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I'm auditioning LCD TVs this weekend

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Guest mjd2
I'd advise to ring around first, as I'd be most surprised if (for example) Myer sell their LCDs- they most likely sell their DVD players/ STBs. Harvey Norman should (and do here in SA), I'm not sure about the other stores as they aren't in SA.

Be warned the settings out of the box suck on the Toshiba's eg. backlight and contrast maxxed out. Try turning the backlight down to around <20 and the contrast <50 for a start. Turn "blackstretch" off too as it tends to hide detail in dark scenes IMHO.

thanks again... i saw the toshiba today at lunchtime - so only briefly - the guy just kept raving about toshibas and how they were much better than anything else. maybe they are for dvds, but fta was a bit pixelated at times (thru a Digitalview DVH-505 hd stb). 32wl58 stickered at $3290. he also said they'd sold ~150 J35 PVRs with only 3 returned. i was surprised at that given the threads here at dba complaining about them. he told me not to believe online forums - hahaha :blink:

michael

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I would hate to work in HT retail as the Average Joe wouldn't listen to me and the informed consumer would just automatically assume I'm an idiot!

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I actually going to HN, probably around lunchtime on Saturday.

Lunchtime Saturday, they'll end up hating you by the time you're done :blink:

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I’m heading into my local TV store on the weekend to do some serious LCD TV auditions. I’m taking my Oppo DVD player, a selection of reference DVDs and my Force 705t HD STB with me. I plan on spending quite a while there to do a comprehensive comparison. I am even planing to take my copy of Digital Video Essentials with me to calibrate the screens first to ensure that their setting are not all over the place.

The main TV that I want to audition is the BenQ DV3750 – 37 inch LCD with 1920x1080 native, but I am willing to audition any other LCD TV in stock if anyone on these forums is interested in a comparison.

So if you would like me to check out any particular LCD TV on your behalf, please post the make and model number here and I will update my list and post results on my return.

Skin’s LCD TV Audition List: – If all in stock

BenQ DV3750

Samsung LA32M51B

Samsung LA32R51B

Phillips 37PF9830/10

JVC LT-Z37DX5

JVC LT-Z37SX5

Sony Bravia KLVV32A10

Toshiba 32WL58

I’m heading into my local TV store on the weekend to do some serious LCD TV auditions. I’m taking my Oppo DVD player, a selection of reference DVDs and my Force 705t HD STB with me. I plan on spending quite a while there to do a comprehensive comparison. I am even planing to take my copy of Digital Video Essentials with me to calibrate the screens first to ensure that their setting are not all over the place.

The main TV that I want to audition is the BenQ DV3750 – 37 inch LCD with 1920x1080 native, but I am willing to audition any other LCD TV in stock if anyone on these forums is interested in a comparison.

So if you would like me to check out any particular LCD TV on your behalf, please post the make and model number here and I will update my list and post results on my return.

Skin’s LCD TV Audition List: – If all in stock

BenQ DV3750

Samsung LA32M51B

Samsung LA32R51B

Phillips 37PF9830/10

JVC LT-Z37DX5

JVC LT-Z37SX5

Sony Bravia KLVV32A10

Toshiba 32WL58

Hi,

Sounds like an enormous task.

I notice mjd2 mentioned the Hitachi 32LD8800TA. I have been interested in the 37LD8800TA but have not been able to find one in the flesh. I was told today that delivery would be early Feb but, if you happen to see one, I would be interested in your findings.

Cheers

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If you notice any LG 32LX2D's, NEC NLT-32HDI's (both have HDMI, both have HD Tuners built in) could you maybe give them a quick run over as well. Also against the Samsung LA32R51B (which I think you already mentioned).

Good Luck

Brazzwald

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I'm wondering how far he'll get before they get sick of it all.

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I would hate to work in HT retail as the Average Joe wouldn't listen to me and the informed consumer would just automatically assume I'm an idiot!

Maybe if you removed that nail from your nasal cavity ordinary folk might take you more seriously. :blink:

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Also against the Samsung LA32R51B (which I think you already mentioned).

Good Luck

Brazzwald

The improved LA32M51B costs just about the same so dont waste your precious time on the other one.

