Spec me a 43" 4K TV - Would be used for mixed Gaming, Media Consumption

alexrose1uk

Active Member
Hi Guys
Really hoping you can help provide me some suggestions. Due to some equipment failing; I am in the market for a new bedroom TV, that I would like to buy in the near future, as the failing equipment is starting to really irritate my wife. It will be used for mixed media consumption and gaming. Unfortunately, due to the area this will be mounted on, I cannot go for anything larger, or I would have bought the 48" LG CX OLED I saw on offer in Costco earlier today; but it was just a bit too large 😥 (roughly 3cm width), and thus is a no go. (Which is a real shame as it absolutely ticked every single box...)

I realise from a quick read around that 43" seems very much to now be a bit of a 'runt' in terms of specifications and quality; but I am looking for the best of a bad bunch. I do not mind paying a reasonable amount to get the best of the bunch, but at the same time, I do not want to go crazy as I'd like to save some money towards upgrading my living room TV in the next year or so; so £500-800 is fine if it is worthwhile, but ideally £500.

The main viewing position will be from the bed, this is directly facing the TV, so viewing angles horizontally are not a major concern. We also have blackout blinds if needed, so maximum brightness is not a concern.

Requirements:
43" ONLY, 48"+ do not fit the area the screen will be mounted
4x HDMI
I will only buy from somewhere that has good, 5 year+ warranty support; Richer Sounds, John Lewis, Costco etc. I won't buy from the likes of Amazon or Currys.

Would really like to have:
HDMI 2.1/120Hz
E-ARC

Nice to have:
HDMI connectivity on the bottom or right hand side of the screen, rather than left.

I had looked at the Sony 43XH8196 as I have always liked Sony's image processing, the price was ok (~450) however I was a bit put off by the fact it was edge-lit and does not support HDMI2.1 features at all.
I also looked at this year's 43X89JU, but at £720, it seemed expensive for it's size, I read reports about software quirks, Sony has a bad tendency to require you to buy wall mounting kits rather than being ready to go out the box and I understand Sony has STILL not got it's act together in regards to VRR. It does however have 120Hz and 2x HDMI 2.1 ports, and I realise this is already about £150 below RRP/everywhere else though, so it's not a BAD deal (for now) and is on my radar.

I also looked at the Philips 43PUS7906, 8556 etc as these seemed to tick a lot of my boxes, at a more reasonable £450-680, Ambilight can be quite nice, and also have 2 of the 4 HDMI as 2.1 with 4K120/VRR/ALLM support; BUT I hear that potentially Philips has some major firmware bugs at the moment. (Update: 43" models are apparently not 120Hz so avoiding now)

Currently I am leaning towards the Sony X89JU (Image processing) @720 from Costco, maybe 710 if RS pricematch or the Philips 8556 (Ambilight, Dolby Vision AND HDR10+), at 679 from RS but I am not sure.


Thoughts and suggestions REALLY appreciated.
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
I think the Sony X85J/X89J (or whatever numbers they sell these TVs at now) are the only ones that fulfill your requirements.

They are however obtrusively expensive for what they are and they still carry the downsides of much cheaper TVs...for example HDR support is next to useless on smaller TVs, even ones that have support for multiple formats They accept the signal, but can't display it without issues. So expect to treat the TV strictly for SDR only.

Talking specifically about the 120hz Sony's, they are also using IPS panels at 43" rather than VA.

In all honesty It would be much more sensible for you to buy cheap for now, and spend more money when you can get a bigger TV. Whilst its true you'll have to spend more anyway to get a smaller TV with 4x HDMI it really shouldn't be that you have to pay the same price, or even more than a high tier TV at larger sizes.
42" OLEDs should also be a thing in the future, which will change the bottom end of the market a bit.

You have to be careful when shopping for TVs that use VRR too, its next to useless if the TV is 60hz model like the Philips ones you mention.
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
Unfortunately in this room there will never be room for a bigger TV due to the mounting wall, so I am limited to 43" at most (well realistically probably around 46" but they don't do those anymore). Really sucks, and was very close to being able to fit the 48" OLED but it's just a little bit too big.

The Philips 8556 (2021 model) is explicitly mentioned as supporting [email protected], and not 60hz only?

