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Friday
Dec082017

Podcast #821: HDTV Buying Guide 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and whether you celebrate Christmas, a different holiday, or nothing at all, we can all agree that somehow getting a new HDTV in your life on or around the 25th of December would be a good thing. 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. We each pick three TVs and one ultimate HDTV present for you to consider.

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HDTV Buying Guide 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and whether you celebrate Christmas, a different holiday, or nothing at all, we can all agree that somehow getting a new HDTV in your life on or around the 25th of December would be a good thing. 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. We each pick three TVs and one ultimate HDTV present for you to consider.


Braden’s Picks

TCL 49S305 49-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model, $349.99)

Last year I had the 40 inch 2016 model of this TV. This year we’re stepping it up to the 49 inch for only $100 more. If you bought the 40” last year, this year it’s time to go bigger and move the old one to a different room. It’s the only sensible thing to do. In fact, I bought my second TCL TV with the built-in Roku interface this year and consistently use both on a daily basis. Built-in Roku is awesome. The new TV is sitting on a shelf and plugged into power. That’s it. (the old one is still mounted to the wall and plugged into power. That’s it.) We can get to all the apps we need whenever we want. Do searches across apps, you name it. The picture and sound quality are consistent with last year’s models. It’s a great, affordable television


LG Electronics OLED55B7A 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV (2017 Model, $1596)

If you don’t need or can’t accomodate a gigantic television, but you want to rock a more standard size set by getting the absolute best picture money can buy, you get the LG OLED. Last year a 55 inch OLED was around $2000, this year that drops to $1600. Quite a price drop in a year. The price has dropped, but the picture quality has remained second to none. Even Samsung’s Quantum Dot QLED sets don’t measure up in side by side tests. The TV comes with what LG calls “Cinematic Color on Perfect Black” - which sounds like Marketing speak for “man OLED looks good.” The set does have active HDR with Dolby Vision and the webOS 3.5 Smart TV interface, so it’s an all around winner.


TCL 75C807 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model, $1999)

Although there’s room to argue that a 75” set from Samsung or Sony or LG (not their OLEDs, of course) may outperform the TCL in terms of picture quality and performance, we’d would posit that the difference would be so minimal, you’d need to include TCL on your list if you’re looking for a really big, great quality TV for a great price. Not only does it include Roku, just like my bargain set, but it is full 4k, and supports HDR and Dolby Vision. At $1999 it’s a tremendous value. It has 3 HDMI 2.0 with ports that all support HDCP 2.2 and one supports HDMI ARC. We’re nearly to the point where a set top box is a thing of the past. It may sound like I’m shilling for TCL, but we get nothing from them. They’ve never sent us even so mush as a sticker.


Ara’s Picks

VIZIO SmartCast™ D-series 43” Class Full HD LED Smart TV (2018 Model) $349.99

In this size class I’m not too worried about 4K. However, I did consider it just because you can’t find a 1080p TV with HDR. But in the end, I went with a nice 1080p TV that only costs $350 from a tier 1 manufacturer. Yes I am calling Vizio a tier 1 manufacturer. This TV has a Full Array LED backlight that provides better light uniformity and picture performance. It's a smart tv that includes apps like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and many many more. It comes with Chromecast built-in. Couple all that with a really nice picture and you have a TV that is perfect from a small room.


Sony KD55X720E 55-Inch 4k Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model) $698

Sony has been building some nice TVs for the last few years and you don’t have to pay a premium for the Sony name. This TV is perfect for a standard family room. While 4K is more or less a waste you do get the benefit of HDR and Sony’s X1 processor. I have seen the X1 in action and it reallys does a great job of analyzing each frame to adjust the brightness to optimize the picture.  And their X-tended Dynamic Range™ PRO does a good job of making non HDR content look much better. For those who don’t want to add a separate set top box the X720E is a smart TV. Nice TV for well under $1,000!


VIZIO SmartCast™ P-Series™ 75” Class Ultra HD HDR XLED Pro™ Display $3,500

Yes I chose another Vizio but can you blame me? I have owned the original Vizio P-Series for about 4 years and have loved the TV. This generation is so much better than the one I own. For instance the original does not support HDR or the wider color gamut. This TV has what Vizio calls XHDR Pro! That’s just marketing for saying that the TV supports HDR 10 and Dolby Vision, which are good things! The 2017 P-Series has 128 LED zones (mine only has 64) to improve contrast and clarity.  While it's not an OLED it still has deep blacks and for $3,500 you get a large format TV that will not disappoint.


Ultimate Christmas Present

Hisense 100 inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV ($9999)

So this isn’t really a TV, it’s a short throw projector. But it’s a 100 inch 4K screen in your home for under $10 grand, and you don’t have to run a single wire. You do need a cabinet under the screen you can set the projector on, so this may limit feasibility in some install locations, but it makes install super easy for anyone who wanted to run wires for a front projector, but just never got around to it. We’ve never seen the set in person, but in the video overview digital trends did from CES, the images on the screen in the background are stunning. According to Hisense the “super-thin, lightweight, anti-reflective, 100" screen by Screen Innovations® evenly distributes color and light, offering a crisp, bright picture in any setting, regardless of ambient light.” Sounds pretty great. (Compare with the NEC X981UHD-2 from last year at $29k)


LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W - 4K HDR Smart TV - 77" OLED77W7P $15,000

Where to start? This is my biggest and most expensive TV. It's also probably the best TV I have seen. You have to go to BestBuy to see it but if you are out shopping drop in and take a look. The Best Buy near my office had one setup and calibrated. This TV has plasma like blacks and the color is lifelike. They were playing a 4K HDR demo through it which looked stunning. It supports Active HDR and Dolby Vision and it comes in two pieces each weighing less than 30 pounds. The display part of the TV is less than a ¼ inch!! That’s just under 6 ½ mm. At 77 inches it's just under what I would call a projector replacement but with a picture like this you may not care.


 

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Reader Comments (1)

Braden should have went with the 75 inch Vizio M Series instead of the TCL. It’s available for the same price and it’s much better picture equality. Consistently on the short list of CNET’s best picture quality TVs.

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron K

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