Please help me upgrade from 8-year old TV to a new 55" TV (later switched to looking for 48-50")

ozaz

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I'd very much appreciate some help. Have been reading some guides and reviews, but struggling to make a decision.
Please see below to my answers to most of the questions from the advice template

What's your budget and size requirements?

I want a 55” set. The most I will consider spending is £1200, although I don’t yet know if I want to spend this much as I’m not sure it’s worth it given my viewing habits (see later). Am interested in exploring options from £500 to £1200.

Which external devices do you plan to connect to the TV?

Sonos Beam soundbar, Virgin Media box, Roku streaming stick, Chromecast.

What content will you watch on the TV?

The TV will be in a living room and will be used for general purpose viewing. Most (90%) of the viewing will be UK terrestrial freeview TV through rooftop aerial, UK catch up apps (e.g. BBC iPlayer) and Sky Sports via Now TV app. So most of the viewing will be sub-4K content. A movie or show will be watched once or twice a week via a 4K capable service (e.g. Prime Video or Netflix).

The TV won’t be used for gaming.

Situational questions

Currently using an 8-year-old 40” 1080p Samsung TV. I think I paid about £400 to £500 in 2014. Reason for upgrading is to get bigger screen and to start watching some content in 4K.

I’m a set and forget type of person. Don’t want to tinker much and would like a set that doesn’t need much attention/care/monitoring.

Seating: There’s a 2-seater sofa directly opposite the TV in optimal position. There are also two armchairs approx. 45 deg off-axis. Someone is usually in at least one of these armchairs. I gather viewing angle is seen as a limitation of LCD sets, but no one’s ever complained about viewing angle on my current 2014 set.

When will you use the TV and what kind of lighting will be in your room?

On weekdays most viewing is in the evening. If we’re at home on the weekend, the TV would be on most of the day – usually with sports on during daylight hours and then more varied viewing in the evening.

There are no windows on the wall behind and opposite the TV. About 1.5 m to one side of the TV is a 2 x 2 m window. The other side wall is about 10m from the TV and has a 3m wide patio door. Glare can be an issue in the summer, but we do have blinds.

When watching TV in the evenings we have lights on – either ceilings lights or lamps. When watching a film, we don’t really try to recreate cinema experience by turning off all lights but that might be because we currently have a tiny TV.

Would your usage of an OLED TV put you at risk of permanent burn in?

Not sure. When TV is on for most of the day on weekends, it would often be on a single sports channel for 4-6 hours before changing.

Do you need any legacy connections like composite or component?
No

If using planning to use an internal tuner, will you use satellite or free to air?
Free to air (UK)

Please rearrange the following, in descending importance:

I don’t know know if I can. But I’ve picked out top 5 items from the list in no particular order of importance.

Value
Cost
SDR Picture quality
HDR Picture quality
Viewing angles

The items I’ve left out aren’t particularly important to me.

Tell us your possible pet hates related to TVs, in descending order:

Don't really have pet hates.
I would however like improvement in detail in dark areas compared to my current 2014 set. But don’t need this factor to dominate the choice of new TV.

Extra notes

Given we watch so much sub-4K content (free to air terrestrial TV, UK catch up services, and Now TV streaming) I’m thinking it may be a good idea to look for a TV which does upscaling well. Is there much variation between manufacturers in this regard department? Or maybe I’m overthinking/overemphasising this factor?

I’ve seen some sets at the top of my budget in store, e.g. LG OLED, Samsung Neo QLED. I do think they look amazing. But that’s whilst playing demo video (presumably 4K HDR). But given most of my viewing doesn't involve watching from 4K sources I’m not sure if its worth me going to the top end of my budget (whilst I could afford to, there are always other things the money could be spent on). Would appreciate thoughts on this, as well as recommendations.

As I haven’t yet decided how much I want to spend, I’ve built a bit of a shortlist at different price points from the stuff I've been reading. If you see anything you think is not worth considering at the different price points (or anything else you think is worth me considering), please let me know.

