Question TV for watching Freeview

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
Hi,

I am considering purchasing a new television (or monitor) to replace my prehistoric standard definition Samsung 30” widescreen CRT. Given the criteria below, I would appreciate if you could provide some guidance, on if I am likely to have an improved viewing experience with a new TV (picture quality, sound quality, and larger size), and if I am, what recommendations you would make (size, type, resolution, make, & model). For example, 4k TV’s seem to offer no advantage to me, but that may be my misunderstanding.

1) I spend 99.9% of my viewing time watching “over the air” programmes on Free-view (I very occasionally will play a DVD). This preference is likely to remain, and I have no intention to start subscribing to any streaming services like Netflix, or connecting a games console, or PC.

Therefore the majority of material is only available in “standard definition”. There is of course some “high definition” Free-view programmes available, but this is limited, and from what I understand, is unlikely to increase substantially (also no “4k” programmes on the horizon I think!).

2) I prefer to watch programmes via a Personal Video Recorder (currently a Humax able to output FHD via HDMI), as I like the flexibility to be able to pause/rewind/fast-forward the programme, or record it for later.

3) I normally watch the TV from two positions: about 6 feet away/viewing angle about 30 degrees, or about 9 feet away but straight on. I normally watch the TV in the evening with just a table lamp on, but do occasionally watch the TV in the day.

4) My viewing habits are a mixture of:
  • Films/drama (say 50%)
  • Music based programmes (say 20% approx)
  • Sport (say 20%)
  • Comedy programmes (say 5%)
  • News/current affairs/documentaries (5% approx)
So in summary my priorities for a new TV are:
  1. Best possible picture/sound achievable for my situation (I understand I will not get perfection!) when viewing “standard definition” content broadcast by Free-view (via a HDMI connected PVR)
  2. Best possible picture/sound achievable for my situation when viewing “1080 high definition” content broadcast by Free-view (via a HDMI connected PVR)
  3. The ability to connect a DVD player
  4. No need for a soundbar (I hope!)
  5. I would prefer to spend less that £500
  6. I would prefer a TV which does not require a large amount of setting up to optimise the picture.
The following are low priority or not required:
  1. Smart functionality and the ability to connect to the internet for streaming services or catch-up TV
  2. The ability to display 4k content now or in the future (unless Free-view have plans to broadcast a large number of programmes in 4K!)
  3. The ability to connect a games console or a PC
I hope I have provide you with sufficient detail to give me some advice....
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
Even if you were shopping for a high end £1000 55" 4k TV you will find it hard to find one that has good sound built in. Its hard to say how the sound of a flat panel will compare to your CRT but generally people tend to agree that the turn toward smaller chassis and therefore less room for speakers has resulted in a decline in sound quality. That is why soundbars (or speaker systems even) are so popular nowadays. I'd definitely suggest if you aren't happy with the built in sound from a TV to buy a separate soundbar.

The smallest TV from 2019 ranges that has better than average sound built in is probably this Philips: Buy the Philips 9000 series 4K UHD Android TV - Bowers & Wilkins Sound 43PUS9235/12 4K UHD Android TV - Bowers & Wilkins Sound but its hard to know whether we will even see this model in the UK. If we do I'd expect it to be priced very high for a 43" model and you'd probably be looking at closer to £800 than £500.

From the respect of picture quality, if you are still watching a lot of broadcast TV a HD TV is better suited compared to a UHD one anyway. At 6ft away a 32" model is going to look a lot better when you watch non-HD channels, but the bigger you go, the better HD channels will look compared. That balance is really up to you.

HD TVs are of course thin on the ground now, but I'd pick up whichever HD model has the best price vs warranty vs customer service package as long as its from a good retailer and is from one of the main manufacturers nowadays such as Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL or Hisense. Generally you want to avoid smaller Panasonic TVs as they aren't really Panasonic models any more...other brands are also best avoided as they are also not produced by reputable factories.

If you care more about how future proof the TV is compared to how broadcast TV looks you can go for a 4k TV instead. there's a lot more choice and the potential to get more TV for the money if you do. However be aware that at smaller screen sizes there's next to no value in having 4k so even if you did use some 4k material, it would not be a substantial upgrade in picture quality.
 

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
I would say a FHD set from Sony, Hisense or LG. They come in 32/40/43" sizes.
Sony 43wf663
Sony 32wd756
LG 43LM6300
Hisense 40A5600

I'm sure far more knowledge posters can add more ideas.
Thanks for the advice and suggestions. It is appreciated. I will investigate the TV's you suggest further. It will be nice if I can find a review of each of them, but I guess that will be unlikly, as they are at the low end of the market.
 

