Panasonic plasma on the blink - new TV advice needed please

bassbikemike

Standard Member
Our Panasonic TX-P42S20B is on the blink... just in time for Christmas! 🎄 Yay!! 😒

So, having read and digested as much highly useful info on here regarding all the permutations... I'm feeling a little overwhelmed! Found the helpful requirement template written by @Dodgexander so my criteria following that format are below.. and my absolute top budget is £750... However, given that we watch no 4K content currently and I don't see that changing very soon, I've been looking amongst the few rare FHD sets still available. As such I'd rather spend considerably less than my maximum and buy a stopgap until 4K becomes mainstream and we end up watching it by default... In the short-medium term I'd rather spend my money on a good quality FHD set, which meets my requirements better. Freeview Play has to be on my list, as well as ideally reasonable HDR capability - which I would prioritise ahead of 4K (if it's possible to have reasonable HDR capability on a non-4K TV??)

Any help greatly appreciated!!

My TV Criteria:
Which external devices do you plan to connect to the TV?
  • Arcam AVR280 Receiver
  • HD Blu-Ray Player?
  • EE TV (and if that ceases to work in ~March when EE closes it's TV service down, we'll bring the Humax Foxsat PVR back out of retirement for recording duties!)
What content will you watch on the TV?
Our smart functions currently come from the EETV box. I find the smart TV features on our LG 32LK610BPLB in the kitchen slow and sometimes instrusive - not a fan. Freeview Play looks superb, so would want a set with that on it
  • What streaming services do you plan to use? ~20% of viewing
    • SDR Netflix (basic package for box sets etc - rarely movies)
    • Amazon Prime occasionally (don't have a consistent prime subs - just now and again)
  • Catch up TV apps, ~20% of viewing
    • iPlayer mostly, ITV Hub/All4/5OD occasionally
  • Broadcast TV ~ 60% of viewing usually series linked recordings
    • Have Freeview and Freesat connectivity options. Watch mostly HD channels.
SD30%
HD70%
UHD0%
  • DVDs - occasional (probably ~90% of our collection)
  • FHD Blu-Rays - occasional (probably ~10% of our collection)
  • No gaming (separate "den" with Optoma FHD proj for that)
What proportion of your viewing will be broadcast TV shows, broadcast sport, broadcast movies, streaming TV/movies, DVDs, FHD Blu-Rays, UHD Blu-Rays or games?
Broadcast TV shows55%
Broadcast Sport5%
Broadcast Movies5%
Streaming TV shows or Movies30%
DVDs2.5%
HD Blu-Rays2.5%
UHD Blu-Rays0%
Games0%

Will you use internal or external apps or tuners for the following? If external, via which device?
  • Broadcast TV - EETV / Humax FoxSat HDR (ideally new TV will be dual tuner and equiped to be PVR ready just needing a USB storage device adding)
  • Streaming services (will use the new TV for this)
  • Catch up apps (will use the new TV for this)
Situational questions:
  • What TV are you currently using and what are expecting to see upgrading to a new TV?
    • Panasonic TX-P42S20B plasma. Hoping for no noticeable difference to contrast or blacks. Better daylight performance, hopefully as good performance with dimmed lighting in the evening. Perhaps be able to do away with the EETV/Humax altogether and simplify our setup (although recording functionality on EETV is going to be very hard to beat)
  • Are you a tweaker or set and forget kind of person?
    • BOTH! :laugh: I will tweak in depth initially but I don't want to have to go back and keep fiddling with it
  • What is your viewing distance?
    • ~3.5m max in the room BUT the max our room will accommodate is a modern slim-bezel 55"
  • If you place yourself in the position of your TV facing towards where you watch, at what angle from the centre is each integral seating position? (Tip, use a protractor to measure angles).
    • primary positions are straight on but a secondary position sofa (usually used by our teenage kids) is @38-40 degrees
  • When will you use the TV and what kind of lighting will be in your room? Some examples:
    • Bright conditions during the day - Yes. TV is in a south-facing bay window, with venetian blinds needed often esp with Plasma
    • Dark movie nights in the evening - Yes, but never VERY dark. Dimmed side lighting and uplights probably sort of level get in a cinema BEFORE/AFTER screening.
  • Would your usage of an OLED TV put you at risk of permanent burn in?
    • No, but OLED is above budget
  • Do you need any legacy connections like composite or component?
    • Need composite for AVR setup menus
  • If using planning to use an internal tuner will you use satellite or free to air?
    • Either
Please rearrange the following, in descending importance:
  1. HDR Picture quality
  2. SDR Picture quality
  3. Smart TV ease of use
  4. Blacks
  5. Value
  6. Cost
  7. Smart TV app selection
  8. Viewing angles
  9. Picture accuracy out of the box (without pro calibration)
  10. Shadow detail
  11. Sound
Models on my shortlist are:
  • Panasonic TX-49GS352B (Freeview Play but not HDR as far as I can tell... single core processor concerns me. Argos have a few left)
  • Sony KDL50WF663BU (HDR but no Freeview Play and no twin-tuner. John Lewis in stock with 5yr warranty)
  • Had also considered the Panasonic TX-58HX800B 4K TV (At top of my budget AND may well make our viewing media look worse than on FHD despite the HCX processor - seemingly good at upscaling. Larger panel. Has Freeview Play. Not sure if it has twin tuners)
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Thanks for filling in the template! It doesn't sound like you'll use HDR at all from your viewing. Maybe occasionally from prime, but Netflix standard plan is HD and SDR only.

