Searching for a decent 32" - any suggestions?

Jason P

Active Member
Hi all,

I'm on the search for a decent 32" set. It's the perfect size and weight (we don't have a TV on display all the time, pulling it out when we want to watch) so no bigger. My current Toshiba 32" is on the fritz and going back to Costco (praise be for their warranty!) but I can't seem to find a decent replacement! Requirements are good apps - Netflix, Amazon Prime and iPlayer are must haves (the Tosh is OK in this regard but the OS is buggy and laggy), a reasonable picture (the Tosh is surprisingly good here) and audio output/headphones jack.

Is there ANYTHING on the market that fits be bill? 1080 preferred as we view from 6'away.

Thank you!!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
32 inchers are all bottom barrel quality nowadays but you can buy from brand like LG that still make their own TVs, like this:

Toshiba TVs are made by Vestel now, and will generally be very bad quality, even worse possibly than other TVs at this size.
 

vickster

Distinguished Member
Like the above with 6 year warranty

I have one in my bedroom, perfect for the uses
 

Boostrail

Distinguished Member
I have very recently gone through this 32" conundrum for a replacement Kitchen TV and got the LG LM6300 at a giveaway price from Richer Sounds. Most assumptions appear to be that the 32LM6370 is identical just with a 2021 type number.

I initially set up this TV in my mancave and after some considerable tweaking of settings got a reasonable picture on freeview which would be the source in the Kitchen. However even broadcast HD SDR is no match for the rendition I get on my Sony XH9505 I bought for the lounge in April this year. In particular it lacks the crispness in HD that even my 2 other older LG sets give?

Today was able to mount this TV on the wall in the kitchen with assistance of visiting son. Unfortunately other problems appeared. Sound is awful with commentary on Olympic Games coverage deafening even at volume setting of 10/100! Far to high a volume at higher frequencies. Have been trying to find a graphic equaliser but to no avail. This is surprising as for its size it has 2 significant speakers in the base hence its high thickness relevant to other models.

Other problem was high reflections:- Wife's first comment after first viewing new TV wall mounted in Kitchen was " well I can see a reflection of dinner cooking in the oven" rather than the Olympic coverage.
 

Luminance Leon

Standard Member
We're trying to decide between 2019 LG 32LM6300PLA ( or 2021 LG 32LM6370PLA - same thing?) ~£250 or a 2016 Sony Bravia KDL 32WD751 or KDL32KD756 ~£330.

Both are HD 1920 x 1080 32" IPS as far as I can tell. The Sony says that it'd edge lit, which should be inferior to the LG being direct lit. What is clear from reviews that the Sony 'smart' features are outdated and aren't being improved with firmware updates, so there's that.
The Sony was a more expensive model (~£400+ originally?) and is older, whilst the LG are the price they are around £250.

In terms of which is actually the better TV to watch Freeview broadcast TV on, we aren't sure.
There are a few videos showing the viewing angles on the LG and they are fine. It's not HDR no matter how they want to market it, the blacks aren't black-black but are probably just fine.

I know that most folks who want a TV would argue that paying more for an older model with a less than full smart setup is just daft. But ultimately it's for someone in our family who'll use it as a TV, and maybe watch DVDs and SD recorded stuff using a Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder (that does good FHD upscaling itself).
 

Luminance Leon

Standard Member
...
Far to high a volume at higher frequencies. Have been trying to find a graphic equaliser but to no avail. This is surprising as for its size it has 2 significant speakers in the base hence its high thickness relevant to other models.
...
In the manual it suggests that normal audio mode should allow the EQ to work. If there is no EQ to fix what is a dodgy sound anyway, that's not good!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Both are HD 1920 x 1080 32" IPS as far as I can tell. The Sony says that it'd edge lit, which should be inferior to the LG being direct lit.
Edge lit versus direct does not make a difference until you hit larger, more expensive models with FALD tech.

There's really not much to compare with TVs at this size. They are all bottom level quality sets, adjust your expectations accordingly.