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
Even if you were shopping for a high end £1000 55" 4k TV you will find it hard to find one that has good sound built in. Its hard to say how the sound of a flat panel will compare to your CRT but generally people tend to agree that the turn toward smaller chassis and therefore less room for speakers has resulted in a decline in sound quality. That is why soundbars (or speaker systems even) are so popular nowadays. I'd definitely suggest if you aren't happy with the built in sound from a TV to buy a separate soundbar.

The smallest TV from 2019 ranges that has better than average sound built in is probably this Philips: Buy the Philips 9000 series 4K UHD Android TV - Bowers & Wilkins Sound 43PUS9235/12 4K UHD Android TV - Bowers & Wilkins Sound but its hard to know whether we will even see this model in the UK. If we do I'd expect it to be priced very high for a 43" model and you'd probably be looking at closer to £800 than £500.

From the respect of picture quality, if you are still watching a lot of broadcast TV a HD TV is better suited compared to a UHD one anyway. At 6ft away a 32" model is going to look a lot better when you watch non-HD channels, but the bigger you go, the better HD channels will look compared. That balance is really up to you.

HD TVs are of course thin on the ground now, but I'd pick up whichever HD model has the best price vs warranty vs customer service package as long as its from a good retailer and is from one of the main manufacturers nowadays such as Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL or Hisense. Generally you want to avoid smaller Panasonic TVs as they aren't really Panasonic models any more...other brands are also best avoided as they are also not produced by reputable factories.

If you care more about how future proof the TV is compared to how broadcast TV looks you can go for a 4k TV instead. there's a lot more choice and the potential to get more TV for the money if you do. However be aware that at smaller screen sizes there's next to no value in having 4k so even if you did use some 4k material, it would not be a substantial upgrade in picture quality.
Thanks for your advice.

I understand your point about sound quality. I will see what the quality is like when I get a new TV, and if it is lower than I would like, I will investigate soundbars. I assume that soundbars can be connected to all current televisions easily, and I don't have to be mindful of connections etc on any TV I buy?

With regards to the size of the TV, my current 30" model is a little small for me now, which is why I sit 6 feet away at 30 degres, rather than my preferred position, 9 feet away but stright on. So I would like to get something a bit bigger. However I take your point that the freeview SD broadcasts are going to look terrible on a TV which is to big or to close. Hopefully something around the 40" mark will provide a "sweet spot", allowing me to sit 9 feet away, with acceptable SD quality?

I confess I am a bit confussed by the relative merits of FHD versus UHD with regards to my requirements:

  • Your point about 4K content not being noticably better on a smaller screen is understood. So assuming I purchased a TV around 40", 4K content would look effectivly as good on a FHD or UHD TV.
  • However, if I am watching SD content, and everything else is equal, would a FHD television provide a better picture than a UHD television? In other words does the extra pixels of a UHD TV make the SD content look worse?
Your points about manufacturers and good retailers is taken, and I will limit myself as you suggest.

Thanks again for your help.
 

Flynch191

Active Member
I think you should pop into a tv store and stand around 9’ away if possible from the larger tv’s and ask them to change the source to SD or HD.
A 50-55” might look ok and you’ll get a lot more tv for a similar amount of money...
I run a Humax to a 55” from around 10’ away and although the hd channels look really good the SD ones are still perfectly acceptable. GL 👍
 

Dodgexander

Moderator
I assume that soundbars can be connected to all current televisions easily, and I don't have to be mindful of connections etc on any TV I buy?
They usually connect via HDMI using a single cable. They can be set to turn on automatically with the TV, takeover the TVs speakers and the TV remote can adjust their volume too this way.

So I would like to get something a bit bigger. However I take your point that the freeview SD broadcasts are going to look terrible on a TV which is to big or to close. Hopefully something around the 40" mark will provide a "sweet spot", allowing me to sit 9 feet away, with acceptable SD quality?
Use the following chart as an example:
1597680652096.png

Once you reach the hard upper line of each resolution is when you start to notice the pixels. Thus if you view closer to a lower resolution picture, the more 'made up' pixels you'll notice. These made up pixels are what makes the picture more blurry.

If you buy a HD TV instead of a UHD TV because there are less overall pixels, less overall pixels need to be 'made up' and therefore the presentation will be sharper.

To give you an idea, another chart:
1597680910827.png

Which shows approximately how small a SD picture would look without made up pixels, its good to see the chart because it makes you realise how many times the picture has to be enlarged when using lower quality content like SD TV (use the 720x480 example for this). By comparison if you look at the size of the HD box (1920x1080 or 1280x720) you can see how much less pixels need to be made up to show SD TV.

