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Thursday
Dec012016

Podcast #768: HDTV Buying Guide 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like whatever holiday you may be celebrating this holiday season. Or that you may not be celebrating - not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we grew up celebrating Christmas, so we know what we’re hoping to see under the tree with our names on it. If you happen to be lucky enough to have budget for a new HDTV this Christmas season, but still aren’t sure which one to buy, we’ve got you covered. Like last year, we’re dropping the budget categories, and the screen size categories and jumping right to our top picks. We each pick three TVs and one ultimate HDTV present for you to consider.

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HDTV Buying Guide 2016

It’s beginning to look a lot like whatever holiday you may be celebrating this holiday season. Or that you may not be celebrating - not that there’s anything wrong with that. But we grew up celebrating Christmas, so we know what we’re hoping to see under the tree with our names on it. If you happen to be lucky enough to have budget for a new HDTV this Christmas season, but still aren’t sure which one to buy, we’ve got you covered. Like last year, we’re dropping the budget categories, and the screen size categories and jumping right to our top picks. We each pick three TVs and one ultimate HDTV present for you to consider.

If you don’t have the HDTV buyer’s guide from last year handy, here are couple of the sets we talked about along with their prices. Only two sets from last year are still available for sale direct thru Amazon. And for both their prices went down. If you’d like to make the argument to the finance committee that you don’t know what will happen with prices so you should grab one now before the price goes up, we suggest referencing last year’s buyer’s guide where multiple sets did actually increase in price by one year later.

 

 

Braden’s Picks

TCL 40FS3800 40-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV ($243)

Life is all about trade-offs. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Sometimes you want the best of the best, sometimes you just want the best for the least you can spend. As someone who uses a TCL TV with the built-in Roku smart TV interface on the daily, I can tell you first hand that built-in Roku is solid gold. The TV is mounted to the wall and plugged into power. That’s it. We can get to Pandora, et. al. for when we want music or Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, ESPN, HBO for TV or video content. For anyone looking for a super flexible second TV, TCL is a great, inexpensive choice. If 40” isn’t the right size, they have a 32” for $169, 48” for $329, 50” for $399, or a 55” for $448.


LG 65" OLED65B6P OLED 4K HDR Ultra HD FLAT TV ($2599)

On the other hand, if you want the best of the best, OLED is the only option. Better than plasma on color and black levels, excellent detail and motion clarity, with 4K and HDR support. You really can’t pick a more high performing screen than this LG. At 65 inches, it isn’t the biggest TV you can find, but for most family rooms or home entertainment “dens” a 65 inch TV is the perfect size.  This screen will blow you away, and anyone you have over to see it, with any content you put on it. Put some true 4K or HDR video sources up and you’ll struggle to hold back the drool. With over a billion rich colors at its disposal, this LG OLED TV delivers a theater-quality experience from the comfort of your sofa. OLED HDR delivers a stunning high dynamic range picture, including support for Dolby Vision content.


VIZIO M60-C3 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV ($889)

Of course, there is a middle ground. You want 4K and some future-proof capabilities without totally crushing your budget and having to eat canned beans for a few months until you can recover from the expense of your TV. We get that. If that’s you, check out this Vizio. It’s a 4K LED, but lacks HDR. So kinda future proof, but not fully, excellent picture quality, but not the gold standard, and under $1000, not a couple months salary. This TV is an excellent blend of incredible performance and incredible value. Perhaps a bit dated, it was the highest rated TV at CNET for 2015. That was in 2015, but because of the age, you can get it for a steal. A 60” 4K TV for less than $900? Yeah, that should be on your list.


Ara’s Picks

This year every TV on my list is 4K and supports HDR. If you want a budget TV they are easy to find. For 2016 I want the best TV out there for the money.


LG Electronics OLED55B6P Flat 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV ($1997)

OLED for under $2000! In not the curved model either. Deep plasma like blacks, HDR, and wide color gamut. Watching this TV will be like looking out a window! Other features include WebOS 3.0 and Harman Kardon sound. Just be sure to calibrate this TV to get the best picture possible!


VIZIO SmartCast™ P-Series™ 65” Class Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display ($1999)

Amazon sells a lot of Vizio TVs however, if you want this one you won’t find it there. You can buy direct from Vizio or at  Bestbuy. This TV checks off all the boxes in what you need in a 4K TV. Dolby Vision, HDR, Clean Simple Design, and a Tablet remote!. This version of the P-Series has 128 active LED zones which gives some pretty impressive black levels for a LED based LCD TV.  This TV looks great even when it's off.


Sony XBR65X850D 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV ($1398)

This is my “budget” 4K TV and it's a pretty capable TV in it's own right. It's the one I will buy for remodel project I am working on. Like the other TVs it supports HDR and  Wide Color Gamut. Sony has developed a proprietary X1 chip that makes HDR, color, and upconversion look incredible. Sony is making great TVs again and at this price it costs less than the Vizio!


Ultimate Christmas Present

Sony XBR75Z9D 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV ($8998)

Rodney Williams (Blu-ray Reviews) and I drove up to Sony Pictures to see the unveiling of this TV a few months ago and I have been wanting one ever since. It's still a little pricey but if you can afford it it is one beautiful TV. It takes everything in the XBR line that I mentioned above and makes it better. They updated the X1 chip to the X1 Extreme which produce color with more detail and fewer artifacts than what a typical TV does. Upconverted content looks like it's native resolution. Motion is smoother and contrast is better. I saw this TV compared to the LG OLED side by side and I felt it had a better picture. You can decide if you buy this now or wait until it comes down in price. Either way you won’t regret how good the picture looks!


NEC X981UHD-2 98" 4K Ultra HD LED TV ($29,115)

Okay, we’ll admit, we don’t expect many in our audience to rush out and buy this TV. Heaven knows we never would. But when you look at the total install cost to get a 100” front projection system in your home, it adds up. Make that a 100” 4K front projection system and you’re spending quite a bit more. This set from NEC gets you almost that same size, in 4K, with a brightness level that nearly removes any ambient light considerations. If you were thinking about putting in a 4K front projection system, the X981 from NEC could actually save you a bit of coin. You can tell from the comments that a few Amazon users wanted to get a crazy thread going, unfortunately they just weren’t witty enough. Feel free to take a crack at it tho.


 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

When debating whether Denon or Marantz makes the best receiver, consider the well known fact that both companies belong to D&M Holdings ( "D" like Denon. "M" like Marantz) and that equivalent receivers from both companies are, essentially... The same receiver in a different casing.

The fact that you failed to mention this make you seem like you just didn't know .

Again: put just a wee bit of effort and do some research. Please

December 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFabDex

FabDex,

I am well aware of this fact. You can make the same argument about Toyotas and Lexus. There is overlap and some Toyotas can be configured to come close to the Lexus for less. And yes many people will like them. Yet there are those who prefer the Lexus. I said it was my opinion based on owning both brands. The actual email I sent to Tony was :

Hi Tony,

I have had both brands and have been happy with each. But I have settled on the Marantz in my projector room. Call it personal preference.

Have a great day!!
Ara

I am sure Tony did the research as well but was asking my opinion as an additional data point since many have said there is little to no difference.


Thanks for the feedback!
Ara

December 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterHT Guys

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