Question Replacing 42" plasma with 49"-55" ... guidance sought

smst

Standard Member
Hi all,

Every time I think it would be nice to upgrade my TV, I get quickly overwhelmed by the huge amount of options! I'm hoping somebody can help me narrow the choices down. I currently have a Panasonic TH-42PX70 (42" plasma, 2007) and I'd like to have something bigger which is also full HD.
  • We generally sit 8-12 feet away from the screen, sometimes a little further.
  • Viewing angles are mostly fairly straight but there are a couple of seating positions which can be up to around 45 degrees off centre. That's not for serious film-watching so it doesn't have to look perfect at those angles -- it's when somebody is sitting at a table instead of on the sofa, and still wants to be able to make things out well enough to enjoy some Saturday night TV.
    • I've read that OLED beats IPS which beats VA for viewing angles, but I've not seen pictures or video of just how the panels look at various angles. It might be that even the worst-at-angles panel is good enough for my needs!
  • Sources are currently all 720p/1080p: Sky HD, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 3 (for Blu-Ray and occasionally DVDs), and various Chromecast-connected sources (Netflix, Plex, iPlayer etc). All through an amp that has HDMI 1.4.
    • Our Internet speed goes no higher than about 20Mbs (long copper lines in a rural area!) so we'd be pushing it to get streaming 4k content for the next few years.
    • We might go for Sky Q at some point but we don't have it yet.
    • I'm not bothered particularly about "smart" features as the Chromecast does that, and I could upgrade to a Chromecast Ultra if necessary.
  • We watch TV and films, and play video games. Very rarely watch sport.
  • Mainly I want to make the screen bigger, and as a bonus a lighter screen could be wall-mounted (which would have various happy knock-on effects).
  • My current TV has been going for nearly 13 years; it occasionally switches itself off or shows source info in the corner permanently, but nothing really horrendous and the picture is good. I'd like my next TV to last a long time too.
  • I really like the idea of Ambilight but have no idea if it will end up feeling like a gimmick I want to switch off. All else being equali(ish) I'd probably go for it; I wouldn't want to make a big sacrifice for it though.
  • Budget is around £500-£750, but I could go up to £1000 if there was a really compelling reason to do so (like, something that ticked every box, was future-proof for many years and would still look great in FHD).
All of which ends up feeling quite inconclusive!

On the subject of UHD: I don't need it now and can't use it, but when I eventually get Sky Q then I'll want a TV that can support it, and I don't really want to fork out twice. But I don't want something which will make FHD look worse!

On the subject of panels: it sounds like OLED is the best (no compromise between viewing angles and colour/contrast) but I've got little idea just how bad something might look from an extreme angle.

And of course the big problem currently is that I can't audition screens thanks to the current health crisis. (That is, it's a "big problem" in the context of this very first-world TV-buying decision. I don't mean it to sound like an entitled whine!)

Some research has led me to think that suitable TVs might include:
  • HiSense B7500
  • Philips "The One" (which I thought was 7304 but possibly also 7394?)
...but honestly I don't know if I've just picked up two random models there amid a sea of possibilities. And I don't know what panel types they are, which sort of doesn't matter as I still don't know which panel type I need!!

Would love to hear some opinions, especially on the issues of panel type and getting a decent FHD picture. And will they look better than my trusty old Panasonic?!

With much confusion and information-overload,
Cheers,
Steve
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I was about to type out what I usually do to people who still are using a lot of non-UHD sources and pipe my usual drivel about how you shouldn't upgrade until you have the sources to back the new TV up.

Well this is true but I also own your TV and I know how far behind it is, its 13-14 years old now and whilst SD material will scale better on it compared to an UHD model, I can't see HD looking less sharp on an UHD model compared to such an old 720p one.

The sweet spot for value is 55" and you view at a good distance for HD content, so I'd definitely recommend given everything you have mentioned to consider a TV like the Philips OLED754/804/854
 

smst

Standard Member

I did read through that actually -- but again, too much choice! (What a problem to have!)

The sweet spot for value is 55" and you view at a good distance for HD content, so I'd definitely recommend given everything you have mentioned to consider a TV like the Philips OLED754/804/854
That's useful, thanks. So you're suggesting the extra cost for OLED will be worth it -- a solid, future-proof TV? I see the 754 is around £1000 and the 804 is around £1200; some brief research leads me to think the differences are fairly minor but the 804 has Android 9 against the 754's Saphi -- what other differences am I not seeing that can explain that difference? (Or is Android that much better than Saphi?).

I'm also reading suggestions on some forums that the 804 may drop in price when the 805 is released (expected in the next couple of months?), which could make it more palatable.

I mentioned Ambilight sounding cool, and perhaps that was a factor in your recommendation; if I was to skip Ambilight and not be constrained to Philips, would you have another recommendation that's a little cheaper? This What Hi-Fi review says "Strong sound and good picture, but you’ll find better OLEDs elsewhere and for less money" -- but doesn't say what!

Thanks for the replies so far.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Each OLED has their pros and cons. Typically LGs are recommended more often than Philips due to the fact their smart TV is better and their HDMI ports are more future proof.