Regarding the size versus distance relationship. At 9 feet away if you look at the first chart the smaller TV you get the better, a 32" model is best suited if still watching SD TV. However since a lot of content is now in HD I'd advise going bigger. Even a 65" TV is not too big for HD content 9 feet away.

So you'll have to weigh up the value in watching SD content still, and how much that matters compared to getting a larger TV. It will look poorer on a larger TV but that doesn't mean you won't find it acceptable. At the same time, a larger TV will mean higher quality content looks better. As they say, you have to taste the bitter to taste the sweet.

All round the benefits moving to a newer technology should heavily outweigh any detailed discussion anyway, your current TV is so old I'd expect you to be blown away by new TVs by comparison.
 

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
I think you should pop into a tv store and stand around 9’ away if possible from the larger tv’s and ask them to change the source to SD or HD.
A 50-55” might look ok and you’ll get a lot more tv for a similar amount of money...
I run a Humax to a 55” from around 10’ away and although the hd channels look really good the SD ones are still perfectly acceptable. GL 👍
Thanks. That's great practical advice that hopefully will enable me to get a real sense of the difference in picture quality for each size of TV.
 

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
They usually connect via HDMI using a single cable. They can be set to turn on automatically with the TV, takeover the TVs speakers and the TV remote can adjust their volume too this way.


Use the following chart as an example:
View attachment 1351316
Once you reach the hard upper line of each resolution is when you start to notice the pixels. Thus if you view closer to a lower resolution picture, the more 'made up' pixels you'll notice. These made up pixels are what makes the picture more blurry.

If you buy a HD TV instead of a UHD TV because there are less overall pixels, less overall pixels need to be 'made up' and therefore the presentation will be sharper.

To give you an idea, another chart:
View attachment 1351320
Which shows approximately how small a SD picture would look without made up pixels, its good to see the chart because it makes you realise how many times the picture has to be enlarged when using lower quality content like SD TV (use the 720x480 example for this). By comparison if you look at the size of the HD box (1920x1080 or 1280x720) you can see how much less pixels need to be made up to show SD TV.

Regarding the size versus distance relationship. At 9 feet away if you look at the first chart the smaller TV you get the better, a 32" model is best suited if still watching SD TV. However since a lot of content is now in HD I'd advise going bigger. Even a 65" TV is not too big for HD content 9 feet away.

So you'll have to weigh up the value in watching SD content still, and how much that matters compared to getting a larger TV. It will look poorer on a larger TV but that doesn't mean you won't find it acceptable. At the same time, a larger TV will mean higher quality content looks better. As they say, you have to taste the bitter to taste the sweet.

All round the benefits moving to a newer technology should heavily outweigh any detailed discussion anyway, your current TV is so old I'd expect you to be blown away by new TVs by comparison.
Thanks for taking the time to compile a really usefull insight into the relationships between the content I will be viewing (SD or HD), the resolution of the TV (FHD or UHD), and the size of the TV. With the other advice and recommendations from other people at Avforums, I definintly feel better equipped to start visting some stores, and making some tough decisions. Thanks again for everyones help!!
 

The Lazy Luddite

Novice Member
After receiving the advice in this post, reading advice in other posts on the forum, a trip to PC-World, and searches on the internet for reviews, I have decided to buy the TCL 40ES568.

The trip to PC-World confirmed the screen size I was looking for to be 40" or 43". This is a step up from the 30" I am used too, without going extra large! Unfortunatly PC-World are unable to demo anything other than 4k content. So a comparison of standard definition content on a HD and 4K television was not possible. However all the advice was pointing me in the direction of a HD TV rather than a 4K TV. So I produced a short list based on the 40/43" screen size and HD configuration.

This meant only a few TV's were a vailable from the recommended brands (that I could find):
  • LG 43LM6300PLA
  • Sony KDL40WE663
  • Sony KDL43WF663
  • Hisense H40B5600UK
  • Hisense 40A5600FTUK
  • and the TCL

Without being able to demo the TV's with SD media, and online reviews being almost none existant for these TV's, I arrived at my decsion by a less than through process of elimination. I decided the LG's one year warranty was too short and the Sony's I thought maybe over kill for watching Freeview (this maybe a mistake!).

This left me with the Hisense models and the TCL. Advice on this forum suggests that at this price point the TV's are near identical in performance, but after watching this review I plumbed for the TCL.

I will let you know what I think of the TCL after I have watched it for a while, but feel free to comment on my choice!

Thanks again for peoples advice and help.
 

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