot technology. In fact if anything the colours looked overly stretched and notably unnatural. Blue eyes looked far too piercing for example.

The W9 also had an extremely narrow viewing angle so much so that you could see a very slight silky blueish fading in the corners when viewing straight on. Motion wasn't as good on any of the LEDs either, particularly vertical motion which suffered from slight break up on all of them. I think if anything the HX853 was the best all round performing LED I've tried. Any time I try LED and switch back to plasma one of the things that grabs me is how much smoother plasma looks in comparison. It's not as sharp but is just nice on the eyes.

I had a good close look at a top of the range Samsung 4k LED LCD and the flat panel LG 4k Oled in Currys a couple of weeks ago and neither looked better than the GT60 to my eyes. The LED still had the traits I associate with that tech, ie lack of depth & solidity to the image and the Oled totally crushed shadow detail just above black to the extent it could hardly be made out even though all the other TVs alongside it were showing it just fine. I cycled through the picture modes and made sure additional processing was at a minimum but it made no difference, it appeared to be inherent to the panel.

I'd like to replace my plasma with something bigger that doesn't suffer from image retention but as of yet there is nothing on the market to tempt me. For the record I've never seen any vertical banding or dse on a Panasonic plasma and I've owned 3 (S20, ST50, GT60) and a friend owns a GT30. I didn't think they were traits associated with the tech and was surprised to read that.

That's my tuppence worth, well done if you managed to get to the end ;)

n.b. I'm no plasma zealot or fan of something just because I own it. My observations are genuine and I'll move on to something else if I think it's better.
 
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gigglebug

Member
Gigglebug - you might the only retailer I'm aware of that offers such a service, although one or two customers have asked! The reason why pretty much nobody offers such a scheme is simply that the margin on TV's are generally now so thin, that returning a 'used' TV to stock and discounting that set by even a reasonably small percentage pretty much wipes out any profit at all. Its could be that very high end sets could be sold like that, but it would potentially be horribly expensive for most retailers.
Hi there Old Bones. The shop staff definitely have the option to do it if the customer asks but it's not necessarily something that is promoted. I would guess that from the examples that I have personally seen that it tends to naturally be the higher end purchases which people want to demo anyway, the last one I saw was a Sony 65 inch 9005 model a month or so ago. They are never provided with brand new sealed stock rather shop demo items so any loss of margin will have already been accounted for. Hope that clears it up
 

Smiffy 2

Well-known Member
I know that the electrical retailer that I work for are more than happy for customers to have a demo set at home for a period of time to test them in their own surroundings, it's called " Being On Approval". I'm sure we can't be the only ones to offer this service??
I sell new cars for a living and we often allow people to take the vehicle they are interested in away for an "extended" test drive to make sure it meets with their requirements.
This is usually for a week-end, (to coincide with a long(ish) trip they might have planned), it has been for as much as a week in some cases.
If they are happy, they have then gone on to purchase that particular model.
Sadly even that doesn't guarantee that they won't have problems with the one that they end up buying.
It's mass production, and even with an expensive car no two will be identical, even if they leave the same production run together.
It amazes me sometimes how many people return panel after panel in their quest for perfection.
 

fluxo

Distinguished Member
I don't know if it's because you have a Kuro and not a Panasonic, Steve, but I really don't think you appreciate how severe the IR issue is on the more recent Panasonics. As a Panasonic owner I have been in the ZT/VT/GT/ST threads and a lot of people have posted about the difficulty they've had trying to rid their sets of IR. These more recent sets are, unfortunately, much more fragile than some from the same manufacturer back in the previous decade.
 

gigglebug

Member
I sell new cars for a living and we often allow people to take the vehicle they are interested in away for an "extended" test drive to make sure it meets with their requirements.
This is usually for a week-end, (to coincide with a long(ish) trip they might have planned), it has been for as much as a week in some cases.
If they are happy, they have then gone on to purchase that particular model.
Sadly even that doesn't guarantee that they won't have problems with the one that they end up buying.
It's mass production, and even with an expensive car no two will be identical, even if they leave the same production run together.
It amazes me sometimes how many people return panel after panel in their quest for perfection.
My guess would be Toyota?? They were brilliant with me and my partner even if we did decide that their cars weren't quite for us!

Unfortunately TV's can be a considerable amount of money, a real financial commitment so I can understand peoples frustrations, I'm a "picky bugger" myself. It's a good article this though and a bit of a shame that the information in it is more speciallist rather than common knowledge
 

djcla

Distinguished Member
Great article it would also be nice to have a quick check glossary of all these terms that come up in reviews and on owners threads as well, ideally with some youtube examples. Things like banding , dirty screen effect , soap opera effect, motion blur etc etc .
 

Old Bones

Active Member
Hi there Old Bones. The shop staff definitely have the option to do it if the customer asks but it's not necessarily something that is promoted. I would guess that from the examples that I have personally seen that it tends to naturally be the higher end purchases which people want to demo anyway, the last one I saw was a Sony 65 inch 9005 model a month or so ago. They are never provided with brand new sealed stock rather shop demo items so any loss of margin will have already been accounted for. Hope that clears it up
That makes sense! Its still pretty generous (and very nice), but much more manageable, and since a 9 series in a 65 is well over two grand, then 'looking before you buy' makes sense for certain customers. Its certainly better in many ways than selling a large TV, only to have it returned, because 'its the wrong size', and then selling it at a posssible loss.