Normally I'd suggest the LG B9 but since you are going to be using the TV with a lot of content that needs to be upscaled (at least for now) you are best waiting for a deal on the C9 instead since the C9 has better upscaling. I also saw you mentioned Ambilight, so a suggestion for the Philips made sense.

The Philips OLED754 has a slightly more powerful picture processor compared to the LG B9 and is around the same price and close to your maximum budget.

The OLED804 (or 854 for that matter) is very similar but has slightly better upscaling again and runs Android TV rather than Philips own Saphi. Android TV isn't so great in terms of easy of use and speed when it comes to smart TV, but it does have things like Chromecast built in which some people really like.

The strengths of Philips OLEDs (or TVs in general) is motion processing and upscaling. The weakness is smart TV.

Strengths of LG are future proofing and smart TV. They are generally better all round TVs.

Sound? Well that isn't anything special until you reach the models that have better built in sound such as the LG E9 or Philips 9 series. There's a comparison I made of all the different ones here: 2019-2020 OLED Comparison

And yes, there's likely to be a good deal pop up on the slightly higher end models, so it's worth tracking pricing over time if you can. I've already seen Costco selling the 804 or maybe it was the 854 (same TV, different design) for near to the same price as the 754 usually sells for so it may happen again..and if it doesn't with the Philips it probably will with another OLED.

All the OLEDs use the same 2019 panels made by LG apart from perhaps the Philips OLED754 which may be using a 2018 one. But that doesn't translate into different picture quality. There's not a big difference between any OLED model but it one bought in 2017 or one bought today...and any differences are mostly in picture processing.

But yes, an OLED definitely is justified, especially if you are shopping for a 55" and not 65" TV where OLED pricing is a lot more competitive with LCD TVs.
 

smst

Standard Member
Thanks, that's super-helpful.

I'm not so bothered about built-in Chromecast I think, as I have a regular Chromecast and can buy an Ultra for 4K. I'm also not that bothered about sound quality as I have an external amp and speakers which have always served me well (HDMI 1.4 is a bit old, but I can upgrade the amp in future).

So I think I'm choosing between the Philips 804 and the LG C9, and am leaning towards the LG. (Philips cheaper and Ambilight a nice-to-have; LG's smart TV quality may end up useful and future-proofing is important to me.)

And yes, there's likely to be a good deal pop up on the slightly higher end models, so it's worth tracking pricing over time if you can. I've already seen Costco selling the 804 or maybe it was the 854 (same TV, different design) for near to the same price as the 754 usually sells for so it may happen again..and if it doesn't with the Philips it probably will with another OLED.

At £1200 and £1300 respectively those TVs are currently outside of my original budget but I've set up PriceSpy alerts so maybe I'll see a reduction. I can be patient for a few weeks I'm sure. You mention Costco but their prices are not available to see without a membership -- do any price trackers include Costco? (If there's a better price tracker than the one I chose in my naivety then I'm happy to receive recommendations on that too!)
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
There won't be any trackers for Costco since you need a membership as you say. You rely on others with a membership to announce deals. OLED Price Changes is a useful thread to follow, sometimes too you see good deals on the hotukdeals website, but sometimes you see bad ones too.

The higher end OLEDs aren't really any better with picture quality, maybe the Panasonic GZ950 has a slight edge. What you pay mostly for as you get to the higher end series is better built in sound.
 

smst

Standard Member
Great idea -- I'll watch that thread. I've also set up some HUKD alerts just in case (but will compare them to the base line on the PriceSpy graph). I see Richer Sounds are currently selling in a bundle with a full-motion bracket which looks useful as I'll need one. Just going to wait a bit now and pounce...

Thanks again for the advice. I'll report back when I bite (assuming I don't miss the boat / suddenly find my budget has disappeared). Cheers.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Great idea -- I'll watch that thread. I've also set up some HUKD alerts just in case (but will compare them to the base line on the PriceSpy graph). I see Richer Sounds are currently selling in a bundle with a full-motion bracket which looks useful as I'll need one. Just going to wait a bit now and pounce...

Thanks again for the advice. I'll report back when I bite (assuming I don't miss the boat / suddenly find my budget has disappeared). Cheers.

Promising sign for the 55" model to see a similar kind of reduction if you aren't interested in the 65.
 
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smst

Standard Member
65" definitely too big for my TV alcove, sadly! Thanks for remembering me -- if you see the 55" drop I'd be pleased to hear it... Am I right that Costco's warranty is 5 years whereas Richer Sounds is 6, by the way?
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
65" definitely too big for my TV alcove, sadly! Thanks for remembering me -- if you see the 55" drop I'd be pleased to hear it... Am I right that Costco's warranty is 5 years whereas Richer Sounds is 6, by the way?
Yes, and you have to remain a member for the warranty.
Richer is 5, but you become a VIP club member for 6.
 

Matt

Active Member
Thank you for posting this thread as its pretty much exactly the same situation as me, trust 720p Plasma that i feel could be updated. Now just like you its a case of waiting for the right price.