Regular LED LCD up to £700
  • Roku CF630K - £429
  • Philips PUS8807 - £649
Full Array or Mini LED LCD – up to £1,000
  • TCL C835 - £799
  • Samsung QN90B - £999
  • Sony X90K - £929

OLED – up to £1200
  • LG OLED B2 - £1099
  • LG OLED C2 - £1199

Thanks

EDIT - At post 16 I decided to switch to looking for a 48-50" TV instead
 
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Deals are around the corner and you may be able to find good quality OLED TVs like the LG C2 beneath the £1000 figure.

Check out OLED Price Changes and look at mainstream OLEDs like the LG C2, Panasonic LZ980/LZ1000, Philips OLED707/OLED807 and avoid models like the Sony A75KA80K/A90K, LG B2/A2.

If you have to buy now there's the LG CS which is essentially the same as last years LG C1 and Sony A80J which if still available was cheaper, and better than the newer Sony's.

You want of detail close to black, plus good viewing angles means it's useless thinking about an LCD TV instead Imo.

Any of the OLEDs mentioned will serve you well, have good viewing angles and good detail close to black. If you want absolute accuracy look at Panasonic.
 
Deals are around the corner and you may be able to find good quality OLED TVs like the LG C2 beneath the £1000 figure.

Check out OLED Price Changes and look at mainstream OLEDs like the LG C2, Panasonic LZ980/LZ1000, Philips OLED707/OLED807 and avoid models like the Sony A75KA80K/A90K, LG B2/A2.

If you have to buy now there's the LG CS which is essentially the same as last years LG C1 and Sony A80J which if still available was cheaper, and better than the newer Sony's.

You want of detail close to black, plus good viewing angles means it's useless thinking about an LCD TV instead Imo.

Any of the OLEDs mentioned will serve you well, have good viewing angles and good detail close to black. If you want absolute accuracy look at Panasonic.
btw regarding the A80J should all the stock now have WBE panels or is it still a bit of a lottery where you can end up with a WBC panel? I was looking in to it the other day and the only thing I could find for certain was that all the 77" have the WBE.
 
btw regarding the A80J should all the stock now have WBE panels or is it still a bit of a lottery where you can end up with a WBC panel? I was looking in to it the other day and the only thing I could find for certain was that all the 77" have the WBE.
I'm not recommending the 2021 models because I think they will come with EVO panels, they have less aggressive ABL compared to the 2022 models and get brighter too, even without the evo panel.

If you can find a model with an EVO panel then even better, but it seems like QD-OLED has put an end to Sony using the evo's in their OLED TVs, instead opting for that in their higher end A95K.
 
Thanks for responses.

Deals are around the corner and you may be able to find good quality OLED TVs like the LG C2 beneath the £1000 figure.

Check out OLED Price Changes and look at mainstream OLEDs like the LG C2, Panasonic LZ980/LZ1000, Philips OLED707/OLED807 and avoid models like the Sony A75KA80K/A90K, LG B2/A2.

If you have to buy now there's the LG CS which is essentially the same as last years LG C1 and Sony A80J which if still available was cheaper, and better than the newer Sony's.

I will be waiting until Black Friday weekend to make the purchase. Just want to be in a position where I can make a decision when I see the prices.

You want of detail close to black, plus good viewing angles means it's useless thinking about an LCD TV instead Imo.

Although I mentioned I'd like to see an improvement in black levels compared to my 2014 set, I'm not necessarily after optimal performance here. The LCD sets with modern filters I have looked at in store (e.g. QLED) seem significantly better than my 2014 LCD on black levels. Also when I look at LCD screens in stores I personally don’t notice a significant issue with viewing angles up to 45 deg ( the max viewing angle I’d use at home). It’s only when I go to more extreme viewing angles that I see the issue and the superiority of OLED when it comes to viewing angles.

So I would also appreciate some recommendations for LCDs too at lower price points than the recommended OLEDs. Ultimately once I have a shortlist of sets at different price points, I feel I can make decision myself as to how much premium I’m willing to pay to get better quality viewing of 4K HDR content.

The following is what I'm really struggling with ……….

Given we watch so much sub-4K content (free to air terrestrial TV, UK catch up services, and Now TV streaming) I’m thinking it may be a good idea to look for a TV which does upscaling well. Is there much variation between manufacturers in this regard department? Or maybe I’m overthinking/overemphasising this factor?

Is there enough variation between brands and between price points for upscaling performance to be something I should be considering when choosing a 4K set?