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Ok, now don't kill me if I can't audition every TV on this list but I will try my best. It is totally dependent on if the particular TV is in stock and preference will be given to 37 inch LCD TVs over larger or smaller panels as this is the size I am interested in. No audio or PC features will be compared or assesed. I am only interested in SD, HD and DVD performance although I will test both standard and upscaled DVD output from my Oppo DVD player and my Component cables cost 200 bucks so there will be no question of cable quality. :blink:

This is how the list currently stands:

Skin’s LCD TV Audition List: – If all in stock

BenQ DV3750

Samsung LA32M51B

Phillips 37PF9830/10

JVC LT-Z37DX5

JVC LT-Z37SX5

Sony Bravia KLVV32A10

Toshiba 32WL58

Hitachi 32LD8800TA

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Use a HDMI or DVI cable where possible..

The improved LA32M51B costs just about the same so dont waste your precious time on the other one.

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Use a HDMI or DVI cable where possible..

Yeah mate, I've got DVI-to-DVI, DVI-to-HDMI and Component cables. Both my DVD player and HD STB have a DVI-Out.

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Yeah mate, I've got DVI-to-DVI, DVI-to-HDMI and Component cables. Both my DVD player and HD STB have a DVI-Out.

Are you taking a VGA cable too? You'll most likely have trouble driving a 58 series Toshiba via HDMI; and VGA should give a better pic than component.

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I'm wondering how far he'll get before they get sick of it all.

Don't fotget to take the phone-number of your local pizza delivery service with you, in case you're hungry

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hey skin from that list there I have only seen these side by side:

Samsung LA32M51B

Sony Bravia KLVV32A10

Hitachi 32LD8800TA

I had a chance to compare a HD STB feed and favoured the sony for more natural colours and slightly nicer blacks than the samsung lastly the Hitachi wasnt far behind. Then i got a chance to see a upscaled 720p feed into the Hitachi of starwars 3 it looked really nice and sharp but they had some colour setting which made everything look overly vivid like fluros and made it sort of ****.

good luck on the whole ordeal they should pay you for your service (or give you 1 hell of a deal)

i think your findings could help shape a future purchase of mine so thanks for puting in the work.

Edited by Walshey

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Come on, do the hitachi. I just got one and trust me u wont be disappointed. I hope, lol.

I would compare the Hitachi to the Sony V series and I paid about half the price of the Sony for my Hitachi. But that is only my opinion. :blink:

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No worries,

One of the reasons I'm doing this (apart from being about to spend three grand on a TV) is that I'm sick of the display setup in almost all AV stores. I mean these guys can't even show you the difference between SD and HD for f*** sake! I hope they all take as many notes as I am so that they can do their bloody job and not mislead less informed consumers.

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So.... is the verdict out yet? Or is the jury still deliberating? :blink:

I'm hanging out for this! :P

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Ok, I’m back from auditioning but before I give any results let me first say that only three of the TVs on my list were in store and I only noticed the third one when I was leaving.

For that reason I’ve only got a comparison between the BenQ DV3750 (37 inch) and the Samsung LA32M51B (32 inch).

Also, for some unknown reason I could not for the life of me get my HD STB to work with the in-store antenna feed. It worked fine with the in-store STBs but mine could not pick up a signal. For that reason I was very limited in comparing SD and HD TV signals as both TVs had different make STBs, although both were HD. There was no HD station turned into the BenQ’s STB but I could watch the WIN loop on the Samsung.

First up, the BenQ:

Manufacturer’s Specifications

Make: BenQ

Model: DV3750

Screen Size: 37 inch

Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Response Time: 8ms GtG

Brightness: 550 Nits

Contrast Ratio: 800:1

Manufacturer’s Warranty: 3 Years

Video Inputs:

Composite: 3

S-Video: 3

SCART: 2

Component: 2

DVI (DHCP): 1

HDMI: Nil

15 Pin D-Sub: 1

Ratings: (1 worse – 10 best)

Viewing Angle: 9

The viewing angle for this TV is fantastic. You can pretty much move you sitting position anywhere within the horizontal 180 degree plane and TV maintains its colour, contrast and brightness. However, I did notice a slight loss of picture brightness when viewed from high above, such as standing over the TV – hardly a realistic viewing angle.)

Colour Reproduction: 9

Colours were vibrant and sharp. I calibrated the TV for Brightness, Contrast, Colour, Tint (not available through DVI or HDMI) and Sharpness using the DVE-PAL DVD. A colour setting in the mid thirties (max 100) gave optimum results.

