TV for Mother in Law 40" poss built in HD freeview?

norfbech

Novice Member
Hi folks.
I normally do a fair whack of research when I'm buying new kit (which isn't often) and this forum has been hugely helpful for past purchases.
However, I've a bit of a rushed scenario here as I need to help purchase a TV for my mother in law this weekend. She's currently not well in hospital, but it's possible she'll be out in a couple of weeks. Her family are currently fixing her living room extension into more of a recuperation room (will have a bed in there for a while). We live a couple of hundred miles away (my other half has been travelling to the hospital each weekend) so it's tough to visit. This weekend I'll drive down with the family and I've been tasked with sorting her a new TV (and fixing it to the wall...they're literally stripping the room of the furniture that does not need to be there...one of which was this old, wooden desk she sat her old, tiny LCD tv on).
Given the size of the room (and her viewing distance) I've suggested something around 40" (I think they would baulk at anything larger, although I think it would be fine considering I'm placing it on the wall).
Given I don't want to push their budget up (and I really don't think they'd appreciate it) I was not looking at the 4K screens. She definitely requires some kind of freeview and a facility to record TV.
I can't confirm but I think her connections are aerial point only: no connections from the Satellite dish though they have SKY TV in the other room (her Dad's domain!!).
So either built in freeview HD, or add a set top box into the budget. A real quick look suggests the BT Youview HD box might be an option? Currently around £130 (checked the area and it seems good to go). Might this be a better option than a built in freeview (from experience, my freeview on my Panasonic Plasma was nowhere near the quality of my Virgin box - SD or HD)?

I've not discussed the full budget but I'm assuming around £200-£300 for the TV and (if it's worth it) the Youview box on top.
She tends to buy her electrical stuff from a local shop in her village, but I said I'd shop around (did mention John Lewis, but looks like all their TV's are 4K, or at least the higher spec models).

Preferably looking at somewhere I can pick up in store at the weekend and set up the same day (I'll affix the bracket - possibly the Infusion - the same day too) - a trip to Currys perhaps.

Actually, I had a real quick look at Currys earlier: the JVC LT-40C860 popped up - 4k (which I wasn't contemplating) but at £350, worth a bit more research (also has HD freeview built in).
I guess this gives her the option of picking up a UHD set top box further down the line. However, I'm guessing the built in freeview won't have recording capabilities built in...so she'll require a seperate set top box already - the Youview UHD boxes are much pricier.

Should also add that they used BT - might be an option to add a subscription to include a Youviex box with this? (looks like the UHD box subscription is on offer and only £2 more per month than the HD package?).

Apologies if this is a bit long winded - essentially after a solid LED TV (around 40") with the best TV package offers (whether HD or UHD but with required storage). Quality of screen is perhaps (given the budget) a bit lower down than if the screen were for me.
I've used Virgin (and previous incarnations) for the past 20 years so no little about freeview boxes etc.

Hope someone can help!

Cheers.
norfbech
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
UHD sounds next to pointless to me, what sources are you going to watch that are UHD? BT only have bt sport in UHD. Also at 40" UHD isn't going to be noticeable anyway unless you view really close.

Some tv's have recording built in but their implementation isn't usually the easiest to use. You will want a separate box for that really. Why exactly do you need recording? Today you can watch 99% as catch up on the internet.
 

norfbech

Novice Member
Thanks Dodge.
Definitely out of the running for UHD/4K now - the prices sound ok for a '4k' set but clearly (and from feedback) the set as a whole would be a bit underwhelming. And also for the reasons you mentioned above (her parents are not particularly tech heads).
I'm going to look at something around £350-£400 for a full HD LED 40" set (the size was their only instruction). Will add a set top box to that - the Youview box sounds pretty good, and I believe they're on BT anyway (whether a rented vs purchased outright box makes any difference is up for debate). Her mum also specified a recording facility (which the Youview box gives) but I guess this is because she's so used to that and doesn't really want the hassle of searching for stuff on the net (though the likes of iPlayer are a doddle). She's not well at all however, so we just need everything straight forward for her (her husband is early 80's and just about get by with the Sky functions!)

As mentioned above, I'm not currently in the market for a new set (I love my Panny plasma too much!) but it's a bit of a quagmire out there...you see a good set on paper (and with a recognised brand) only to find shocking reviews and actually the company you thought were behind the set, had in fact sent out to a third party...). Obviously tougher on a tighter budget.

No experience on Panasonic LED sets, but the PANASONIC TX-40ES400B looks like a good start (bit over the budget at £429) - little in the way of reviews though - maybe a slight model number alteration. I'll have a look on these boards for feedback.

Cheers.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I have plenty of experience helping older people use newer TV tech, its not easy. My late granddad managed just about to work youtube and iplayer on his tv, but it was a struggle. Although he was in his 90s.

You have to ask yourself, how much easier is using a recording function going to be? It might be a better option to look at TV's with the freeview play app included. That way all the smart functions are integrated much the same as with those youview boxes you have mentioned (but without recording), but without the extra box/remote. You get the ability to search backwards in the TV guide and watch programmes that have passed. Its far more integrated than having to search separate apps for content like before. But I suppose those youview boxes are freeview play AND recording and if you plan on getting extra channels outside of freeview it doesn't matter anyway.

