living room TV advice

Dizzy88

Novice Member
Hello all,

I'm in a little bit of dilemma and i was hoping that you can help me. I need to find the right TV. I'm gonna move into an apartment and have to set up everything properly beforehand.

Budget: 350 € ('cause i live in Europe) / 415 $ -ish.
Diagonal: 102 cm / 40 inch (preferably). At a distance of 3 m/10 ft, this is the diagonal that i'm most comfortable with. Since many TVs have 108 cm/43 inch, let's add that too.
Usage:
- 40% cable TV
- 50% dynamic HDR content (dlna from phone, Netflix, Youtube). I'm thinking of adding a chromecast (control with HDMI-CEC + voice assistant)
- 10% music

I have come up with this 2 models: Panasonic 40GX700E & Samsung 43Q60RA.
Is there one more appropriate for me in the price range of these 2?


The plan was also to upgrade the sound to a 2.0 pre-amped speaker setup, with HDMI-CEC input (in order to use one remote). What do you recommend for 150€ / 170$? Do i even get some quality at this price point? Other viable options?

Best wishes!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
That is a lot of prospected HDR use when cheaper TVs don't really have any way to display HDR properly. You should probably go with the GX800, and if that is out of reach, the GX700 you mention just because of its HDR tone mapping. Cheaper tv's are lacking high peak brightness and good local dimming which is required for HDR use.

Regarding sound, for HDMI CEC you will need an AV Receiver. Second hand is usually a great market with a limited budget.

Another note 3m viewing distance from a 43" TV is very, very far. You'd need a projector/very large TV at that distance before you start to see a difference between HD and UHD sources resolution. If you already have a TV you may want to just continue using that until you can save enough for a larger, more capable HDR TV.
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
Thanks for the input.

Until now i used my desktop to watch movies.
My "tv" is a... 54 cm CRT, which i won't be using any more, that's why the leap to a small 40/43".
3m is a short viewing distance, but i get headaches if i have to move my eye sight to reach for movie details. Also, i don't need a more capable TV (high-end, expensive) for this 3m+40" combo.
This week-end i'll go to a showroom to see the TVs in flesh.

I've been reading that some entry-level 4k Panasonics are made in Turkey, that are slow to remote control input and that they have a cheap plastic smell. Hope that won't be the case with the GX700.

I wanted to keep a minimalist design for living, but it sounds like i'll get a AV receiver after all.
Other models from Sony, LG, Samsung or Phillips at this price range? I'm worried... maybe i should be less worried about audio codecs with a receiver.

So the final setup will be?
1. data streamed to TV, hdmi to AVR
2. data streamed to AVR (dlna? chromecast?), hdmi-arc to TV
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
The Panasonic models you want to avoid are the lower tier ones produced in Turkey by Vestel...they are the same quality as the typical supermarket brands that are indeed very poor quality.

The GX700 should be okay, and should be manufactured by Panasonic direct.

Compared to what you are coming from, an LCD TV is going to be a big upgrade all round, but there's just caveats of using such a small TV for UHD..and also using HDR on cheaper models. HDR doesn't work or not work, it requires a more expensive TV to work properly. The the Panasonic will be the best at coping with these problems, but you may still find when using HDR the picture is too dark or washed out. I'd suggest if you can find the GX800, go for that model instead as it has a wide colour gamut the GX700 lacks.
Other thing to consider is viewing angles. They are very narrow on TVs using VA panels like the GX700/GX800 and you must only view the TV head-on.

Generally Panasonic TVs are very expensive, but their tone mapping if you are going to use the TV for a lot of HDR use may be worth the extra cost for you. My own view is instead to spend as little as possible on small TVs as none of them are really higher end models any way. I usually recommend Hisense/TCL models depending on local availability and pricing. They cost less and are just as good generally.

I'm not really that knowledgeable with AV Receivers, you should probably read these sections:

Typically with an AVR you connect HDMI devices directly to the AVR, and then feed one HDMI between the AVR and the TV. If you are looking for a minimalist setup you should consider a soundbar instead.
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
The Panasonic models you want to avoid are the lower tier ones produced in Turkey by Vestel...they are the same quality as the typical supermarket brands that are indeed very poor quality.

The GX700 should be okay, and should be manufactured by Panasonic direct.

Compared to what you are coming from, an LCD TV is going to be a big upgrade all round, but there's just caveats of using such a small TV for UHD..and also using HDR on cheaper models. HDR doesn't work or not work, it requires a more expensive TV to work properly. The the Panasonic will be the best at coping with these problems, but you may still find when using HDR the picture is too dark or washed out. I'd suggest if you can find the GX800, go for that model instead as it has a wide colour gamut the GX700 lacks.
Other thing to consider is viewing angles. They are very narrow on TVs using VA panels like the GX700/GX800 and you must only view the TV head-on.