Image Sharpness: 9

The sharpness control in the TVs setup menu appeared to make little to no difference to the test image so I set it to its lowest possible setting to remove any ‘extra’ information from the picture. The lowest setting did not introduce any exaggerated softening effect as seen in some TVs.

Image Brightness: 9

This TV is exceptionally bright and even in the fully lit department store only required a setting of 28 for optimum viewing results. This result may suggest that the TVs 800:1 contrast ration may be a result of very high brightness levels instead of an exceptionally dark black level. Nevertheless this TV performs very well in brightly lit rooms and I didn’t notice any intrusive reflections.

Dark Scene Performance: 8

For an LCD TV, I was pretty impressed with the BenQ’s ability to render shadows and action in dark scenes. Mind you the majority of these scene were from the DVDs I brought and I don’t know how much the Oppo’s circuitry assisted in this area. Of course the blackness of the blacks was not as good as a high quality CRT TV but they were pretty close. My mate (a model uninformed consumer) commented “that looks pretty good” to just about everything I showed him. :blink:

Light Scene Performance: 9

No problems here at all. Detail was maintained with no colour bleeding or blooming. The battle for Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back looked superb and showed up all the dodgy chroma-keying nicely.

Image contrast: 8

Honestly, I find judging contrast to be really difficult. Even adjusting the contrast to a test pattern is not easy. As far as I could tell, the contrast level seemed good. At no time did the image look washed out or dark like can do on older LCD screens.

Motion Performance: 9

The BenQ really shined in this area. I gave it some really challenging scenes from The Fifth Element and Spiderman 2 to test it and it performed admirably. The only time it struggled was with fast full-screen panning shots where the background began to tear up. I initially though this was interlacing artefacts as I was viewing the DVDs in upscaled 1080i from the Oppo but the same affect was present in 1080i, 720p and 540p settings. I think the quoted ~8ms response time may have been the major contributing factor here. Maybe a Black-to-White response time rating of 8ms would have looked better or even a <8ms Grey-to-Grey. But I guess we won’t know until panels like that are available. Any confined motion was handled well.

SD TV Picture Quality: 7

I was expecting this to look total pants, but it looked better than I thought it would. Of course the HD STB upscaling the image helped a lot as the TV trying to do it itself looked worse. I really like the BenQ’s option to show the image in ‘real’ resolution so that a SD image can be shown a tiny rectangle at the centre of the screen. It really highlights the TV’s massive 1920 x 1080 resolution.

HD TV Picture Quality: NR

Like I said above I was unable to feed the BenQ a native 720p or 1080i TV signal but I assume either would look great.

DVD Picture Quality: 8

This really surprised me and once again I don’t know how much thanks to give to my Oppo DVD player but the DVD playback was quite good. Black bars were present on the top and bottom of the picture but I think this was due to my DVD choices being presented in 2.40:1 (or similar) over 16:9 aspect ratio. The picture looked noticeably pixilated when viewed non-upscaled especially on edges but this disappeared when upscaled to 720p or 1080i which both looked great. From a ‘suitable’ viewing distance you couldn’t get a much better DVD picture.

TV Cosmetic Design: 5

The BenQ really falls down in this (important for some) area. Although I like the minimalist design and removable speakers is a major selling point for me, I hate the silver look. In my opinion the actually picture quality looks better when surrounded by a black TV frame and the silver styling does nothing for the TV. Also it rests on a fixed stand that is nowhere near as cool or functional as some of the swivel and/or motorised versions available on other brands. It can be wall mounted though.

On Screen Display: 6

As with the cosmetics, the OSD is functional but not pretty. Don’t expect any funky graphics as this OSD is more akin to that found on a PC monitor.

Ease of Setup: 9

Very easy to setup and includes just about every video setting you could want (and there is probably even more in a hidden service menu). Took me very little time to ensure a ‘clean’ standard colour scheme was being used and to set the basic calibration parameters. Once again, the ability to turn off all picture scaling is very useful.