I wouldn't consider the Sony at the £900 price, I'd rather have bought the 48" OLED and risked the wrath of wife, but will consider it for 700 RS/Costco, if it's the best thing I can get for this size.

If it wasn't for equipment failure, I'd have held out for the 42" OLEDs but alas this isn't an option, I need to move fairly quickly as the wife is now getting irritated :)

So far the Sony 89 and the Phillips 8556 are the leaders, they're more expensive than I'd like but at least they both support 120Hz and HDMI 2.1 across multiple ports. I suspect the Sony would have better processing, but ambilight would please the wife!
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
The Philips 8556 (2021 model) is explicitly mentioned as supporting [email protected], and not 60hz only?
It uses a 60hz panel. You can see here: Buy the Philips Performance Series 4K UHD LED Android TV 43PUS8556/12 4K UHD LED Android TV so either its like Samsung models that accept 120hz, but only show 60. Or its only larger sizes that use 120hz.
I wouldn't consider the Sony at the £900 price, I'd rather have bought the 48" OLED and risked the wrath of wife, but will consider it for 700 RS/Costco, if it's the best thing I can get for this size.
MSRP of TVs are delibrately inflated on release, so they look good later on when discounts come. The price of the TV is not good at all. You are still essentially throwing money away. Not only are TVs like this overpriced (because its rare to find 120hz on smaller TVs) they also do things worse than much cheaper options. To use an example, you could pick up a £300 Hisense A series that will have better contrast and blacks than the Sony due to the Sony using an IPS panel.

Of course, IPS has its advantages, but you should read about panel types here:

If I were you I'd buy a cheap TV and go for 4k 60 gaming for now. Upgrade later when hopefully the new OLEDs are out, lets hope that when they are they are using 120hz panels like with the larger sizes.

If you want ambilight best ignore over-paying for new stock like the 8556, go for 2020 models with a 5 suffix instead and save some money like this:
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
Thank you for highlighting on the Philips. I had read it was 4k120hz panel, so if it is in actuality 60Hz that accepts 120Hz(?) that immediately puts me off.

Unfortunately my wife doesn't subscribe to the buy cheap now upgrade later mentality, what I buy now will be what I am stuck with in this room essentially until it dies or begins failing, so I would rather pay a little over the odds and get a set I can live with or don't feel immediately frustrated by, than going for a hefty compromise and feeling frustrated rapidly. A 42/43" OLED would have been ideal but as they aren't on the market yet, it's not an option :(

I am well aware sets release very heavily overpriced, like I say I don't think the Sony is worth 900 at all. I don't really think it's worth 700 either and closer to the 500 the 8196 model was going for, but if it'd the best of a bad set of options, that is essentially what I'm paying for; the least compromises. Additionally I want to make sure I get the warranty period which further reduces the retailers I can go for.

I am aware of the differences in panel type already, I have used both IPS and VA in the past (as well as TN and Plasma), and have seen good and bad examples of both, so I will definately be trying to do some in person visits to see any screen I look at, and not just look at the spec list. The Sony's I've seen using IPS tended to be among the better examples so I'm hopeful but do have to to view it. :) I'd like to think one of the things I'd be paying for with a Sony is better panel QC.

I did actually look at the Hisense 6 series I saw in Costco, but it was unsuitable as it didn't have enough connectivity built in, and this is something I have to cover.
If it'd had 4 HDMI built in I'd probably have gone for it and accepted the compromises because it was so cheap, but unfortunately higher end ones at 43 were not available in that store.

Kinda why I am stuck, as I really am looking for the best of a bad bunch as I will be stuck with it for some time. I'd imagine most sets will be better than a 5+ yr old Samsung with dead pixels at this point too!
I did consider pushing the wife to wait until Black Friday but the last couple of years have felt pretty disappointing to me!

Hoping to pop into JL and RS this weekend and see what they have in person.

If I was to go for a lower set for mixed usage, what would be YOUR current recommendation with 4 HDMI?
 