Generally Panasonic TVs are very expensive, but their tone mapping if you are going to use the TV for a lot of HDR use may be worth the extra cost for you. My own view is instead to spend as little as possible on small TVs as none of them are really higher end models any way. I usually recommend Hisense/TCL models depending on local availability and pricing. They cost less and are just as good generally.

I'm not really that knowledgeable with AV Receivers, you should probably read these sections:

Typically with an AVR you connect HDMI devices directly to the AVR, and then feed one HDMI between the AVR and the TV. If you are looking for a minimalist setup you should consider a soundbar instead.

I don't know why you said in another topic for a 50 inch that "So it looks like the GX800 is a good improvement over cheaper £300 TVs, but its really not. The TV is very overpriced for a model that is using a 60hz panel". Maybe there non-linear prices regarding the diagonal, although the brightness/sq. ft. is constant on all sizes on this model. Maybe there are better deals around that price point: Sony XF9005.

Regarding the cheaper end, i've found a HISENSE H40B5100, but given that it's FullHD, non-HDR (8+2 bits), way less brightness, it's that FOMO that i could be missing something... versus double the price of 40GX700.

edit: for 3/4 of the cost of 40GX700, there is also HISENSE H43B7100
the B7500 at 50" costs 1,3 times the 40GX700, which looks like a great deal if i was looking for that size

Thanks for your time and help.
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
Did you read the part about HDR tone mapping though? That is really the only reason to buy the GX800 over other cheaper TVs. GX700 is basically the same as the GX800 but without a wide colour gamut.

It has the same limitation as other TVs. If I were you I'd buy a cheaper TV and just avoid using HDR material. HDR isn't going to be an improvement unless you look at a TV like the Sony XF9005.

I have a smaller UHD TV, there's litterally no benefit. So with that view the cheaper HD hisense seems a better option to me.

Bit depth means nothing btw, its not important. For HDR read:
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
thanks for sharing, those are good articles. With this better understanding, you've talked me out of entry-level HDR

i had a look on some TVs and even more, i'll start with:
- GX800 is too expensive for me
- on GX700 have some issues with washed-out colors over dlna, with the fact that USB port accepts sticks in FAT32 (max 4 GB files) - i will try with external hdd storage as well
- Hisense B7100 had good remote control input response, decent panel/color reproduction for the price

What i need from a TV, 1 week later:
- to be non-HDR, 40/43 inch, 1080p or higher
- to support exFAT or NTFS
- good connection over wi-fi ac/ethernet and compatible with dlna
- a decent audio output for an AVR
- CI+

Do you know someone who can help me in this regard?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I'd pick up the Hisense B series and pair it with an Android box for file playback. Using any built in file playback app is going to limit what you can play without problems. TV manufacturers don't make these apps good.

With Hisense you might need the B7500 for Wireless AC, not sure on their 2020 ranges but you can download the manual to see which wifi chip they have. If you keep smart separate, this isn't a problem. Just another reason not to rely on built in smart TV.

Audio output quality is digital, its the same on all TVs. If you are playing back files with DTS audio beware some TVs do not support it. Hisense do.

Do Hisense sell Roku TVs where you are? May be better for you.
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
The thing is that on GX700 HDR FHD content on Netflix is ok (i don't have the top tier 4k service yet)

...but with dlna from phone the colors were washed-out. I've tried SDR content, colors again weren't 100% as opposed to usb / hdmi playback.
I have read that some people are having this sort of issue with nvidia shield and so on... because the conversion of color standards is scrambled.

streaming non-HDR content from phone with dlna on a non-HDR tv - is this gonna solve my problem?

I ask this because B7500 is also a 4k entry-level-HDR tv
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Manufacturers already have problems with built in apps from streaming services. They are going to focus on fixing those, and not file playback as file playback is typically associated with piracy.

HDR in particular is really up in the air when it comes to ripping to files right now. When you want to archive your UHD Blu-Rays yourself you have complete control how you store the data, which format it is and whether your playback device can play it without problems. Not so much the case if you rely on a 3rd party to rip these files instead.

But anyway, any discussion of piracy is against the rules here, I just use it as an example of why software built in to TVs won't deal with it very well, or why software in general doesn't. These things take time with new technology.