I looked at a YouTube trailer at both 1080p and 720p on a couple of 4K sets in store (can't remember the exact models but it was a Samsung and a Sony - both at around £900 price point). 1080p looked fine, but at 720p both sets seemed worse than when viewed on my 2014 1080p set, but maybe this is inevitable?

In the real world, I won't be watching 720p YouTube content, but I will be watching a lot of sports content from Now TV - which is 720p by default (unless you pay extra to upgrade to 1080p). I suspect the 720p Now TV stream is better than YouTube; I don't notice much difference between Now TV 720p and 1080p streams on my 1080p set.
 
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btw regarding the A80J should all the stock now have WBE panels or is it still a bit of a lottery where you can end up with a WBC panel? I was looking in to it the other day and the only thing I could find for certain was that all the 77" have the WBE.
Interesting, does the A80J have versions with the older panels and EVO panels? How did this eventuate? Did they change over to the newer panels in later production runs? Also, is it all sizes that of the A80J that got the WBE panels?

What panel does the A80K & A90K use?
 
So I would also appreciate some recommendations for LCDs too at lower price points than the recommended OLEDs. Ultimately once I have a shortlist of sets at different price points, I feel I can make decision myself as to how much premium I’m willing to pay to get better quality viewing of 4K HDR content.
I would decide on OLED vs LCD first, you are not going to get anywhere by comparing LCD TV's to OLED.

Not to mention all brands have now moved OLED TVs to their flagships, leaving LCD TVs behind.
 
I would decide on OLED vs LCD first, you are not going to get anywhere by comparing LCD TV's to OLED.

I wouldn't say I'm comparing LCD to OLED as such - I'm comparing higher cost to lower cost. If I'm satisfied with a lower cost TV (which happens to be LCD), I'll go for that instead of spending more to get an OLED. This is why I'm asking for some lower cost suggestions than the OLEDs which have been mentioned.

Also, if its important for me to go for a particular manufacturer in order to get good upscaling performance, I might have to get an LCD if their OLED range is outside my price range. I'm more interested in good upscaling performance than having the best possible 4K HDR performance that my budget will allow.
 
Better upscaling comes hand in hand with higher end models. The lower end TVs tend to lack dedicated picture processors, or if they have dedicated ones they aren't as good as the higher end ones. Better upscaling isn't specific to a manufacturer either, a TV that does not have a dedicated picture processor is not going to upscale as good as one that does, even if it's from Samsung or Sony who arguably have the best upscaling software.

The cheapest way to get a TV with good upscaling spending as little money as possible is probably to look at some cheaper Philips LCD TVs which use their P5 processor. These TVs will be unusable when used with HDR.

If you want a compromise between cost, HDR and processing Samsung have the Q80B and Sony the X90K, these will do okay in HDR titles that do not demand much brightness but will have problems in certain titles. There are also cheaper OLEDs with dedicated picture processors such as the Panasonic LZ980, Philips OLED707 and LG CS, all these will have both good upscaling and problem free HDR. Other OLEDs like the LG A2 and B2 have worse processing and are problematic to use with HDR.

HDR is not something that scales linearly like SDR did, most people when shopping for a TV do not place HDR high on their list of priorities because they think it will still be usable if it's displayed poorly on the TV.

The problem is, HDR requires a baseline of minimum specifications to display to an acceptable level, and if a TV does not reach this baseline, the picture will be worse than when using SDR. Sadly, it's automatically enabled, so you get stuck with the bad picture whether you like it or not. Effectively HDR will be broken when displayed on TVs that do not meet this baseline, and there's nothing you can do using the internal apps to fix it.

Another common misconception is that HDR doesn't need to be used with the TV. This is not the case at all. Most 4k content comes bundled with HDR attached.

Hopefully these help you narrow down your choices. I'd heavily recommend staying clear of cheaper TVs:

If you are looking to get optimal value for money beware that 2022 models are still overpriced. Finding a deal on last years model, end of life will potentially get you a lot more value for money. Not sure if it's still available but the Sony A80J OLED featured in my guide here was recently discounted and far better value than anything from 2022 lines.