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vickster

Distinguished Member
Can you add an HDMI splitter if the TV you want doesn’t have enough ports?
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
Unfortunately not. Was an option I heavily considered (and pretty sure I already have one SOMEWHERE); but discounted as it won't be wife friendly enough; she likes simple, aesthetic and minimal, and will hold me to that if I am buying new. Unfortunately a HDMI splitter she cannot control from the remote will not please her, so realistically 4 HDMI built in is all but a must. 1 to handle ARC, 3 for other devices, Switch, PC and Fire Stick 4K/Other.
I did factor in potentially dropping the Fire Stick ergo 1 HDMI input, in favour of built in smart TV functionality; but she likes and has got used to the Fire TV interface, plus SMART TVs are notorious for the SMART functionality not lasting the life of the TV without apps becoming unavailable/un-updateable and I can see in advance if I dropped it, I'd end up putting it or a replacement back in somehow, with added frustration of no streamlined way to do so. The wife doesn't like using the PC for simple things like Netflix, and prefers the more streamlined interface of TV versions.

Given that the TV is likely going to be there 'for the long haul', 4K120, and 4 HDMI with at least some supporting 4K120 just seems prudent; especially as there IS a PC connected to the thing regularly, and I've been told repeatedly the new range of LG OLEDs seem pretty hard to burn as long as usage is mixed.

You can probably see why I am in such internal pain the OLED was literally JUST too big for me to be able to go for it without a fight :(
it literally ticked every spec box, and at a price I was willing to pay, but is marginally just too big.
Even 2 inches less and it'd have fit properly.

I am still trying to see if I can convince the wife to let me put it there; but realistically I already know the answer, as it doesn't fit on the partition wall without covering a door frame or going over the edge into space on the other side (which also to be fair is not the safest position for the TV, and I know in my heart her answer already (she has already said no, but I expect her to double down). My only chance is appealing to the aesthetics as the picture and the actual shape with the minimal bezels/border is just truly a thing of beauty. BUT, I am not getting my hopes up.

Hence looking for alternate options. So far, overpriced as it is, the Sony X89 seems to tick the most boxes. If I have to buy nowish; I'm certainly not going to let the £170 discount skip me by.
It is driving me nuts! :)
 
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Unfortunately a HDMI splitter she cannot control from the remote will not please her, so realistically 4 HDMI built in is all but a must.
We have a Duronic HDMI smart switch which switches automatically to the last input it sees. We've used with a Fire Stick, Blu-Ray player & an old Freeview recorder with no problems - you'd never know it was there. It has its own remote control to enable manual switching If for any reason it doesn't detect a particular device.
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
It don't doubt it works flawlessly TBH (the manual switch I have around is also Duronic I believe, just without the remote), but realistically the whole splitter/switch idea is just a no-go on different levels.

She will veto it instantly as messy, and extra cables/remotes, and would MUCH rather have all devices connected to the same device she can just switch between on a single remote. Previously we had a soundbar with multiple HDMI inputs (which has failed, which is part of which triggered this upgrade) which she just about accepted because the main things were all through that, so she just used that remote; but I know she really wasn't fond of multiple remotes and really would rather it gone and simplified.

Our FireStick also has an annoying tendency to wake up/keep a low level signal output going as well which would no doubt be a bit of a pain with the switching; so realistically, given I am happy to spend a bit more to get some degree of long term usage consideration and 4 HDMI isn't impossible, getting a TV with 4 HDMI just makes more sense. We'll very likely end up using this TV until it dies on us, due to my wife's thoughts on tech upgrades; so it doesn't make any sense to skimp on features or connectivity options now; as I have no expectation of being able to just turn around and upgrade in 3 years for example; unless something comes along which forces the situation.

As mentioned, albeit I didn't go into that much detail above, but I really did heavily consider a switch of some kind, but whichever way I looked at it I just invariably ended up back in the position that a TV with 4 HDMI connections instead of 3 would be better; unless there was an absolutely stunning reason to go for one with 3.
 
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Sad15

Novice Member
Purchased the 43 X89J from John Lewis a week ago. Was looking for the same features as yourself. It really is the only option if you want HDMI 2.1 and 120Hz at 43". I am very happy with this set. Picture is very good. PS5 looks awesome. HDR is better than I expected. I also believe it has a Direct led VA panel, even at 43". Rtings review of the X85J (same set, different motion control rates) has various discussions maybe worth a read thru. I appreciate it is very expensive.
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
That is very good info to know, especially if it actually is a VA panel after all. I'd likely be buying from Richer Sounds as they just confirmed to me they'd beat Costco's price, at 709.98 /w 6yr warranty, and 6 years warranty isn't to be sniffed at.