I think you may have to consider an UHD model if you want both good viewing angles and Freeview Play. The 50" Sony and 58" Panasonic you picked out has narrow viewing angles, whilst the 49" Panasonic is a Vestel rebadge and despite having Freeview play is best avoided.

I'd go for a Sony model using an IPS panel for the better viewing angles; 49XH8196/49XH8096 (same TVs) or the 55XH8196/55XH8096 (same TVs, larger sizes). These will also be a fair bit better at fighting glare than your Plasma TV.

The downside to Sony models is perhaps Android TV, you get lots of flexibility with apps and chromecast built in which is a plus, but navigation won't be as smooth or intuitive as other platforms.
 

bassbikemike

Standard Member
Thanks v much @Dodgexander I'll check out those Sony UHD models. Just how bad is the image degradation at 30-40 degrees on those sets you mentioned. I'm curious. Never witnessed /experienced it. Is it a complete show stopper unless viewing straight on? Are you aware of a useful representative image/video-based on the web?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Really depends on the person, some people don't notice or care about it, some people can't use those TVs more than dead-centre.

Best thing would be to visit a store when its safe to do so and see if they can put some regular, non demo material on the TV so you can see how a VA panel looks at that angle.

If you look at this article you can see some examples of how the different panel types can look at an angle: Viewing Angle of TVs

TVs with narrow viewing angles are using VA type. Commonly 50 and 58" sizes. Whilst IPS is the type with better viewing angles and sold more commonly 49" and 55" in your price range. There are some exceptions, but that's the general rule.
 

bassbikemike

Standard Member
Also obviously FHD TVs are slim pickings now, but are there any options I've missed. Wondering about 2nd hand although there's nothing that isn't in a bad state or overpriced on the likes of eBay at the moment
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
If you can find a HD Sony models still at 49" (not 50") it will have wide viewing angles. It will lack Freeview play probably though. I think they have Youview instead. I think the last ones they made were WD, D being a 2016 model.

The last 49" LGs with wide viewing angles are the 49" version of the TV you already own.

Otherwise its a choice of Vestel rebadges or narrow viewing angles.

Going further back than those there are certainly going to be lots of LGs and Sony's using IPS panels. Usually 49" and 55" models, but sometimes some are VA, so it does depend model to model. A last generation 2013 Plasma TV would also be very good, better than any HD LCD TV you can buy today.
 

bassbikemike

Standard Member
I'm not really familiar with Vestel either. It's obviously a budget producer but are sets made by them inferior? Are they Vestel desinged or just Vestel assembled? That Panasonic I've short listed seems to have good reviews from what I can see
 

vickster

Distinguished Member
Have you looked in the classifieds for second hand? Maybe try a wanted ad, people are always upgrading
 

bassbikemike

Standard Member
If you can find a HD Sony models still at 49" (not 50") it will have wide viewing angles. It will lack Freeview play probably though. I think they have Youview instead. I think the last ones they made were WD, D being a 2016 model.

The last 49" LGs with wide viewing angles are the 49" version of the TV you already own.

Otherwise its a choice of Vestel rebadges or narrow viewing angles.

Going further back than those there are certainly going to be lots of LGs and Sony's using IPS panels. Usually 49" and 55" models, but sometimes some are VA, so it does depend model to model. A last generation 2013 Plasma TV would also be very good, better than any HD LCD TV you can buy today.
Thanks again. Some good food for thought
 

vickster

Distinguished Member
Hence suggesting a wanted ad :)
 

bassbikemike

Standard Member
Quick update... I bought the Sony kdl50wf663bu...

Tried my local independent electrical retailer, who had a Sony kdl50wf663bu on their website, but when I called they said they were awaiting stock. I'd mentioned I wanted one straight away to get it before Christmas. Despite this he was very helpful, agreed that the FHD would be better for my needs and assured me that the viewing any on this particular VA panel was very good.

So I threw the dice and picked one up from John Lewis - still listed here.

Very pleased with it. Considerable upgrade in screen real estate over my 42" plasma of course. Images have a bi more vibrancy and pop too... it's definitely a lot brighter than the old plasma. HD material looks great and SD not too bad either.

If you're like me and have virtually no 4K sources, then the Sony WF663 is a bargain, complete with Freeview Play, which is nice to use. We watch mostly HD broadcast, standard Netflix and the odd DVD and Blu-ray. And the max size panel for our room is a 55" so the 4K resolution improvement at our viewing distance of 3.6m would not be discernible, so not worth paying the premium for the tech or any of the media!

I scoured the 2nd hand market for suitable options as per previous discussion, but nothing suitable was available anywhere nearby to get resolved before Christmas. Also while a final-edition Plasma from 2013 may be better than the WF663, at the end of a day it's still a 7 year old set and to some extent therefore on borrowed time.

Thanks very much for everyone's help. Hopefully this thread may be useful to someone else.
 

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