Overall, I really rate the BenQ. I would have liked to have seen a true HD TV signal on it but I’m sure it would have looked fine. Bare in mind I spent about an hour and a half with the BenQ and only half and hour with the Samsung. Additionally, my view may be a little biased as this TV was the main reason for me going there. Just as a side note, I was quite amused when the Salesman tried to steer me away from the BenQ and towards the Samsung stating the BenQ only had a black-to-white 8ms response time (which it doesn’t by the way, it is GtG) whilst the Samsung has a 8ms Greyscale response time. When I explained to him the black-to-white is better than grey-to-grey he was quite surprised. Nice one bruvva!

Samsung review coming soon (but not quite as detailed as this one)…

Edited by skinXBWAU

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Nice one skin. :P Bummer about the STB tho. I guess it was a bit ambitious to do 8 or more evals in 5 hours, but at least it's a start!

I'm with you on the look of the BenQ - great picture but ugly housing, especially the speakers! The CNET review put it nicely - "The BenQ DV3750 does not come with a pretty face but it is capable of painting stunning pictures matched with solid sound." No HDMI on the BenQ is also a turn-off.

Your motion performance findings are comforting, as I like my sport. I definitely think I will go for a black bezel tho, it just sets off the display better (trick of the eye or something). :blink:

Dare I ask....any chance you'll be going back to look at any of the others? I'm in the market for a 37 incher and would be keen to read your findings on the Phillips 37PF7320 and JVC's - I was quite impressed with the Phillips, so I can only imagine how good the 37PF9830 will be. The Toshi 37WL58 looked pretty good too (though it only has the charcoal bezel), and the number of inputs it has is a big selling point (2 of everything!). The Hitachi wasn't bad either, though I think I only saw the 32LD8800.

Cheers

Dave

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Manufacturer’s Specifications

Make: Samsung

Model: LA32M51B

Screen Size: 32 inch

Native Resolution: 1366 x 768

Response Time: 8ms GtG

Brightness: 500 Nits

Contrast Ratio: 3000:1

Manufacturer’s Warranty: Unknown (I’ll check the website later)

Video Inputs:

Composite: 2

S-Video: 1

SCART: Nil

Component: 2

DVI (DHCP): Nil

HDMI: 1

15 Pin D-Sub: 1

Ratings: (1 worse – 10 best)

Viewing Angle: 9

Looked about the same as the BenQ to me but it did grab my attention from across the room for some reason when I poked my head up from looking at the BenQ. That probably doesn’t have anything to do with the viewing angle, but the picture does look awesome from a distance.

Colour Reproduction: 9

Once again quite similar to the BenQ but I did notice that the colour settings ended up a little higher to achieve the same ‘optimal’ viewing performance, somewhere around the 50 mark from memory. (sorry ran out of time to write everything down).

Image Sharpness: 9

I’m starting to think sharpness controls do sweet f*** all to digital signal. I could not see any line enhancement when adjusting this setting and left it on it’s lowest setting.

Image Brightness: 9

It is hard to compare a 32 inch screen to a 37 inch screen and as you can probably guess I was hard pressed to separate the two again in this department.

Dark Scene Performance: 7

I think there could have been an picture enhancement setting I missed switching off on the Samsung as the dark scene performance looked a bit off to me. The lobby scene in The Matrix appeared a bit washed out and not a crisp as on the BenQ.

Light Scene Performance: 9

This looked fine, and I couldn’t notice any difference. I was not in a position to see the two TVs side-by-side simultaneously though.

Image contrast: 7

I think this 3000:1 claim by Samsung is deliberately misleading. I mean how much better should a TV with a 3000:1 contrast ration look than a TV with an 800:1 contrast ratio? All I noticed with the Samsung was major bleeding or ‘fat edges’ between colour bars in the test patters that were hard to get rid of unless you turned the contrast way down. I did notice the phase ‘dynamic contrast’ used on the promotional sticker which may suggest this high contrast ration being electronically enhanced in some way. I believe the BenQ’s contrast ratio to be a much more accurate number than the Samsung which is obviously created by some form of electronic trickery. Then again, I mentioned before that I find judging contrast to be very difficult.

Motion Performance: 6

Motion performance looked fine during SD and HD TV (bearing in mind that the HD feed has very little fast motion) but the DVD performance was below what was expected. The fast full-screen panning shots broke up somewhat just like with the BenQ but I also noticed a ‘ghosting’ effect in a number of scenes. The Lobby scene in The Matrix for example had quite noticeable ghosting or trailing when Trinity ran along the wall and Neo performed the cartwheel. You could clearly see it around their flowing jackets. Even my partner (who was hungry, bored and pissed off – another reason why I didn’t compare more TVs) could see it and even said it looked really bad now that I pointed it out to her. Perhaps the quoted 8ms response time is a generous as the contrast ratio.