I'd like to replace my plasma with something bigger that doesn't suffer from image retention but as of yet there is nothing on the market to tempt me. For the record I've never seen any vertical banding or dse on a Panasonic plasma and I've owned 3 (S20, ST50, GT60) and a friend owns a GT30. I didn't think they were traits associated with the tech and was surprised to read that.
Plasma does certain things very well, and those black levels are very difficult to get close to on an LED. The W905 was the closest I'd seen that year to plasma for blacks (the VT65 went the year before), and we all fell in love with it, but I understand totally why people love plasma, despite its own possible flaws. However, I have a large number of customers who have fallen in love with the OLED, although most, sadly, cannot justify it to their wives!

There is nothing wrong with being a bit picky about an item which you sit in front of for so long, and costs a fair amount of money. We should want the best we can.However, in the end, nothing is perfect, but if its as close as we can get, and makes us happy, all we can do is enjoy the pros, and ignore the cons!

The idea of a glossary is an excellent one, if only so that we can put a name to that thing which annoys us!
 

Smiffy 2

Well-known Member
My guess would be Toyota?? They were brilliant with me and my partner even if we did decide that their cars weren't quite for us!
Nope. Nissan
;)
 

charles

Active Member
Thank you for your interesting article on "flaws" in LCD TV's,however these issues are not universal and it seems to be pot luck as to whether you have a panel on a new TV that is free of visible "flaws"
In my case with a Panasonic TX65CX802 on the Panasonic CX 802 owners thread myself and others are complaining about visible banding,yet other members report that there is no banding on these sets.In your latest review on the Hisense 65xt910 you mention that there is no banding,which proves the point.In my case I was not going to take yet another replacement(it would have been my 6th) but insisted that Panasonic's approved service agent saw the set and reported on the issues to Panasonic in the UK.Panasonic have never heard of this issue and maintain that if I switch off Intelligent Frame Creation that the banding will vanish.Utter rubbish!Their service agent has now forwarded a video to them of the banding on screen and is waiting for their response.I also have posterization which is particularly noticeable on sky scenes,both static and moving and manifests itself as transparent circles and rings on the image.Their service agent does not regard this banding/posterization as acceptable bearing in mind that this is supposed to be a flagship TV.On the banding issue my 2012 Samsung and Toshiba both 55" do not have banding.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Great article it would also be nice to have a quick check glossary of all these terms that come up in reviews and on owners threads as well, ideally with some youtube examples. Things like banding , dirty screen effect , soap opera effect, motion blur etc etc .
Television Terms - TV Glossary
 

MrSpark

Active Member
Great write up. I do feel that it's sad state of affairs however that you have had to write this article. There should be a minimum standard that all TV's by law must achieve. Such as lighting uniformity, lag, colour accuracy, stability etc. It's disgraceful that manufactures release product that aren't fit for purpose. By that I mean typical usage by an average family. Unfortunately the phrase "you get what you pay for" doesn't apply to TV's. I've seen very expensive sets perform very badly vs much cheaper ones. Consumers are getting short changed by TV manufactures, over and over again.
 

Kev Greenhalgh

Well-known Member
Great article. Can we put an end to the forum requests of "hey we have the same tv, can you post your settings"... How, on gods earth, will somebody else's tv settings be of any benefit to another tv sat in a completely different part of the world? :laugh:
 

ALIEN1X

Active Member
So do I buy a Tv now in the sales or wait till Panasonic bring out their new OLED range including a 55 inch version of the high end model?
I have been looking for a TV sine 2003 so still holding on with my CRT till they get the technology right as most TV'S can't even display SD Broadcast very well as industry has no plans to go fully HD and above for all channels.
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
Great article. Can we put an end to the forum requests of "hey we have the same tv, can you post your settings"... How, on gods earth, will somebody else's tv settings be of any benefit to another tv sat in a completely different part of the world? :laugh:
Mmm, in theory I suppose, but I must say that until Mr Steve Withers comes to calibrate my VT65, I'm using the calibration settings that he published for his review sample .....
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
Precisely my reasoning. Though I should point out that Mr Withers has actually calibrated my other three televisions, along with a Samsung plasma PS64D8000 that I gave away last Christmas, on one memorable day in July 2013. I'm using his published values for my 65VT65 just until he comes to calibrate it and my forthcoming Sony 75W855C.
 
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SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
A completely different question for Mr Withers, though someone else may be able to help. Plasmas are good with motion, better than LCD and better than the new upstart OLED. In fact, since all the proper televisions that I've bought in the last decade have been plasmas, I don't really know first-hand, and can't recognise or describe, the motion handling problems that I hear about with LCDs. But, if OLED has inherently very fast response times, why don't the OLED manufacturers use the same method of motion handling as plasma sets? Why are OLED manufacturers using the LCD-style sample and hold method rather than the plasma method of motion handling (whatever in fact that is)?
 

SonOfSJ

Well-known Member
So is it that the CRT/plasma phosphor's natural decay of one frame before the next frame arrives clears our Stone Age eye/brain combination, so that we can see the next frame with no overhang from the previous frame? Whereas with the sample-and-hold method, without a natural decay, the previous frame is still present when the next frame arrives? Is that what we perceive as motion blur? Hence LCD manufacturers sometimes use Black Frame Insertion to simulate a natural decay before the next frame arrives? I'm guessing that OLED does not have a natural decay?
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
OLED uses semiconductor made from organic compounds, no inherent decay time.
It's probably not possible to get the kind of control needed to simulate a decay time.
 

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