But you need to also be realistic, you aren't going to find a TV with a limited budget that has the hardware to display HDR without problems, so you shouldn't consider playing back HDR material at all in my opinion. This is another reason to use an external device because you can then control whether HDR is engaged or not. Something you can't do using built in apps.

Non-HDR UHD TVs don't exist, even if a TV has no HDR hardware its still equipped to read the HDR data. The only way to avoid it is to play the SDR version instead of the HDR one, or play HDR content via an external source where you can turn it off, or turn off HDMI enhanced in the TVs settings which disables HDR10 being allowed to be sent to the TV.

If you feel you want a TV that can cope with HDR with the least amount of trouble, and without having to worry about disabling it or not using it, you should consider just not purchasing a TV right now and save up more money to afford models with ample HDR hardware. Even with the Panasonic GX800 you are still using a workaround to display HDR and it will still come with problems. The GX700 will be worse since it doesn't have a wide colour gamut so any HDR content will display not just with limited peak brightness, but also with limited colours.

The picture being washed out or being too dark are signs that the TV is not equipped to cope with the HDR data in the picture. HDR content is mastered between 1000-10000 nits, commonly 4000 nits which when compressed down to around 300-400 (the typical figure of a cheaper TV) compared to 1000 (the typical figure for a true HDR TV) is not ideal. It results in a lot of detail being lost in the picture and because cheaper TVs also lack effective local dimming, there's no way for the TV to separate light and dark bits of the picture.

With Panasonic models such as the GX700 and GX800 there's a feature they rely on to tone map HDR down to limited levels of brightness called 'Dynamic HDR effect'. This option may only work with certain sources, so if that option is disabled, or can't be used, this is likely why there are more problems with file playback than with Netflix. HDR masters are also different, with some needing more brightness than others. Typically movies are mastered at higher nits than TV shows...but it depends. Because of the 'workaround' nature of this tone mapping, results in some content is going to be better than others, and it should never be considered an alternative to using a TV that has dedicated HDR hardware instead.

The industry has really made the introduction of HDR a disaster for consumers. Instead of including the feature on every TV they should have only made it so higher end models were compatible in my opinion. Right now every TV is sold with the HDR badge, but very few can display HDR properly. Its not fair to trick customers that way.
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
until now, regarding TVs, i was a noob. thank you for having patience with me (i'll add an Android TV box to the mix)

i've returned the GX700 (it had problems also with displaying proper HDR content on USB, as you said : lack of proper hardware and lack of wide colour gamut).

now i'm considering Hisense, and there are 3 TVs in two main options:

- budget option (bedroom TV, which will sit in living room until i upgrade):
1. 40B5600 - 185 pounds
2. 40A5600F - 200 pounds

- lower end mid-range:
3. 43A7500F - 255 pounds (i know it isn't a proper HDR TV, since it has only 350 nits, but it has 72% Rec. 2020)

Can you please rate this TVs from a perspective of value (quality/current price) from 1 to 10?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
If you are going to to be using the UHD content the A7500 is number one. The other two will more or less be the same TV, only the A series built a year later.

You're always going to have the problem with a TV playing back HDR, with the A7500F yes you get a wide colour gamut, but you will still have problems with HDR using it. You are best just not using HDR content at all. Either rip the SDR version, or disable HDR on an external source like the Android box we already talked about.

This is just down to the way they implemented HDR, nothing you can do about it. It shouldn't exist at all on cheaper TVs.

Before you can consider a TV for HDR use the minimum specs you need to look out for are local dimming and around 1000 nits peak brightness. Even if the A7500 can do 350 its still not enough. 1000 is around the minimal, with 1500 being more optimal.

Do yourself a favour and just forget about HDR, don't use it. You will be going in circles otherwise.
 

mikej

Well-known Member
The thing is that on GX700 HDR FHD content on Netflix is ok (i don't have the top tier 4k service yet)
There's no need to pay extra for the 4K package as you won't be able to tell the difference between 4K and 1080p at a distance of 3m away from a 40" screen - see the chart on AV Forum's TV Viewing Distance Guide.
 

Dizzy88

Novice Member
edit: you meant about the Netflix 4k package!? hmm.. i've never tested this tbh
 
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Dizzy88

Novice Member
about the Hisense 40B5600
- the display is somewhat decent, color and brightness decent for the price. Picture sometimes gets granny
- sound, it's there.
- smart part, better than expected
- negative: changing TV channels, a pain in the b**. Adding channels to Favorites = not working. TV commercials on Home&GardenTV are stuttering, both audio and video.

Even after adding the Android TV Box in the future, i think that the 40% cable TV usage will still be a bummer. Conclusion: good value for the money.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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