SD TV Picture Quality: 9

This looked excellent (well as good a SD can look) and suited the TV well. No complaints.

HD TV Picture Quality: 8

Also very good but I could only watch the WIN HD loop and slow rolling mountain shots aren’t the best for judging picture quality. I didn’t have time to look at the DVE-PAL demonstration videos.

DVD Picture Quality: 6

I’ve marked it down here purely for the motion issues I mentioned above. They really did distract from the viewing pleasure and were quite noticeable on all DVDs I tested during busy scenes, The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Spiderman 2 etc.

TV Cosmetic Design: 10

This TV is one sexy beast. From the black picture framing to the blue light around the power button, the Samsung looks the business. I would not be surprised if Samsung sells a lot of these from cosmetic looks alone. My partner said she though it looked (cosmetically) much nicer than the BenQ.

On Screen Display: 9

Clock up another win for the sexiness department at Samsung. The OSD is particularly slick and looks nice and funky with cool graphics and bright colours. Doesn’t mean a lot, but looks great.

Ease of Setup: 9

Just as easy as the BenQ but I didn’t have as much time to familiarise myself with the menu tree to ensure I checked out all its functionality.

Overall, I was and wasn’t impressed with the Samsung. It’s one of those TV’s that looks great at first glance, even better on paper, but after detailed examination perhaps isn’t as good a first thought. 32 inch is also far to small for my liking, if you are getting a TV of this size you would be much better off getting a high quality HD CRT in my opinion, unless of course you need the space and ease of movement of a small LCD.

Between the two, I think the BenQ is a better TV technically but the Samsung is a much better attention grabber. The higher resolution of the BenQ may have been a contributing factor in the upscaling DVD performance and probably would look better displaying HD TV as well. If SD TV is your main viewing source however, I think the Samsung pips the BenQ.

The other TV from my list in-store was the JVC LT-Z37DX5 (that’s the better one). I will definitely go back and have a closer look but curiously, no one in the store could tell me this TV’s elusive technical specs. The JVC website does not mention response time and contrast ration and the in-store staff didn’t know either…That didn’t stop them from having a guess of course. :blink:

Also I was told that the brand new Phillips 37PF9830/10 would be in-store in about two weeks but was also told it is likely to retail for about $6500…Ouch!

I’ll go back some other time and see what else I can check out and compare….I’m not finished yet. I hope this was useful. :P

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I’ll go back some other time and see what else I can check out and compare….I’m not finished yet. I hope this was useful. :P

Good to hear skin. It definitely is useful. It might be worth adding your reviews to the Review subforum.

Did you happen to record any prices of these TV's while you were there?

From the black picture framing to the blue light around the power button, the Samsung looks the business. I would not be surprised if Samsung sells a lot of these from cosmetic looks alone.

:P Don't let this lot hear you say that about the blue light!! :blink:

The other TV from my list in-store was the JVC LT-Z37DX5 (that’s the better one). I will definitely go back and have a closer look but curiously, no one in the store could tell me this TV’s elusive technical specs.

You're not alone on that one, I haven't been able to find the specs either.

Also I was told that the brand new Phillips 37PF9830/10 would be in-store in about two weeks but was also told it is likely to retail for about $6500…Ouch!

A little out of the budget range me thinks.... :P

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Also I was told that the brand new Phillips 37PF9830/10 would be in-store in about two weeks but was also told it is likely to retail for about $6500…Ouch!

Makes you wonder just how good it could be compared to a generic 37" with 1920x1080 res at less than 1/3rd of the price, I'm sure it would be better, but 3 times better? Perhaps not.

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:P Don't let this lot hear you say that about the blue light!! :blink:

LOL. Well I only thought it flashed when I changed settings and used the remote etc.

I wonder if you could cut-out and stick a vinal sticker on the frame of the BenQ to make it black? I think it could be possible and if done right would probably look quite good.

I am still leaning towards the BenQ as it appears that they spent most of their effort making great electronics and just didn't bother too much about looks. Kind of like NAD gear I guess.

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