I'd consider avoiding the Sony since its a 2016 model which is 5 years old now. The LG is at least 2019 and has a more robust smart system. Smart system being the entire TV OS, not only the base for apps..but menus, preferences, navigation etc

Upscaling will be so-so on both. TVs at this size don't have dedicated picture processors, but instead low power bottom of the range integrated chipsets, but it shouldn't matter on a smaller TV. Most people won't view close enough to a 32" to discern HD pixels.
1627316849766.png

If you are wanting to find something that is better, really you need to look at larger models. 48" and higher is where you can start to make valid comparisons with picture quality, and when you start to see mid range TVs. For DVD and TV usage though, it really doesn't matter what you buy...smaller for less noticeable upscaling may be better.
 

Luminance Leon

Standard Member
I appreciate that this size is not a concern for manufacturers due to the market.
That said, a 14" 4:3 CRT could still be compared to another 14" 4:3 CRT back in the day. Some would have more curved screens than others, and whilst they'd all be of a similar sharpness at a given viewing distance, some would have starkly better colour and contrast than another - and one could not get the worse one to look as good as the other.

Fast forward to 22" LCD being the new 14" CRT, and even more things matter. From some side-by-side comparison videos I've seen some Samsung/TCL/Hisense had shocking colour shifts off axis awful for anyone not in the 15° to the left or right of the screen - sorry armchair viewer, the TV only looks OK from the sofa. Contrast, or rather black point and white point differs a fair bit too. Crushing shadow detail into a murky charcoal slab that looks like a low bitrate DiVX isn't particularly pleasing, but is noticeable on a 22" or a 32" or a 72".
Ultimate sharpness, and graininess for the most part is mitigated by viewing distance, of course. But a bad interpolation algorithm following by heavy handed halo-inducing sharpens is just unpleasant.

So, there are differences, and quite clear ones at this low size level. Whilst there won't be OLED or any fancy pants tech coming to this size, there are still valid concerns.

Without trying to be disrespectful it's a bit like saying all small cars, Classes A (city car) and B (super mini) are much the same quality and can't really be told apart. Yeah, maybe on a racetrack they all suck bad, understeer like crazy and produce lap times a few seconds different from each other but still minutes worse than class C compact cars. Maybe their interiors are all plastic too. But there are certainly differences.

I also appreciate that's it's not glamourous reviewing small / inexpensive stuff. Reviewers love to get to play with expensive stuff they couldn't afford themselves or huge stuff they have no place in their own homes for - The 'HiFi' community is a good example of this.

As the TV is not for me, but a less tech savvy family member, it makes it harder to offer any help.
Me personally, I'd go for the LG because (a) I've seen the LG in reviews (b) the software looks a lot less worse (c) the guide displays the current TV channel in a small window (d) it's a lot cheaper.
But they aren't so fussed about b, c or d, they just want the best looking and sounding TV that'll fit their space, and at a not mickey taking price.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Fast forward to 22" LCD being the new 14" CRT, and even more things matter. From some side-by-side comparison videos I've seen some Samsung/TCL/Hisense had shocking colour shifts off axis awful for anyone not in the 15° to the left or right of the screen - sorry armchair viewer, the TV only looks OK from the sofa. Contrast, or rather black point and white point differs a fair bit too. Crushing shadow detail into a murky charcoal slab that looks like a low bitrate DiVX isn't particularly pleasing, but is noticeable on a 22" or a 32" or a 72".
Ultimate sharpness, and graininess for the most part is mitigated by viewing distance, of course. But a bad interpolation algorithm following by heavy handed halo-inducing sharpens is just unpleasant.
The colour shift is down to the panel type used usually. Samsung/TCL/Hisense models tend to use VA panels, whilst others like Sony and LG use IPS type. IPS is the older technology, and is more suited to people who watch the TV from a variety of angles. The problem is though, there can be good and bad IPS in terms of viewing angles. Those that have good viewing angles tend to have worse contrast, or anti glare properties...and those with better contrast tend to have worse viewing angles, but better anti glare properties. Typically LG fall into the latter category, whilst Sony in the former. However at small sizes there's really so little information available (through lack of reviews) its impossible to know if these same traits are followed by their 32" models. Especially when they are only releasing these models every few years, rather than each year like their larger ranges.