I also noted RTings mentioning the American X85J as being VA (and best 43" tv); but am used to European customers getting downgraded sets/weaker options; so I wasn't sure if we had been shafted here with a weaker screen once again.

It really is looking like that OR the 48" OLED if I can persuade she-who-must-be-obeyed.
Given the set will be here for the long haul; it just doesn't make sense to buy a weaker set omitting features, with the idea to upgrade in a few years, as I won't be allowed to upgrade it anytime soon.

Edit: Just read through the discussions, and you're right, it does seem like the 43" may indeed be a VA panel and not an IPS.


@Dodgexander does this change your opinion at all?
I mean, I wish the TV had FALD/better HDR, but aside from the 48" OLED on clearance, this seems like pretty much the best I will get that is pure 43", albeit with a premium at £700.
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
Direct LED does not make any difference on TVs that don't have FALD systems. Edge is just as good.
I believe only 49" and 85" Sony's have VA panels. Not other sizes. 43" has always been IPS.

The comments by one user at rtings.com just state he contacted Sony. Let me tell you now, Sony, or at least the people a customer can speak to at Sony, do not know what panel types their TV uses. We've had this before, where someone contacted them, and got the wrong panel info :(

The other comment from a user mentions his 43" has black trails which is a sign of a VA panel, but its not proof at all. Someone would need to take a sub-pixel photo ideally.

Not to mention there can be regional differences with panels.


I honestly think you should talk it through with your wife, tell her that you currently can't buy anything good at smaller sizes but you're hoping that will change when OLEDs are released. Oh and don't think you're getting less of a TV by spending £300, a TV like the Philips/Hisense mentioned above are just as good picture quality as some TVs costing twice the price.
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
It's definitely true there can be regional differences, used to be pretty bad when I worked in bigbox retail ~15 years ago.

I have already spoken to the wife; she pretty much just wants it done, and sorted ASAP as it has been winding her up, so frankly peace of mind and happy wife (happy life) are priceless. Looks like it'll either be the Sony (which at least I will NEVER have to worry about image retention or burn in, in realworld use, or the CX OLED.
What it may come down to as much as anything else is if she's put off by OLED's potential longer term wear issues, and whether the ultra sleek look of the unit wins her over in person.

The caveat with the Sony on some heavy research is it seems to suffer the same 4k120 bug that last year's X9005 had, which may or may not get resolved. It does sound like the issue has been resolved at 1080p 120hz, but not yet at 4k.

I genuinely do believe you on the Philips/Hisense, I've recommended Hisense a few times to other people, so I really don't disbelieve you there; if the one I'd seen in Costco yesterday had 4 HDMI natively, I'd likely have had it, as it genuinely looked half decent for the money.
 
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Dodgexander

Moderator
Yeah, the TV uses the same mediatek chipset used in the XH9005 so it has the text aliasing issue with a 4k 120hz input. Its more of a problem if you are using the TV as a monitor, most games don't have a lot of text so you don't really notice it much. I imagine its even less noticeable on a smaller TV.
HDMI ports also follow the trend of having more on larger TVs, they cut them down on smaller ones to save cost I guess.
 

alexrose1uk

Active Member
Frustrating, as I have the budget to happily spend £1000 ,in a smaller TV if it is plain good enough, there should always be premium options regardless of size :(
 

Sad15

Novice Member

Silly money.....but has all the bells and whistles!
 

abaggie

Member
I believe only 49" and 85" Sony's have VA panels. Not other sizes. 43" has always been IPS.

The other comment from a user mentions his 43" has black trails which is a sign of a VA panel, but its not proof at all. Someone would need to take a sub-pixel photo ideally.

Not to mention there can be regional differences with panels.
Effects of LGD closing down LCD production lines. Including 120Hz 43 inch and 49 inch panels. Results into Panasonic excluding 43 inch in the 94-series (JX940) and Sony's 85-series becoming VA. X80/81J are still IPS/ADS though (except for 50 inch). 43X85J is definitely VA as user reports can be supported by spare parts: T-CON indicates AUO.
 
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