The tricky thing is to ensure that the WAF of existing SD and Sky HD still looks good whilst i sort out faster broadband for 4K streaming so the C9 looks like that might fit the bill.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
The tricky thing is to ensure that the WAF of existing SD and Sky HD still looks good whilst i sort out faster broadband for 4K streaming so the C9 looks like that might fit the bill.
I wouldn't worry about that. Without looking for imperfections they won't find them.
 

smst

Standard Member
LG 55" C9 now at £1,279 in a few places, or £1,359 with a bracket from Richer Sounds (which also has the £1,279 standalone price). Not quite where I want it to be but moving downwards!

I'm not sure if £80 for the bracket is a good price or not -- it sounds like a lot, but then it is doing a pretty important job and I can be sure it fits the TV I suppose...
 
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Nosillom

Standard Member
C9 was in Costco today for £1259.98 including vat. Instore only until April 14th. Like you said though, RS dropped theirs to £1279 stand alone today.
 

smst

Standard Member
I've gone for the LG C9 at £1,199 (Currys and Richer Sounds are both offering this if you use their £100 discount codes). Also added a Sanus VMF720 full-motion bracket at 10% off when bought with a TV (which worked out at £1 better than buying the TV+bracket bundle -- well, £101 better as the discount code didn't work on the bundle!).

Looking forward to reporting back with my delight at the new TV in a week or two. Cheers for the advice.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
I've gone for the LG C9 at £1,199 (Currys and Richer Sounds are both offering this if you use their £100 discount codes). Also added a Sanus VMF720 full-motion bracket at 10% off when bought with a TV (which worked out at £1 better than buying the TV+bracket bundle -- well, £101 better as the discount code didn't work on the bundle!).

Looking forward to reporting back with my delight at the new TV in a week or two. Cheers for the advice.

excellent price for a terrific tv, enjoy!
 

Nosillom

Standard Member
I've gone for the LG C9 at £1,199 (Currys and Richer Sounds are both offering this if you use their £100 discount codes). Also added a Sanus VMF720 full-motion bracket at 10% off when bought with a TV (which worked out at £1 better than buying the TV+bracket bundle -- well, £101 better as the discount code didn't work on the bundle!).

Looking forward to reporting back with my delight at the new TV in a week or two. Cheers for the advice.

Congratulations, I’m looking at the B9. Did you bother with a soundbar?
 

smst

Standard Member
Finally got my 55" C9 installed at the weekend and am enjoying it very much. I wasn't too bothered about smart features as I have a Chromecast already, but I must say the increase in usability is really noticeable! Using the amp wasn't as convenient as hoped (I have it on HDMI2 (ARC) so I can feed additional HDMI devices to the TV, but I can't get the sound to return on it so I've had to use an extra optical cable -- and the magic remote doesn't support amp volume control if any other device is active), but the picture is bigger and better. I've disabled TruMotion which seems to have made things look better than they did at first, too.

Thanks again for the advice!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Finally got my 55" C9 installed at the weekend and am enjoying it very much. I wasn't too bothered about smart features as I have a Chromecast already, but I must say the increase in usability is really noticeable! Using the amp wasn't as convenient as hoped (I have it on HDMI2 (ARC) so I can feed additional HDMI devices to the TV, but I can't get the sound to return on it so I've had to use an extra optical cable -- and the magic remote doesn't support amp volume control if any other device is active), but the picture is bigger and better. I've disabled TruMotion which seems to have made things look better than they did at first, too.

Thanks again for the advice!
Glad you are happy with the TV!

The TV should be able to send Dolby Digital/DTS back to the Amp but depending on the amp may not support sending back Dolby Digital Plus via HDMI which may be your problem. Many streaming apps use Dolby Digital plus.

There's usually a setting in the TVs options to decide what audio format to send back to your receiver, you may find one setting works better than another.

The TV is equipped with eARC and support for Dolby Atmos audio, so if you were to consider updating your amp to a model that supported both these features you could switch HD audio through the TV and also take advantage of new object oriented audio also. With Atmos though you'd need to think about either ceiling speakers or height speakers or the types that bounce the sound of the ceiling :)
 

smst

Standard Member
This was happening for all sources including Freeview, so the incoming audio was presumably bog-standard. And it did work for a while and I'm not sure what changed! I've posted a note in the C9 owners' thread though in case others have seen it -- thanks for the ideas though. (No new amp for me now that I've blown it all on a TV! :D )
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Ah okay. Well Freeview normally uses PCM audio, not Dolby. Some channels use Dolby Stereo with certain programming and some use 5.1 Dolby with films/TV. I think the BBC use 5.1 DD with shows like Eastenders.

You didn't have the optical connection plugged in at the same time as HDMI did you? That will downgrade any sound to stereo for copy protection.

HDMI ARC can be really finicky, it's worth turning HDMI CEC off completely at both sides (AVR and TV). Then powering off the devices at the wall for a min before turning back on and setting it up again.

Cables can sometimes be at fault too, with some cables giving issues others don't.

I remember with my own TV to get it working I had to turn off HDMI CEC on both TV and AVR, then power off for a minute at the wall. I used a different HDMI cable rather than the new Amazon basic ones and after setting it up it just worked. Then when I swapped back to the new cable it still worked despite not working before. Go figure!
 

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