VA panels however are a more modern type of panel which is suited mainly for direct in-front viewing. But it has better contrast and better blacks than IPS, which especially makes for better viewing in dark enviroments. Sadly finding which TVs use which panel type is hard, a lot of companies like Samsung/TCL/Hisense who typically use VA panels have started using IPS on some of their range, so you really don't know what you're buying into.

If test information was available on 32" models from reviews (like with larger TVs) I'd also add them to my best buy guide, but I can't because there's just not enough info. All I do know is these models are very bottom level quality, and since there already is very little difference between the performance of even 43 inchers and many 50" TVs too these 32" differences, at a lower cost will be even less.
Without trying to be disrespectful it's a bit like saying all small cars, Classes A (city car) and B (super mini) are much the same quality and can't really be told apart. Yeah, maybe on a racetrack they all suck bad, understeer like crazy and produce lap times a few seconds different from each other but still minutes worse than class C compact cars. Maybe their interiors are all plastic too. But there are certainly differences.
To keep with this analogy its more like expecting Class A and B to be overtly different when all you are doing is taking a 5 minute drive to the local shop. Any TV you buy today is more than capable at displaying basic freeview TV to a decent standard, which is why they no longer make higher models at smaller sizes. The difference nowadays between a high and low quality LCD TV is mostly down to its ability to display HDR content, which is the next step to achieve better picture quality. For some years now even bottom range TVs exceed levels of colour coverage needed for SDR pictures...and sadly whilst colour accuracy can still be hit or miss on some TVs, its impossible to know which is better on small TVs because there's next to no reviews.
I also appreciate that's it's not glamourous reviewing small / inexpensive stuff. Reviewers love to get to play with expensive stuff they couldn't afford themselves or huge stuff they have no place in their own homes for - The 'HiFi' community is a good example of this.

As the TV is not for me, but a less tech savvy family member, it makes it harder to offer any help.
Me personally, I'd go for the LG because (a) I've seen the LG in reviews (b) the software looks a lot less worse (c) the guide displays the current TV channel in a small window (d) it's a lot cheaper.
But they aren't so fussed about b, c or d, they just want the best looking and sounding TV that'll fit their space, and at a not mickey taking price.
I don't personally agree with it. I would like there to be quality options at all sizes. In my opinion there should also be 32" TVs that are as good as larger models at displaying all content. For the most part I believe the manufacturers think those who are buying smaller TVs are only going to be using them for basic watching like broadcast TV, dvds etc so they just don't bring the tech to small sizes. This is true even when you look at 43", and even 50" size sometimes compared to 55" and over.

I think the LG is the better option personally because it at least shares the same type of operating system they fit on their other TVs in 2018- WebOS. Sony's OS they use on their lower end TVs (including some UHD models) is very basic, and is out of date and unloved. They use Android on higher end TVs.

And of course that brings me to the point I often argue to a lot of the time when it comes to even 43" and many 50" models too, when you know you aren't going to be buying into anything fantastic no matter what money you spend, its always better to spend less rather than more. To use the car analogy, every car can get you to the shop safely if your usage is basic..so its really not going to make a huge difference if you use a Ford compared to say; a Kia.

Obviously I want you, and anyone I try and help to be happy with their purchase. So as much as I don't like saying it, keep your expectations low at this size. Things are moving in the right direction slowly at 42"/48" sizes, but it may be some time, if at all that we start to see good quality models at 32". For broadcast TV and DVD watching that's fine, you don't need a top end TV for that. However don't expect the TV to do a very good job streaming modern HDR shows on streaming services and don't expect things like motion or video processing to be top notch.
 