If however they only record programmes that are going to be on demand anyway there is very little point having the recording function. Right now even UKTV channels have on demand, so after BBC, ITV, 4 and 5 and the UKTV channels there are very little channels left that they may want to record on freeview rather than watching online. Unless of course it is a matter of them wanting to keep recordings for a longer time.

Realistically though it will be hard for them to use anything new, whatever you buy, be sure you can return it within a reasonable amount of time if it turns out they don't get along with it.

I guess which tv you choose does depend on which pathway you choose for smart tv. I'm not exactly sure which panel type that panasonic has, its likely decent for the money. At 40-43" there isn't that much of a difference between the quality of TVs now. Most perform around the same. What you have to think more about is viewing angles, will they view the tv from only the front or also to the side? If so, how far at an angle? You might have to try and find a TV with an IPS panel instead of VA if you need better viewing angles. Given the lack of info on these smaller tv's that can be quite a challenge, but its important nonetheless.
 

norfbech

Novice Member
Thanks Dodge. It's probably best if I choose the set first and see what 'Smart' functions it possesses before I pick up a set top box (no problem to add one later).
I chose their last main set (the Dads in the other room mainly used with SKY) and they were more than happy with it (Panny 42" Plasma very much like my own), albeit they were running it on SD for far too long for my liking!!

There is a set in this extension room but it's quite small (possibly even smaller than 32")...but it's a real cheapie - picture is clearly awful. This sits on a desk and is a good few feet form the wall - I'm fixing a bracket to the wall this weekend which will push a set further back (meaning a smaller set would be a struggle) - specified strictly not a 42" so I think 40" is a good compromise.
Viewing angles...yes, these are important (one of the reasons I liked my plasma at the time) but this is mainly her sole room, so 90% of the time it will be only her watching.

As I mentioned above, I usually have a good amount of research (like...weeks!) but I have to grab one for the weekend as I won't be back down there for a while.

The Smart elements are important...I picked up a set for our kids room last year (Toshiba) and the connections (to the internet) and EPG are utterly dire...I can imagine that would frustrate her too.

Open to any suggestions at the moment! Any brands that sitck out as good options around the £350-£400 range (that are not rebranded rubbish)? I'll have a good look on these pages...

Many thanks!
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Well the Panasonic you already mentioned fits the bill, it has freeview play. Other options from Samsung don't have freeview play. Sony TVs mainly use IPS panels but even the models that have high contrast panels don't have freeview play. With hisense you don't get freeview play unless you buy a UHD model. Philips are mainly IPS and only selected UHD models have freeview play. LG models mainly use IPS and their smart tv is slow on budget models anyway.

So Panasonic is the best, other brands are just badges made in china or turkey. Such as vestel (that make toshiba now)
 

norfbech

Novice Member
Cheers Dodge - possible contender (PANASONIC TX-40ES400B). Trouble is, there's little in the way of reviews (from the usual online review places I tend to use - these forums, trustedreviews etc.
Good to dig out any hidden gremlins the 'purchase reviews' and spec guides don't mention. Suspect the model number has been changed slightly, and I usually find the almost exact model (added/subtracted digit on the model number) but this one is currently doing a good job of eluding me.
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Both have freeview play and freeview HD. Only difference I can see is the DS400 is a lot thicker by design. Usually this mean its direct lit model compared to edge lit..although everything I can find suggests its not direct lit but edge lit like the DS500...I feel like thats wrong as I don't see why they would make the DS400 8CM thick if it wasn't direct lit.

Historically direct lit tv's had better screen uniformity but I think that it doesn't really matter, anymore when there are high end edge lit tv's nowadays if you want the smaller design get the DS500.
 

norfbech

Novice Member
Thanks Dodge. I'll have a little look later, but the DS500 could be the one. It's not really a situation to over analyse: as long as the picture is good (and I'll play with the settings once up) and the EPG is user friendly (some are horrific!)...and as Freeview HD, then I think I'm good to go.
Spoke with my other halves sister earlier and they were thinking more along the lines of £200, but I can't seen anything decent (and with built in freeview and EPG) that comes in at that price.
The recording bit might be a discussion for another time I think (you know how people have set ways!).

I think Richer Sounds have one left in stock local to her area so I'll go ahead and purchase it tomorrow....unless this thread is updated with a warning to steer clear of this set in the meantime!!
Cannot go over £400 budget though so I think this must be the one.

Many thanks!
 

norfbech

Novice Member
Thanks Dodge - ordered the Panny (last one in stock) - there's a few newer models out there, but I can't see what benefit they will give her over this one. From what I've read, the EPG is pretty good in these sets (the aforementioned Freetime) which for her would be as important (if not more so in all fairness) for her as black levels et al!
I know I picked up our kids a Toshiba set (also 40") last Christmas and wished I'd paid that bit more...quality of picture isn't great and the EPG is utterly dire. Now the freeview has stopped working (and I've tried the screen on other aerial points around the house and it doesn't work there, so probably not the point in that room...I'm digressing but point is the cheaper Toshiba set has become a royal PITA!)

Thanks for your help Dodge. Once it's up and running and I'll drop a line on here.
 

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