I didn't mention it originally but if a lot of your viewing is going to still be in HD or SD you may just consider not upgrading at all. Your current TV will display that content sharper than a 4k TV even with the best upscaling, and it would be a mistake to change TV's expecting less than native resolution content to look better compared to a native display.
 
Many thanks - I found that post really helpful.

If you are looking to get optimal value for money beware that 2022 models are still overpriced. Finding a deal on last years model, end of life will potentially get you a lot more value for money. Not sure if it's still available but the Sony A80J OLED featured in my guide here was recently discounted and far better value than anything from 2022 lines.

Do current year models tend to continue to get cheaper in the period between Black Friday and Christmas/New Year sales? I assumed Black Friday would be more or less as cheap as they get until next year.

I will also take a take a look at last year models.
 
I assumed Black Friday would be more or less as cheap as they get until next year.
This assumption is usually correct. Although finding old stock on 2021 models now should make them a lot better value as they are end of life.

BF time is the first time to consider buying a new TV from new product lines, not the absolute best. That would be buying an end of life model at a discount, that usually starts between march and june.
 
Also you may find great prices after Christmas and right before Super Bowl when TV's go on a big sale once again. I also believe that's when they begin to start introducing their new model year.
I plan on upgrading my Samsung Curved 55" TV purchased in 2015 during that sale period. I purchased for a great price and have been well served by this purchase.
I absolutely love the CURVED display. Everyone who's ever been over to watch movies or football has loved this TV. My biggest fear now is finding a new TV I'm going to love as much as I've loved this one. I'm not a gamer. I am a movie buff and watch some NCAA football and the Olympics.
It's my belief you can get too caught up in all the technical details which doesn't really matter much if you're not gaming (which does require more tech details for best picture & refresh rates) and miss out on good deals on TV's which more than suit the needs for movies and standard TV watching (streaming Roku, live broadcast, etc).

Anyways, that's just my 2 cents.
 
It's my belief you can get too caught up in all the technical details which doesn't really matter much if you're not gaming (which does require more tech details for best picture & refresh rates) and miss out on good deals on TV's which more than suit the needs for movies and standard TV watching (streaming Roku, live broadcast, etc).
This is true to a degree but the introduction of HDR being auto enabled with streaming has made that a lot harder. The vast majority of TVs on the market will have a broken picture when using HDR.
 
I have a Philips 55OLED805 which I'm pleased with, very good PQ with the blacks you find with OLED sets. It's no longer made but I see that the 55OLED707 is available and that there is a Black Friday deal today on Amazon for £1,069.
 
Unfortunately I’ve discovered I can’t fit a 55” TV in the space it’s going to occupy (an alcove in the room). So it will have to be 50” max. At this size I’m not really willing to spend more than £800.

I’ve decided to buy one of the following, but haven’t yet made a final decision
  • Sony X90SU (50” version of X90K)
  • Samsung QN90B
  • LG C2 if I decide to go OLED.
All these sets were available for under £800 over Black Friday weekend, so I expect they’ll be available at this price in Xmas sales, if not earlier.
 
It's an easy decision to make imo, only the C2 will get close in quality to it's larger siblings. On the other hand, LCD TVs are a lot more cut down with worse local dimming, poorer brightness and less features.

Sure the 48" C2 does not have the EVO panel the larger TVs have but it's not a big difference like it is with the two LCD TVs.
 
The main things that lead me to consider LCD even at similar price to OLED are….

1) OLED sets at this size point are 48” rather than 50”. I’d rather have the larger size. Incidentally, why do they make OLEDs smaller at this size?

2) I’m more confident in longevity of LCD sets. I’d want the TV to last 6 to 8 years without worrying about burn in.

3) I’m not sure I’ll really benefit from the strengths of OLED: when I look at OLED sets in store, I don’t notice any major difference to the mentioned LCD sets for the type of content I mostly watch (broadcast TV and sports) or at viewing angles for my room (up to 45 deg). It is impressive that picture remains clear at extreme 70-80 deg viewing angles with OLED, but in reality I’ll never need such extreme viewing angles. The manufacturer’s 4K demo content shown on the OLED sets in store does look great, but I would say the same for the two LCD sets I mentioned too.
 