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Boostrail

Distinguished Member
In the manual it suggests that normal audio mode should allow the EQ to work. If there is no EQ to fix what is a dodgy sound anyway, that's not good!
Thanks I had it on music setting as this appeared to be best. As you say there is an EQ available on the Standard setting only. Using this I got more acceptable results but with a crazy profile.
 

Luminance Leon

Standard Member
@Dodgexander Thank you for taking the time to reply.
One can see there definitely are people looking for 32-40" size to fit the space they have available. Sadly not enough of us to drive manufacturers to focus there, whilst many more folks want something bigger, bigger and bigger still. Maybe most people hate their wallpaper :D

Moving away from the low-end price points, of which the LG 32LM6370PLA (or 32LM6300PLA?) seems to be the least worst.

Sony have a KD32W800PU model with HDR (ish) but only 1366x768 resolution. Speakers are 10w total again. The interface is Android and so seems the reason why it's pricier. This is £450.
Some worded customer reviews indicate a reasonable sound.

Sony also have a prohibitively expensive FW-32BZ30J 'Pro' model at £800. It's 4K, which seems pointless for a TV at this size, but probably OK for a close-viewing monitor. It's a PA panel with anti-glare coating.
Looks to me to be a computer monitor with a tuner in it and speakers. I'm sure the same or better could be had by buying a decent computer monitor, a tuner box with HDMI out and a speaker, saving a chunk of cash.

I've noticed that Samsung have a QLED 32" model, 1920x1080 with it's Tizen interface. Very little about it yet, as it's a 2021 model. Audio output seem to be 20w rather than the 10w on the rest of the 32" units. The model is QE32Q50A and, yes, it's £500.

Samsung's 2020 'The Frame' QE32LS03TC is £50 cheaper and seems quite similar in spec terms 1920x1080 QLED, 20w speakers. It has a separate black box that all of the connections including power lead all plug into and then one proprietary cable connects TV to said 'black box'. The bezel is removable and replaceable with different colours.
The VA panel (according to Rtings 55") shows viewing angles to be OK to about 25° maybe 30°, this maybe the same for the 2021 QE32Q50A model above.

It looks like some countries may have a Samsung xxxQ60A model in 32" variant. Apparently this may come along at some point over here.

I wonder if the local Samsung store will get them in (if not already there) and be able to demo them? The photo of the store on Samsung's site makes the place look like a glossy phone shop, but they might be more useful than that.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I'll try to give a few notes about your findings, if I don't I fear I'll ramble on into a confusing wall of text..
  • The Sony W800 seems to be an odd one. Doesn't follow the same model number scheme as their other TVs and is still very expensive for a TV that still runs with very basic specs.
  • The resolution of the TV is not necessarily an indicator it has better picture quality. 720p is plenty for a 32" model at nominal viewing distances, and may even be better at displaying less than HD content. 4k is completely pointless on a 32" unless you are using it for desk computer use.
  • Speaker power has next to nothing to do with audio quality, which on all these TVs will be very poor. A dedicated soundbar, or soundbase is the way to go if you care about sound.
  • Samsung frame models - as with the other sizes, they are terribly overpriced, still a low tier model. Even in the US where the Q50A/Q60A are available, they are overpriced and bad choices compared to cheaper 32" models that share similar caveats.
  • FW-32BZ30J is a professional display, it has no TV tuner or smart system. Its the kind of display used at train stations or estate agents.
  • Sadly different panels can be fitted at different sizes, so if you read a review for the 55" version using a VA panel, that is not necessarily true of the 32" model.
  • VA panels themselves have narrow viewing angles compared to IPS. Its only when comparing TN computer monitors where VA has improved viewing angles. If you are looking for a TV that uses a VA panel, you must plan to view directly in front.
  • HDR label on a TV without around 1000 nits peak brightness + good local dimming is actually a negative, not positive. It means the TV can accept a HDR signal, but it won't be able to display it without problems due to these caveats. Its not until you reach 49" that there's one or two models that meet this spec.
All of these TVs that appear on the outside to be 'higher end' are not higher end at all, they are still low spec TVs that carry the same limitation as most other 32" models. Hence my mantra to spend less, rather than more. You won't need to spend any more than £250 on a 32" TV to view Freeview/DVDs anyway.

