New television for parents - replaces Samsung LE40B550


Active Member
Hi everyone, compliments of the season to you.
My parents television is the Samsung LE40B550, bought on the basis of the review on this site many years ago! It's a CCFL back-lit LCD screen and doesn't have local dimming and such, which I kind of like as the black level (which is pretty good for such an old screen with old technology) is consistent. I seem to recall reading a good quality panel was used at the time.

Anyway, it's starting to flicker, the dirty screen appears to be getting worse and it sometimes takes a long time to power up from standby.

I like the thought of FALD to keep the light output consistent across the screen as opposed to edge-lit.

My folks have Sky Q but not HDR. I looked at the Samsung QE50QN94A initially but although they could afford it I suspect it very much overkill for their viewing needs. This then led me to the Sony X90J at 50 inches which is a few hundred pounds less.

I'm thinking 50 inch screen, 55 at a push, but would like to avoid edge-lit as blooming gets on my wick when I go round to watch (and they would likely notice as I have trained them well!).

I also considered OLED, but my father has the news channel on a lot and screen burn could be a possibility.

Any thoughts on what else I should consider before checking out the Sony on store?

Many thanks.


Can't argue with that choice for your use case. Main drawback to the X90J is dimmer HDR performance, and that shouldn't matter much for your parents if they are mainly watching broadcast TV still.

Do your parents only view the TV head on? Viewing angles on the Sony is probably its biggest flaw otherwise.


Active Member
Hi Dodge - you're up late!

Thanks for your input - always appreciated.

The HDR performance isn't a deal breaker at the moment. Can't see them getting Sky 4K just yet. The X90J has a XR prefix so I assume that uses the newer processor to help with upscaling HD to 4K. The X80J/84J/89J series could be an option, but I don't know if they are FALD/direct backlit as the XR90J is? With regard to viewing angles I THINK their current Samsung is a VA panel (but I might be wrong) and while colours do wash out from the corner seat, they are still pretty good. They do tend to have some lights on so might get away with IPS. If it's darker in lower light than their current set, doesn't have dimming that's all too obvious and upscales well I suspect they will be happy!


Some people care more about the viewing angles, or notice them more than others. You get about 20-30 degrees to play with (60 degree cone) on the X90J.

Each VA panel can be different, so if your current TV has one it may have better, or worse than the X90J.

It's interesting that despite the room being bright that you still notice the lack of FALD, typically it only really makes a big difference in dim lighting, so either the room is quite dim either with lighting, or there's something wrong with the current TV.

An edge lit model without FALD is usually fine for a bright room. When I have my own TV on during the day or when the light is on, I barely notice local dimming being on or off.


Active Member
I think VA is the way to go for them. It's a bright-ish room during the day, but at night they have a couple of lamps on. The tele is in the corner and the lamps are in opposite corners. They aren't too bright so at night black bars take on that grey tone. You're right, not noticeable in the day at all!

Do we know the differences between the more expensive XR-50X90J and the £200 cheaper KD50X80JU?

Wonder if the XR has local dimming and the KD global? I know the XR will have the updated chipset. Always difficult finding out the panel types and most sites and manufacturers don't go into enough detail!


Ignore the XR part, it has no consequence on the model numbering scheme.

What matters is:
0=Sub series

So, the X80J is a lower tier model than the X90J running a 60hz panel. For your parents use its probably more than good enough.
As would be the in-between model; X85J which is the same as the X80J but with a 120hz panel.
The X90J adds FALD and a dedicated picture processor which won't be used really when you're using Sky. Even the Mini Q box upscales and deinterlaces to 1080p and outputs that to the TV, and even the cheapest of cheap TVs handle that well.

All in all I think the X90J is a good choice if you think they are looking to branch away sometimes from regular broadcast TV and enjoy some HDR material from time to time. Otherwise, it's probably not needed and the cheaper X80J or X85J will be fine.


Active Member
Thanks Dodge. Is the 80/85 edge lit then? Or is it direct lit but with global dimming as opposed to local? Here's a few pics of the current screen with no lights on (taken about half three so sun just starting to go down) and then with the lights on a few mins later. The 60hz panel will likely be enough for them but they do keep them for a long time (had the Samsung 10 years) so I usually advise them to get something middle to high end to get the most longevity out of it.


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At the tightest angle you'll have some picture quality degredation on a TV using a VA panel, but its the price you have to pay if you want to retain better picture quality from the front in terms of blacks, contrast and screen uniformity.

Viewing angles will also raise the black levels which you can also see in your picture, this won't be different from your current TV. If the main complaint is how the TV raises blacks or has worse screen uniformity from that seating position, then you may need instead to look at a TV using an IPS panel.

Don't really think there's anything about the cheaper X80J or X85J that will mean they don't last as long as the X90J but the X90J is more future proof with at least some half decent HDR hardware compared to the others. The cheaper models are fine for your parents, but you can go for the X90J if they are interested in streaming more and checking out some HDR content.

After all, why wouldn't you check out the latest and best content? There's little point changing TVs otherwise, new TVs shine with new and high-quality content, they don't polish broadcast TV and make it look a lot better. If I bought my TV only to watch SDR, I'd be disappointed.


Active Member
It's only me that sits in the corner chair. As much as it would bug me I would prefer them to have the best possible picture from there more head-on viewing position. I can always go and watch my own screen for critical viewing. They have Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and the HD Netflix so good streaming via Amazon and Disney would be nice on the HDR titles. I was going to suggest the Samsung QN94A for them as well but I doubt they would notice much difference for considerably more outlay. Think I'll suggest the 50 or 55 inch X90J. Do we know if they are both VA panels or is one (or both) IPS? Thanks Dodge, really useful advice as always. 👍


Active Member
Good stuff, it's just Samsung that like to keep us guessing then?! Think the 50 inch QN94a is VA, but the 55 is IPS?! Be really handy if it was always in the specs on the manufacturers sites or in the online manuals. Reading reviews there is sometimes conflicting information, especially if you see a review from a different part of the world. Thanks again Dodge. Really appreciate your time. 👍


Someone very kindly found the Samsung panel info here:

Although at 50" no matter the brand a TV is always going to be VA type. There's no 50" IPS panels in production, even by Samsung.

49" is a different story!


Active Member
The Samsung looks good (and timely with the review being published today!), but it's too expensive and it's local dimming isn't as good as Sony's (using conventional LED's and considerably less dimming zones). I'm sure the X90J has its issues too - be interesting to read a review on here (if one is coming!).

Thanks Dodge, good spot with the Sammy table.

I should really upgrade my voltage tweaked Kuro but with bias lighting it's almost as black as my mate's OLED! Not quite as bright though! 😂 YouTube 4K downscaled to 1080p via the nVidia Shield looks great though! Roll on next year! Probably an OLED...,

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