Are you viewing in darker conditions at all?
The main issue with viewing angles with LCD TVs is the poorer light control at an angle, most noticeable in darker conditions and with uniform pictures. This will happen as quickly as 30 degrees off axis on an LCD. Although the Samsung QN90B with its wide viewing angle filter is definitely an improvement over other LCD TVs.

Do not make judgements in the store, you need to choose what's best for your own situation. Viewing in a store will only tell you what was set up best, and how the TVs look in very bright conditions.
 
The viewing angle question is something I forgot to ask in my own thread. It seems that an LCD is the TV to get for my parents due to their viewing habits (sport, news), but they do have a pretty extreme viewing angle that wasn't an issue with the Plasma (kind of forgot about viewing angles due to them having a Plasma). One of them sits in front of the TV, but the other sits off to the side. Will have to try and see what angle it is when I go in the room next. Not really any room to move the couches around in the living room as it's not very big.

What is the ideal viewing angle for an LCD with a VA panel and IPS (I think I read IPS is better for viewing angles?)?
 
Are you viewing in darker conditions at all?
The main issue with viewing angles with LCD TVs is the poorer light control at an angle, most noticeable in darker conditions and with uniform pictures. This will happen as quickly as 30 degrees off axis on an LCD

We never really watch in the dark. I suppose one of the reasons I haven’t yet been sold on viewing angle benefits of OLED is I can sit 60-70 deg off axis from my 2014 LCD TV and personally have no issue with the image. But this is daytime or lights on viewing, and usually a bright image such as sports. I’ll try with lights off and more challenging content.
 
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We never really watch in the dark. I suppose one of the reasons I haven’t yet been sold on viewing angle benefits of OLED is I can sit 60-70 deg off axis from my 2014 LCD TV and personally have no issue with the image. But this is daytime or lights on viewing, and usually a bright image such as sports. I’ll try with lights off and more challenging content.

I just checked viewing in the dark on my 2014 1080p LCD TV.
I watched some bright content and some dark content.

Bright - Football -
Dark1 - Dune 1 -
Dark2 - Dune 2 -

To me, the bright content looks good both straight on and at a 45 deg angle.

The dark content looks terrible even straight on (and the experience of watching this movie is one of the reasons I decided I decided I'd like to upgrade my TV). Lots of (what I gather is called) dirty screen effect. But it looks no worse at 45 deg compared to straight on to my eyes.

Is the drop off in performance at wide viewing angles on LCD sets only visible to TV aficionados and not particularly noticeable to the casual user, or perhaps only noticeable if you have a HDR TV?
 
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Compare the local dimming results of TVs that use VA panel technology to imitate how it will look most accurately in your own room and in dark conditions.
For example, the local dimming test of rtings.com

An example from the new Sony X95K which already includes a wide viewing angle filter improving matters: Sony X95K Review (XR-65X95K, XR-75X95K, XR-85X95K)

Same can be seen on the Samsung QN90B, albeit it a lot better due to its superior wide viewing angle filter:

An example without a wide viewing angle filter:

As you see the picture panned, compared to directly in front you will notice black levels get raised a lot and the picture quality degrade.

For reference here is an OLED with no raised black levels:
 
Compare the local dimming results of TVs that use VA panel technology to imitate how it will look most accurately in your own room and in dark conditions.
For example, the local dimming test of rtings.com

An example from the new Sony X95K which already includes a wide viewing angle filter improving matters: Sony X95K Review (XR-65X95K, XR-75X95K, XR-85X95K)

Same can be seen on the Samsung QN90B, albeit it a lot better due to its superior wide viewing angle filter:

An example without a wide viewing angle filter:

As you see the picture panned, compared to directly in front you will notice black levels get raised a lot and the picture quality degrade.

For reference here is an OLED with no raised black levels:

Thanks.

Are those rtings viewing angle tests done in dark conditions?

I can definitely see the bigger drop off for LCD (compared to OLED) at 45 deg in those rtings videos, but I don't really see it in bright conditions in stores at 45 deg. I know you and others say not to judge a TV by what you see in store, but store lighting is more representative of my home viewing conditions than no lighting.
 
Are those rtings viewing angle tests done in dark conditions?
Yes, you may not notice the raised black levels so much on LCD in brighter conditions, but you will still notice colour changes.
 

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