My advice would be to consider keeping what they have if they are currently using a TV, or if not possible go for cheap, rather than expensive. If you can possibly in the future consider a larger TV with a shuffle of furniture it won't be long until there are 42" OLED TVs, which will take smaller TVs to the next level.

Some background info in case you're interested. I'm not an industry expert, just an enthusiast. Each year I make best buy guides for TVs (latest: New My best value TVs, 2020-2021 Edition) where I scour the market and try and fish out the best reviewed TVs, the best known specs and to try and pass on that info to users.
I've been doing these guides since 2017, and learnt that its well before then that higher end TVs were made available at smaller sizes. Because of the neglect by the manufacturers of smaller TVs, I'm considering not even mentioning 40/43" models in my next guide, because I honestly think there's next to no value in buying them today, for future proofing and modern day sources.

Probably when the 42" OLEDs are made available that will change, but for now it is what is and I personally wouldn't bother going through the trouble of finding the impossible. The market is bad at 40/43", let alone 32".
 
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Luminance Leon

Standard Member
@Dodgexander Again, I appreciate your input.

After spending the rest of the afternoon looking through and re-reading umpteen bits of information, it's sad to say but I think I am reaching the same conclusion as you. There just aren't any 'decent' TVs in this size range.
How I missed that that expensive Sony wasn't a monitor I don't know, sorry about that.

For my family, they are still quite happy with their 28" Sony WEGA Trinitron CRT. The Goodmans digibox was playing up and thought to be dead, but it's started working again. They have a Panasonic DVD-R/HDD unit which can be used as their Freeview tuner if the digibox dies.
I'd have picked up a replacement digibox, but knowing how the image looked soft and grainy when not using RGB over SCART (only one SCART is RGB on the TV), I don't think they'd be too happy with a digibox with 3.5mm TRRS A/V (composite) out.

After measuring the size of the room and looking at layouts, even a 43" is a bit of an overly large size for them. 36" would have been ideal for the largest size they'd want to go. Alas.

Judging from what few reviews I've seen a VA panel is not going to work in their room space layout, not unless it's got an oddly wide viewing angle for the type (~35°). I read Panasonic have narrower viewing than most. So that LG with it's IPS panel and wider angle viewing looks more and more promising.

Bottom line at these sizes is "good enough" / "it'll do" / "least worse". A shame, but that's what it is.
 

Jason P

Active Member
Thanks all for the information @Dodgexander. It's so frustrating - I'm a video editor/colourist by trade so half decent imagery is important to me, but good though our current stand in is (Panny 42"GT60 Plasma, my old client grading reference monitor) it's simply too big for our room and too heavy to plonk down the side of the sofa when not in use. I guess I'll keep on looking, maybe some enlightened manufacturer will hear our cries and release something decent.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Thanks all for the information @Dodgexander. It's so frustrating - I'm a video editor/colourist by trade so half decent imagery is important to me, but good though our current stand in is (Panny 42"GT60 Plasma, my old client grading reference monitor) it's simply too big for our room and too heavy to plonk down the side of the sofa when not in use. I guess I'll keep on looking, maybe some enlightened manufacturer will hear our cries and release something decent.
If money is no object then there are professional 32" monitors which can deliver on the image quality, pair them with speakers and a media set top box (e.g. FireTV).

Asus PG32UQX 4k LCD with 1152-zone Mini LED backlight and 1230 cd/m² sustained brightness in HDR mode, one of the best HDR displays in this form factor but the price is an eye watering £3800.

LG 32EP950 is 4K OLED, doesn't get as bright as TV OLED's but image quality in 32" form factor is hard to match, price is also very high £3000+.

PC monitors info has some recommendations for monitor movie usage, the prices on those will be a bit more acceptable, for example the 32" VA panel Philips 328E1CA is only around £400.
 

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